Chicago 107 (22-28) | New Orleans 93 (28-18)
Let's not kid ourselves, that game went exactly the way everyone expected.
In a way it was a valiant effort from a group who was missing two extremely crucial pieces of their game plan. Sure, we are more talented (even without CP and Ty) than the score shows, but the Hornets
In reality, there was probably only a 25% chance we'd pull out a W, but the odds didn't fall in our favor. You know what did fall, though? Just about every shot the Bulls took. Ok, not "every" shot fell, but 56% of them did. Part of their prolific offensive attack could certainly be attributed to the slow-to-adapt defensive scheme we ran (or didn't run... or whatever), but you've got to hand it to the Bulls, they were nailing everything. Six of their guys finished in double figures and only one of that group shot less than 50%.
Meanwhile, the Hornets couldn't buy a bucket. They were clanking iron all night, often on completely open shots. Despite a strong showing from the line (30 of 33), our 36% from the field just wasn't enough to erase the deficit. It also didn't help that we were giving the bal away. About half of our 15 turnovers were a result of poor passes, several of which found their way into the stands. And it wasn't even JuJu's fault. We're talking vets like Posey and Peja launching balls all over God's creation.
At the end of the day, this actually was a game that the Hornets could have won (or at least come close to winning). Am I upset that we lost? A little. But I am consoling myself with the assumption that Byron is using CP's absence as an excuse to shake up the bench and find out what it's going to take to coax a better performance out of them on a nightly basis. And I really hope I'm right.
After all, we're going to need those guys to be a least sort of productive come playoff time. CP's good, but he's not that good... yet.
See y'all Friday night.
Couple of observations before I leave you:
- Derrick Rose was terrific. He went 10 of 14 from the field, mostly because we refused to adjust on defense. The guy set up (or pull up on a dribble )on the left side of goal (near David's 17-foot shot) and just sink them... over and over... and over. Dude's gonna be good. You heard it here first.
- Despite some stretches of solid defense, the Hornets looked lethargic on D for most of the night. The Bulls exploited this to no end, running an insane Mike D'Antoni style of offense that ran us even more ragged.
- Byron sat Marks until the final 2 minutes of the game. We were quite perplexed by this decision, though we are getting more used to that emotion when it comes to Byron's coaching. The best I can figure is that he's satisfied enough with Marks' play so far that he feels the need to focus his energy on the rest of the team... ok, now I'm just making this up... anybody got any ideas?
- Interestingly enough New Orleans won the battle of the boards by a comfortable margin (41 to 34), but the combination of the 16 OREBs and just watching the game would suggest that we rebounded so well because our poor shooting created plenty of opportunities. If I knew my "Hive Five" better, I'd plug the numbers and actually back up that theory.
- Devin finished with 17 points and 7 assists. He did have four turnovers, but I'm just excited that he was able to pass the ball at all. He certainly had a stronger showing at the point tonight than Daniels (who continues to get one-upped by younger, fleet-footed point guards).
- Posey was a mixed bag tonight. Five of his 7 points came from free throws, which means his anemic shooting from the field hasn't improved one iota (he's 3 for 27 since the win over Denver). He did manage 6 boards and 3 dimes, but you've got to wonder where he left his stroke.
- Got close with a big shout out to Ryan Bowen. The dude came in the game with the team down twenty-some-odd points and he still played like it was Game 7 of the Finals. His offensive numbers (6 points, 3 rebounds, 1 steal) won't wow anyone, but he was huge on D, keeping up with whomever he rotated to cover. Most impressive was when he kept up with Derrick Rose after a long rebound sent Chicago into a pseudo-fastbreak.He was also the only player on the team that tried to read a rebound off the glass instead of just standing there and hoping it'd land in his hands. If the rest of the team showed half of his intensity on D, we might stand a shot over these next few games.
Photos courtesy of espn.com
Composed to: Fleetwood Mac's Rumours
The opponent's take: Blog-a-Bull