You might remember back to when the Bulls beat the Suns that I wrote something along the lines of "The Bulls won't beat a good team if they keep imploding for a quarter every game." It should be no surprise then that the Bulls lost to the Magic after being outscored 33-15 in the second quarter. The domination doesn't end there, so on the night where the Bulls firmly cemented themselves as the third best team in the East (until they blast Boston on Friday and confuse everyone) I give you a special Bulls/Bears where you will find zero Bulls. Hate is more enjoyable to read than love anyway, so enjoy.
-Rebounding: This is the big one. The Bulls amassed 21 rebounds... for the entire game. 48 minutes, 21 boards. If that sounds bad, you A) Need to stop reading out loud, it's pissing off your wife/dog/mom and B) would be completely correct because that is, no exaggeration, the FEWEST rebounds the Chicago Bulls have ever accrued over the course of one game. That is in the entire history of the franchise. How did this happen, especially considering the Bulls have the number two rebounder in the league (Joakim Noah) and also that Carlos Boozer returned to the lineup tonight? Glad you asked...
-Everybody on the team had their worst night of the season. I am going out on a limb and saying Boozer will not have a worse line than 5 points and 2 rebounds in 22 minutes this season. Derrick Rose had 15 points and only 4 assists. Noah had 16 points and ZERO rebounds. Kyle Korver scored 6 points in 30 minutes. Nobody else on the team has stats even worth mentioning. It was so bad KURT THOMAS registered minutes! I thought Kurt Thomas died years ago! (and by that I mean I thought he got traded to Milwaukee OHHHHHHH God I hate the Bucks).
-The Bad Quarter. I feel like a broken record. Nearly every game the Bulls stop playing the way they should for one whole quarter. They rush shots, take too many jumpers, stop switching on defense, and everything falls apart rapidly. Common sense was they couldn't pull that against a great team, and tonight they played one of the two teams they can't pull that against in the Eastern conference. Some nights the bad quarter is because the team on the floor is the entire second string for 8 minutes. Sometimes it's because the Bulls get jumper-happy. Whatever it is, it needs to be addressed and remedied by the end of the regular season. Luckily, after the Bulls play the Celtics on Friday 10 of their 14 remaining December games come against teams with losing records, and two of those games against winning teams are against the Pacers and Knicks.
Lots to be upset about tonight, but I'm not going to jerk my knees and declare the Bulls in a state of emergency after one game. This was just a perfect storm. Everybody had a bad game, there looked to be some confusion due to Boozer's arrival, and that bad quarter reared its head again. I doubt this will all be fixed before the Celtics game, but looking at the schedule ahead there's a lot of hope that the Bulls can mesh in December and come out of it looking like they can challenge Orlando and Boston for the Eastern Conference.