Chicago Bulls

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.

Doug Collins returns to Bulls as senior advisor

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USA TODAY

Doug Collins returns to Bulls as senior advisor

In a surprise announcement, the Chicago Bulls have brought former coach Doug Collins back into the fold, naming him a senior advisor to Executive Vice President John Paxson.

Collins was a coach with the Bulls and regarded as one of the best basketball minds through his various stops through the NBA as well as his commentary for Turner Sports and ESPN. Collins held front office authority in Detroit after the Pistons drafted Grant Hill, so he's familiar with the inner workings of the NBA.

More importantly, he coached Paxson during his three-year tenure as head coach, from 1986-1989, so one can presume Paxson will value Collins' expertise and opinions. The two sides have been discussing a role for quite some time, so although the announcement is a surprise, the marriage didn't come together hastily.

Collins is expected to be an extra voice in the room, doing a lot of observing and one can assume, bridging the gap many believe exists between the front office and coaching staff. Collins has residence in Chicago, with his son (Chris) coaching the Northwestern Wildcats so it's also a matter of convenience as well.

“We are pleased to have Doug return to the Bulls and have him join our front office. As our organization transitions into this next phase, we feel like Doug will bring valuable perspective with his vast knowledge of the NBA and the game of basketball,” said Paxson. “His enthusiasm and expertise make this a great fit for the Bulls. As an advisor, he will regularly contribute observations, insights and suggestions, and he will be part of conversations throughout this building. I know from talking to Doug he is excited to join us at this time, and we look forward to tapping into his experience to help improve this team.”

One can liken it to the Golden State Warriors bringing in Jerry West as a senior advisor several years ago, and West's influence was felt at the executive level as the Warriors continued their climb to the top of the NBA. West is perhaps the NBA's most decorated executive in the modern era, having shaped the Magic Johnson-led Lakers of the 1980's to five championships.

West has since moved into the same role with the Los Angeles Clippers, as he'll assist them in reshaping their franchise after the trade of Chris Paul.

Clearly the Bulls are not at the stage of development the Warriors were when West joined, starting what could be a long and arduous rebuild. Needing more knowledgeable and trusted voices in the room is what they were looking for, and presumably they feel Collins has been around today's NBA long enough to provide insight on a changing league.

“Doug will be great in this capacity for our organization. The position of ‘senior advisor’ has proven to work well around the NBA in recent years, and I am confident the same will hold true with the Bulls,” said Chicago Bulls Chairman Jerry Reinsdorf in a statement. “The fact that our relationship goes back more than 30 years certainly helps, but he is especially qualified to assist our leadership in rebuilding the Bulls.”

Lottery reform might not be all bad for rebuilding Bulls

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USA TODAY

Lottery reform might not be all bad for rebuilding Bulls

At first glance, reports of the NBA pushing for major lottery reform might seem like terrible timing for rebuilding teams like the Bulls. The league's competition committee is trying to come up with a system that will discourage teams from tanking to improve their odds of winding up with the best possible draft position.

Under the current plan, the team that finishes with the worst record has a 25% chance of winding up with the top pick and selects no lower than fourth. The odds then decrease for teams that finish between two and 14.

The new plan would flatten the odds for the bottom four teams, all given a 14% chance to win the top pick in the lottery. The idea is teams will no longer have an extra incentive to lose if it doesn't help them end up with better draft position.

But here's where the Bulls come in. Even though the new plan is expected to be approved by league owners, it won't be implemented until the 2019 draft. That's crucial for a Bulls' team that is likely to have one of the worst records in the league in 2017-'18, but could improve pretty quickly with some good fortune in the summer of 2018.

If the Bulls land a Top 3 pick next June, they could draft one of two elite forward prospects, Missouri's Michael Porter Jr. or Duke's Marvin Bagley III, or 18-year-old international star Luka Doncic. Then they could go into free agency with somewhere between 40 and 50 million dollars of cap space to land a couple free agents to give the roster a big time boost.

I understand the Bulls' record in free agency has not been all that great over the years, and they're not going to convince LeBron James, Kevin Durant, Paul George or Russell Westbrook to come to a rebuilding team. But with so few teams expected to have significant cap space, why couldn't the Bulls make a run at next level stars like DeMarcus Cousins, Isaiah Thomas (if healthy) or DeAndre Jordan? Plus, they could always go the route of adding two solid rotation players like Avery Bradley, Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, Wilson Chandler or Danny Green rather than shoot for one max contract All-Star.

Say the Bulls get Porter Jr. in the draft to handle the small forward spot, then sign Cousins in free agency to play center. All of a sudden you've got a starting line-up of Cousins, Lauri Markkanen, Porter, Zach LaVine and Kris Dunn, all lottery picks. At that point, the Bulls wouldn't be thinking about finishing near the bottom of the league to improve draft position. They'd be thinking about what moves they could make to get back to the playoffs.

So, when you read these articles about lottery reform, don't look at it as a huge negative for the Bulls. If all goes according to plan, they'll only have one season of being in strong contention for the No. 1 pick, and the rules aren't expected to change for the 2018 lottery.