Observations: Bulls beat Pelicans

Published: December 27, 2014

I felt like Tyreke was doing a really solid job on Jimmy Butler for most of the game.  He was physical with him, fought him for position, and contested his shots well.  The Bulls, apparently, thought so as well.  The last 10 plays they ran for Butler were designed to get a switch – putting Jimmy either against Ryan Anderson, whom he could out-quick, or Jrue Holiday, whom he could shoot over.

In fact, Butler is the first offensive player I’ve seen Jrue struggle against defensively.  Butler’s scoring abilities kept Chicago ahead despite a strong offensive surge at the end by the Pelicans.

Really, the game was a reflection of the two teams.  Chicago has been an offensive powerhouse this season with a defense that can get stops here and there.  New Orleans is an offensive powerhouse that can’t get stops.  In the fourth, that played out.


  • Turnovers hurt tonight – and unfortunately a bunch of them were of the “bad” variety.  The Pelicans kept getting advantages in transition or off steals – and would try home run passes that sailed out of bounds.  Or they would have lazy passes the Bulls would pick off.  I don’t mind turnovers when driving into the defense or deflected off a player out of bounds – but those hurt when there are a lot of them.
  • Rivers had a decent end to the game, but Aaron Brooks ate his lunch when he was out there.  Rivers didn’t have the speed to keep up with him, the height to contest him, or the offensive game to make the smaller Brooks pay on the other end.
  • Anthony Davis was magnificent as usual, hitting lots of tough shots in the paints and knocking down a bundle of mid-range jumpers.  He also pegged no less than 3 jumpers.  That’s still crazy.
  • People will probably be killing Asik after the game because all four of his missed shots were shots right around the rim at point blank range.  Yes, he should have hit some of them.   But before you do, take a look at Pau Gasol’s line, and realize that Gasol is averaging more than 18 points this season and 6 of his points came against people other than Asik.  Asik wasn’t great, but he impacted the game in a major way.
  • The team badly missed Eric Gordon tonight.  Holiday and Evans could have used a relief valve – and it would have helped keep Cunningham, Babbitt and Salmons off the floor.  Those three were an unmitigated disaster trying to guard any of the Bulls wings.
  • Ajinca is good against lumbering centers.  In most of his minutes tonight he was playing against Gibson and Mirotic.  That was a poor decision, I think.  I’d rather see Withey out there in that situation.
  • Monty was staggering his lineups tonight, and succeeded in keeping at least one of his big three (Davis, Holiday, Evans) on the floor all through the second half.  Only at the end of the first, start of the second did he have no skill players and was reliant on Anderson.

Not a bad game, really, considering it was a road second night of a back to back against a top-tier team.  They just keep playing .500 ball through this month, and hopefully they’ll explode in January.

Next game is Tuesday at home against Phoenix!


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