INDIANAPOLIS -- Derrick Rose summed up his night, and his team's night as a whole, in one fell swoop on Friday.
"I felt like I played like s--- tonight," Rose said.
Rose and the Chicago Bulls looked lifeless for long stretches during their 104-92 loss to the Indiana Pacers. While the effort wasn't there at times, what has to be more disconcerting for first-year coach Fred Hoiberg is that his much-hyped offensive system is struggling to produce on a consistent basis. The players still seem to struggle to figure out exactly what they need to do in different sets and also seem content at times to settle for jump shots.
As a group, the Bulls shot just 34.8 percent from the field. Jimmy Butler, Pau Gasol and Rose combined to go just 12-for-42. For a team that has managed to go 9-5 in the first month of the season, the Bulls have some obvious flaws as they head into December.
"It's up and down to tell you the truth," Butler said of the halfcourt offense. "Our execution sometimes is p--- poor and then other times it's really good. It just depends on the night to tell you the truth. I just think as a whole, the team has to execute from the jump of the game all the way to the end of it."
The most glaring aspect of Hoiberg's first month is the consistency, or lack thereof. Aside from a terrible performance against the Hornets earlier this month in which they gave up 130 points in a loss, the Bulls' defense has been mostly solid. They came into the game ranked 10th in the league, giving up just 98.5 points per game.
The offense continues to be a sore spot for a team that has always prided itself on defense. For all the talk about how Hoiberg's system was going to improve a defense-oriented group, it appears as if the Bulls -- through their first 14 games -- are struggling more offensively than many team personnel thought they would.
The Bulls averaged 104.5 points per 100 possessions through 13 games last season. Through 13 games this year, the Bulls are averaging just 98.2 points per 100 possessions, according to ESPN Stats and Information research. Chicago is currently ranked 19th in the league, averaging just 99.9 points per game. While it's still too early in Hoiberg's tenure to think major improvements can't be made, it is a warning sign.
"I'm not even worried about offense to tell you the truth," Rose said. "If we can't stop nobody, or put stops together, there's no point in even talking about offense. We're not trying to outscore teams, we're trying to play defense."
The reality for the Bulls is that they should be concerned about the offense. It hasn't looked sharp -- a fact Hoiberg seems to acknowledge even though he didn't say much on the topic after this loss.
"Movement, get the ball swung," Hoiberg said of what he wants to see. "We're doing it in practice, we're getting that thing swung. We got to carry it over to the games."