Rondo, Celtics pick apart road-weary Bulls

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Rondo, Celtics pick apart road-weary Bulls

Friday, Dec. 3, 2010
Updated 11:56 PM

By Aggrey Sam
CSNChicago.com

BOSTON Derrick Rose isnt known for being the most verbose person in the world, but his postgame summary of what ails the Bulls was as accurate as they come.

Were out of sync right now, the Bulls All-Star point guard told CSNChicago.com. Were making the game harder than what it is and we need to change it.

In a matchup many regarded as a measuring stick of Chicagos progress with the much-anticipated addition of Carlos Boozer on his second trial run the Bulls (9-8) fell to the Celtics (15-4), 104-92, Friday evening.

Forget measuring up to the leagues elites Chicago couldnt get out of its own way as poor shot selection, lackluster defense, below-average rebounding, low energy and what is now becoming trademark slow starts to the game and following intermission plagued the Bulls in the loss.

Those negative aspects were compounded by Bostons crisp offensive execution, stout team defense, the top-flight playmaking ability of point guard Rajon Rondo and a vintage night from venerable veteran Kevin Garnett.

Although Rose (20 points, eight assists) got off to a quick and aggressive start, a balanced Boston attack put the Bulls in an early hole, as all five Celtics starters were on the board by midway through the first quarter.

An early positive sign for the visitors was Boozers (12 points) outside touch, as the power forward knocked down two mid-range jumpers albeit uncovered showing hed make more of an impact in his second game back from injury.

On a more disappointing note, the Celtics were able to get easy transition opportunities seemingly at will Ray Allen (14 points), in particular, more noted as a sharpshooter, was a beneficiary as well as deep post position that led to point-blank baskets from Garnett (20 points, 17 rebounds, six assists) and Shaquille ONeal (12 points, five rebounds).

Adding to the Bulls woes was their own poor shot selection and errant marksmanship, which allowed Boston to further widen the gap

Theyre a quality team, said Bulls head coach Tom Thibodeau. I thought we had some good shots in the first quarter. We missed. We came back and defensively, were hanging a little bit and we cant do that. We cant allow our offense to affect us defensively.

I thought we played low energy defensively instead of having greater fight down there and theyre a great shooting team. Youve got to challenge their shots. Theyre also posting the ball a lot more and weve got to fight harder, keep the ball out of the paint. I didnt think we did that. I thought defensively, we gave them too much.

Taj Gibson (10 points, eight rebounds), now in a reserve role, gave the Bulls a nice spark off the bench, enabling the Garden guests to quickly close on the home team.

Backup point guard C.J. Watson and reserve swingman Ronnie Brewer in addition to starters Joakim Noah (14 points, 10 rebounds) and Luol Deng (15 points, six rebounds, four assists) clicked effectively, as Chicago went on an extended 18-3 run, dating back to Dengs jumper toward the end of the previous period to tie the game at 34 apiece.

However, a stellar first-half performance by Garnett who, along with Noah, was issued a double technical foul, as the pair continued their war of words ensured Chicago wouldnt overtake the Celtics.

Hes active, hes rebounding above the rim, hes going to get rebounds out of his area, hes shooting the ball great, hes elevating on his shot, getting deep post position and hes always had great vision, always been very unselfish, said Thibodeau, going down a laundry list of Garnetts strong suits. When you look at the passing of that team, they share the ball, they move the ball, they execute and they play defense.

Chicagos defensive lapses perhaps partly due to Boozers gradual assimilation into the teams defensive scheme once again permitted Boston to surge, reeling off bucket after bucket to give the Celtics a double-digit winning margin.

The floor generalship of Rondo (12 points, 19 assists, six rebounds) was masterful, as he evenly distributed the basketball to the many weapons at his disposal the slender point guards pinpoint passing was the catalyst for a vintage Garnett stat line often getting the best available shot on each Celtics possession.

Were struggling defensively, said Thibodeau. Playing from behind, dug a big hole and against quality opponents, you cant do that. We fought hard to get back in the second quarter, but then in the third quarter, the same thing. Right back in the hole.

I think our first and third have been a problem for us all season, no matter who was out there. The first quarter, we dig ourselves a hole, the third quarter we dig ourselves a hole and weve been worse in some games, but the majority of games in the NBA, when you get behind to a very good team, youre not going to climb back, added Boozer, who played without the protective brace for his hand that he wore in Wednesdays debut, stating Id rather not wear it afterwards.

Weve got to have a better focus out thereon that circus trip, we got lucky. We were able to fight back in some games, but weve got to do a better job of that as we move forward.

Chicagos lack of offensive flow also plagued the team in the games final period. Instead of quality possessions and solid execution, Bostons defense yielded mostly awkward forces and end-of-shot-clock heaves, demonstrating the Bulls lack of cohesion and inability to push the tempo in transition, not to mention more meager than usual offensive rebounding.

Still, it was mostly Chicagos defensive effort that stuck with the team in the aftermath of its second consecutive ugly defeat.

Terrible. Thats the reason why were losing. Blown coverages, not doing the right thing, but like I said, well get a chance to play tomorrow, Rose told CSNChicago.com. Weve just got to step it up on the defensive side. We didnt stop anybody the last two games. Thats why were getting blown out. Hopefully we can change it.

Explained Thibodeau: Weve got to do a better job of containing the ball. Our weak side has to be a lot more alert. We have to have better body position on the cuts. All facets of our defense. Right now, its hard to judge because we have to do it with greater intensity.

One thing we can do is we can play a lot harder and again, when we make them missand rebounding was a problem alsoand thats preventing us from getting us out into the open floor and getting us some easy baskets, the coach continued.

When youre making them miss and youre rebounding well, then you get Derrick into the open floor, thats where you get your easy baskets. Everything is a grind right now because were playing out of the halfcourt so much.The Bulls couldn't stop Kevin Garnett (20 points, 17 rebounds, six assists Friday night) and realize they are struggling defensively in the last few games. (AP)

Deng concurred: Weve been winning because of our defense, so weve got to get back to that. Try to get easy baskets, try to get stops and get out and run.

We get a lot of looks when we get stops. When we slow down, right now, were not running our stuff the way we should be. I think eventually we will, but where were at right now, were more of a running team that gets stops and runs, he added. I know we play tomorrow, so weve got to make a quick switch and get back to that defensive mentality. Weve got a lot of guys that can score and its going to be spread out, but every night the defense has got to be there.

The home crowds persistent chants of Scalabrine (for the Bulls reserve forward; he would eventually enter the contest with the game out of reach) obscured Chicagos attempt to get back into the contest, as the foregone conclusion that the Celtics would coast to victory was reached the previous quarter.

Fighting hard but making up little ground, the Bulls simply couldnt overcome Rondos top-flight playmaking, Bostons offensive execution All-Star swingman Paul Pierce (18 points) became more of a factor as time wore on and stout team defense, and frankly, their own unforced errors.

Rationalized Thibodeau: The games keep coming. Weve gotten into this together; weve got to get out of it together. Weve got to fight a lot harder. Were capable, well play better, but weve got to put more into it.

Rose summarized things in a similar vein.

Weve got to change a lot of things, so hopefully tomorrow youll see a whole other team, the All-Star told CSNChicago.com.

Hosting a Houston squad likely eager for revenge at the United Center Saturday evening, theyll have to make a quick turnaround.

Aggrey Sam is CSNChicago.coms 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.

PHOTO: Jimmy Butler, Derrick Rose reunite at Cubs-Dodgers game

PHOTO: Jimmy Butler, Derrick Rose reunite at Cubs-Dodgers game

Jimmy Butler and Derrick Rose may not be teammates anymore, but that didn't stop them from catching up on the west coast while watching a familiar Chicago team.

The former set of Bulls teammates happened to bump into each other at the Cubs-Dodgers game on Saturday afternoon in Los Angeles, where they both work out in the offseason.

[SHOP: Gear up for the 2016-17 season, Bulls fans!]

Rose and Butler likely haven't seen each other since the trade that sent Rose to the New York Knicks over the summer.

Butler shared the picture on his Instagram with Rose and his son P.J., capturing a cool moment after speculation of a reported rift during their time together in Chicago never seemed to go away:

three cats at a cubs and dodgers game.

A photo posted by Jimmy Butler (@jimmybutler) on

Dwyane Wade's cousin shot and killed in Chicago

Dwyane Wade's cousin shot and killed in Chicago

On Thursday, Dwyane Wade appeared on an ESPN special for The Undefeated to talk about gun violence. The next day, Wade's cousin was shot and killed in Chicago.

Nykea Aldridge was pushing a baby stroller in the Chicago neighborhood of Parkway Gardens when she was shot and killed. Aldridge was 32 and a mother of four.

Police said she was not the intended target and one person was taken into custody as a result of the incident.

Wade's words during his appearance on the ESPN panel took on extra meaning after Friday's shooting.

"It's important for all of us to help each other, to go back and say 'You know what, where did this start, how did this start? Let's see how we can change there,'" Wade said on ESPN. "It's deep-rooted and this is something that didn't start today. This is something that's not going to end tomorrow. But this is something that we can start a conversation, we can start the work today and hopefully eventually we can stop it."

Wade tweeted after the shooting.

Windy City Bulls fill out roster in D-League expansion draft

Windy City Bulls fill out roster in D-League expansion draft

The Windy City Bulls are beginning to feel more like a real team.

On Wednesday, the Chicago Bulls' new NBA D-League franchise that will play games in Hoffman Estates beginning this season participated in the league's expansion draft.

As one of three new expansion teams joining the NBA D-League this season, the Windy City Bulls were allowed to select 12 players from the other 19 teams in the league. Each returning D-League team was allowed to protect the rights to 10 players on each roster with two players being available to the Bulls, Long Island Nets and Greensboro Swarm.

The Bulls acquired the rights to 12 players as here's the rundown of who they selected.

Round 1: Wesley Saunders, G/F, Harvard (Austin Spurs)
Round 2: Kiwi Gardner, G, Midland College (Santa Cruz Warriors)
Round 3: Ralph Sampson III, C, Minnesota (Maine Red Claws)
Round 4: Booker Woodfox, G, Creighton (Texas Legends)
Round 5: Jerel McNeal, G, Marquette (Northern Arizona Suns)
Round 6: Akeem Richmond, G, East Carolina (Reno Bighorns)
Round 7: Casey Prather, G/F, Florida (Northern Arizona Suns)
Round 8: Jon Octeus, G, Purdue (Canton Charge)
Round 9: Justin Dentmon, G, Washington (Texas Legends)
Round 10: Jamal Jones, F, Texas A&M (Delaware 87ers)
Round 11: Xavier Thames, G, San Diego State (Fort Wayne Mad Ants)
Round 12: Ian Chiles, C, Morgan State (Salt Lake City Stars)

It's important to note that although the Bulls have the rights to these 12 players for two seasons that many of them might never suit up for the team. Many players from this expansion draft group will head overseas to pursue professional opportunities there. If they do end up signing a D-League contract, the Bulls will have right of first refusal, giving the Bulls rights to these players for two seasons.

[SHOP: Gear up, Bulls fans!]

Among the notables picked by the Bulls include the 5-foot-7 Gardner, who has had a successful D-League stint in the past as well as some experience in the Saudi Premier League. Local college hoops fans will probably recognize the 6-foot-3 McNeal from his days at Marquette where he played for one season with Bulls star Jimmy Butler. McNeal also has more NBA experience than anyone on the expansion list as he most recently finished out the 2014-15 season with the Phoenix Suns. Former Washington product Justin Dentmon is also a native of Carbondale as the 6-foot-0 guard helped Carbondale High School to a fourth-place finish in the 2004 IHSA Class AA state basketball tournament.

Windy City will tip off the season with a home opener at Sears Centre on Friday, Nov. 11. The 2016-17 D-League schedule was released earlier this week as Windy City will have 24 home games, including 16 that will be played on Friday or Saturday night. 

While the Windy City roster will look very different from this expansion draft list, the Windy City Bulls should help the main Bulls franchise develop young talent in a nearby location as it will be the start of a very intriguing dynamic.