In a game that I had anticipated would be an easy win for the Chicago Bulls, it ultimately was the ultimate magic trick: deceive the audience into believing one thing when, realistically, the result will be something else.
Ham-fisted “magic trick” analogy aside, there is actually some truth in it. The Chicago Bulls looked offensively sound through the third quarter and even appeared to have a solid defensive game as well, as the Bulls managed to hold the Orlando Magic to only scoring 14 points in the second quarter of the game. This also managed to fall apart in the fourth quarter, as the Magic climbed back into the game which resulted in an intense finale to this game. If you love theatrics and drama, this was an appropriate ending that was ultimate won by some outstanding defense from Jimmy Butler at the end of the game. For those of us who want to see the Bulls keep their foot on the pedal and maintain solid leads, tonight’s game demonstrated the continuing growing pains for a Bulls team trying to grasp a new offensive system and still maintain their former defensive identity.
With this stated, I had a handful of notes from the game I thought I’d share from tonight’s game…
- My “start Jo over Pau” campaign continues as Bulls fans were treated to yet another poor defensive performance from Gasol. No doubt he’s still an outstanding player offensively, but when facing up against the better Eastern Conference centers, there has to be some benefit to be found in being able to shut down a centerpiece (pun somewhat intended) of this Magic team early.
- Speaking Joakim Noah, he had a really nice game tonight that showed Bulls fans that some of our former DPOY and somewhere-in-the-top-6-MVP-voting player still exists. He looked engaged in the game and showed intensity throughout, including on a missed dunk attempt
- Oh, he also went 2-2 at the charity stripe. What a time to be alive.
- E’Twaun Moore had a rough night, 0-7 on the game. I’m hoping that he’ll be able to bounce back in his next game as I still feel he is a better back-up point guard option than Aaron Brooks is.
- Here we go: Derrick Rose had a good night. Yes, 6 point on 2-8 shooting isn’t what you want out of Derrick Rose but considering the current state of his vision, being able to crash the boards decently and rack up assists is what I want of him right now and even going forward I’ll take games where he looks to be more of a facilitator.
- Outside of Derrick Rose shooting 2 free-throws in the fourth, he didn’t attempt a single shot in the final quarter of play.
- Jimmy Butler was outstanding defensively for the Bulls, stealing a crucial pass in the last 2 minutes and 30 seconds of the game.
- Doug McDermott continues to shoot with confidence and play well offensively, but his defense continues to be terrifying to see and truly concerns me as to whether or not him getting quality minutes will result in other teams being able to consistently take advantage of the team while he’s on the court. To improve defense, Doug needs to trust his other teammates abilities to defend. Too often did we see Doug McDermott trying to track the ball on possessions, making unnecessary switches, etc.
- Ultimately, the concern is that Doug will be on the floor when the other bench players are there as well. This would result in it being nearly impossible to keep him hide his flawed defensive game, due to some of the bench players who will be defending on the wings not being, by any means, elite defenders.
- In an NBA where I feel so many teams are looking to rebuild, the Magic are really going about it all correctly. They have a promising core group of players that are bound to really make some noise in the Eastern Conference within the next 2-4 years, I suspect. Scott Skiles is going to be a fantastic coach for this young squad.
The Chicago Bulls look to, make some corrections in their game as they prepare to square off against the Charlotte Hornets on Tuesday. The Orlando Magic face against a struggling New Orleans Pelicans squad on Tuesday as well.
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