Charlotte Bobcats vs. Chicago Bulls: Postgame Grades and Analysis for Chicago
Charlotte finished off the month 1-15, winning for the first time in 19 tries.
This isn't one of those games where Chicago can go home and pat themselves on the back for giving it their all. They should have won this game.
Any loss to a 7-23 team is bad enough, but when that team has lost 18 straight basketball games and has looked totally and completely inept in the majority of them, it's especially bad.
If the Bulls want to take something away from this game, just accept that it's one game closer to getting Derrick Rose back, which should end up giving their offense a much-needed jolt.
If they were only able to score 81 points on the worst defensive team in the league, one that gave up 100 points or more in 17 of their past 20 games, then there's something definitely missing on offense.
Let's take a look at how the team did individually and try to pinpoint what led to this ugly loss.
Nate Robinson: C-
Whose bright idea is it to let Nate Robinson shoot so much throughout a game? If anything, he should be relegated to wide-open jumpers, fast-break layups and garbage-time shots. He definitely shouldn't be going 2-of-11 and scoring just five points throughout the course of a game.
Robinson isn't a particularly good defender, but he's the best and most competent point guard option they have right now, so the Bulls are forced to go with him in the starting lineup.
There were multiple times against the Bobcats when he would have a "Derrick Rose" possession, passing a few times around the top of the key and making penetrating efforts before getting the ball back and driving into a guy's chest.
What's wrong with that is that Robinson isn't Rose. He's 5'10" on his tippy-toes, and he's not going to be getting any star calls throughout a game.
Sure, give him credit for the seven assists and the three steals, but he really killed the team with his poor shooting Monday. But then again, so did most of the Chicago players.
Rip Hamilton: B-
It was just his second game back since tearing his plantar fascia in the beginning of December, but Rip Hamilton didn't look terrible in this horribly ugly game.
Hamilton made a series of smart plays in the third quarter that helped the team get back on an even keel with the Bobcats, but his effort wasn't enough down the stretch.
He was tipping out rebounds, grabbing offensive rebounds, dropping assists to open men on the wing off a penetration and even knocking down his own open jumpers, giving them a huge boost in the third.
Statistically speaking, it wasn't the most beautiful game for Hamilton, scoring 11 points on 5-of-11 shooting to go along with two assists, a rebound and two steals. However, he was able to impact the game positively more often than not with his active defense and aware ball movement.
Luol Deng: B
Luol Deng is still relied upon to take on a good portion of the scoring load for the Bulls, and he did just that against the Bobcats.
Of course, scoring 20 points means he put in nearly 25 percent of the team's total output, but there was definitely something missing.
Deng scored his 20 on 9-of-19 shooting, and it's hard to denigrate the guy for shooting around 50 percent, but I've still got some beef with him.
Over the course of the game, there was too much settling for jumpers and not enough attacking the rim. The result was just one free throw in the first 46 minutes of the game (he ended up making another in garbage time).
With a little more dribble penetration, some more trips to the line and a more aggressive Deng, the Bulls offense would open up enough for there to be a few more open looks here and there.
Otherwise, Deng was fine. He was able to pull down 12 rebounds, four of them offensive, drop down four assists and end up with three steals and a block.
Carlos Boozer: C-
Relying on Carlos Boozer too much can be a double-edged sword, and usually he cuts a bit in each direction.
Monday was no different.
He missed some shots here and there, played some ugly defense, but also made some big shots down the stretch that would have been notable had the Bulls won the game.
Because they lost, however, Boozer's 7-of-18 shooting, poor defense and 5-of-8 clip from the free-throw line will end up being criticized.
He did plenty of good, however. With so few players making a positive contribution to the offense, Boozer had to shoot too much Monday.
Plus, Booz was able to pull down an impressive 14 rebounds, his third-highest mark of the season, and even came away with three assists.
Joakim Noah: D
There's rarely a game in which Joakim Noah is the goat for the Chicago Bulls, but that was the story in this one.
He played great defense; that's not what's going to be questioned Monday. Even as far as the glamor stats go, Noah pulled away with three steals and two blocks, although he did have just four rebounds.
Offensively, Noah cannot disappear and expect the Bulls to win.
In 30 minutes, he scored just once on two shots, coming away with just two points.
Noah didn't exactly shy away from offensive involvement; it was more so that he was just uninvolved with the offense later in the possessions, as the Bulls took a bunch of jumpers late in the shot clock.
The teeny-tiny Bobcats ended up outrebounding the Bobcats 52-49 (so many missed shots), and a lot of the blame for that has to go on Noah.
Sixth Man, Taj Gibson: C+
Once again, there's no reason to blame Taj Gibson defensively. Like the rest of the team, most of the guys that saw the floor were sound.
Like the rest of the team again, though, Gibson scored just eight points, shooting poorly on 3-of-9 from the field.
Credit has to be given to Gibson for his nine rebounds, six of which came on the offensive glass, but when there are that many missed shots bouncing around, rebounds aren't exactly a commodity that ends up being hard to come by.
On a night when the Bulls needed somebody to step up offensively, Gibson didn't do his part, and the team fell flat against one of the league's flattest teams.
Between Marco Belinelli, Jimmy Butler, Nazr Mohammed and Marquis Teague, the Bulls' shooting woes were just worsened.
Taj Gibson came up with a 3-of-9 night from the field, while the rest of the bench squad went 6-of-24. That's a combined 9-of-33.
You're not going to win very many games when your bench is combining to shoot just 27 percent from the field.
The fact is that the Bulls just don't have a consistent creator offensively without Derrick Rose—and it hurts.
Rose being out is more than just 20 points and seven assists a game missing, it's the threat of such a dynamic offensive player leading to better offensive spacing and a more conservative defense.
Chicago has a good team, but they way they're playing right now is like putting a puzzle together without any boarder pieces. It's not impossible to be successful, but it's a lot more difficult.