Disney World: Not As Fun As South Beach
So, after two games, I still don't have much of a feel for who this team is. In game 1, Skiles emptied his bench because his team was up 13 mid-way through the second quarter. In game 2, he emptied his bench because his team was down 13 nine minutes into the game. The starting line-up, which came out aggressive, energetic and efficient against Miami, came out soft and slow against the Magic. Almost all of Orlando's damage was done against the Bulls' starting five. They opened with a 30-13 run facing the starting five (along with a couple minutes of Andres Nocioni and Viktor Khryapa, apparently getting Tyrus Thomas's minutes), and then rattled off a 15-2 run in the third quarter facing the starting five with Malik Allen replacing PJ Brown.
The Bulls collectively appeared to have tired legs last night. It was especially noticeable for Nocioni, who looked sluggish, left every shot short (1-7 from the field) and collected as many personal fouls and turnovers as rebounds and assists. Last night was a night that the Bulls could have really used Thomas's energy, but he was out with a broken nose.
They also could have used the Thabo Sefolosha's energy earlier in the game than Skiles called on him. Sefolosha looked good in garbage time in Miami. Last night, Skiles waited until mid-way through the second quarter to call on him, when the Bulls were already down 17. From then on, Sefolosha played 21 minutes, scored 13 points, and collected four rebounds and two steals. The Bulls were minus-6 the rest of the way when Sefolosha sat, and plus-8 while he was on the court. The simple fact is that the Bulls were a better team last night when Sefolosha was out there. He's already shown enough that he should be considered for early rotation minutes, especially when Skiles is looking to add athleticism or a defensive spark.
The Bulls now get a night off before their home opener on Friday night against the Kings. Hopefully, then we'll see some fresher legs, and a truer picture of just who the 2006-07 Bulls are.