Bulls Stumble Late to Thunder in Season Opener
I liked what I saw in the new-look Bulls as they fell short to the OKC Thunder in their 2010-11 season debut. The Bulls put together a solid effort in a tough environment where very few road teams will walk out with victories. Derrick Rose got off to a fast start scoring 20 points in the first half while taking the ball to the rim at will. He was the only legitimate offensive threat and when he got into foul trouble the Bulls struggled to find a consistent offense. Joakim Noah and Taj Gibson also showed why the Bulls front office will not package them in a deal for Denver’s Carmelo Anthony. Noah scored 18 points, pulled down 19 rebounds and blocked two shots. Taj was equally as impressive filling Carlos Boozer’s spot in the starting lineup putting up 16 points and grabbing 11 rebounds. The Bulls kept the game close until the Thunder pulled away in the final minutes by going on an 11-0 run and playing strong defense. The Thunder’s high powered offense led by Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook was too much to handle for the young Bulls down the stretch.
The more games this team plays together the better they are going to get. Luol Deng needs to get more involved in the offensive so Rose doesn’t have to hoist up 31 shots again. C.J. Watson was serviceable backing up Rose, but Ronnie Brewer and Kyle Korver need to play better for the Bulls 2nd unit. 17 points from the bench is not going to cut it if they want to get off to a good start. I also want to see Coach Thibodeau mix and match players in different units until he finds a more steady rotation. When Boozer returns from injury after the annual November circus trip I expect the Bulls to be an elite team in the Eastern Conference.
10/30 vs. Detroit Pistons
11/1 vs. Portland Trail Blazers
11/4 vs. New York Knicks
11/8 vs. Denver Nuggets