NBA Stats

Jan 22 2014 8:34PM

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.

Bulls
Jan 7-21
Off RtgDef RtgNet MargineFG%FT RateTO%OR%
Overall101.295.85.447.9%0.28115.8%28.4%
#1 Lineup103.787.216.547.1%0.29115.6%32.1%

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.

Current
#1 Lineup
Off RtgNet MargineFG%FT RateTO%OR%
Pre-Trade97.3-5.844.4%0.26517.7%31.7%
Post-Trade103.716.547.1%0.29115.6%32.1%

While the offensive improvement is significant in three of the Four Factor categories, their defensive improvement can be traced to just one -- Effective FG%.

Current
#1 Lineup
Def RtgNet MarginOpp eFG%Opp FT RateOpp TO%Opp OR%
Pre-Trade103.1-5.854.6%0.14718.1%22.2%
Post-Trade87.216.543.5%0.19017.3%21.8%

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.