This game defies all reason:
1) The Bulls beat a quality opponent [okay that's happened before]
2) They did it on the road [that hasn't been so frequent]
3) They did it on the second half of a back to back [what?]
4) Joakim Noah sat out the game
Much like the Phoenix game, the Bulls took control of this one relatively early and hung on the whole way through. The Rockets did fight back to have their chances at the end, but the Bulls pulled away after Rose put them up by four with 30 seconds to go. The Rockets missed and went into foul mode and never threatened again.
What we saw tonight is the result when the Bulls make shots. Particularly long range shots. They were 7/12 from the three point line and did a nice job punishing the Rockets from the perimeter when left open, yet they still had a ton of points in the paint including a whole bunch of dunks.
Derrick Rose had another nice offensive outing with 20 points including the aforementioned dagger to give the Bulls a two possession lead with 30 seconds to go. Rose played efficiently tonight getting a couple and1s, and using up only 17 possessions for his 20 points.
The Bulls ball movement looks quite a bit better lately. The Bulls are doing a great job of finding Gibson and Miller under the hoop for dunks when the Rockets went to double team on a drive or pick and roll. Miller and Gibson were really the key to the game, as they beat up the rockets interior.
The pair combined for 41 points on 27 offensive possessions. Many of their shots were set up by teammates who made nice passes, but give them credit for finishing them off. The Bulls simply don't win tonight if both guys didn't play outstanding basketball.
Tyrus Thomas also deserves some credit for staying active defensively as he had six blocks in only 23 minutes. Tyrus got cheated on a couple blocks that were called as fouls as well. Kirk Hinrich had a nice defensive game, but struggled to find his shot for most of the night though he did rack up seven assists, and Luol Deng had a mediocre showing overall not doing a whole lot.
All in all, you have to be pretty happy about the last two games. This road trip could have been a complete debacle, but even if they finish 0-3 in the next three games, those two wins will keep them in the playoff hunt. The worst case scenario is to leave the trip 5 games under .500 which certainly isn't ideal, but would leave them in fair shape in the conference.