Recap: Bulls vs. Heat – Opening Night (2013-2014)

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So, that didn’t go as planned. I really expected the Bulls to make a statement and ruin Miami’s ring night.  Obviously, they didn’t.  But it’s game 1 of 82, so let’s not hit the panic button.  The Bulls had a lot of adversity last night: They had to play the 2-time reigning NBA champions and the best player in the world.  Derrick Rose had his first real NBA game and looked out of sorts with the speed of it all, not to mention the Miami Heat defense is excellent.  Joakim Noah played one entire preseason game and missed 3 dunks in a game, 2 free-throws, and was only active on defense and the glass.  Jimmy Butler and Luol Deng had to compete with Joey Crawford all night long (as did the rest of the Bulls – there was like a 21-10 foul discrepancy at one point).  These aren’t excuses, they’re reality.  The Bulls didn’t come ready to play and nearly got ran off the court.  Here are some things I liked/Didn’t Like from last night’s game:

Things I Liked:

  • Carlos Boozer: The Bulls Show jokingly tweeted last night, “Amensty dat!”  Boozer dominated Miami by dropping 31 points and getting 7 rebounds on 13/18 shooting and 5 for 5 at the free-throw line.  He basically continued his hot preseason play and showed that he is completely ready for this year.  Also, he was very active on defense, even accumulating one block.  Boozer really brought it last night.
  • Jimmy Butler: “The X Factor” as labeled by most experts (including me).  Jimmy showed a few things last night.  First, he’s not settling for jumpshots, but he can make them.  He went 2-4 from 3pt last night.  Second, if he can’t get jumpshots, he will find a way to score.  He finished with 20 pts and went to the line 7 times making 6 of them.  Butler also played his usual excellent defense getting 5 steals and converting a lot of those for easy transition buckets.  Jimmy showed his value last night.  Oh, and he gave me 35 fantasy points! #BUTLERMANIA!!!!!!!
  • Kirk Hinrich shoving Lebron: I’m sorry, I just loved it.  “Little” Kirk Hinrich shoving big, bad, 6’8, 260 pound Lebron and he flailed across the court.  Sorry, just had to mention it here.
  • Tony Snell’s minutes: Okay, Lebron destroyed him on the block a couple of times and he had a silly turnover.  He looked like a rookie.  He did a couple of nice things.  He had a good steal, found some open looks that he couldn’t convert on, but I liked what I saw.  He was basically thrust into action and seemed ready after the “Joey Crawford Show” and Dunleavy playing the worst stretch of basketball I’ve seen in a while.

Things I Didn’t Like:

  • The High Powered Bulls Offense Not Being So High Powered: Um, that was like the complete opposite of the preseason Bulls offense and it all starts with one tiny aspect of it….
  • Derrick Rose: I harped on him a little bit on Twitter last night, but it seemed like he was settling for a lot of jumpshots.  1 of 7 from 3pt?  Come on, Derrick! You just came back from a major injury that kept you sidelined for 18 months!  You think the NBA isn’t going to protect you at the rim?  Sell it like you did in the preseason! The Bulls offense has always been most effective when Rose/Hinrich penetrated and found either Boozer/Noah near the basket, Gibson/Boozer in the short corner for jumpers, or shooters around the perimeter for open 3s. What happens when Rose isn’t penetrating and just circles the perimeter looking to show off his new and improved jump shot?  You get performances last night: 1 for 7 from 3, 4 of 15 from the field, the Miami defense doesn’t have to work whatsoever to defend the Bulls, and the offense goes into a malaise.  This happened the last two preseason games as well.  Derrick HAS to attack the rim.  If not, this offense will be the same stagnant offense we’ve seen in the past and the Bulls have no chance whatsoever to beat Miami.  The Bulls have had two years to figure out how to defeat the trap up top on Rose and find ways to score.  Miami had them dumbfounded by that very strategy last night! They did that in the 2011 Eastern Conference Finals!  Come on, Bulls.  That’s absurd.
  • Mike Dunleavy: Wow, he was REALLY bad during that stretch in the 1st quarter to the 2nd quarter. REALLY bad.  He did show some signs later in the second half.  We’ll just watch him going forward.
  • Marquis Teague: I know he didn’t play, but it just feels like he should be on here.
  • Joey Crawford: It’s not the referee’s fault that the Bulls lost, but I told my wife before the game started, “Oh no. It’s Joey Crawford.”  That just says something about how this game was going to get officiated.  He’s a joke. Why does the NBA keep this guy around?  He’s ALWAYS been this bad.  I’ve went back and watched games from 20 years ago and he made dubious calls then.  It’s ridiculous.  The NBA will be in much better shape when Joey Crawford and Dick Bavetta are gone.  By the way, I once wrote a sarcastic piece called “The NBA’s Greatest Dynasty” on Dick Bavetta.  I really should’ve written it about Joey Crawford.  My apologies.  Joey Crawford is the only referee in the NBA that can make my Twitter followers tweet me about ways they want to kill him and how they’d do it.  It’s unbelievable.  And he referees high profile NBA games!!  Hopefully, Adam Silver will change that.

Bulls Nation, this was just one game.  The Clippers lost to the pathetic Lakers last night.  Does that make them any less of a contender?  If the Bulls perform this badly in March or April, then there’s cause for concern, but until then, on to the next one and let’s watch them destroy the New York Knicks at the Madhouse on Madison.

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