By Jason Wojciechowski on October 31, 2009 at 3:10 AM
Chicago at Boston, Erev Halloween
The Bulls don't play very much offense, do they? They kind of dribble the ball around and then take a shot. There
are passes sometimes, but there's not much actual ball movement. We know now that midrange jumpers are the least
efficient shot in the game: the shot doesn't go in very often, you don't get fouled, and you only get two points
for it (contra close shots, where they go in a lot and you get fouled; and threes, where you get, um, three points
for them). And the Bulls seem like they shoot a lot of midrange jumpers after one pass.
Now, maybe this is Boston's defense, because that's observation number two. Shocker: the Celtics defense is really
good. They pack the paint without getting called for very many defensive threes, they have good, long disruptive
individual defenders like Paul Pierce, Rajon Rondo, Rasheed Wallace, and Kevin Garnett. (Wallace in particular
impressed me on a play against Brad Miller, where he was in the paint, like he's supposed to be, closed out to Brad
Miller's jumper, went up on the pump fake, but didn't just fly by; instead, he came down near Miller and recovered
to be on his hip all the way to the lane, so that Miller's layup attempt was either blocked or tough enough that he
missed it. Wallace ended up in good rebounding position at the end of it (although I don't remember whether he
actually got the rebound). Just a very nice defensive play all around by Wallace.)
Anyway, I'd like to blame Vinny Del Negro for this, because really, does any coach (a) act as clueless; (b) have
the background to be teased for being clueless as Del Negro? It's not even close. But haven't the Bulls been like
this for as long as we can remember? It's weird, because the players have turned over, the coaches have turned
over ... but they're still this weird, unstructured offensive team.
I missed a lot of the second quarter because I was typing the stuff about the first quarter. But I swear I just
saw a cute girl in a sort of western-style shirt behind Chicago's bench. In Boston! Who knew?
Joakim Noah's technical foul for swiping at the ball was dumb on his part. I will give Kendrick Perkins credit for
just taking it and walking away. That's the kind of play that all too often in the NBA results in tempers flaring,
guys insisting on protecting their manhood and honor, and so on and so on. Especially this Celtics team: Rondo,
Garnett, and Perkins are particularly ... feisty. I'm never a fan of giving people credit for doing the minimum of
what they're supposed to do ("good job being an adult!"), but that's just the state of the NBA. Especially
considering the history these two teams share after last year's physical, hard-fought, intense playoff series.
Hey, it's The Sports Guy! Doing exactly the kind of thing I feel like he hates -- he's on TV, doing an interview
in the middle of a basketball game, talking about his book while the game goes on completely un-commented-on. I'm
not gonna be a hata here and blast Simmons for this, because if you talk to me, you get plenty of Sports Guy
hate. I'm just noting the irony.
But hey, nice job by Simmons asking Hubie a KG question about whether he's rusty, whether this is what he's going
to be going forward forever, etc. He turned the conversation to something relevant to people watching the game
and totally took advantage of the fact that he's sitting right next to Hubie for one of the only, if not the
only, time ever. And now he's asking Hubie about back-to-backs and Chicago being a young team.
Coming back from commercial, ESPN showed a clip of Vince Carter going down, staying down, and then limping off the
court. For Orlando's sake, I hope he's ok. I'd hate for the East to lose a contender in the first week of the
From the Cavs-Wolves highlights, I have to ask whether Shaq is worth doubling at this point in his career.
Especially if doubling him means you're leaving LeBron an open path to the basket, and you know Shaq knows
how to hit the open cutter. He's been doing it for 18 years now. Obviously, the design of the double-team is not
to leave LeBron that cut, but as a coach, you know breakdowns will happen. You design in a way that covers
that, but you gameplan to know it won't always work. Wouldn't you rather Shaq go one-on-one against his man
every time down and maybe score 30 than let LeBron have anything easy? I would.
The rest of the game
Ok, this one was over. I tuned out.