Total domination: Bulls blow out 76ers by 45


Total domination: Bulls blow out 76ers by 45

Tuesday, Dec. 21, 2010
Posted 9:25 PM Updated 11:13 PM

By Chris Cason Contributor

Derrick Rose and Luol Deng both scored 22 points apiece as the Chicago Bulls (17-9) cruised to a 121-76 victory over the Philadelphia 76ers (11-17) Tuesday night.

With second year forward Taj Gibson joining Joakim Noah on the inactive list for precautionary reasons after suffering a concussion in Saturdays game against the Los Angeles Clippers, an emphasis was placed on the importance of starting with intensity and the Bulls answered the bell, dominating on both sides of the floor.

The Bulls jumped on the Sixers 33-19 in the opening frame. Rose, Deng and Carlos Boozer accounted for 29 of those points as the team only trailed in the opening minute.

"I thought we came out, right from the start and had great energy, said head coach Tom Thibodeau. Shots went down for us early. Defensively, I thought we did a really good job with our body position, getting back and challenging shots.

Rose also finished with 12 assists as Chicago led by as many as 51 and were firing on all cylinders, helping shut down a team that had won eight of their last 11 games.

Chicago shot 64 percent and held Philadelphia to 28 of 80 shooting from the field.

I knew the first three minutes of the game, we had no juice, said Sixers coach Doug Collins regarding his team being out of rhythm the entire night. They ran the same play six, or seven straight times. We gauge where we think were going to be in a game by our first ten possessions and they scored eight of their first 10 possessions. I looked at our coaches and said, our guys just arent there tonight.

Chicago outscored Philadelphia 52-26 in the paint - thanks in large part to Kurt Thomas holding Elton Brand to six points on 2 of 9 shooting. They also had a 28-9 edge in fast break points, assisted 32 times on their 49 made field goals and scored 31 points off of Sixers turnovers. There was no lack of intensity in this one and leading 92-54, the Bulls were able to rest all of their starters in the fourth.

I just thought we just did a great job of getting ready to play, said Boozer, who finished with 16 points and 11 rebounds. "We were disappointed how we started last game. Its been a point of emphasis the last couple of days of practice. We came out tonight focused and did a great job of being ready offensively and defensively.

We helped each other a lot, continued Boozer. We dominated the boards, shared the ball a lot, and were efficient inside. We just did a great job of being prepared for this game.

Filling in for Gibson, 16-year veteran Thomas got the starting nod and finished with 12 points, eight rebounds and five blocked shots.

Hes been doing it for 100 years, joked Thibodeau about Thomas performance. Hes a smart player, plays great body position defense, great communicator I thought he helped our pick and roll defense tremendously.

In a game with so much exerted energy on both ends, the 38-year old - who has more miles on his body than the entire roster combined - appreciated the game for obvious reasons.

Its best when you have a back to back, that youre able to get some rest, said Thomas. Your main guys are able to get some rest, so thats always good.

The Bulls will play the Washington Wizards on Wednesday night. It will be the second time the two teams have met this season, with Chicago taking the first game a 103-96 win on Nov. 13.

It will be their first bout with the slightly new-look Wizards, who traded away long-time franchise cornerstone Gilbert Arenas to the Orlando Magic for Rashard Lewis on Sunday.

Taj Gibson told that he feels great and would be ready to play on Wednesday, but the decision will determined by the Bulls team doctors.

Dwyane Wade tweets apology to fans after Bulls' lopsided loss in Atlanta

Dwyane Wade tweets apology to fans after Bulls' lopsided loss in Atlanta

For the opening three quarters in Atlanta, the Bulls were off. 

So off, in fact, that Dwyane Wade tweeted an apology to Chicago fans after the game. 

Thanks to a furious run by the Bulls' bench, the final score ended at a respectable 102-93. In reality, though, the Hawks dominated. 

Wade and company trailed by 29 points at half and 30 at the end of three. The 35-year-old shooting guard finished with a minus-18 and just four points while All-Star starter Jimmy Butler posted a team-low minus-22.

The Bulls will look to shake off their lopsided loss against the Sacramento Kings on Saturday. 


Fred Hoiberg after Bulls' embarrassing loss to Hawks: 'We're gonna look at everything'

Fred Hoiberg after Bulls' embarrassing loss to Hawks: 'We're gonna look at everything'

The bus was warm before the game started, as the Bulls looked like they wanted no parts of the Atlanta Hawks.

It was evident from the jump that playing with a full and healthy squad for one of the few times this season wasn't enough to arouse their competitive juices, as they put together arguably their worst 48-minute showing in a 102-93 loss at Philips Arena, dropping them to 21-23 in a game they trailed by as many as 34 points.

The practices have apparently been the sterling jewel of effort and competitiveness for the Bulls but it hasn't carried over through the season as the inconsistency continues to be maddening — one that seems to go beyond the "growing pains" mantra that's been fed by all involved so far this year.

"It could be things but I don't want to share it with the media," a sunglasses-clad Dwyane Wade said outside the locker room, in a rare mood of not being elaborative following a loss.

It appears even the professional's professional has gotten a bit more frustrated than usual — understandable considering the way the starters came out with a lack of energy, with more turnovers (eight) than field goals (six) in the first quarter.

"Continue to try to lead behind the scenes," Wade said. "Can't stop when it's bad, when it's good. You gotta be the same."

Fred Hoiberg, fed up with the starters, ran with the reserves for the fourth quarter and outscored the Hawks by nearly 25 points, bringing the lead to 95-90 with a minute left before a Dennis Schroeder jumper restored order with 52.6 seconds left.

Four Hawks scored in double figures led by Schroeder's 25 points and six assists and Paul Millsap scoring 14 while making all four of his shots in just 22 minutes of run.

[MORE BULLS: Dwyane Wade not buying into the Bosh to Bulls speculation]

Perhaps it's the Hawks being the same kryptonite to the Bulls that the Bulls are to the Toronto Raptors — except the Bulls simply frustrate the Raptors, not embarrass them.

"I have been, we have been, tired of this. I gotta come out better," said Jimmy Butler, who led the Bulls with 19 points in 29 minutes. "I gotta play better from the jump, 48 minutes. That's not the way we're supposed to play. 

"The way we practice is not the way we play in the game. Don't ask me why, I don't know. Starting with me and going down the line, we gotta be better as a whole. Otherwise we'll keep getting our asses beat and it's bad."

The Hawks shot over 60 percent for most of the night until the game devolved into what amounted to a pickup game late. After all, the Hawks seemed to be battling boredom by half, leading 65-36 and shooting 68 percent from the field and hitting 67 percent from three.

"We're gonna look at everything and we'll see how we go out and start tomorrow and a couple days after that, hopefully we figure some things out," Hoiberg said. "They shot over 70 percent in the first quarter and you dig yourselves a hole and it's impossible to get out."

Hoiberg said he would evaluate everything leading into Saturday's game at home against the Sacramento Kings, but Friday didn't seem to present any realistic lineup changes based on performance.

Bobby Portis scored 10 with seven rebounds off the bench, with Jerian Grant scoring 12 and Paul Zipser 10. Doug McDermott and Nikola Mirotic combined to shoot two for nine, so one wonders where Hoiberg can go.

"I don't know. Practice is good. Practice is great," Butler said. "Practice is not gonna win you games. We gotta take what we do in practice and take it over to the game."

The Bulls weren't about to make it any more suspenseful than it had to be, as they started off missing their first 11 3-pointers, often missing multiple open looks on the same possession.

It wasn't relegated to just shooting as the Bulls squandered easy opportunities in easy situations, like Denzel Valentine turning a three-on-one fast break into an airballed finger-roll attempt that he caught himself — a violation, of course.

"I don't know, I can't put a word on it. Because it's just talk," Butler said. "Doesn't matter what you say, if we don't go out there and do it, what the hell is talking gonna do? We've been up and down all year. If we don't guard and turn the ball over, games get out of hand very quickly."

This one was over a few minutes into it, as the Bulls looked like a lifeless squad with no direction and very little fight, short of a minor dustup between Dwight Howard and Robin Lopez in the third quarter.

At that point, though, all Howard had to do is point at the scoreboard, where a 30-point lead did all the necessary talking.

The Bulls trailed by 20 even before Tim Hardaway Jr. hit a 35-footer to end the first quarter, sending the Hawks off on a high and seemingly demoralizing the Bulls.

Even Butler's 19-point night, hitting six of his eight shots in 29 minutes, rang hollow. The Bulls could've trotted out a D-League team for the second half to gear up for Saturday's game against Sacramento and been better off than how they performed Friday night.

And for the Bulls, they can't simply just go back to the drawing board. There looks to be something fundamentally wrong with this bunch — either that, or the Atlanta night got the best of them Thursday.