Bulls just didn’t follow directions in blowout loss
BY MARK POTASH email@example.com December 26, 2012 9:22PM
Marquis Teague showed progress against the Rockets, going to his left for a layup attempt. | Scott Stewart~Sun-times
It was another wasted day for the Bulls on Wednesday. Only this time they didn’t play.
After a 120-97 loss to the Houston Rockets on Tuesday at the United Center, the Bulls flew to Indianapolis on Wednesday, only to have their game with the Pacers at Bankers Life Fieldhouse postponed because of a winter storm that dumped 7.3 inches of snow on the Indianapolis area.
A makeup date hasn’t been announced.
The Bulls returned to Chicago on Wednesday night. Their next game is Saturday night against the Washington Wizards at the United Center.
Updated: January 28, 2013 4:04PM
Bulls coach Tom Thibodeau warned his team about the Houston Rockets.
‘‘The one thing about them is you have to play for 48 minutes,’’ Thibodeau said. ‘‘If you let your guard down at all, you can be in trouble because of their ability to score. If you jog back, they push the ball after makes and misses. You’ve got to take those easy scores away.’’
Less than a minute into the game Tuesday, Bulls guard Marco Belinelli missed a jump shot, Omer Asik rebounded and passed to Jeremy Lin, who looped a long pass to James Harden for an emphatic dunk five seconds after Belinelli’s miss.
‘‘Obviously, I did not do a good enough job of delivering the message of what we were going to have to do to be successful,’’ Thibodeau said after the Rockets’ throttled the Bulls 120-97 on Christmas night at the United Center.
Coming off a 17-point loss to the Hawks in Atlanta, the Bulls figured to respond with a supreme effort. It has been a hallmark during Thibodeau’s three-year tenure as coach. But they fell behind by 10 in the first quarter, 21 in the second and 35 in the third.
It was yet another indication that Thibodeau has a bigger job this year than last. He’s bringing this team along like he always does, but with Derrick Rose and Richard Hamilton injured and a reformulated ‘‘Bench Mob,’’ every hurdle is a little higher, every valley a little deeper.
The loss marked only the second time in Thibodeau’s three seasons that the Bulls lost back-to-back games by double digits. But the totality of the blowout against the Rockets was alarming.
‘‘Coach had the emphasis on coming out and attacking, keeping them on their heels,’’ guard Nate Robinson said. ‘‘And we did the total opposite. We just have to bounce back and get ready for this next game.’’
It used to be that easy for the Bulls under Thibodeau. But all bets are off with this team. Without Rose (knee) and Hamilton (foot), the Bulls virtually are playing with three starters — Luol Deng, Joakim Noah and Carlos Boozer.
Belinelli, who scored 15 points against the Rockets, is a niche player. Kirk Hinrich is the elephant in the room. With injuries and age compounding daily, he just isn’t good enough on either end of the floor anymore.
It might be Marquis Teague’s time before we know it. The 19-year-old rookie is inadvertently getting double-digit minutes with these early blowouts. He’s good enough, bold enough and smart enough to make something of them.
Against the Rockets, Teague swept through the lane for a left-handed layup attempt. It was blocked by Asik, but so what? The kid had no left hand when he got here. Now he’s comfortable enough to finish with his left hand in a blowout. It’s progress.
The point is, Teague has shown the ability to listen, learn and respond. After the Christmas debacle, those commodities are more valuable to Thibodeau than ever.