After a 4-2 start, the Chicago Bulls have lost two straight and heads back to the United Center Saturday to face Andre Iguodala, Elton Brand and the Philadelphia 76'ers. This game carries added importance, as this will be the final home game for the Bulls, before they hit the infamous circus trip.
Point guard Derrick Rose struggled against Raptors guard Jose Calderon on Wednesday, looking a step slower on both ends, especially during a stretch where Calderon beat him for three lay-ups in under five minutes. Tonight, Rose will face Louis Williams, a player who has also struggled against quicker players.
Bulls center Joakim Noah will face Samuel Dalembert. The Philadelphia center who has been publically shopped for almost two years. The 76'ers have contacted every single NBA team, but have been turned down. With Noah's new intensity and energy, he's expected to outplay Dalembert comfortably.
Predict the Bulls Reocord (only 2 days left!) ------------>
Derrick Rose Answering Critics' Questions
The biggest question mark surrounding Derrick Rose when the Bulls picked him with the top overall pick in the 2008 NBA draft was his defense.
Now, with just a little over a full season under his belt, Rose has found the answer: athleticism.
The 6'3"point guard may not be the tallest guy on the floor night-in and night-out, but he's shown that he can bang with the big fellas.
He may not play get-in-your-face straight-up-and-down defense like Bruce Bowen or possess a glove like Gary Payton, but he does have one attribute that's proving to be very valuable: the kid's got hops.
Rose first showed glimpses of this leaping ability on the offensive side of the floor, rising up in clogged lanes and throwing it down over big men. But slowly he started to show that in the NBA there's a fine line between a great defender and a great athlete.
Derrick Rose quotes that scare me to death
As for the shooting woes, point guard Derrick Rose said, "We're taking good shots, they're just not going in."
No. You aren't. And by you, I mean the team, not Derrick Rose in particular. The Bulls lead the league in long 2s, the least efficient shot in basketball. You know what's worse than living by the three point shot? Living by the long two point shot. The Bulls offense is basically dysfunctional in that it's outcome often ends up with the least efficient shot in basketball.
The worst part of it is, they might be right. The long two may be the best shot this team can get, and if so, that's the reason they'll never escape the bottom five on offense this season.
"There's no room to drive," Rose said.
The good news: the Bulls are currently ranked 10th in Opponents Field Goal Percentage (.436), Opponents Three-Point Percentage (.325) and Defensive Rating (101.6 Points Per 100 Possessions), and they’re 11th in Opponents Effective Field Goal Percentage (.476). Chicago’s opponents shoot free throws at the league’s 12th-best rate (.759), but the Bulls have given up fewer free throw attempts (158) than any teams other than Milwaukee (155) and Charlotte (148). So you can officially label this year’s defense as a solid “okay” or even “better than expected.”
The bad news: the offense. As in, pretty much all of it. The Bulls rank 28th in Field Goal Percentage (.421) and dead last in Three-Point Percentage (.253). For the record, their three-point accuracy is more than 10 percentage points below the league average (.358). Wait, it gets worse: even their undefended shots have been woefully off-target: Chicago is 26th in Free Throw Percentage (.705…about five percentage points below the league average). Add it all together, and it’s no surprise the Bulls are scraping the bottom of the NBA barrel in Free Throw Rate (27th at .183), Offensive Rating (27th at 101.6 Points Per 100 Possessions), Effective Field Goal Percentage (28th at .440), and Points Per Game (28th at 88.6).