Aye dios mio, search the Bulls defensively crumbled against the Charlotte Hornets on Tuesday allowing the previously win-less Hornets to score 130 points on them – ONE HUNDRED AND THIRTY POINTS.
— Chicago Bulls (@chicagobulls) November 4, 2015
We can trash talk the Bulls play against the Hornets all we want, see but the overlying issue here is whether this was just a one game blunder with a valuable defensive lesson, or if this is the future of this Bulls’ squad under new Head Coach Fred Hoiberg (and small tear falls down my cheek).
Jimmy Butler was the first to vocalize his frustration with the game, explaining that the team hasn’t been playing tough enough defense. Butler, who was brought up in the league under coach Thibodeau who preached his defense-minded game strategy until he was blue in the face, is definitely not used to getting out played on the boards by a 0-3 team.
We got to nip that in the bud now because that’s not winning basketball. It will never be winning basketball here and it never has been winning basketball here. We’ve always prided ourself on playing hard and not being pretty. Tonight, we were pretty, we were soft. Got our asses whipped. – Jimmy Butler
Something interesting to note, was prior to Tuesday’s game the Bulls were fourth in the NBA for points allowed per 100 possessions according to ESPN Stats. There was also Pau Gasol’s huge Lebron James block to win the season opener and Jimmy Butler’s game-winning defensive moves to hold onto a win against the Magic. The Hornets did however shoot over 50 percent from the field and 60 percent from beyond the 3-point line – so maybe they had their most incredible game ever, or there’s something deeper happening here. Butler seemed to think the problem was rooted in all the offensive scorers on the roster. With the additional offensive freedom given by Hoiberg, the goal has been to out-score other teams. What’s essential to remember is that basketball is a two sided game. You have to make the buckets, but you also have to stop other teams from scoring. The Bulls are too big and too strong to get out rebounded by any team, use your size to an advantage guys.
After a game like this, comparisons between new Head Coach Fred Hoiberg and previous coach Tom Thibodeau are inevitable. Is Hoiberg’s offensive freedom-focused strategy actually the path to success for the Chicago Bulls? Thibodeau’s strategy was criticized for being overly focused on defense, not producing enough offense to win the big games against opponents like the star-studded Miami Heat of season’s past. Will we ever see a happy medium? A team that is able to produce the points, but also prevent opponents from going on crazy scoring runs. I guess I’ll have to put it on my Christmas wish-list.
Tonight will be an ultimate test as the Bulls prepare to take on the dynamic duo of Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook’s Oklahoma City Thunder. If defense doesn’t show up to the game tonight, things are going to get real ugly real fast.
The goal is to have Jimmy feeling more like this after the game: