The Bulls beat the Hornets

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Published: December 27, 2009

I spent three hours of my day at the local airport, trying to get my mother onto a new flight to Chicago after the first was cancelled due to weather.  When that proved impossible, I drove for five hours(there and back) to get her to another airport that would fly her out to Chicago.  Then I came home and watched my team lose to Chicago. 

Screw you, Windy City.

23-9 in the third quarter, and that was the game.   In the first half, the Hornets relied on some hot perimeter shooting to keep them in the game.  To start the third, that hot shooting fizzled as the Hornets missed their first six shots – all 18 feet or more from the basket.

Bower calls a timeout, there’s a quick drive into the paint for a floater by Paul, and then, once again, nothing for another four minutes as the Hornets repeatedly get the ball inside on post-ups, and come up with short-range misses and turnovers over the outstretched arms of two Bulls big men.  No ball movement, just determined attempts to score in the post.

I’m going to keep this short and in bullet form, since I’m grumpy about my travel issues.

  • Give credit to the Bulls.  In the third, they stuck Hinrich on Paul, and as soon as Paul crossed the three point line, sent a big man out to meet him.  Their bigs were aggressive, but also recovered quickly when he passed to the Hornets big, almost always getting back into position to contest attempts by West or Songaila.  A solid, determined defensive effort.
  • Devin Brown’s shooting in the first half was insane.  6-6 from downtown?  Where did THAT come from?
  • All of West’s scoring came from jumpers.   No free throws, and the only forays he made towards the basket were snuffed by excellent defense and shotblocking by Tyrus Thomas and Joakim Noah.  In the first half, when he was scoring – it was all on face up jumpers, or jab steps and fall aways over the Chicago bigs.
  • Okafor was crushed by Noah in the first quarter.  Five point blank shots, all were contested, and all were missed.  It got pretty ugly.
  • You might have heard me say this before, but Julian Wright was a mixed bag.  On his first defensive play, he overplayed the passing lane and got burned immediately for a layup.  The next play, he dropped a gorgeous wrap-around to Songaila for a layup.  Then he had a nice block, but followed it with a blocked shot that he failed to stick around and grab the ball after, instead running downcourt for a non-existant fast break.  Yet – his presence made the fastbreak work well.  If there is going to be an up-tempo second unit, he should absolutely be a part of it.
  • Thornton got 15 minutes, but didn’t do that much.  He was energetic, but the Bulls did a good job at keeping in contact with him and not letting him get free.
  • Darren Collison is still a bizarre mix of shakiness and confidence.  I’ve become firmly convinced that it’s a product of the system he ran at UCLA.  They were required to push, push, push, but do so under control and if there’s nothing there, go immediately into a very specific play.  That training is still reflected in his game.  When he can push the ball successfully off turnovers, he looks good, or if a very specific play has been called(end of game or after time outs) he looks confident and does well.  But when the game grinds into standard half-court sets, though, he never looks as good, since the standard Hornet half-court set requires the guard to read the defense and decide how to attack it.  He’s not used to that.  So . . . in other words, he’s still figuring out the game.  Shocking for a Rookie, I know.
  • Posey needs a new home.

Next game is Tuesday against a tough Rockets team.  Should be interesting.


UPDATE: Mr. Kennedy’s got your post-game Journal report, plus some game highlights from NBA.com…

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