Derrick Rose return sparks Bulls win over Pistons

Derrick Rose return sparks Bulls win over Pistons

Derrick Rose was back in the starting lineup tonight for the Bulls, and he led the way with team-highs of 24 points and 7 assists in a 102-91 home victory over the Detroit Pistons.

Derrick got a lot help on the offensive end as Jimmy Butler sank 4/7 from behind the arc on the way to 19 points, while Pau Gasol had an outstanding all-around game with 17 points, 15 rebounds, 4 blocked shots and 4 assists. It was the fifth double-double in eight games for the Spainard who is looking like the free-agent steal of the summer through 10% of the season.

Even the most optimistic of Bulls fans probably didn't figure Gasol would give the team 18.4 points, 11.1 rebounds and 2.38 blocks in just under 35 minutes a night. Of course, the folks who complained the loudest about Gasol did so by proclaiming that "the Bulls need a Shooting Guard!! Jimmy Butler can't play Shooting Guard!!".jimmy butler bullsville

Those folks are obviously zero for two through the first eight games, as Jimmy had another outstanding game on the offensive end. He gave the Bulls 19 points on 6/12 shooting, including four of seven on 3-pointers.

Butler is now shooting 38.9% from behind the arc, while shooting an average of three triples per game. With his size making him a mismatch against most shooting guards in the post, he has found himself leading the Bulls in scoring at 19.5 points per game. He scored eight of his points in the fourth quarter, hitting 2/3 field goals and all three of his free throw attempts as he and Rose (8 points) combined to score 16 of the team's 24 points in the final 12 minutes.

Joakim Noah continues to work his way back into shape, putting up season-highs of 13 points, 14 rebounds and 6 assists in less than 32 minutes of action. A lot of fans thought Noah's 5.4 assists per game last season were a fluke, predicated on the Bulls not having any options on offense, and that he wouldn't be a factor on offense this season.

Noah has now had back-to-back games of six assists, pushing his season average to 3.8 assists per game. He also found the touch on his jumper tonight, hitting consecutive 18-footers that forced the Pistons to play him honest on defense, opening up the floor and allowing his outstanding passing to be a factor.

Noah and Gasol have only played six games together, they are going to be downright scary as a duo up front once they've been together for 30 or 40 games.

Derrick Rose looked good

It wasn't "the Derrick Rose show" tonight, though it looked like it early as he came out and scored 8 of the Bulls' first 14 points (plus an assist) on a mid-range jumper, a 3, and a layup and one on a nice pass from Noah. He only took three shots in the second quarter, but hit two of them including a three while dishing out four assists.

He then scored his 8 fourth-quarter points in the final seven minutes on a pair of layups, a short jumper in the lane and a pair of free throws. He still isn't the MVP Rose from 2011, but he's slowly getting his feel for the game back, as he made several nice passes tonight and got to the rim almost at will.

Taj Gibson grabbed 4 defensive rebounds

It's pretty sad that I had to make a heading for that, but when a guy who got paid for his defense and rebounding is averaging 3.5 defensive rebounds per 36 minutes, getting four in 24 minutes is pretty good. I guess.

That being said, I still would have liked to see Mirotic on the floor for more than five minutes, as he was active on defense with a steal and a blocked shot in his limited playing time. Obviously, the offense is much better with Niko spreading the floor than with Taj trying to score each and every time he gets the ball in the low post - even when double-teamed - I can't really complain after an 11-point win.

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  • The FO made some solid off-season moves with Gasol and Brooks.

    M and M also look to be good pickups. However, Thibs NEEDS to play these two more, and with mostly starters at least some of the time. They will be needed for a playoff run.

    Right now, Hinrich is playing more than Brooks, and it appears that their minutes should be reversed. Brooks not only scores in various ways, he is dishing out assists at a decent rate.

  • In reply to rustyw:

    Unfortunately, I think the only bench players Thibs will be using in the playoffs are Hinrich, Brooks and Taj. Last night was the first time all season Thibs has had the entire roster healthy, and Doug and Niko only got 5 minutes each against a non-playoff team.

    And that was with Noah and Rose restricted to 32 minutes each, I have a feeling that in the playoffs, they would each play 37 minutes and the rookies won't see the floor at all.

    Even though we're currently 6th in the league in Offensive Efficiency, I have no faith that once the playoffs roll around, Thibs won't play anyone off the bench but Kirk and Taj for their defense.

    We better all hope I'm wrong, because the Bulls are going to need Doug and Niko's (and Brooks) offense at times if there is any chance to win a championship.

    As much as Brooks is outplaying Kirk now and still getting less minutes, can we really expect Thibs to play Brooks over Kirk in the playoffs?

  • the Bulls had an O.K. night on the boards, but Detroit seemed to hit the offensive glass harder when Taj entered the game, especially in the second half. Gasol and Noah did a good job together. They matchup better against bigger frontlines than they do against athletic ones.

    I'm really disheartened by the direction that Taj's game is going. I used to look forward to his entering the game(particularly since he was replacing boozer) now not so much. It isn't quite dread yet, but it could be heading that way if Taj doesn't pick up the effort on the defensive end of the court.

  • In reply to BigWay:

    I went back and looked at the play-by-play, and the Pistons got 6 of their 9 offensive rebounds in the 23:56 that Gibson was on the floor.

    Gibson's Defensive Rebound Percentage of 11.0 is a complete joke - Dunleavy and McDermott are at 11.4, that's all that needs to be said.

    You do bring up another great point I hadn't considered - pretty much anyone would look good coming in for Boozer!

    Plus, the past two years the Bulls have had Nazr as their fourth big, so Taj was the last option, no matter how he played (though he always played very well for the most part). But the way Mirotic has looked when he's actually gotten minutes is making Taj look bad in comparison, mostly because Niko has looked much better on defense than anyone had expected.

  • As for Butler, I still think that his game is more suited to small forward than shooting guard. He seems to be doing a better job as a SG this season than he did last, apparently do to losing a few lbs and not suffering through nagging injuries that he never recovered from last season.

    He can function at SG when paired with a great penetrating PG like Rose, and even Brooks. However, his game suffers when playing with the likes of Hangdog, then again who doesn't.

    It will be interesting to see how the positions shake out if McKorver ever proves that he is starter material.

    As for Gasol, I think most Bulls fan were quite pleased with the signing. My only issue was that it had to be for 3 yrs instead of 2, and that was necessitated by the desire/need to bring over Mirotic this season.

  • In reply to BigWay:

    The main concern I had with Butler at SG was his 3-point shooting, though when he was healthy in 2012-13 he hit them at close to 40% shooting 2 or 3 a game (granted it was only for about 30-40 games).

    But put him on the floor with Rose, Doug and Niko, and he should be able to get plenty of wide open 3's from the corners, which should allow him to make them at close to 40% IMHO.

    For the most part SG and SF are interchangable in Thibs' system, either way Butler will be guarding the better scorer whether he's a 2 or a 3. And most SG just can't handle Butler in the low post, which doesn't help much now with Dunleavy out there, but once McDermott is comfortable with the league teams won't be able to put their SF on Butler (like the Pistons did with Josh Smith last night).

    You could be right about Gasol, I was reading RealGM a lot this summer and way too many fans were pissed that we signed Gasol instead of Stephenson. I'll take Butler over Stephenson and day personally.

  • Interesting question presented by last nights matchups, who is the better player, who do you like better with this Bulls team, Brooks or DJ.

    I was surprised to see that Brooks looks noticeably smaller than DJ. I was also a bit surprised that even Brooks didn't seem to be able to keep up with DJ's speed.

    We could have had them both(DJ instead of Hangdog with the room exception) but I doubt that we would have signed Brooks if we had gone with DJ.

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