Well Game one is in the books. The Washington Wizards sent the Chicago Bulls to their fourth straight home playoff loss in a row defeating them 102-93 in the United Center. Here at Pippen Ain’t Easy it’s getting real in these playoffs. I have fans that are totally split over what’s wrong with the Bulls (there are plenty.) We have two factions fighting over Carlos Boozer (The Legion of Booz vs. The Leroy-alists) and how he is being used in the games. To top all of this off, I’m questioning Tom Thibodeau and wondering if his ego about having such a so-called powerful defense is messing with the offensive side of the ball. With the loss in Game one, the Bulls fell to 4-13 when they give up more than 100 points. The Bulls are now 2-12 when they allow teams to shoot more than 48% from the floor. Now what’s all this about that vaunted defense? My thing is the Bulls CAN’T SCORE! In this four game playoff losing streak the Chicago Bulls average 86 points per game. They are being outscored by an average of 11 points per game. Does anyone see an issue here? The Chicago Bulls have a very flawed offense that is easy to figure out. The Bulls are now 0-12 when they dish out less than 13 assists.
Well Pippen Peoples, the Chicago Bulls face a must win game in Game two in the United Center tonight. Based on what I saw it does not look promising. Maybe the Bulls win this game, maybe not. But I have a problem with any team that hangs their hat on stopping people on one end with no particular plan on how to execute on the other. Here are some things that I saw in Game one that you need to watch out for in Game two Pippen Peoples.
There’s a reason why this team stinks on the offensive end. It’s your point guards
The Chicago Bulls scored six points in the final six minutes of Game one. They scored two baskets in the last five minutes. Here’s why. The Washington Wizards figured out something that stalled the Bulls offense. They attacked Joakim Noah on the defensive end with Nene in the first half and went at him on the offensive end as well. What did that do Pippen Peoples? It forced the point guards, Kirk Hinrich and DJ Augustin to initiate the offense which they both are not used to doing. Obviously they didn’t do a good job if the Bulls had 13 assists total for the game. Plus both of these guys shot the ball too much. Kirk Hinrich out up 16 shots. DJ Augustin put up 15 shots. Now understand these are official shots for Augustin. If he goes to the line ten times that means he shot more than 15 times. What’s the point? Joakim Noah had six shots. Taj Gibson had six shots. Carlos Boozer had ten. Out of these shots from these players, the majority of these shots were taken in the first half. The damage these players did was in the first half. The Bulls scored 54 points in the first half. Get the connection? Good. Let’s examine this deeper by how the frontcourt players played in Game one…
In the first quarter, you know one of the two quarters that he actually plays, Carlos Boozer scored nine points on a very efficient 4-6 from the floor. He finished the first quarter with a driving lay up and drew the foul. He then hit the free throw. When the street lights came on aka the fourth quarter started, Boozer finished with 5-10 from the field with 11 points. He also grabbed nine boards. That means Boozer took four shots for the rest of the game after a hot start, hitting only one. So what do I see? I see that the strong offensive rhythm of Boozer is broken by a freelance offense where there is no second or third option when the Wizards don’t allow Noah to run the offense.
I know some might be thinking I’m slightly biased towards Boozer because I am the Executive Advocate of the Legion of Booz so I’m going to use everyone’s favorite power forward Taj Gibson as an example. In the second quarter when Taj Gibson was in the lineup, he too had a strong quarter. He hit all three of his shots and hit two free throws in the second quarter. He finished with eight points. Gibson finished 4-6 from the field and 4-6 from the line for 12 points. Gibson took three shots for the rest of the game hitting only one after a hot start. So what do I see? I see that the strong offensive rhythm of Gibson is broken by a freelance offense where there is not second or third option when the Wizards don’t allow Noah to run the offense.
I mentioned in the center matchup breakdown that Joakim Noah has to be aggressive and look for his shot. I thought that he should have at least 12-15 shots to be effective. In Game one he took six. It has been well documented over the last few days how Nene put it to Noah. But this was planned to affect his offensive game as well. What the Washington Wizards started, the point guards finished, because Noah was out of sorts and out of sync.
Here’s what’s happening when the ball is put in Kirk Hinrich and DJ Augustin’s hand to run the Bulls offense. The Bulls lose the flow and spacing that was a part of their offensive success since January. Augustin was not brought in to run an offense. He was brought in to knock down shots. Pippen Ain’t Easy knew the Wizards were going to run bodies at him and be physical with him which bothered the rhythm of the offense. The Wizards took away the big man option of the Bulls in the second half and sent limos to Augustin and Hinrich to go to the lane and finish. Well in the fourth quarter, the limos ran out of gas.
I’m still trying to figure out something Pippen Peoples and I ask you to help me out. How can you be a perimeter team when you can’t shoot? The team went 5-20 from the land of three in Game one. I’m sure you’re all tired of hearing that the Bulls are DEAD LAST in scoring. Okay how about the Bulls are DEAD LAST in shooting percentage. You’d think they would get up shots. Uh nope! they finished 28th in shots attempted. The Bulls came into this series with the edge in the frontcourt. But they got beat down by Nene and Marcin Gortat. The Washington Wizards came in with the edge in the backcourt and they stunk. The Bulls had better make adjustments and it had not be at the defensive end.