The Chicago Bulls embarrassed the entire franchise legacy with their Game 4 performance Sunday in Washington. Knowing the opportunity that presented itself following the suspension of Nene, how the Bulls could ever come out and trail 14-0, screams lack of urgency, caring and heart.
While the Bulls made a second quarter run that cut the once 15 point deficit to four, the game was ultimately won with the aforementioned 14-0 start by Washington. I know the Bulls trailed by 17 in the first quarter of game two before taking a ten point lead in that game. However, digging such a hole on the road is a different animal.
Give the the Wizards all the credit in the world for coming out with great energy and passion, as opposed to dejection. The Wizards could've easily come out with bad body language minus Nene, but instead punched the Bulls in the face.
Bulls' Head Coach Tom Thibodeau has to be nauseous by two things: The Bulls' inability to rotate or switch properly, and turnovers. 29 points off 16 Bulls' turnovers was the difference in the game. The Wizards actually shot just 41% from the floor, which was their lowest number of the four games. If the Bulls didn't have so many unforced errors, they wouldn't have been trailing by 20 entering the 4th quarter. Just think how different the finish may have been had the Bulls only trailed by 12 or 14 entering the 4th.
It's rather disgusting how careless the Bulls are with the basketball at times. I don't know what's worse: the forced passes into tight areas, or the inability to catch the ball. They treat the ball like a hot potato. It's always some malfunction with this team. If its not poor shooting, it's poor free throw shooting. If its not turnovers, it's being shredded by ball movement due to over helping or poor rotation. The Bulls are supposed to be a good team; at least their regular season record would lead you to think so.
Another huge key in this series has been 50/50 balls. The Wizards appear to be Johnny on the spot every time there's a lose ball. That's all hustle and energy, something that is completely missing from the Bulls. It's easy to say the Wizards are quicker and faster, but sometimes it's a matter of wanting it more. The Bulls have lacked the intestinal fortitude you'd expect from a Tom Thibodeau coached team.
It was rather funny and amusing how many times during Game 4 ESPN put up Mike Dunleavy's graphic, comparing his other games to the 35 point performance in Game 3. Game 3 for Mike Dunleavy was an aberration, plain and simple. Anyone with a brain knew he wouldn't come close to that number again. Conversely, I doubt anyone thought Dunleavy with finish with 6 points on just 8 shot attempts and no 3 point field goals made. Washington went out of their way to make sure Dunleavy had zero impact on Game 4.
And who ever thought Trevor Ariza would explode for 30 points? Not only did he lock Dunleavy up, Ariza made up for the lack of scoring from Nene as well.
I happened to read an article online regarding the Bulls defense in this series. The Wizards are clearly a matchup issue for the Bulls, despite their great defensive prowess. The biggest key has been making the Bulls rotate and switch. The Wizards have done a great job with ball movement, and oh yeah -- knocking down shots. I read that Kirk Hinrich has been getting destroyed by John Wall. I found that interesting considering Wall is shooting under 40% for the series.
The Bulls biggest problem defensively is when Carlos Boozer and Mike Dunleavy are on the court simultaneously. Both move like snails and appear out of position most of the time, especially when help is required. Look, how many point guards in the league can say John Wall is easy to guard? That's mindless! The guy is lightning fast and has improved his mid range jumper immensely. Hinrich is going to get beaten off the dribble by Wall just like most guards in the league. The issue is the first and third quarters when Boozer is on the floor and the help is nonexistent.
It has to be beyond frustrating for Thibodeau, that D.J Augustin has been all but a non factor in this series. Without his offense, the Bulls are stuck with Mr. No J Simpson aka Kirk Hinrich. How bad is Hinrich from the floor? His career 41% shooting has a habit of rearing its ugly head more than not. The guy is flat out a bad shooter. He's actually a career 37% from beyond the arc, but nothing is consistent.
This kills me to do it because I love Jimmy Butler's passion and hard play on the court. With that said, he needs to stop taking so many 3 point shots, and should look to drive more. Butler shot a shade under 40% from the floor for the season. It's perplexing how he has the green light to shoot so many shots that are clearly not dropping at a respectable percentage. He's a good athlete who needs to get to the free throw line more.
Game 3 was a must win for the Bulls based on history. No team has ever come back down 3-0 in a best-of-7 series in the NBA. However, being down 3-1 has happened, so the Bulls do have life. Keep in mind, not only has the team not played it's A game, they have already won a game in Washington in this series.
After Derrick Rose went down against the Sixers in Game 1, the Bulls trailed that series 3-2. If not for the infamous pass by C.J. Watson to Omer Asik, which eventually lost the game, that Bulls team would've forced a Game 7. While this Wizards team is a far more talented team than that Sixers team, and the Bulls are without Luol Deng, all I'm saying is force that Game 7 and see what happens.
The Bulls would need to come out and maul the Wizards in Game 5 for me to have any faith. They can't eke out a win and then expect to go into Washington for Game 6 and get a win.
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