3-pointers: Breaking down Bulls' loss to Hawks

The Bulls dropped to 27-15 with Saturday's loss to the Hawks.

The Bulls dropped to 27-15 with Saturday's 107-99 home loss to the Hawks. Here are three observations:

The defensive issues remain and are becoming more troubling.

That's a very good Hawks team, obviously, and one that floods the court with shooters at virtually every possession. Throw in unselfishness and the result is 31 assists on 40 field goals, as the Hawks had.

But the Bulls' defensive issues are becoming more deep-seated and apparent no matter the opponent. Earlier this season, coach Tom Thibodeau bristled when Taj Gibson raised the issue of a lack of trust. But Derrick Rose for the second time in three games cited a lack of communication for the defensive problems, which is similar to lack of trust. And this time Rose had proof.

A sequence in the first half had Rose slide to the side of Jeff Teague to force him baseline, which is the Bulls' preferred method of guarding to funnel the ballhandler to help. Rose thought help was coming as Teague drove. It never did and Teague scored an easy layup.

Nikola Mirotic is enduring a rough stretch.

Maybe he should go back to playing small forward.

That's said facetiously, but since Mirotic's two-game experiment at small forward, the rookie has looked lost, particularly at the defensive end. He fouled out against the Hawks, including giving up a four-point play to Kyle Korver to slow momentum in the fourth quarter.

Exacerbating the defensive issues, Mirotic is shooting 32.3 percent overall and 22.2 percent from 3-point range in January.

Derrick Rose is on a roll.

That's two straight double-doubles and a near triple-double for Rose, who is averaging 19.6 points and 6 assists for the month. Rose still isn't getting to the line much, averaging just 3.7 attempts. And his 41.5 percent shooting is below his career average of 45.6 percent as well.

But Rose has been aggressive at both ends of late, always a welcome sight.

"I’m not worried about my performance," Rose said. "My biggest thing is just winning games. I could have zero points and 20 turnovers and if we win, I’m happy with it."

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