Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Heat Blow Out Bulls in Season Opener 107-95

By Sean Mackey

Chicago fell to the Miami Heat on ring night 107-95 after a complete first half collapse. Early foul trouble for Jimmy Butler and Luol Deng left the Bulls without any primary defenders for nearly the entire 2nd quarter. This lead to a complete onslaught of turnovers, bad shots and three pointers from the likes of Ray Allen, Norris Cole and Shane Battier. The Heat went on a 31-5 run before ending the half with a 21 point lead. The Bulls eventually came back in the 4th quarter to cut the lead to 8, however a three pointer from Miami put them back up by double digits permanently.

Derrick Rose looked decent but rusty throughout the whole contest. After the Bulls won the opening tip, Rose had the ball stolen by Mario Chalmers almost immediately which lead to an Udonis Haslem dunk. The Heat then proceeded to trap Rose near the sideline during the Bulls second possession. Rose shot a dismal 1-7 from the three point stripe and 4-15 overall finishing with 12 points, 4 assists and 5 turnovers.

The only bright spot for Chicago was the play of Carlos Boozer and Jimmy Butler. Boozer finished with 31 points on 13-18 shooting, 5-5 on free throws and 7 rebounds. While Butler got in early foul trouble, he picked things up in the 2nd half finishing with 20 points and 5 steals. Butler's defensive intensity was the only thing keeping the Bulls in the game towards the end.

Newcomer Mike Dunleavy looked awful and finished shooting 3-9 after getting some really good and not so good looks.  Dunleavy fumbled the ball on several passes which lead to Miami closing him out on the perimeter before he could shoot. Joakim Noah came back from a groin injury and finished with 2 points and 11 rebounds, being an almost non-factor on the defensive end. Noah seemed out of rhythm the entire game and his lack of playing time during the pre-season really showed. Kirk Hinrich fouled out during the 4th quarter finishing  with 6 points and 6 assists. Luol Deng was also a non-factor scoring 4 points in 29 minutes.  During the 2nd quarter scoring draught, Tom Thibodeau was so desperate for a spark that he put rookie, Tony Snell in the game. LeBron James then proceeded to run right around Snell for an easy lay up.

Overall this was just a bad game for the Bulls. 48 fouls were called throughout the contest and threw the whole game out of sync. Some of the fouls were just, some were questionable. During the 3rd quarter there was a sequence of 3 or 4 fouls in a row that all lead to free throws slowing the game down to an almost complete stop. The Bulls late run in 4th kept dragging my attention back to the game but every time a glimmer of hope happened, another 3 pointer at the other end did as well.  Jimmy Butler is going to be a great addition to this starting lineup however, the Bulls need to figure out a way for him and Deng to play together effectively. Butler will likely have several fouls every game due to his defensive steals but Deng is going to need to play more solid.  Deng's play this season is detrimental to him getting a $14 million per year salary like he wants. I doubt the Bulls will trade him but letting him go for nothing would be terrible.

The Bulls home opener is Thursday night when they host the New York Knicks at 8:00 p.m. on TNT.