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Drawing the Bulls’ Eye

Essentials

  • Teams: Chicago Bulls (9-8) at Detroit Pistons (6-14)
  • Date: December 7, 2012
  • Time: 7:30 p.m.
  • Television: FSD

What to look for

In the previous two seasons, the Chicago Bulls played like championship contenders as Derrick Rose led the franchise to two terrific regular seasons. In the 2011 playoffs, they fell at the hands of the Miami Heat in the Eastern Conference Finals and in the 2012 postseason they were upset by the Philadelphia 76ers in the first round as Derrick Rose was lost for the remainder of the playoffs towards the end of the opening game of the series.

The former Memphis Tiger is unquestionably one of the best players in the league, and thus his absence has obviously been felt in Chicago as his team hovers around a .500 record. But thankfully for the Bulls faithful, the team still has arguably their most important cog: Tom Thibodeau.

That last statement might sound hyperbolic, but the Bulls have had the best defense in the league every year that Thibs has been there.

Currently, Chicago boasts the best defensive efficiency in the league, and they are playing hard and disciplined basketball despite the absence of their best player, which is no small feat.

Breaking down the Bulls’ defensive principles is actually far less interesting than just watching them compete for a full 48 minutes. Indeed, regardless of their defensive coverage and/or principles, effort is a common theme throughout.

Their players fight through every single screen, contest every shot and put always put a body on a body when a shot goes up. This might sound like what coaches teach at the high school level, and yet in the professional ranks not every player embraces the concept.

Under Thibs, the Bulls simply have no choice but to give it their all on that side of the ball. Heck, there are rumors around NBA circles that the Bulls have at times given up uncontested jumpers, but those are tough to prove.

Joakim Noah might just be the facsimile of Anderson Varejao, although their bodies differ quite a bit. The Florida product plays great individual defense and is also quite active in terms of helping out his teammates by constantly being in position to thwart opponents. If there is one area where his defensive instincts and skills differ from the Brazilian center, it would probably have to be in the shot blocking department. Noah will go after shots and spike them in the face of opponents and then let you know about it.

When the Bulls’ starting center goes to the bench, Thibodeau turns to Taj Gibson, who may just be the most mobile big man in the entire league. Chicago’s coaching staff has no qualms about allowing their back up big man to switch on screens and defend elite perimeter players out in open space. Carmelo Anthony, LeBron James and the like might occasionally see Gibson defending them because he has the size, foot speed and intellect to stay with them for the most part and contest their shots.

The Bulls are obviously more than just Joakim Noah and Taj Gibson on defense, but it seems as though both players do a terrific job of illustrating just what makes the team so formidable on that front.

Needless to say, the Pistons will be in a dogfight tonight and it may well be one of those low scoring games that Pistons fans got accustomed to roughly about a decade ago.

Read about the Bulls

Bulls by the Horns.

40 Comments

  • Dec 7, 20126:15 pm
    by bob

    Reply

    Woo good thing the Pistons hired Kuester and not Thibodeau in 2009

    OH SHIT THE CRAP GOOFY FONT OF THIS BOARD INFECTED MY POST MIDWAY THROUGH CAUSE I DIDNT WANT TO SPELL THIBODEAU 

  • Dec 7, 20127:22 pm
    by bugsygod

    Reply

    I think i would like to see a defensive vet big added to the team to help Drummond next year.  Someone “nasty” like KG nasty.   I know everyone will say Ben, but Ben is more like a player that beats you with hard work energy and out work you, but never really was arguing, fighting, nasty guy.  Just watching KG now swat the ball away from the rim after the play…just nasty.  Maybe Sheed back to the D next year?  Definitely nasty.  This may hurt Slavas development, but i think would help the team.  – consise.
     

  • Dec 7, 20128:08 pm
    by I HATE FRANK

    Reply

    Maxiell and Monroe could keep Noah off the boards…guys like that you have to make the mental effort too keep them off the glass

    • Dec 7, 20128:21 pm
      by I HATE FRANK

      Reply

      “couldn’t”

  • Dec 7, 20128:14 pm
    by I HATE FRANK

    Reply

    Drummond did a great job on Noah

  • Dec 7, 20128:20 pm
    by I HATE FRANK

    Reply

    thats how a healthy stuckey was playing last year

  • Dec 7, 20128:23 pm
    by bvpiston

    Reply

    Man, Stuckey is playing like crazy.

  • Dec 7, 20128:25 pm
    by I HATE FRANK

    Reply

    English is going to be one hell of a coach one day…he sit on the floor and after every play he is the first person up claping and cheering on his team

  • Dec 7, 20128:30 pm
    by I HATE FRANK

    Reply

    Singler struggling

  • Dec 7, 20128:51 pm
    by gmehl

    Reply

    Hey did anyone see that pitiful screen CV tried to set at the top of the 3pt line?? He didn’t even finish setting it but rather just ran a bit further and got ready to spot shoot a three. Little things like that really piss me off. As a person he seems like a really nice guy but that just makes it worse because it makes it hard to hate him when he pulls of that kind of weak sh!t

  • Dec 7, 20128:52 pm
    by Domnick

    Reply

    im worried about our 2nd half… coz most of the pistons games are having third quarter bad games.. we need to finish the game strong!

  • Dec 7, 20128:59 pm
    by I HATE FRANK

    Reply

    starting Maxiell is insane against this line up…he is getting killed

  • Dec 7, 20129:02 pm
    by I HATE FRANK

    Reply

    Pistons double off of every screen and get beat with the same play

  • Dec 7, 20129:04 pm
    by I HATE FRANK

    Reply

    Poor adjustment again!….

  • Dec 7, 20129:08 pm
    by I HATE FRANK

    Reply

    No Way Stuckey and Drummond should not have started in the 2nd half…combined they where a +25!!! in the first half

    Singler was struggling and Maxiell has not been effective against the Bulls size… 

  • Dec 7, 20129:18 pm
    by I HATE FRANK

    Reply

    I hate our defense…we put no pressure on the ball handler…we over use the trapping and switch defense… we leave shooters open… My god just play man to man…

  • Dec 7, 20129:31 pm
    by I HATE FRANK

    Reply

    NO REASON DRUMMOND AND MONROE SHOULD NOT BE IN THIS GAME!!!!!

    The Coach With No Common Sense…. 

  • Dec 7, 20129:44 pm
    by I HATE FRANK

    Reply

    LOL!!!!!

    WE HAVE THE WORST MATCH UP AND ADJUSTMENT COACH IN THE LEAGUE!!!

    Bulls Shows exactly why playing Big is more important than Small Ball! 

  • Dec 7, 20129:45 pm
    by I HATE FRANK

    Reply

    Coaching F (Again)
     

  • Dec 7, 20129:50 pm
    by Patrick Hayes

    Reply

    Insane numbers by Noah

    • Dec 7, 20129:54 pm
      by I HATE FRANK

      Reply

      We Gave him the perfect line up! I hope Noah makes sure he send Frank a thank you letter

  • Dec 7, 20129:52 pm
    by I HATE FRANK

    Reply

    Looks like Singler has hit his first wall of the season…ang Greg monroe has vanished

    • Dec 7, 20129:58 pm
      by gmehl

      Reply

      Yeah Monroe has only averaged like 9pts 7reb the last 3-4 games.

      • Dec 7, 201210:05 pm
        by I HATE FRANK

        Reply

        another terrible 3rd qrt adjustment….another blown lead….another game you have to look at coaching…

         

  • Dec 7, 201210:00 pm
    by I HATE FRANK

    Reply

    we decide to go small…the Bulls stay big..and dominate us on the boards….CLASSIC!

     

  • Dec 7, 201210:03 pm
    by gmehl

    Reply

    After another blown double digit lead I am thoroughly convinced that we are tanking this season early so we don’t lose our draft pick. Its kind of like if we get out to a big double digit lead we are certain to blow it. Dan why don’t you do one of those fancy graphs showing how these leads have been blown and who was on the court when the points were given up. I am trying to be positive but it very hard being a piston fan at the moment. Maybe i should just start watching the games when they have a big lead and then stop watching and just pretend that they won. FUCK!

  • Dec 7, 201210:17 pm
    by ZekeKhaseli

    Reply

    Forget it. No change in starting lineups, no change in result. Big Ben is thinking maybe I can coach DP better

  • Dec 7, 201210:28 pm
    by I HATE FRANK

    Reply

    Coach Frank has a Loyalty to LOSING!!! … this  is not a game where you say the talent was there…

    Noah does not have this kind of game…IF we started Drummond, or if we founded minutes for Slava…all of his damage came with a Monroe Maxiel line up….or Drummond / Maxiell…or Drummond/Charlie or Monroe Charlie ….

    terrible coaching no common sense, and he clearly doesn’t believe in playing the players with the hot hand
     

  • Dec 7, 201210:31 pm
    by D_S_V

    Reply

    Unless someone provides a good answer, I’m going to start obnoxiously asking this question: Why are English and Middleton on the roster right now? For practice reasons? Middleton especially has not seen the court almost at all, and same with English since that Suns game a while back. Send them to the D-league or see what you have. Of course this begs the related question… Maggette… why? He is the latest in the, “why are you on the floor when you don’t bring anything to the table for the future and next to nothing in the present” wing veterans.

    • Dec 7, 201210:37 pm
      by I HATE FRANK

      Reply

      because if Middleton or English gets Maggette minutes guys will lock around the lockerroom and think what happen to loyalty 

      although maggette was just a salary cap move…. 

  • Dec 7, 201210:35 pm
    by Curtis

    Reply

    Lets look at it this way, chicago only won one quarter tonight.  That damn 3rd quarter is killing the Pistons.  Do they eat a big meal at halftime or something?

    • Dec 7, 201210:38 pm
      by I HATE FRANK

      Reply

      they eat the crap that Frank feeds them at the half… 

       

  • Dec 7, 201210:48 pm
    by Mark

    Reply

    Frank is waiting TOOOO LOOOONNNGGGG to make adjustments in the 3rd qtr. Tonight was another chapter in that book.

    They needed to come in with Drummond right away, who was at least putting up an effort on defense, and instead they waited until 1 min left in the qtr.

    I don’t understand why Frank can’t make subs sooner in the 3rd? Its like someone told him he’s not allowed to make subs before the 6 min mark.

    But not even subs, I also thought they needed to go to Knight more in that 3rd when they couldn’t score. He was the only one that had it going to start the game. None of the other starters really got going since then, yet they just kept going to other other starters and just ignored Knight in the 3rd.

    Frank takes too long to figure out adjustements and is too stubborn to change things that aren’t working. He finally went to a zone with 1 min left that had some success, but they were already down by 10 and the game was over. Why did he wait so long?

    Its the easiest adjustment a coach can make to mix things up when your defense is struggling. Go to a zone. We were struggling defensively from the end of the 2nd qtr all the way until 1 min left in the 4th, when he finally decided to try a zone. Its just not good coaching.

    • Dec 7, 201210:59 pm
      by Edgar

      Reply

      I remember an NBA Today podcast from a while ago where Frank said the following about making adjustments: you come up with a gameplan and try to execute it. If the plan isn’t working, then you put in players that will execute it. If it’s still not working, then you make necessary adjustments. It seems like that kind of fidelity to a predetermined gameplan is why he’s so slow to make adjustments. The underlying assumption of this philosophy is that whatever gameplan he comes up with is infallible and if it’s not working, it’s the players’ fault. I think this is dumb. This kind of thinking lends itself to confirmation bias, I think.

      • Dec 7, 201211:11 pm
        by Mark

        Reply

        Wow, I never heard about that podcast, but I’m not surprised at all to hear Frank say that. 

        Thats another problem. He doesn’t tailor a gameplan to his players strengths. He just draws up a traditional plan, and if his players don;t fit it, then he will just sit back and watch them struggle. And then repeat the same thing next game, while expecting something to be different. I think thats what they call the definition of insanity.

        You can’t be successful in the NBA like this. Because the name of the game is all about adjustments. No matter what gameplan you have, the other team is going to figure it out at some point in the game and make an adjustment. So when you just go in games with 1 set plan , and refuse to deviate from it, you don’t have a chance in this league. Unless yoy have superior talent like he had in NJ.

    • Dec 7, 201211:01 pm
      by I HATE FRANK

      Reply

      Thats all Im saying…

      Simple adjustments could have saved that 17 point lead….

      We burned up all the timeout soo even when the game was kinda close under a minute we had no more timeouts left…. 

      His loyalty to Cory Maggette over English is insane…

      We could have played Drummond, Monroe and Charlie ….. that would have gave us a size advantage…. forcing them to the perimeter….

       

      • Dec 7, 201211:18 pm
        by Mark

        Reply

        I could see it when the lead got down to 13. CHI was starting to warm up at the same time we are starting to get tired. A TO needed to happen right then and there.

        Instead he waited 1 more possession and allowed CHI to get even more in a rhythm, and from then on we never recovered and CHI never cooled off.

        I agree about going huge with Monroe/Drummond/CV. Charlie was playing good so I understand leaving him in to finish the half. But why not leave him for Tay at SF, if he’s just going to sit out and shoot 3s? Frank has ZERO creativity. And given the rebounding problems, going huge with 3 bigs wouldn’t even been creative, it almost necessary.

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