El Conclusión: Chicago Bulls 96, San Antonio Spurs 89

by

Chicago Bulls 96 Final
Recap | Box Score
89 San Antonio Spurs
Tim Duncan, C 33 MIN | 8-21 FG | 2-2 FT | 10 REB | 0 AST | 18 PTS | 0I thought Tim Duncan played well despite not scoring efficiently. Had some trouble when Joakim Noah was matched up on him defensively, but went to work on other guys. Was overmatched on the boards.
Richard Jefferson, SF 20 MIN | 2-2 FG | 0-0 FT | 1 REB | 1 AST | 6 PTS | +5Shot well in his limited attempts, problem was Jefferson was nowhere to be found.
DeJuan Blair, F 23 MIN | 4-10 FG | 1-2 FT | 9 REB | 2 AST | 9 PTS | +5Like Duncan, Blair wasn’t efficient offensively. He passed well, battled on the boards and was aggressive. This simply wasn’t a good matchup for him.
Tony Parker, PG 38 MIN | 5-16 FG | 1-2 FT | 6 REB | 9 AST | 11 PTS | +3Do you sense a recurring theme here with the scoring efficiency? The Bulls are a great defensive team and you can see why. Parker rarely got open looks around the rim and the Bulls did a decent job staying in his path and getting a hand in his face.
Daniel Green, G 30 MIN | 4-8 FG | 0-0 FT | 4 REB | 1 AST | 11 PTS | +4Spent a good chunk of time on Derrick Rose, which is a losing proposition. Shot well from 3-point range, but did little else offensively.
T.J. Ford, PG 8 MIN | 0-3 FG | 0-0 FT | 0 REB | 2 AST | 0 PTS | -6It’s good that TJ Ford is back in the lineup, the second unit really needs a distributor, but he has some rust to shake off and conditioning to get into.
Matt Bonner, PF 22 MIN | 1-2 FG | 0-0 FT | 1 REB | 0 AST | 3 PTS | -16Only got two shots, credit goes to the Bulls for closing out well and not letting Bonner take part in the game. He still played most of the fourth quarter instead of Tiago Splitter, which I thought was a mistake.
Gary Neal, PG 24 MIN | 9-15 FG | 1-2 FT | 2 REB | 3 AST | 21 PTS | -14The Bulls allowed Gary Neal to be the top scorer, which is a good deal for them. Even 21 points on 15 shots isn’t the best ratio.
Tiago Splitter, C 18 MIN | 2-6 FG | 1-2 FT | 4 REB | 0 AST | 5 PTS | -3Probably should have played more down the stretch to combat the Bulls pick-and-roll.
James Anderson, SG 24 MIN | 2-3 FG | 1-2 FT | 5 REB | 2 AST | 5 PTS | -13With Kawhi Leonard sitting out and Richard Jefferson getting in early foul trouble, Anderson was called on early in this game. Played decent in his 24 minutes, but not enough to make a big difference.
Eric Dawson, F DNP COACH’S DECISION MIN | FG | FT | REB | AST | PTS | DNP
Cory Joseph, G DNP COACH’S DECISION MIN | FG | FT | REB | AST | PTS | DNP

Two Things We Saw

  1. Despite his struggles tonight, I thought the second unit’s ball movement early looked good with TJ Ford back in the lineup. They struggled at times while he was out to move the rock.
  2. Gary Neal hit a big 3 late in the game to cut the Bulls’ lead to 85-82. The best part of the play was watching Gary Neal sprint down court to a seemingly arbitrary spot on the floor and knock down a transition 3.
  • Hobson13

    Jim, I agree that Blair’s raw production can’t be compared to those who I mentioned for a number of reasons.  However, my point is that Blair has not shown great overall improvement from Season 1 to Season 3.  Here is what I am saying:

    Year 1 Stats:
    FG%: 55.6%   FT%: 54.7%  P/40: 17.1  R/40: 14.1 TS%: 56.4%
    PER: 17.79

    Year 3 Stats:
    FG%: 51.6%   FT%: 58.3%  P/40: 17.5  R/40: 10.3 TS%: 53.0%
    PER: 17.09

    There are other stats I could put up, but simply don’t have the space.  Besides, virtually all numbers with Blair tell the same story comparing year 1 with year 3: Some numbers are up and some numbers are down.  However, looking at a more macro picture, there’s virtually no evidence of consistent improvement across the board from year 1 to year 3 (or at least in say 70-80% of the categories).  Yes, I suppose Blair has improved his offensive repertoire, but his shooting percentages (besided a slight bump in FT%) along with his PER actually show a decline. 

    Minutes vs. production is almost a chicken vs. the egg theory.  Is Blair not getting production because he isn’t getting the necessary minutes or is Blair not getting the minutes because Pop knows he can’t produce at the same rate over 36 minutes as opposed to his season average of 22 minutes (law of diminishing returns regarding minutes)? 

    In either way, I agree that Pop should probably run Blair more instead of the red headed clown known as Matt Bonner.  However, given the clown’s gross ineptitude, I’m not sure how much this is saying about Blari.  This also brings up the question as to why Pop isn’t giving Blair more action due to the overall weakness of our bigs.  To this question I don’t have an answer.  I can only conclude by saying that I’m quite sure our bigs will be the team’s achilles heal come playoff time.

  • DorieStreet

    So he hung around too long like A.I.

  • theghostofjh

    No, he’s just in love with Bonner. That should be obvious to anyone.

  • theghostofjh

    “Not really setting the world on fire …”

    Blair had NINE freaking rebounds in 23 minutes against the best rebounding team in basketball. Bonner had ONE rebound in 22 minutes. WHO should be on the floor?! Please!

    We have the bigs we have. Let’s at least use them properly. Playing Bonner every freaking game over 20 minutes is not using them properly IMO.

  • theghostofjh

    Hobson, while I have my disagreements with portions of your comments on this subject, you’ve at least made an effort to present a fairly balanced and reasonable viewpoint. That’s always appreciated. And since you must have a good sense of my view on this matter by now, I’ll make this comment short and leave you with just one counterpoint:

    In Blair’s first year, he almost always went up against 2nd string talent. And to me, that’s a BIG difference. 

  • http://twitter.com/nudityJ nudityjfandango

    Blairs problem in my opinion is very much the same as Bonners.

    Dejaun can get his against the lower echelon front lines and defensive teams. 

    However when its playoff intensity vs quality front lines with big 4’s and 5’s that can really D it up he suffers.

    Ditto Bonner.  When he faces teams that play great D they just run his hesitant butt off the three point line and voila he vanishes.

  • theghostofjh

    “The difference is that Blair is right at his ceiling now.”

    No, that’s far from the truth.

    “Hibbert and co are legit 7 foot guys who you can teach to anchor a defense.”

    Well, I already mentioned the height advantages/disadvantages between Blair and the guys Hobson mentioned. So I don’t disagree with your comment here. And for example, I certainly wouldn’t mind Hibbert being on our team. Sure, height isn’t everything, but it’s obviously an innate advantage that on balance helps in the game of basketball.

    Finally, we can wish all we want for a 7-foot, athletic, top-five talent all we want, but I doubt he shows up any time soon. So let’s at least make the best out of what we have (playing Blair more would be one way to do that), and appreciate what we already have: a perennial playoff contender that wins a lot of games. We could do a lot worse.

  • TD BestEVER

    The Spurs have 2 really big problems………

    1. Perimeter defense isn’t very good.  For all our depth there we get lit up from outside consistently!!!!!!!!

    2. Inconsistency from our Bigs.  We usually do a decent job scoring.  But our rebounding is all over the place. We are 24th the the NBA in Rebounding 24th!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    Perimeter – We suck at PnR defense.  And no Splitter isn’t the answer here.  Our guards constantly play it all wrong leaving our Bigs(who aren’t good enough to bail them out) in HORRIBLE spots.  They go under the screen way too much and leave shooters open from outside(most teams will make wide open shots no matter where you are).  Or they help to much on the rolling man and give up 3’s like last night.  We really struggle to keep slashing players out of the lane and that causes our bigs to try and help and when they do we get PUNISHED on the boards.  Our guards have to fight over screens and force their men into our bigs so we can contest the shot and get the rebound.  Usually our guards get beaten too badly forcing the big to leave the paint to try and contest a mid range jumper.  then he is way out of rebounding position.

    Big’s – For all POP’s yapping about Defense.  When you mention Tiago(POP says he is a great roll man) and Bonner(floor spacing) he seems to only care about offense traits that our players have.  When is pOP gonna understand that mediocre defense isn’t gonna cut it.  And if that’s the best we can do, we HAVE TO WIN THE REBOUNDING GAME!!!!!!!!!!   This is why Bonner shouldn’t be playing AT ALL unless he is shooting and connecting early and often.  We have shooters who don’t need much space to get off shots. Neal/Green can shoot with a hand in their faces and make. So can RJ.  So why do we need Bonner who needs the Grand Canyon worth of space to get off a shot. KL, Blair, and Tiago give us 3 good rebounding options to put out there and we should spend more time trying to sure up that weakness rather than out score everyone.

  • http://twitter.com/nudityJ nudityjfandango

    He had nine boards.  He missed a lot of shots.  He wasn’t stellar on defense.

    Some good some bad….Typical night for Dejaun.

    In other words he wasn’t killing it he was middling along as usual.

    I don’t disagree that Bonner was over used.  

    What i’m saying is that Dejaun makes it easier on Pop to make that decision because he has issues of his own.

  • http://twitter.com/nudityJ nudityjfandango

    I think we’re basically saying the same thing.

    I’m one of the glass half full guys round here for the most part and I’m a big fan of letting this season grind to a conclusion all on it’s own using the humans we have available right now.

    The part i think we disagree on is exactly what we have in Blair.

    I don’t see a huge upside for DJB.  I think he is a good solid role player in this league however I don’t think he is a starting PF quality guy. 

    I look at Dejaun and I see Danny Fortson with a better attitude, not Paul Milsap without the muscle tone.

  • TD BestEVER

    He was 4-10 on a night when every one was missing shots……… so that a poor excuse to not play him……..

    And as far as his D goes, he was as good on D as anyone else was.  He didn’t make any large mistakes.  So again no reason to look there for a fault.

  • theghostofjh

     Agree.

  • theghostofjh

    Blair has NEVER gotten a “real” chance in the playoffs. Bonner has. That’s the difference.

  • theghostofjh

    “I don’t see a huge upside for DJB.” 
    HUGE upside? You see virtually NO upside. You said Blair’s “at his ceiling right now”.Milsap is 27, DJB is about to be 23 next month. Milsap is in his sixth year, DJB in his third. Milsap did not develop a reasonably dependable outside shot until his fourth or fifth year. Milsap has had more opportunity than Blair beginning in his 3rd year because Boozer/Okur were out with injury for months. In Milsap’s 4th year he averaged a 36 minute prorated production of 16.2 pts., 10.3 reb. Blair in his 3rd year (this year): 15.8 pts., 9.3 reb. We need to stop consigning him to a career of mediocrity and start developing him properly. And that starts with more steady, extended minutes, and more touches in the low post.

  • NYC

    Well, then we know what we must do: convince McDyess to come out of retirement. 

  • STIJL

     This.

    Reality is Pop doesn’t have a full proof option to use.  So the perception of over or under using one of those players is constant.

  • theghostofjh

    No, he has a boner for Bonner, period!

  • http://twitter.com/nudityJ nudityjfandango

    If Dejaun was 6’10 this wouldnt even be an argument :(

  • http://twitter.com/nudityJ nudityjfandango

    Not as much of a chance thats for sure.  He still has not been a factor or put up enough pressure on others in the team to deserve that spot in the playoffs.

    The playoffs against guys with really great length and team chemistry is not the place you slot in a tweener forward who wants to play centre.

  • theghostofjh

    “He still has not been a factor or put up enough pressure on others in the team to deserve that spot in the playoffs”I disagree, and again he has not been given a sufficient chance.”The playoffs against guys with really great length and team chemistry is
    not the place you slot in a tweener forward who wants to play centre.”Again, I disagree. DJB’s rebounding is necessary in a playoff series. He has the most skill in this regard over any of our bigs except perhaps TD.Blair should be playing 25+ minutes in the playoffs period if we entertain ANY thought of getting past the 2nd round.