Chicago Bulls vs. Milwaukee Bucks: 3 Takeaways from Thursday's Loss
Oct 15, 2016; Milwaukee, WI, USA; Chicago Bulls head coach Fred Hoiberg talks to guard Isaiah Canaan (0) in the third quarter during the game against the Milwaukee Bucks at BMO Harris Bradley Center. Mandatory Credit: Benny Sieu-USA TODAY Sports
The Chicago Bulls looked nothing like the usual #TNTBulls we see on national television on Thursday night against the Milwaukee Bucks. Here’s three takeaways from the loss.
Thursday night might not have been the worst loss of the season for the Chicago Bulls, but in terms of effort, you could make the argument that the loss was their poorest performance in 25 games this year.
The Bulls were flat out of the gate and it carried on throughout the night in the forms of getting beat in transition, allowing easy drives to the basket, turning the ball over constantly and establishing no sense of rhythm in the 108-97 loss.
(Don’t let the score fool you. It wasn’t that close.)
It was quite simply a pathetic effort from the Bulls. (More on that in a second.) Other than a 21-6 run late in the ballgame when the Bucks called the dogs off for the most part, the Bulls were never in this game.
Having said all of that, here’s three takeaways from the loss on Thursday night, including the most interesting rotation tweak of the season (so far).
Dec 15, 2016; Milwaukee, WI, USA; Milwaukee Bucks forward Giannis Antetokounmpo (34) looks for a shot against Chicago Bulls forward Cristiano Felicio (6) in the fourth quarter at BMO Harris Bradley Center. Mandatory Credit: Benny Sieu-USA TODAY Sports
1. The effort was downright putrid
OK, so the Bulls lost by 11.
That doesn’t tell the whole story.
The Bulls gave up 64 points in the first half to the Bucks and looked about as awful as any team could doing it, too.
Throughout the night, the Bulls made lazy passes, resulting in most of their 16 turnovers. There was no sense of pace or flow on offense. Defensively, it was even worse. The Bulls had no answer for Jabari Parker (28 points) and Giannis Antetokounmpo (30 points), and appeared that they didn’t care either.
It was a lazy effort, full of silly mistakes, non-communication and overall bad basketball. It’s just game No. 25 in 82, but these kinds of losses could have a snowball effect.
The Bucks are a rising team in the NBA. They’re young and athletic, you know, like the Bulls front office said this team was this past summer. In this home-and-home, back-to-back set, the Bucks got the upper hand and the Bulls had no sense of caring or urgency (expect for the final few minutes of the contest when it was already over).
Dec 15, 2016; Milwaukee, WI, USA; Milwaukee Bucks forward Giannis Antetokounmpo (34) drives for the basket against Chicago Bulls forward Jimmy Butler (21) in the third quarter at BMO Harris Bradley Center. Mandatory Credit: Benny Sieu-USA TODAY Sports
2. Jabari Parker and Giannis Antetokounmpo are just getting started
Holy crap, Giannis Antetokounmpo is good.
Really good. Scary good.
The Greek Freak had 30 points, 14 rebounds, three assists and three steals against the Bulls on Thursday night and looked like the best player on the floor from the opening tip.
Jabari Parker played fantastic against his hometown team, scoring 28 points, grabbing five rebounds and putting Robin Lopez on a poster in transition.
Both players torched the Bulls all night long. Their 58 combined points was no fluke. They were the two best players on the floor. The Bucks have one of the brightest futures out of all 30 teams in the league, and if these two are playing like this, look the hell out.
(Oh, and this showing came without perennial All-Underrated Team member Khris Middleton, too.)
Nov 22, 2016; Denver, CO, USA; Chicago Bulls forward Nikola Mirotic (L) and Denver Nuggets center Jusuf Nurkic (R) greet each other before the game at the Pepsi Center. Mandatory Credit: Isaiah J. Downing-USA TODAY Sports
3. A DNP-CD for Nikola Mirotic?
The weirdest thing of the night for the Bulls wasn’t getting ran out of the gym by the young Bucks.
Although it was bad, it was the strangest thing.
No, that distinction lies in the fact that Nikola Mirotic racked up his first DNP-CD with Fred Hoiberg at the helm (while healthy) in his career.
Bobby Portis played 23 minutes, Cristiano Felicio played 21 minutes, Robin Lopez started alongside Taj Gibson as usual, but Mirotic saw no action on Thursday night.
When asked about Mirotic’s DNP, here’s what Hoiberg said after the game:
Thanks for clearing that up, Fred. We hadn’t noticed.
Look, Nikola Mirotic has been bad throughout most of this season, but it still doesn’t change the fact that he’s in his third year and logging a Did Not Play is a terrible look for Hoiberg and for Mirotic. The third-year Montenegrin was supposed to be a difference-maker and quite simply hasn’t been this season.
Hoiberg thinking that Bobby Portis is an NBA player still is also a problem. It’s clear that Portis isn’t ready for the NBA level yet, but the Bulls have shown no signs in potentially sending him down to Hoffman Estates with the Windy City Bulls.
The front court rotation is a mess and to be fair to Fred Hoiberg, he doesn’t have much to choose from. There’s not much for him to choose from.
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