The Bulls got tattooed by Oklahoma City yesterday, 92-78 (but it was much worse until the end), and C.G. Hill notes in passing that Luol Deng had a less-than-stellar game:
The vaunted Bulls defense did outrebound the Thunder, 48-40, with Carlos Boozer roping in ten, but Chicago simply wasn’t making shots; forward Luol Deng, who’s always seemed like he ought to be an All-Star, got to demonstrate why he isn’t, hitting four of 13 and contributing neither a rebound nor an assist.
Actually, Luol Deng is an all-star this year for the first time. Sometimes, he does have a nagging tendency to disappear like this, but in his defense, he is playing hurt now (wrist) and has been playing hurt for a good 6-8 weeks, and since it is a wrist injury, he really has not been shooting well for much of that time. But Deng is still a very versatile and valuable player even when he is not scoring, because of his defense, his rebounding, his ability to either start or finish on the fast break, the way he eats up minutes, and the way he plays well with both the starters and the reserves, and Thibs loves him for all of that, as any coach would.
I do wish, however, that Deng was a little bit more of a go-to scorer, especially at playoff time, because the Bulls don’t really have that powerful 2 or 3 type of player, the guy who can get his own shot and get to the line dependably. That can hurt in June.
The Bulls have played pretty well without Rose, but they need their leader back, and soon.