Futile fourth quarter sends sloppy Bulls to defeat

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Futile fourth quarter sends sloppy Bulls to defeat

Sunday, Feb. 6, 2011
Posted 12:02 a.m. Updated 1:25 a.m.

By Aggrey Sam
CSNChicago.com

OAKLAND All good things come to an end.

Maybe it was the irregular travel schedule, their delayed elation at beating the blizzard out of Chicago or more realistically, playing an unorthodox opponent that caught them on an off night, but the Bulls (34-15) simply didnt have it Saturday night, dropping a 101-90 decision to the Warriors (22-27) and snapping their six-game winning streak.

The challenge is to be ready no matter what the circumstances are. Sometimes its back-to-back, sometimes youre off for three days and then you play, so the challenge is to make sure you have that edge right from the start of the game, whatever youre faced with and I thought we eased into the game, said Bulls head coach Tom Thibodeau, whose team gave up 100 points for the first time since a Christmas Day loss at New York.

WATCH: Rose crumples, tosses stat sheet

I thought it was an offensive game to start and when you do that against a team like this, youre asking for trouble. Down the stretch, when we had the lead, we quick-shot the ball a little bit.

Although the Bulls were proficient scoring the ball in the early going not exactly the most impressive feat against the defense-optional hosts the game was played at the Warriors pace, with both teams seemingly producing points at will.

For some reason, Golden States defensive scheme consisted of allowing Bulls veteran Kurt Thomas (eight points, six rebounds, four assists) to shoot open 15-foot jumpers his bread and butter which permitted the big man to provide Chicago with some scoring punch. After a slow start, All-Star point guard Derrick Rose (14 points, 10 assists, nine turnovers) briefly got going, mixing his acrobatic drives, pull-up jumper and unselfish distributing to maintain the visitors slim edge.

On the home teams end of things, high-scoring guard Monta Ellis (33 points, five assists) was his typical aggressive self on offense and was aided by power forward David Lee (13 points), who used his face-up ability and shooting range to make an impact.

At the conclusion of the opening period, the Bulls held a narrow advantage, 25-23.

I thought the first quarter was pretty good. I didnt think we eased in. I thought it was easy in the first quarter, observed Carlos Boozer. Maybe we had the impression it was going to be easy the whole game.

Improved defense and a shooting clinic put on by reserve swingman Kyle Korver (11 points) helped Chicago widen the gap early in the second quarter, prompting a Golden State timeout for adjustment purposes.

Whatever moves Warriors head coach Keith Smart made apparently worked, as Golden State quickly cut into the deficit it didnt hurt that backup Ronnie Brewer missed a wide-open dunk in transition and Carlos Boozer (21 points, 10 rebounds, five assists) picked up a technical foul leading Bulls head coach Tom Thibodeau to put his own halt to the proceedings.

Warriors swingman Dorell Wright (20 points, six rebounds), already having a productive outing, put the home team in the lead temporarily by splashing a three-pointer midway through the stanza, completing an 8-0 Golden State run.

The contest then evolved into a back-and-forth affair, with the two squads exchanging baskets in dissimilar fashions, as the Bulls mostly scored in the paint second-year backup Taj Gibson (eight points, eight rebounds) came off the bench with his typical energy while the Warriors stuck with their perimeter-oriented style as the first half went on.

Atypically for Rose, he struggled miserably with turnovers (he had seven in the half) and creating offense, leading to a helter-skelter flow that benefited Golden State, sending the rowdy Oracle Arena crowd (equipped with a live jazz band in the upper reaches of the building) into a mild frenzy.
The Warriors threw a brand new defense at Derrick Rose by doubling him up top and not letting the point guard control the ball. Rose acknowledged after the game that, as a result, he wasn't able to get into any kind of rhythm. (AP)
Rose was just out of sync. The way that they doubled was kind of weird, said Rose. When I came off the pick, two people were on me. If I made the little slip pass, somebody was sticking Carlos. It was just tough. A tough night.

It was just something that weve never seen before, he expounded about the Warriors defense. I couldnt get a feel for the game because they didnt let me. I couldnt split, when I dragged it out, they were coming out with me. Every pick-and-roll, they trapped and I guess thats what Ive got to get used to.

Added Boozer: They tried to get the ball out of his hands, which is the smart thing. Once he has the ball, the other team is in trouble. Were not going to take anything away from them. They did a good job executing their game plan. We made a lot of mistakes and had a lot of turnovers. We didnt capitalize on some of their gambles, he went on to say.

The next time we see this kind of defense, well be ready for it.

At the intermission, the visiting Bulls trailed, 48-47.

Things didnt go smoothly for Chicago immediately after the break particularly for Rose, who appeared out of sync but with their star struggling, Luol Deng (18 points, six rebounds) and especially Boozer responded. Boozer, after being corralled around the neck by Lee who was assessed a flagrant foul for his actions became a dominant post presence, propelling the visitors to a 14-2 run to begin the third quarter.

Thats when were supposed to take control of the game and slow the ball down, get what we want, instead of playing their game, Rose remarked about that critical juncture of the game. They want to play up and down, we were taking quick shots, playing stupid. But were going to learn from it and hopefully you wont see this performance anymore.

Golden State eventually fought back the only way they know how (scoring more points), battling back to once again make it a tight-knit affair. Second-year point guard Stephen Curry (23 points, eight assists, six rebounds) took his turn carrying the load for the Warriors, using his skilled blend of scoring and playmaking to bring the home team back, with Wright complementing his efforts.

With only 4.9 seconds left in the period, Golden State pulled off a slick inbounds play Wright threw an alley-oop pass to Ellis, who finished a nifty reverse layup while airborne and backwards to give the home team a 73-72 lead through three periods of play.

Building on their momentum, Golden State took control of the contest, going on a 16-2 run to start the final frame, further inspiring the raucous, sellout audience. Chicago was completely out of sync, unable to stop the Warriors offensive attack or successfully put the ball in the basket.

The visitors extended drought lasted through the midway point of the period, when Deng was fouled going to the basket and subsequently split a pair of free throws. Although Dengs second attempt resulted in an offensive rebound and eventual Brewer layup (he was fouled on the basket, but couldnt capitalize on the three-point play opportunity), Chicago was unable to use the rare positive moment to make a sustainable comeback, despite Golden State not decisively putting the game out of reach.

To the Bulls credit, they continued to battle late, but it simply wasnt enough. After a Korver triple cut the deficit to seven points with under a minute to play, Ellis hit a tough fadeaway toward the end of the shot clock with 24.8 seconds to go, effectively ending Chicagos slim hopes at a miraculous finish.

It was just one of those games where it wasnt going our way. Tried to force it, concluded Rose. We didnt stop them. They were getting everything that they wanted, they were playing with a lot of confidence. We had a chance to break the game open. We were up by a large amount and our defense didnt hold them.

If our offense wasnt going, weve got to depend on our defense. Our defense is what makes us a good team and tonight that wasnt us tonight.

Chimed in Boozer: Golden State made it more of a perimeter-type of game, more perimeter jump shots. They double-teamed D-Rose right when he came into the pick-and-roll and got the ball out of his hands.

The game just got a little bit more clogged up on offense for us and then on defense, we just didnt get any stops. Sometimes you can look at the offense so hard, you forget about the other side, he continued. The way they play, they make you rush a little bit and I thought at times, we rushed a little bit tonight.

Aggrey Sam is CSNChicago.com's Bulls Insider. Follow him @CSNBullsInsider on Twitter for up-to-the-minute Bulls information and his take on the team, the NBA and much more.

Kendall Gill, Ice Cube give their predictions for Mayweather-McGregor

Kendall Gill, Ice Cube give their predictions for Mayweather-McGregor

This story originally appeared on Big3.com. Hear from Kendall and Ice Cube as they give their opinions on the Aug. 26 fight in the video above.

Timing really is everything.

When I went to Las Vegas for the BIG3 combine and draft back in April, I liked my chances. Sure, I was one of the oldest guys there, but my training as a boxer (I fought professionally after my NBA days) keeps me in great shape.

So I was pretty shocked when I didn’t get drafted.

I tried to be positive about it. I figured maybe the man upstairs was saying, “Just sit tight. I gotta put you on the right team.”

So there I was, sparring in the gym the other day. I get out of the ring and there’s a text waiting for me from Corey Maggette, asking me if I want to play for Power.

He didn’t have to ask twice!

Next thing I know, I’m getting a call from Power’s coach, Hall of Famer Clyde Drexler. I looked up to Clyde my whole career, looked at him as a big brother. To play for him in the BIG3 is the perfect scenario.

So it was great to be in Philadelphia last Sunday and help Power defeat the Ghost Ballers in my BIG3 debut. I thoroughly enjoyed playing with Cuttino Mobley, DeShawn Stevenson, Jerome “Junkyard Dog” Williams and Paul McPherson.

I was a bit rusty on the offensive side, but my defense -- which has been a staple for me throughout my career -- my rebounding, passing, that was all on point. I found Cuttino and DeShawn for a couple of shots when we forced them to double-team down on me. I had Mike Bibby on me in the post, and they knew that he probably couldn’t guard me down there.

So it was a pretty good first day. Now that I’ve got that under my belt, here comes the fun part. Everybody was excited when I was finally added to a team, and when they found out we were playing in Chicago they got twice as excited. When I got off the plane from Philadelphia on Monday, I had about 50 messages waiting for me – friends and family asking for tickets to the UIC Pavilion for Sunday’s games.

And since I work Chicago Bulls games for CSN Chicago, the network is excited, too. They want to mic me up and follow me around for the day, go behind the scenes. Radio stations have been calling me for interviews about the BIG3 coming to Chicago. It’s exciting. But when it comes time to play, I’ve got to forget about all that and go out there and play.

A lot of people think I’m biased because I was born and raised here, and still live in Chicago, but if you look at the number of pro players that we’ve produced, there’s really nowhere else that can compare to Chicago as a basketball town. You look at all the number one picks in the draft. Look at the top five picks in the NBA Draft throughout history. I think you’d have to say Chicago is probably the number one producer of NBA players – and college basketball players for that matter.

Only a few fortunate kids make it up the ranks to college and the pros. For most kids growing up in Chicago, at least basketball can be an important recreational activity that helps keep them off the streets and out of trouble. But there’s so much more we can do. When I was preparing for the BIG3 draft, I was practicing with Arne Duncan, President Obama’s Secretary of Education. Duncan, who has played competitive 3-on-3 with USA Basketball, is doing some great work with underprivileged kids in Chicago.

For my part, I donated a home in Champaign-Urbana (home of my alma mater, the University of Illinois). It’s the Cunningham Children’s Home and it helps disadvantaged kids in the region. We just had our annual golf tournament last week. We’ve been doing it for 28 years and have raised more than $1 million for the home.

While Arne Duncan is doing great work with Chicago youth, I’m grateful for the work he put in with me on the basketball court. He showed me a lot about how to cut, do a lot of pick and rolls away from the ball. In 3-on-3, those aspects of the game are very undervalued. Some guys have a tendency to play too much one-on-one, which I saw in some of the other games I was watching Sunday. The 3-on-3 game is very easy if you do it right, like we did. I think that’s why we won that game. We did a lot of cuts, and it worked well for us.

So after the disappointment of not being drafted, I’m thrilled to be where I am now – playing for a Power squad that is 3-1 and looking good for the playoffs. Which got me to thinking…

I really love boxing – not just training and sparring myself, but watching it. Boxing is the sweet science.

If we are fortunate enough to make it to Las Vegas for the BIG3 championship game on August 26, there just happens to be a pretty big boxing match taking place that night, right down the road. You may have heard:  Floyd Mayweather vs. Conor McGregor.

Personally, I don’t think McGregor has a chance. I’ve seen Floyd train in person and I’ve seen all his fights at least 10 times. He’s one of the greatest fighters to ever live. Now a guy who has no boxing experience whatsoever is going to get into the ring with him? Not happening.

But it’s gonna be an event. Believe me, I’m planning to buy the Pay-Per-View.

Unless I’m in Vegas that day and get to see it in person. You know, right after we win the BIG3 title.

Wake-up Call: Rose returning to Chicago?; Willson Contreras takes over; State of Cubs-Cards

Wake-up Call: Rose returning to Chicago?; Willson Contreras takes over; State of Cubs-Cards

Here are the top Chicago sports stories from Thursday: 

Is #TheReturn getting a reboot? Report says there's a possibility Derrick Rose comes back to Bulls

This is becoming Willson Contreras' team, whether or not Cubs add Alex Avila or another veteran catcher

Bears training camp preview: 3 burning questions for tight ends

Why Blackhawks fans might want to tap the brakes on Alex DeBrincat

That escalated quickly: Cubs just a game back of Brewers, could be in first place as soon as this weekend

Ping-pong balls everywhere: Where do the Bulls rank among projected lottery teams?

Joe Maddon's prime-time message: 'Help or die'

Report: Derrick Rose is considering teaming up with LeBron James, Cavs

Cubs Talk Podcast: State of Cubs-Cardinals rivalry and what lies ahead

Why Adam Engel came up with his unique batting stance, and how he's tweaked it since