[First in a series in which we reflect on what happened to the 2014-15 Bulls. In this post, we’ll look at what happened in the team’s Game 6 defeat, which ended the season.]
The Bulls scored 31 points in the first quarter looking as if they showed up to an elimination game on their home court with something to prove.
As a team, they shot 56 percent (13 of 23) from the field despite shooting 1-for-6 on 3-point attempts. When it came to ball control, they had 7 assists and only 2 turnovers.
As far as individuals are concerned, Pau Gasol gave them 8 points in 7 minutes. Derrick Rose scored 10, handed out 3 assists and turned it over only once.
The Bulls were down 33-31 after the first, but they looked like they had a puncher’s chance with LeBron James not looking to hot (2-for-7 from the field including 0-for-2 from the 3-point line) and Kyrie Irving on one leg.
Then the other 36 minutes — in which the Bulls scored a grand total of 42 points — happened.
The breakdown isn’t pretty.
- 14-for-43 on 2-pointers (32.6 percent)
- 3-for-14 on 3-pointers (21.4 percent)
- 17-for-57 shooting from the field overall (29.8 percent)
As you might’ve guessed, the Bulls stunk individually, too, after the first:
- Rose: 2-of-7 (28.6 percent)
- Butler: 6-of-18 (33.3 percent)
- Dunleavy: 1-of-6 (16.7 percent)
Joakim Noah playing on bum wheels being a non-factor on offense is one thing. The Bulls’ bench — which was supposed to give the Bulls some sort of depth edge — shot 8-for-41 (19.5 percent) from the field and 1-for-6 (16.7 percent) from the 3-point line is something that shouldn’t happen.
It looked ugly on TV. It looked awful while in attendance. And it somehow feels worse after dissecting the box score.
The Bulls last led 40-38 with six minutes left in the second half. From that point forward, the Bulls were outscored 56-33 over the game’s final 30 minutes.
It’s bad when the Cavaliers’ 21-of-52 shooting (40.4 percent) on 2-point attempts looks good. But that’s how bad the Bulls were offensively on Thursday.
“You can’t win if you don’t score.”
It’s one of sports’ most simple-to-understand adages. Yet, it was something the Bulls failed to comprehend as its offense sputtered and stalled during the most important 36 minutes of the season.