The Bulls lead from wire to wire if I'm not mistaken, and the Bulls raise their record to 17-20. I discussed the Bulls upcoming stretch of difficult games, and the Bulls take the first one of that group against Boston. Even without KG, Boston's a pretty good team and was playing at home, so this was a big win.
Game ball goes to Luol Deng who was scored 25 on the night getting the Bulls off to a hot start and carrying them all game long whenever they needed a score. It's one game I won't even give him a hard time about shooting his 20 footer, though the off the dribble, defended 20 footer he missed when Boston was on the cusp of getting back into the game still made me mad.
Derrick Rose had a good, bad game if that makes any sense. It was what I considered a grow up game in some ways, because he wasn't playing great, he lost control of his dribble repeatedly, and despite shooting well, scored only 17 points on 16 shots. However, he did an outstanding job keeping Rondo off the glass which he struggled with last playoffs, and hit some shots when the Bulls needed them while most of his ball handling problems didn't result in turnovers.
It felt like Joakim Noah was getting beated by Perkins, but at the end of the night: Perkins 14 points (on 12 possessions) with 10 rebounds. Joakim Noah 15 points (on 10 possessions) and 11 rebounds. He had four blocks to Perkins five, but sometimes it's easy to forget that Joakim is starting to do a nice job dishing out some offense himself these days, and the big physical guys that beast him aren't always putting up better numbers despite a couple plays of physical dominance.
I thought Kirk Hinrich had an excellent game, early on and through the mid parts of the game he was really a big key in what the Bulls were doing. He did a nice job running the offense, playing defense, and hitting his shots tonight. If Kirk could play like this every night the Bulls would be much better.
I've been thinking "head over feet" might be Taj Gibson's new theme song for Bulls fans. "You've already won me over, in spite of me," ... [ouch I probably shouldn't be writing that I know these lyrics].. Seriously, I can't think of any player who came into this team needing to do more to win over fans than Gibson, and he's pulling it off. However, Gibson has improved immensely since the start of the year from a guy who looked like a 4th big man to a guy who could maybe be a legit 3rd big man.
Look at his numbers compared to Dejuan Blair. They really aren't all that different, and given the fact that Gibson (unlike Blair) has a better than 50/50 chance to still be able to walk in 3 years, you can't complain about this pick. As it turns out, Gibson has been one of the steals of the draft. Nice job on that pick, even if we didn't believe it at the time.
The Bulls bench put forth 14 points on 27 possessions [not counting turnovers]. That's just pathetic. John Salmons couldn't throw the ball in the ocean, Tyrus Thomas couldn't get anything going on the offensive end. On the other hand, Tyrus really made an impact on the game with his energy tonight coming up with six offensive rebounds and four steals in 17 minutes. That's the type of stuff that lets you live with him not giving you offense.
Brad Miller just looked terrible. It seemed like every time the ball was in 10 feet of him he'd exaggerate some kind of contact and hope for a foul. Johnson was quiet, but had a couple of blocks and Pargo managed to at least find the floor.
It's easy to feel good about this win. It's the type of game I've been waiting to see the Bulls pull together. It was a critical win given the upcoming schedule, Boston was weak due to fatigue and injuries, and the Bulls took advantage. Vinny has won 7 of his last 10, and with the wins has come enough job security to last out the season most likely.
The Bulls are three games under .500, they've still got a brutal stretch over the next couple of weeks, but if they pull it through the ice capades trip then they'll have a relatively soft schedule the rest of the way. Who knows, by the end of the season Vinny may still have a job for next year too.