Tuesday, April 6, 2010
Shoot, the Bulls needs some help
By Nick Friedell
When the Chicago Bulls start recruiting all the prized free agents this summer, they should just throw in a tape of the their awful 79-74 loss to the Milwaukee Bucks on Tuesday night with the following message: We need you ... badly.
Derrick Rose was frustrated all night by the Bucks' defense.
After a first quarter in which the Bulls scored 27 points, Vinny Del Negro's group managed just 47 (24 in the second and third quarters combined) for the rest of the game. The offensive execution was terrible. The Bucks forced Derrick Rose into six turnovers and continually flustered him all night. With Rose struggling to even find an open look, the Bulls simply didn't know where else to turn when the game came down to the wire.
They didn't have an answer.
"The bottom line is that they made plays down the stretch, they made some shots," Del Negro said. "We didn't. You're not going to beat many teams scoring 74 points ... it was not a solid 48 minutes for us."
There's no denying the Bulls blew a golden opportunity. The Toronto Raptors, the team they trail by one game for the final playoff spot in the East, had already lost. With a win, the Bulls would have controlled their own destiny, considering they play the Raptors on Sunday.
But all of that is beside the point. Whether the Bulls actually make the playoffs this year is mostly irrelevant because they don't have enough talent on the roster to win a championship, let alone a first-round series against the Cleveland Cavaliers.
The bigger picture in this game, and in this season, is that they simply don't have a consistent second scoring option to go alongside Rose.
When a team shuts down the All-Star point guard, it shuts down the Bulls.
Kirk Hinrich and Luol Deng are solid players, but neither has proven to be the type of scorer who can continually knock down big shots down the stretch when Rose is off. They went a combined 2 for 10 during the fourth quarter of Tuesday's game and a combined 10 for 33 on the night.
"We weren't making shots," Rose said, trying to describe the offensive woes. "Turnovers ... We weren't passing the ball enough, me making poor decisions. Everyone just couldn't get in a groove today. Nobody could get in the right groove to pull the team along. That's why we struggled. We haven't played this way in a while."
For all the scrutiny that Ben Gordon faced during his time in Chicago, and especially after severely underachieving over the first year of his new mega-deal with the Detroit Pistons, I would have still rather he have been out on the floor late if I were a Bulls fan.
Gordon has proven that he has the ability to make shots late in games. There isn't another player on the Bulls' roster who has proven he can do that aside from Rose, and he is just starting to become that type of player this season.
The Gordon ship has sailed already though, and the debate as to whether the Bulls should have kept him is pointless. The only way for this organization to truly turn things around is to find another proven scorer to go alongside Rose. After watching this game, and this season, John Paxson and Gar Forman can't take no for an answer. LeBron James, Dwyane Wade, Chris Bosh, Joe Johnson, a dead-eye perimeter shooter of some kind. One of them has to end up in a Bulls uniform this summer.
Do whatever it takes, guys.
If you don't, you are going to end up seeing even more games like Tuesday.
And I promise you, you will not like what you see on that tape.