Usually when a team shoots below 40 percent for the game, that's a bad game. Against the Bulls it's pretty much expected. The Bulls are notorious for making a game ugly with dominant physical defense and they sure made it tonight. The Bobcats stuck around and had some chances at the end but they fell just short, 86-81. There were plenty of positives to go around, but none more impressive than how fast the defense looked with crisp rotations. The bench had a monster game with big efforts from Jeff Adrien and Jeff Taylor. Finally, the best stat of the night in my opinion is that the Bobcats were 7-for-16 from three point range.
The Bulls did what they wanted to do in this game. They made it as ugly as they possibly could with terrific defense on a struggling offensive team and tried to grind it out. That's the only thing the Bulls did according to plan. Their offense was a dumpster fire and didn't have any cohesion in the slightest. Jimmy Butler (4-for-6 for 14 points) and Luol Deng (5-for-10 for 21 points, including a dagger 3-pointer) had the best games of the nights giving the Bobcats all kinds of fits on offense and defense. The Bobcats did a fantastic job of keeping Derrick Rose under wraps. Rose went 4-for-13 with 12 points and never looked comfortable. Every time he'd attack the basket it was like a Bobcat was right there ready to contest him.
The Bobcats were able to stay in this game through the efforts of their bench. They had 36 points off the bench, more than doubling the Bulls' bench total. Jeff Taylor poured in a career high 20 points. Jeff Adrien had the game of his life on defense stopping Bulls players in their tracks at the rim, including an amazing highlight rejection on a Taj Gibson dunk. As good as the bench was, though, the biggest factor of the night was the three-point shooting.
The Bobcats offense has major spacing issues. If shots aren't falling they can't get to the basket, especially when Al Jefferson isn't playing like he is right now. The Bobcats went 7-for-16 from three tonight and those three pointers opened up the floor for the Jeff Taylors of the team to attack the basket. With all these positives how could the Bobcats have possibly lost?
Well, because the Bobcats starters were mostly no-shows on offense. Had Jeff Taylor not had the game of his life, we'd be talking about a blowout. Nobody in the starting lineup was able to break free from the Bulls suffocating defense.
Late game execution was a problem. The Bobcats are a young team and with that come mental mistakes. This team isn't used to being in a situation where they need to run a play perfectly for that final game winning/tying shot. That Gerald Henderson air ball they got at the end sealed their fate away in a poorly executed final attempt.
It's a shame the Bobcats lost a game they played so well in on the defensive side of the ball but there just wasn't enough offensive output to beat an amazingly good Bulls defense.