Thibodeau enduring worst stretch since being appointed as coach…
Rose slams Bulls effort: Point guard frustrated with team play.
LeBron leads Cavs to win over Bulls: (Video) Bulls continue to slump as Cleveland improve.
Noah MRI scan comes back clean: Bulls center receives fitness boost.
The Chicago Bulls slipped to 27-16 on Monday night after their sixth loss in eight games. With Derrick Rose publicly slamming the team, all is not well in the Windy City.
Rose voiced his frustration with the lack of effort and communication on the floor after the loss to the Cleveland Cavaliers on Monday, while insisting that unless they stepped up as a team, they would continue to “get their ass whooped”.
Coach Tom Thibodeau was equally as irritated by the current situation, sending a message to his players that they have to decide “when enough’s enough” and understand that the way that they are playing right now is not acceptable.
At first glance at the Eastern Conference standings, things are dramatically bad for the Bulls who currently sit fourth behind the streaking Atlanta Hawks, while the Washington Wizards and Toronto Raptors have lived up to their pre-season expectations.
Cleveland arguably remain the biggest disappointment in the Conference, but that shouldn’t hide the current struggles that Chicago are going through as they have seemingly lost the identity that was so successful for them under Thibodeau over the last three years.
While Rose’s absence through injury perhaps mode them a closer unit and made them work harder on both ends of the court to make up for his loss, there is no denying that the same defensive intensity is not there.
The Bulls have a defensive rating of 102.4, 12th in the NBA, as they give up 99.7 points per game on average with only the Raptors and Cavs giving up more in the top 11 teams in the East.
That defensive rating is the worst in the five-season Thibodeau era, and nine of their last 11 opponents have scored at least 100 points against them.
Injuries have not helped their cause with Joakim Noah and Mike Dunleavy in and out of the team, while Rose has also missed time this season. However, it should be no excuse for the rest of the rotation and Thibodeau’s defensive system not to work and it could become a serious factor in the coming months with the playoffs starting to loom.
Chicago has their highest offensive rating since 2010-11 when they topped the East with a 62-20 record, but there is something fundamentally wrong with this team as both Rose and Taj Gibson conceded that it was a different mix from the infamous ‘Bench Mob’ of that year.
Given that we are at the half-way stage of the season now, it isn’t a question of familiarity or excuses about new rotations, the Bulls need to get back to the Thibodeau-hardened defense that they have played over the last three years and let the offense come with it.
With Rose unhappy, Jimmy Butler’s numbers dropping and Noah’s injuries continuing to disrupt the team, Chicago will face a significant amount of adversity in the coming weeks with a tough schedule ahead. Thibodeau will need his men to step up and start to deliver or they risk seeing their championship aspirations drift away.