Milwaukee Bucks vs. Chicago Bulls: Postgame Grades and Analysis for Chicago
It was a bit surprising to see the Bulls go down like this, but the way the Bucks played was pretty much exactly the way they planned to beat the Bulls.
Milwaukee was able to block a ton of shots, 15 rejections total with seven swats coming from Larry Sanders, leading to plenty of fast-break opportunities for their speedy guards.
Chicago's defensive post game was terrific as usual, allowing just 34 points in the paint (with most of those coming on the transition game), but the three-pointers were deadly for the Bulls.
As the Bucks sank 10 of their 22 three-pointers, Milwaukee's big men were able to position themselves in the right spot to end up with a handful of offensive rebounds and eventually just outscore the vaunted Bulls defense.
It wasn't so much a loss for the Bulls as it was a win for the Bucks, as they were able to find ways to get open and make shots.
Sure, there were some uncharacteristic defensive lapses around the perimeter, but Milwaukee shot well late in the game, which led to the loss.
Nate Robinson: A
There's something continually frustrating about Nate Robinson that is not only easy to put your finger on, but also something that seems to happen game in and game out.
Robinson is one of the best players in the NBA at having a good night statistically (which he did tonight), but completely failing the eye test. Not only did he take terrible shots at one of the most important stretches of this game, but he also did it without realizing the error of his ways.
Late in the third quarter Milwaukee was starting out on a nice run and had evened up the score 64-64. The next two possessions featured only Robinson, missing two horrible shots, as Milwaukee went the other way and scored twice in transition.
The same thing happened on two consecutive possessions in the fourth, as Nate grabbed big rebounds on defense but came down and missed jumpers on offense.
He can put up numbers, but he's not a creator. He works best when the offense is flowing, and when it wasn't flowing tonight he was downright terrible.
Even still, he scored a bunch early and he scored a handful in the fourth quarter. Chicago needs points from anybody possible, and Nate gave them that tonight.
It's hard to criticize the guy too much (which I think I did) when he scores 19 points on 8-of-17 shooting, comes away with five rebounds, six assists and five steals.
Wow, how could I be so hard on a guy with that line?
Rip Hamilton: D-
It was a terrible game for Rip Hamilton. Just downright nasty.
Not only was he ineffective on offense, going 2-of-11 from the field, but he was also constantly playing off his man on defense, leaving Monta Ellis free to take a jumper or just get the first step on him and blow right by.
Hamilton should forget this game right away.
This was one of those nights when the Bulls were glad he was hurt earlier in the season, so at least they knew Marco Belinelli had the ability to take over the shooting guard spot and play well enough to keep them in the game.
Hamilton walked away from the game with four points, a single rebound and two assists.
Luol Deng: B-
It wasn't necessarily a bad game for Luol Deng, but there was a lot missing from his game that is normally there.
Offensively he had a fine game, scoring 18 points on 7-of-14 from the floor, working in the flow of the game and taking a few nice cuts to the rack, but his defense was unquestionably off tonight.
He was playing a bit too far off from Mike Dunleavy when he was set to guard the sharpshooter at different points throughout the night, and it led to some open shots.
What's more, his activity just wasn't there. Deng is normally good to run all over the floor on defense, helping out on backdoor cuts and even dropping down into the post from time to time to help out down low, but it just wasn't there tonight.
He's starting to look a bit tired.
Carlos Boozer: A-
Carlos Boozer had another solid game for the Bulls, making his "rebirth" even more evident.
After having a rough start to the season, it seems as if Boozer has stopped caring in a positive way. He's playing like there's a lot of basketball left in his body, and he's getting a lot of positive from himself these days.
I'm not so sure that it's a rebirth as much as it is people ignoring the bad defense because the Bulls are so good as a squad defensively, so his offensive production is even more important and more evident this season.
He made some very big shots down the stretch after going stagnant in the third quarter, and he was huge on the boards tonight, something that can't be talked about enough this season.
Boozer walked away from this one with 22 points on 8-of-15 shooting, 11 rebounds, three assists and a steal.
Hell, somebody might have even went into the Bulls' pro shop and bought themselves a "Boozer" jersey.
Joakim Noah: B-
There were a lot of possessions for Joakim Noah tonight when he just couldn't figure out what to do around the basket, even though he had four or five shots at it.
At least twice early on he was able to go up in the restricted area and walk away with two points, three shots and two offensive rebounds. I suppose that's not such a bad thing as long as the ball goes in the hoop.
One thing that can't be overstated about his offense, however, is his passing. He walked away with just two assists, but there were countless incidents where he would pass up on a double-team in the post, giving it up to Jimmy Butler or Marco Belinelli for a mid-range shot or another pass around the horn.
Defensively he was as good as he's been all year long. Milwaukee's big dudes were unable to get anything going from the paint all game long, the Bulls just had lapses on the three-point line.
His stat line doesn't look like anything special (eight points on 4-of-12 shooting, 12 rebounds and two assists), but he had an okay game in the end.
Sixth Man: Taj Gibson: B-
Taj Gibson came in and formed that defensive unit alongside Joakim Noah that has been so great all season long.
He played just 20 minutes tonight, but it seems as if every single minute that he and Noah shared the paint, Milwaukee spent shooting jumpers.
The biggest problem for the Bulls tonight was just that Milwaukee was consistently making those jumpers, which is something that just happens sometimes.
Offensively he did what they usually expect him to do, scoring eight points on 3-of-6 shooting, while he added in two interesting assists. He filled out the rest of his stat line with five rebounds (three offensive) and two blocks.
Not a bad one for Taj, just some bad luck for the Bulls.
Taj Gibson played some good defense, Jimmy Butler hit as many shots as he missed and Marco Belinelli did his best to keep the Bulls in the game with some late shots, but that's about the most you can say about the bench tonight.
After Gibson's defense, Butler and Belinelli were pretty bad around the perimeter tonight, Butler uncharacteristically so.
A few stray minutes here and there from Marquis Teague and Nazr Mohammed didn't really do much for the game as a whole, but they didn't look terrible.
Together, the bench scored 25 points on 10-of-25 shooting, 11 rebounds, eight assists, three steals and two blocks.
It was a pretty mediocre night for the bench mob tonight.