Bulls Keep Getting It Done
By Jay Cipoleti
Tonight the Bulls face recent teammate Luol Deng and the Cavaliers for the first time since the trade that sent Deng to Cleveland. In the two weeks since the deal, Chicago has gone 6-2, raising their season mark to an even 20-20.
Over that eight-game stretch, the lineup of Carlos Boozer, Jimmy Butler, Mike Dunleavy, Kirk Hinrich and Joakim Noah have played 108 minutes, double the 54 minutes of the next most used lineup (Augustin, Butler, Gibson, Noah, Snell). Expectedly, the play of that lineup has had a major impact on the Bulls' surprising resurgence.
|Off Rtg||Def Rtg||Net Margin||eFG%||FT Rate||TO%||OR%|
To call the play of that unit since the trade unexpected would be a bit of an understatement. Over just 71 minutes in five of the 32 games prior to the trade, they had shown very little to indicate the could become a dominant lineup -- and make no mistake, a double digit Net Margin is dominant.
|Off Rtg||Net Margin||eFG%||FT Rate||TO%||OR%|
While the offensive improvement is significant in three of the Four Factor categories, their defensive improvement can be traced to just one -- Effective FG%.
|Def Rtg||Net Margin||Opp eFG%||Opp FT Rate||Opp TO%||Opp OR%|
In the eight games since trading away Deng, the lineup of Boozer, Butler, Dunleavy, Hinrich and Noah has somehow transformed themselves from one whose 54.6% eFG allowed would have ranked 30th, well behind the Kings' 52.1% allowed, to a lockdown unit whose 43.5% eFG allowed would top even the Pacers' 44.3% Def eFG.
Facing two teams at the bottom of the league in eFG% and no team better than 10th is reason to temper excitement about the long-term defensive expectations of that unit. Tonight should provide an interesting test -- since the trade, the Cavs' 50.7% eFG would rank them 11th in the League.