No tank for you!!
That was certainly the message the Bulls sent on TNT Thursday night, thoroughly dominating the final 47 minutes of a 107-87 win over the Miami Heat.
LeBron James came out looking to send a message, taking a rebound all the way for a layup and then grabbing a steal and going all the way for an and-1. Less than a minute in, the Bulls were down 4-0 and LeBron seemed to be in a zone.
But he missed the FT, and Kirk Hinrich quickly nailed a pair of 3's before a Boozer FT finally gave the Bulls a 12-11 lead they never lost.
Deng continued his string of 20-point games, and while his numbers weren't as dominant as his last 4 games, he was mostly responsible for LeBron going 5/15 after the first minute. And he hit the dagger 3 in the final few minutes that sealed the deal on a blowout win.
Of course Derrick Rose saying earlier in the day that he might, possibly be back for the playoffs was the big news, but a close 2nd was the play of Marquis Teague.
He was forced to play almost 20 minutes in this game because Hinrich got into foul trouble less than 5 minutes into the 3rd quarter, and he was downright competent in a big game (for early in the season). He missed all 3 of his shots and both of his FT attempts, but he also had three assists and, most importantly and impressively, zero turnovers.
The team didn't fall apart and lose any of its lead in his 20 minutes, in fact the team added two points to the lead while Teague was playing. He ran the offense quite well, and received several compliments from Reggie Miller and Greg Anthony on the TNT telecast.
It's amazing what a guy can do when he gets a little playing time and a little confidence. It's only one game so too early to say whether or not he finally "gets it", but it possible a trip to Iowa woke him up. It would be huge if he could play 20 minutes against most teams, mean Hinrich could stay at no more than 30 minutes a night.
It's still way to early for me to say to most Bulls fans "I told you so" about Teague, but I have put myself on warning that the day is coming. Sooner than it seemed a few short days ago.