Yesterday's game was nice because we won, but the casual attitude of the team really bothered me. The only thing the Heat were doing yesterday was shooting the three, and yet we did nothing to emphasize cutting off the three-point line. No matter how many times Ricky Davis and Chris Quinn got open looks, we (meaning Caron Butler and Antonio Daniels, mostly) were sagging into the paint, apparently worried about the dominant Earl Barron inside.
One play really illustrated what I'm talking about. With about three mintues left, Caron Butler decided to lay off Ricky Davis, when it was painfully obvious Davis was going to shoot the three. Davis had done this all game, with tons of success, and nobody was making him drive to the rim. The end result? Davis shot, and hit the three. This is supposed to be our no-nonense player, and yet he demonstrated an incredible lack of concentration.
Chicago's the type of team where you can't lose concentration. They're somewhat unfairly classified as a "jump-shooting team," which basically means they are terrible at hitting layups. Without their top "low-post" guy, Drew Gooden, it's essential to make them drive right into the teeth of the defense. Give them room to shoot, and you run the risk of guys like Ben Gordon, Andres Nocioni, Kirk Hinrich, Luol Deng and even Larry Hughes going off (like Hughes did against Cleveland). As long as you make them drive and keep Joakim Noah off the glass, their offense is powerless to do anything.
I'm not worried about our offense. Gilbert played a nice floor game, Caron went off, and the ball movement was excellent against Miami. Chicago's not the defensive team they once were, so I don't forsee any problems there. I do think we'll miss Jamison, because the Bulls are thin up front, but hopefully Haywood steps up tonight.
But if we don't fix that defense, you can kiss our hopes of advancing in the playoffs behind.
Lines are Bulls by 4 and 207 on the over/under.
This is an open game thread, so read how Bulls fans are considering the merits of a Gilbert sign and trade there (while discussing here).