The Chicago Bulls were beaten by 14 in Cleveland last night, despite LeBron’s lackluster effort on this play. It’s their sixth loss in their last eight, and it dropped them a game back of the Raptors — who are also having a tough 2015 so far. Derrick Rose vented his frustration after the game, when he mentioned the Bulls getting on the “same page” or they were going to continue to get their “a** kicked.”
By way of K.C. Johnson of the Chicago Tribune, comes Rose’s expletive-heavy diatribe after the Bulls dropped another game without ever having led:
“Everybody has to be on the same page. Until then, we’re going to continue to get our ass kicked,” Derrick Rose said. “We’re not communicating while we’re on the floor to one another. Everybody is quiet. Trust plays a part, but communicating on defense in a team sport is huge.
“We’ve got to give a better effort. It seems like we’re not even competing. It’s (bleeping) irritating.”
The numbers back it up with the Cavs out-rebounding the Bulls 54-40 including 20 on the offensive end. Coach Tom Thibodeau was equally as annoyed with Chicago’s effort.
“We have to decide when enough is enough,” Thibodeau said. “Right now, we’re not a multiple-effort team. We’re not concentrating. We’re not doing our jobs. We have to change that.”
Over their last eight games, the Bulls have given up 110.4 points per 100 possessions. For the year, they’re at 102.7 — and even that figure is high, falling outside the top-5 where they’ve spent every season under coach Thibodeau’s strong-side defense. Chicago is also scoring less per possession, but it’s their normally reliable defense that’s the biggest issue.
Chicago’s rebounding percentage is down, too, and that was clear as the Cavs — led by Kevin Love‘s 12 rebounds and Timofey Mozgov‘s 15 — dominated the glass last night. Against Cleveland they could use the excuse Joakim Noah was out for a second straight game with an ankle issue, but he’s been around for the six previous games, and their defense has continued to falter during that stretch.
Chicago opponents are shooting 49 percent from the field over their last eight games, after only connecting on 44.3 percent for the year. Opponents are also shooting better from beyond the arc — better than 40 percent in the six losses — and they’re giving up more offensive rebounds while forcing fewer turnovers.
Chicago has a comfortable four and a half game lead over the Cavs for the No. 4 seed in the East, but that’s only after LeBron’s eight-game absence and 1-9 stretch. It’s unlikely the Cavs continue to flounder with LeBron feeling better than he ever has.
Yes, the Raptors are also in the midst of a bad patch of the season, but if the Bulls want homecourt advantage in the first round, they better start giving more of an effort on the defensive end. The offense will come, and they’re scoring at a better clip than they have in a couple years, but it’s the defense that has D-Rose dropping expletives after the game.
All stats courtesy of NBA.com
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