So the other day I went ahead and said that the Bulls would be a playoff team this season. I made this statement after doing a complete 180 while watching the Bullies take care of the Milwaukee Bucks in the season opener. Now, after last night's 96-80 loss to the Celtics, I've had a few people asking me if I'm ready to reconsider.
I don't care how optimistic I or anybody was after that season opener, there is no way I expected them to go into Boston on Friday night and lay waste to the defending champions. After all, I just said that they'd be a playoff team this season, not a title contender. They're about three Hall-of-Famers short in the starting lineup to have a legit shot to get past the Celtics in the Eastern Conference.
Now this doesn't mean that there weren't more than a few things that took place in Beantown that I found troublesome. First of all, while I'm happy Tyrus Thomas is being more aggressive on the offensive end this season, that doesn't mean I want him taking seventeen shots -- more than anybody else on the team. Especially when he decides to only make two of them.
Of course it's not like Tyrus was alone in his shooting woes, as nobody in a Bulls uniform was lighting it up on Friday night. Derrick Rose shot 6-for-14, Luol Deng was a lovely 2-for-10, and Kirk Hinrich was 3-for-10. As a team, the Bulls shot 29.8% from the field (even Larry Hughes finds this unacceptable), but let's be honest. The bad shooting had a lot more to do with the fact they were playing a stellar defensive basketball team than it did the Bulls ability to make jumpers.
As far as the most important player on the team is concerned, Derrick Rose, he had one of those rookie nights we're going to see from time to time. I already covered his shooting woes, but on the bright side he did lead the team with 18 points, and he was a perfect 6-for-6 from the free throw line. Still, if Derrick's ever going to be able to get into the lane against a strong team like the Celtics, he's going to have to start making jump shots.
When he's missing defenses are just going to clog the lane and not allow him to get to the basket for a shot or a kick out to an open teammate. The Celtics effectiveness in doing this can be seen by the fact Rose only had one assist last night.
Hopefully tonight with the team returning to the United Center for a game against the Memphis Grizzlies things will change for the better. If not, then maybe I'll start to reconsider my playoff expectations, but probably not. What can I say? I'm stubborn.