At what point do you start to believe? Is it time to believe? Everytime you start to invest in this team, they go on to let you down. Are they on the road to a better finish or are they going to flail around again? This isn't about the next couple games. If they drop a couple tough road games I won't be upset, but can they carry the momentum forward to win the games they should win the rest of the way?
Either way, this was another great win. Derrick Rose dominated the early half of the game and then played great down the stretch. He was basically unstoppable for large parts of the game, and we've seen teams starting to play ball denial on him much more and double teaming him further and further from the basket.
Joakim Noah struggled with foul trouble early, and didn't play as many minutes as normal but came up with five points in the final minute of the game to ensure the victory.
Much like the last couple of games, the Bulls got a huge boost from quality three point shooting in this one. When the Spurs took the lead in the fourth quarter, John Salmons nailed a three, quickly followed by a Rose three, quickly followed by a Miller three. The three point shooting has been a big boon to the Bulls success, and it's played a huge role in the Bulls wins.
The Bulls defended excellently all night long for the third game in a row, and it's starting to feel fun to watch this team again.
It's also worth giving Luol Deng a shout out for a couple big plays in the fourth quarter. He didn't have a big game by any stretch, but he did score a few tough buckets when the Bulls needed them in the fourth as well.
A few random late game thoughts:
1) When Noah had the block to Hinrich, and it looked like Hinrich had an open lane for a layup if he pushed, he held back. I know what he was thinking. He wasn't sure the difference in the shot clock and game clock immediately and thought he might be able to run down the clock before getting intentionally fouled. Still, if you have a chance to push for an open layup to get the four point lead I think you have to take it.
2) When the Spurs fouled Noah, but had one foul to give, why did Del Negro leave Noah in the game? The Bulls then had to inbound to Noah putting one of their worst foul shooters on the line. He split the free throws in a situation hitting both comes close to ending the game. --- edit - I take this one back, I hadn't noticed how much Noah raised his FT% on the season, I'd have still put Brad Miller in the game instead, but I can't complain about it much ---
3) After Giniboli got a plethora of flops it was nice to see him not get completely bailed out at the end of the game.
Anyway, nice win for the Bulls, now the worst that can happen is 3 games under when this road trip is over. I officially christen it a success.