Phoenix Suns vs. Chicago Bulls: Postgame Grades and Analysis for Chicago
Chicago shot 36 percent from the floor, including an ugly 18 percent, 2-of-11 display from the three-point line.
There are some nights when the Bulls end up having to deal with having little to no productive forms of offense, others when their defense slips a bit and they have to try to shoo their way back into games and then they have nights like they did against Phoenix.
It seems like whenever Chicago ends up playing teams that successfully push the pace (past what the Bulls normally play, which is somewhere between the snail and the turtle on your lawn mower accelerator) and have a good balance of guard work and mid-range shooting from their big men, there's going to be some troubles.
I wouldn't say that the Bulls have been playing down to their opponents, because they have been legitimately beat throughout the season, not just losing in squeakers here and there.
It's just that they have nights when their defense isn't capable of dominating, and the other team makes shots at a rate that Chicago just can't match.
Once Derrick Rose comes back, they should be able to find an offensive rhythm, until then, they'll have games like this.
Kirk Hinrich: F
Stat Line: One point, one rebound, three assists, two turnovers, 0-of-2 shooting.
The Bulls have been better (generally speaking) with Kirk Hinrich in the starting lineup instead of Nate Robinson, but Saturday night was a train wreck.
Chicago never really plans to get much from their point guards defensively, so they either need good ball movement from Kirk Hinrich or a good scoring night from Nate Robinson.
Saturday night, Hinrich was an absolute disappointment.
Not only did he not get the team actively involved offensively, like they desperately need him to, but he was incredibly subpar on defense, leaving Goran Dragic wide open many times throughout the night.
Lucky for him, Dragic was shooting terribly, but that doesn't excuse his ugly game.
Rip Hamilton: B+
Stat Line: 12 points, one rebound, three assists, 6-of-9 shooting.
With the injuries he's battled this season and his age starting to creep up, this is pretty much the night Chicago wishes they could have from Rip Hamilton every single night.
Getting a bit of scoring, some help moving the ball and nothing too abhorrent on defense should be enough to call it a success for Hamilton when he steps on the floor.
That's about the best the Bulls can take away from this one.
He was getting to the rim relatively well, shooting the mid-range jumper with consistency and he played a solid 21 minutes.
It was a nice night for Hamilton; the rest of the team just didn't go down the same path.
Luol Deng: D
Stat Line: 13 points, five rebounds, two assists, 5-of-16 shooting.
I've said it before and I'll say it again: Without Derrick Rose, Luol Deng is incredibly important on offense.
It's not enough for the Bulls to hope that Carlos Boozer gets something going and the few three-pointers they take to end up falling, they have to have some form of aggression on offense.
That aggression is never coming from the incredibly passive Boozer, and the only other players aside from Rose who are going to get to the rim and draw some contact are Luol Deng and Nate Robinson.
Deng was settling for jumpers all game long, getting frustrated when slight bumps didn't lead to fouls and eventually just stopped cutting and driving.
In the end, he had a terrible shooting night and was extremely uninspired on the glass.
Usually, there's nothing but praise to heap on his active play, but that was flat-out not the case Saturday night, offensively or defensively.
The only argument needed defensively is to simply point out that Michael Beasley scored 20 points on 10-of-14 shooting.
Carlos Boozer: B
Stat Line: 15 points, 10 rebounds, two assists, 6-of-14 shooting.
It wasn't another one of the "redeemable" nights that he's had recently, but in comparison to the rest of the team, Carlos Boozer was downright brilliant.
Sure, he played Boozerian defense all night long, but it's hard to get upset with him for that at this point. Luis Scola scored 22 points; it's going to happen when Boozer is guarding him.
At least Boozer was able to score, and he was even somewhat aggressive at points throughout the game, taking advantage of a somewhat timid Scola on the other end of the floor.
He was fine Saturday night. Nothing special, but certainly not the guy to lay a huge portion of the blame upon.
Joakim Noah: C
Stat Line: 10 points, 13 rebounds, one assist, one steal, one block, 4-of-13 shooting.
What has happened to Joakim Noah since the calendar turned over to 2013? The only thing he's really been able to sustain is his high rebounding clip, and it's something that isn't surprising when you see all the shots the Bulls have been missing.
He's averaging just over 10 points per game this month, but he's doing it while shooting just 42 percent from the floor, and he's attempting about half as many free throws as he normally does.
Saturday night was no different.
Noah shot incredibly poorly, rebounded well, didn't do much in terms of passing and was relatively invisible for long stretches of the game.
Defensively, he was able to cover Marcin Gortat with few problems, but there wasn't a lot of activity and not much in terms of help defense to be spoken of.
For a guy who has been touted as (potentially) the best center in the Eastern Conference, he's having a terrible stretch of games.
Taj Gibson (Sixth Man): C
Stat Line: Two points, three rebounds, two blocks, 1-of-2 shooting.
Taj Gibson was in the game for just 20 minutes Saturday night, but it felt like even less than that, as he was almost invisible for the entirety of the game.
As the Suns pushed the pace, Chicago fell further and further behind, meaning they needed help from the likes of Marco Belinelli and Nate Robinson to get some offense going, rather than some defense from Gibson.
They got neither.
Taj's defense was fine, but nothing incredibly special. He was able to step up and help out on the cuts to the basket a bit better than Joakim Noah, but that's all that can really be said about the big fellow.
Stat Line: 30 points, 12 rebounds, seven assists, 11-of-33 shooting.
Take away Jimmy Butler, and the Bulls bench shot a pitiful 23 percent from the floor. They're not going to win many games with that going on.
Marco Belinelli was atrocious, going 3-of-12 from the floor and missing all three of his long balls, while Nate Robinson helped out by going 2-of-8 from the floor and ending up with five fouls in 23 minutes, plus a late-game technical.
I'm not sure what else to say about this bunch. Offensively they weren't there, defensively they didn't do much. Hell, they didn't even celebrate well while they were on the sidelines.