Monday, February 05, 2007

"Same Sh*t, Different Night"

I'm not quite as gutted as this guy--a five point loss to a Utah team that's knocked off the Spurs and Suns in the past week doesn't strike me as beyond the pale--but I've gotta admit he's got a point about our road play:

The story is always the same.

Bulls play well in the first, only to see their lead evaporate in the last two minutes of the quarter. Bulls lead after one by two points.

In the second quarter, The Lull inevitably occurs. During The Lull, the Bulls (a) can't hit a shot; (b) turn the ball over; and (c) lose their defensive focus. The Lull results in a 10-20 point half time lead for the opponent.

The third quarter is typically captioned "Battling Back." The Bulls start out slow in the second half, allowing the opponent to stretch the lead to 15-20. Then, with about six minutes left, they make their run. The game is back within reach as the Bulls end the third quarter down by 6-9.

The fourth quarter is a two part drama. Part I: The Tease. With a brief spurt of defense and concomitant offense, the Bulls cut the lead even further. Then they stall, typically when down by four. Not five. Not three. Four. The Bulls have one or two opportunities to reduce the lead to two, but fail to do so, missing jumpers. Part II: The Fizzle. The Bulls' offense becomes stagnant, shots won't fall, and the Bulls give up their hallmark Untimely Three. The Untimely Three almost always results when some overeager guard sags into the lane to help down low, leaving his man (who invariably is the best three point shooter on the opponent) wide open for the kick out. (Alterante Untimely Three: Opponent gets a offensive rebound, gets fouled, and makes the shot anyway.) After the Untimely Three, the Bulls jack up ill advised and rushed shots, then resort to fouling. Final: Bulls lose by 8-14.

Same sh*t, different night.

"The Lull" and "The Untimely Three" strike me as particularly inspired. Nevertheless, they're 2-2 on this trip with a still decent chance of going 4-3, which is really all I was hoping for. And though Matt over at Blog-A-Bull just HATES him, Du played another pretty solid game all in all. I'm not completely sold on the three guard lineup---I don't think any of our three guards are big enough to make it work, and Deng has a lot of trouble guarding power forwards---but I wouldn't mind seeing Skiles go to it when the Bulls aren't trailing during crunchtime. I'm intrigued by it.