Bench comes up big and Derrick dominates the 4th in the Bulls win over the Rockets

In a story which I suspect will become all too common as the years go by, Derrick Rose saved the Bulls and willed them to a victory with a brilliant fourth quarter performance.  What probably isn't so common about this story is he did it with a barrage of three point shots, knocking down three of three early in the fourth and adding a drive to the hoop with an and 1.    The Bulls turned an eight point deficit into a nine point lead at the 4:31 mark in the fourth quarter.

However, the Bulls struggled down the stretch and failed to score again until the Rockets started intentionally fouling, but managed to hang on and beat the Rockets 95-92.

The Bulls have a lot of things to be thankful for in this game.   It's a game that I thought they should have won easily, but it's also a game they probably shouldn't have won on the court.    The second big story was the poor play of the starting lineup.  They really struggled with the Rockets defense which did an outstanding job in getting back to shut down the early offense opportunities. 

If it weren't for a blistering 8-12 from behind the three point line,
this ball game goes the other way.  If it weren't for instant replay
over turning five Rockets points, this game would have gone the other
way.  The

Without getting anything out of the early offense, the Bulls struggled in the half court.  Shane Battier, an outstanding positional defender, is perhaps the worst type of matchup for Luol Deng, because he never makes mental mistakes defensively and Deng doesn't have the type of game to abuse Battier athletically.


Rose knocking down four of five threes has to make opposing coaches queasy.

Derrick dominated when it mattered, but the way he did so was so unusual for the Bulls.   To reign fire from beyond the arc is about the least likely way you'd expect Rose to beat you.   Getting out in transition?  Yes.   Killing you in the half court?  Sure.   Beating you with threes?   .... If that becomes a pattern, then the response is 'ut oh'.   

Look, everyone has hot games, and Rose is shooting 32% on the season after this four of five from the three point line with only 11 makes on the year from the three point line.   Still, the fact that he's working on it and can have nights like this is awfully encouraging.  

Derrick Rose with a three point shot is a legit MVP candidate.     Derrick's had too many great nights to say this was the best night of his career, but 33 points on only 20 shots (25 possessions counting FT and TOs) is one of the more efficiency high scoring nights he's ever had.

Have you noticed Luol's scoring in the fourth quarter?
Bulls fans have ragged on Deng for years for disappearing in the fourth quarter, but something strange has happened this year.  He's actually routinely hit pretty big shots in the fourth quarter.

Granted, he was two of five on FG attempts in the quarter, but one of the makes was a three, and he also knocked down three free throws after being intentionally fouled to put up eight points in the quarter.  We're not going to write home about this fourth quarter performance, but in the fourth 2/5 for 8 points while the rest of the game he was 4-16 for 8 points.

It's about the nicest thing I could think of to say about Deng who struggled against Battier all night long.   Battier is probably a near worst case defender for Deng, because he's so smart and good positionally, and Deng lacks the athleticism to take advantage of him and typically gets his points off of his own heady play.

Joakim Noah was relatively ineffective in this game
My how our expectations for Noah have grown.  The guy puts up 12/9, and I'm going to rag on him for a poor game.    However, his defense was poor, and he never seemed to really get into the flow of the game.  He had a short stretch early where he did most of his damage and looked like was on his way to a solid game, but he could never get it going in the second half again.

I believe his 30 minutes marks the fewest he's played in a game this season, and Omer Asik played during the entire stretch that decided the outcome of the game.

Still, as I've noted before, when a guy like Noah gives you 12/9, and you're disappointed, then you know he's done a great job at improving his game.

Taj Gibson was a train wreck
Well, you knew Taj Gibson wasn't going to shoot 60% all season long.   Taj dropped his FG% by 5% with this game alone throwing up a one for nine game that made you want to claw out your eyes. 

His defense on Scola was head-shakingly bad as he fell for the same pump fake into a spin move for a layup move probably three plays inside four minutes.   Granted, Scola's a good offensive player, but you can't bite on the same pump fake move over and over again.  Force the guy to shoot the jumper.

Keith Bogans didn't play much or do much

Okay, I'm only putting him up this high on the list to clump him with the starters, but Bogans had to sit early with foul trouble in the first giving Ronnie Brewer a shot to get in the game, and then Brewer played some outstanding basketball, so the Bulls didn't go to Bogans much after that.

He did knock down his one shot on the night, a three pointer.

Ronnie Brewer played big in the second quarter

Brewer played around 18 minutes in the first half, probably the most he's played in a half this season, and he rewarded the Bulls with some outstanding play.  His defense helped turn the game around, and he found ways to get opportunity baskets, sealing his man in the paint for a shot, finding open spaces on the floor, and making things happen in transition.

Ronnie Brewer is coming closer and closer to the Brewer we thought we were going to get and he looks like he's recovering his athletic burst.  His play has definitely improved when on the court with Derrick Rose.

Thank you for gutting out that knee pain Kyle Korver

Korver was so good on the night.  10 points on five possessions is huge, and while he didn't chip in a ton of points, the efficiency in which he chipped them in really helped save the team.  His late fourth quarter three was the dagger that really finished off the Rockets.

He also continues to move the ball really well and help make shots for other players when teams try to crowd him by running out on him.  The offense just has so many more opportunities when Korver is in the game, much like Brewer, his strong play in the first half helped keep the Bulls in this game.

Omer Asik continues to play well off the bench
He's playing in limited minutes,with limited skills and still can't hit free throws.  He still racks up fouls at an incredible rate as well, but so far, the Bulls never look in trouble with Asik steps on the court. 

Despite his foul rate, he plays solid positional defense, helps shut down the lane, and does a solid job on the boards.   On offense, he continues to take advantage of the easy opportunities that come his way and goes right to the hoop for easy baskets if opponents try to abandon him.

Asik definitely looks like he's worth the three second rounders the Bulls paid to get him.

Final thoughts
The Bulls were lucky to survive this game, but a win is a win.   A few things that stuck out to me in this game:

First, the Bulls had Derrick Rose use a "foul to give" at the end of the 1st half, and they later had to sit him with foul trouble.   The use of the "foul to give" was meaningless anyway, there's so many times that teams go to this play, but how does it really affect anything?  There are now 8 seconds left, which is still plenty of time to set up a final isolation play. 

If you can't use the foul to give with around five seconds or less there's really no point to it, and I don't think you ever want to have your best player use it.  I remember thinking at the time, "well this probably won't come back to bite us, but I don't like it".

Also, end of the game, there's .7 seconds left on the clock, Derrick is on the line for a final free throw, Houston has no timeouts left. Do you make or miss the free throw?  Your odds of winning the game are likely near guaranteed no matter what, but if you miss the free throw it would take more than .7 seconds to get the rebound let alone shoot. 

Since there were no timeouts, it wouldn't be possible to get a quick TO call and advance the ball.  Granted, it's probably still the right move to try to make the shot, because the only way you lose the game is likely airballing an intentional miss allowing them to take the ball out of bounds and beat you with a three, but a miss that hits the rim ends the game 100% of the time.

The Rockets didn't ever get a shot off in that final .7 as Derrick Rose intercepted the inbounds pass, but they ran a nice play out of the free throw with everyone sprinting down the court, and if Rose hadn't made an extremely athletic tip of that pass then the Rockets would have had a clean look at a three pointer if they could do a catch turn and shoot in .7 seconds.

Ultimately irrelevant, but it will be interesting to see how Thibodeau responds to those situations the next time they come up.



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    Has anybody noticed the SCARY FOCUS in the eyes of Derrick Rose lately?

    It's definitely one of those "REFUSE TO LOSE" type looks.

    He's taking his game to another level.

  • In reply to MrHappy:

    What's really scary is that Rose's game hasn't quite matured yet. He's still a little wild sometimes and he's a good 2 or 3 years away from the age where NBA stars begin to reach their prime, but he can already do pretty much whatever he wants to do on the court.

  • In reply to magestew:

    Yea, his ballhandling still had me sweating i nthe 4rth quarter.

  • In reply to BigWay:

    Me, too. He needs to take a page out of another legendary Chicago high school point guard (Isaiah Thomas) and go into a gym at night with the lights out and dribble dribble dribble dribble dribble. Don't get me wrong, he has good handles, but he doesn't work the basketball like a yo-yo the way the other top PG's can. But I know it's coming!

  • In reply to MrHappy:

    Does anyone else get the feeling that Korver misses the Jazz? The chicago media has tried to bait him into saying that rose is better than williams and he has never bit once not even hinted at it

    He also congratulated the Jazz on their win to the heat on Facebook

  • In reply to UtahBullsFan:

    not at all, but you being in Utah would probably have a better feel for that

    I think he should be very happy in this offense

  • In reply to ChiRy:

    and furthermore, I think those (lack of) comments suggest more about Kyle's personality, and not wanting to do a diservice to either Derrick or Deron.

  • In reply to ChiRy:

    from Sam Smith's article:

  • In reply to ChiRy:

    from Sam Smith's article:

  • In reply to ChiRy:

    Omer Asik Fan Club

    Since James Johnson is buried on the bench somewhere (most likely a good move for now) I find myself enjoying Omer Asik's play.

    Rose is dynamite but I'm looking for new reasons to watch the Bulls, and Asik has me interested.

    It seems like Asik playing in the center spot slowed down the Houston Rockets as they tried to slash to the bucket. Whether he's credited for blocks or not, he is altering their shots.

    He even took a pass to the low post and tried to score on someone. Stacey King noticed it on the broadcast.

    Anyway, these Bulls are fun to watch. Hopefully they give a good effort tonite against the Spurs.

  • In reply to rkraneis:

    Count me in, I hope that we can afford to resign him when his contract is up.

  • In reply to rkraneis:

    I noticed that deng is horrible when he leads the fast break

  • In reply to ChiRy:

    Did anyone else feel the officiating was complete horse shit for the first 3 quarters? How about that blocking call on Rose when Scola plowed into him?

    I think if the referees weren't so terrible this game, going into the fourth we lead by almost 20.

    I really hate complaining about officiating, but sometimes it just doesn't feel fair

  • In reply to ChiRy:

    Sam Smith was Right

    On another blog, Sam Smith said the lack of calls for Rose is horrible. Rose has developed a move where he drives to the bucket, holds the ball close to his body like a football, and then uncoils at the last instant for a layup.

    I've never seen that move from a superstar. Can we complain to the NBA office? Seriously, horrible calls against Rose.

  • In reply to rkraneis:


    Isn't Rose getting to the FT-line nearly 6 times per game?

    He's getting plenty of calls.

  • In reply to MrHappy:

    But, if he initaited contact rather than do a triple cardle reverse layup, he would draw a lot more calls. Although, I aint complaining. For the amount of time Rose has the ball and penetrates, that number should be more like 10 attempts per game. I've seen him be a little more vocal with refs and assert himself when he thinks he deserves a call the last couple games. That call on him last night when he drew the charge but was called the other way was ridiculous. Hopefully he starts getting star treatment on the court re getting calls soon. At least he's thinking about drawing contact and trying to get the and 1 call more now.

  • In reply to MrHappy:

    plenty? durant,lebron,wade,bosh and amare just to name a few i think avg 10.. 6? thats nothing at all for a guy who slashes more than anybody in the league..its not the he goes away contact excuse.. they just never want to call anything for rose.. did you see how scola ran him over when he was cleary there? no suppose he got hurt.. refs just do like rose or something.. luol gets it honestly by tumbling byhimself and yelling with little contact.. thats what all vet's do..

  • In reply to MrHappy:

    doug deng has always been good.. seriously..lets not act like he useto avg 10 points before.. deng was always a good scorer and great shooter.. he couldnt do anything with vinny for 2 years.. what did you expect? its vinny.. lets rest the bashing on luol once and for allplease.. you guys act like hes a bum.. i can honestly say luol is more closer to being worth his contract than ALOT of other nba players..

    and taj gibson is fine..scola embrasses everyone in the post.. seriously.. even if its the same move.. scola beats everyone with it.. one of the elite POST players in the leauge..

    and just because brewer played this way for one game doesnt mean we should think everything is ok.. im all for keeping him but he has to be a bench player so we can have a shooter to spread the court like korver(but not him)in our starting 2 guard spot..and watson needs to go i think he's avg 4 pts for a suppose to be scorer off the bench.. whats his excuse?

  • In reply to MrHappy:

    and asik is fine too... remember taj issues in the summer leauge? he was fouling everyone on every play.. im being serious too lol.. this is asik first games.. i say he gets it down by the end of febuary(earliest) it takes a while to adjust to calls

  • In reply to MrHappy:

    Good grief, the NBA refs are terrible. The 24-second violation in the first half was a prime example. Two refs were right there, and all they could do is shrug. If you aren't watching the game, what the @#$% are you watching??? You'd almost be better off having a NBA channel where there are multiple shots on the screen at all times, and you had some interactive voting to determine fouls. At worst, you're generating income with calls that are just as bogus.

    Just once, I'd love to see a NBA team do something during introductions of the ref where they splice a WWE announcer's voice in with the regular PA guy.

    "Good God, that's"...."Dick Bavetta's"...."Music".

  • In reply to MrHappy:

    He is not getting enough. He drives to the hoop more than anyone in the league.

    Also, the numbers are slightly skewed b/c the Bulls always send him to the line for technicals & illegal defenses

  • In reply to ChiRy:

    in addition to the tech foul shots, he also gets some late in the game on intentional fouls, esp since he is the ball handler & the inbounder is looking for him first

  • In reply to ChiRy:

    I would also wager that some of them are called when the opposing team is over the foul limit

    my point is that not many of those 6fta per game are of the traditional drive to the lane, get hacked, miss the shot & shoot 2 variety. & 6 is not that much for his style & being a superstar anyways!

  • In reply to ChiRy:

    Deng is one of those players who has to know and avoid his limitations. He's always been a solid - not lockdown, but solid - defender and a solid rebounder for a SF, but his best talent is sticking to his strengths. Sometimes he backslides and tries to do things he shouldn' lead a contested fast break, or take long, athletic wings one-on-one (either on the perimeter or in the post), or make passes in traffic. Shooting 3's used to be on that list but to his credit he's tightened up that part of his game. He's going to be the ideal 3rd scorer when Boozer gets back to full strength.

  • In reply to ChiRy:

    As I predicted yesterday, Scola made Taj look like what he is, an undersized power forward, who is not quite starting calibre night in night out. Love having him on my team, but as a backup/injury insurance to Boozer.

    Deng, who was never the athlete than some wanted to make him out to be, looked like a 35 year old, not a 25 year old (athletically).
    He is virtually ground bound, more like Charles Oakley than the typical small forward. Battier just exposed his lack of athleticism, he didn't cause it.

    I never believed his age as listed anyway, I bet he is a few if not several years older than listed. Never-the-less he gave a good effort on D and on the boards, and his 3 point game from wing and top of the key is looking like a real asset.

    Brewer was the key to turning the game around in the second, but our starters got their butts kicked all night long by the Rockets starters. Korver and Brewer probably need to spend more time on the court with the starters(Rose, Noah, Deng)

    I am starting to worry that Noah's feet are starting to bother him again. The last 3 games he seems a step off, getting to fewer balls, getting his hand on rebounds but not coralling them, just not quite as active as normal.

    This game and the Wizards game, made me think(again) that we will miss Brad Miller(21 sneaky quiet points), and Kirk come playoff time. I understand that financially they had to go, but I would love to have them back in April, May and dare I say June.

  • In reply to BigWay:

    jus imagine if we kept miller. WOW dat would be asweomse with asik off the bench wow. We would of have a deep bench.

  • In reply to BigWay:

    NBA refs are a joke....thats why I think we should kind of listen to that Dougnahy guy....he said there were bets being made and everything on these NBA games. I wouldnt doubt it by watching some of these games. Home court advantage is probably at its strongest right now...its like playing against 7 players out there. Good luck winning a game in Boston or LA.

  • In reply to BigWay:

    Good Points about Deng from the last couple post

  • In reply to BigWay:

    BIG WAY:

    I agree with you 100 %.. Noah feet are probably starting to hurt.. Hes playing way too many minutes.. I like Brad for wht he could do . Shoot from the outside. pass and spell NOah.. If THibs dont start playing ASik more Noah will be on injured list along with TAJ. Your thought on Deng are right on also . I miss Kirk's spelling of rose too. The only thing I question is your favoring Brewer more minutes. He almost cost us the game in th e4th quarter with 2 turovers 2 missed free throws and a missed shot in his last 5 touchings of the ball.

  • In reply to BigWay:

    The Rockets were awful during the stretches when Scola was off the floor. I think if the rockets had ridden him for just a few more minutes we would have lost, Taj couldn't do anything to stop him.

    San Antonio really know how to pick their overseas players, Scola is legit, with Yao limited he could continue to be a 20/10 player for the season.

  • In reply to MrHappy:

    A superstar, getting superstar calls gets to the line 9-10 times a game on average, and lives at the line when it counts.

  • In reply to ChiRy:


    Rumor has it, he's being let go by the Memphis Grizzlies.

    Anybody, but me, want him back?

  • In reply to MrHappy:

    I think he could be better than CJ has been

  • In reply to MrHappy:

    Nope, just you...

  • In reply to bullshooter:

    thats how i feel.

  • In reply to Yunqn:

    me too

  • In reply to MrHappy:

    at a time earlier this season, yes. Now? No way. He is being let go for a reason, he was terrible there, absolutely horrific. The Bulls are better off with the improving CJ Watson

  • In reply to ChiRy:

    It sure did seem like playoff officiating for the first 3 quarters. Have to make sure that the series goes 7, so favor the hometeam and/or the underdog.

  • You could see Thibs ask Rose why he made the last FT after the game ended and it looked like Rose said he was trying to miss.

    I think the extra foul may have been a positive in the end because it forced Thibs to take Rose out and give him an early break. Thibs has been in the habit of playing Rose the first 12-15 minutes of the second half and Rose gets worn down toward the end. He came out to start the third with an unbelievable burst.

    Deng once again overcame a mediocre offensive night with a great defensive effort, this time shutting down a hot Scola in the fourth. Anybody think Melo does that... Also not sure why Thibs didn't switch up Noah and Taj on Scola and Miller.

  • In reply to bullshooter:

    Rose came out to start the *fourth* with an unbelievable burst...

  • In reply to bullshooter:

    Ya I was listening to the game online and Chucky interviewed Rose after and he said that thibs wanted him to miss the free throw and he tried but it just went in lol

  • In reply to bullshooter:

    "Taj dropped his FG% by 5% with this game alone throwing up an one for nine game that made you want to claw out your eyes."

    Maybe it was just a typo, but wanted to point out that "an" is only used in front of words that have a vowel sound (not necessarily a vowel). "a" is used in front of words that have a consonant sound (not necessarily a consonant). The word "one" actually starts with a consonant sound (sounds like a w) so you would not use "an" before it. All you have to do is read it out loud to see it doesn't sound correct the way you have it. Don't worry, it's a common mistake.

  • In reply to tg9000:

    Thanks for the grammar lesson

  • In reply to bullshooter:

    It's good to see the Bulls pull out the win cause I figured it wouldn't be a easy win. Hopefully when Boozer gets back scoring will be easier for everyone else from the perimeter although Houston's defense deserves a lot of credit for this game.

  • In reply to bullshooter:

    Yay! Now we have a better record than the Heat!

  • In reply to joeacook3:

    yessssssssssss. I hate the heat with a passion. I can not wait to play them and blow them out. Heat will never win a championship. Mark my words now!

  • In reply to bullshooter:

    I also thought they should have switched Noah onto Scola. Glad they made the adjustment to Dneg late in the game though. As bad as his results were shooting I think he led the team in Reb's. I have been impressed with Deng's agressiveness in most games even when it results in him falling on his face.

    On a different note, how bad is Watsons floater in the lane. His misses are by a huge amount most of the time. I remember a couple air balls already this season.

  • In reply to bullshooter:

    I thought that TT should have gone with Noah and Asik together much earlier in the 4rth than he did. Asik on Miller and Noah on Scola. One of the few times that Noah was on Scola, Stacey commented immediatelythat Noahs length bothered Scola. We never went back to that.

  • Ya he is outplaying last years MVP right now

  • In reply to UtahBullsFan:

    Chris Paul is leader in the clubhouse right now, by a Tiger like margin.

  • Don't think there is a one year rule.Thought Big Z for Cleveland got traded from Clev. last year and came back. Guess it could be different if he was released.

  • I think the point is if Bulls keep Rose fresh he'll be better able to close out games. I too have noticed in the past that Rose has been gassed at end of games. But Rose will never complain about that like LeBron.

    The real problem is the Bulls don't have an adequate backup PG to give Rose a breather. If they did Rose would be crazy fresh in 4th quarters on a regular basis.

    Rose's 3pt shot was on like we've never seen it before. I'm sure we will continue to see him inconsistent with it. The 3 is still a work-in-progress for Rose and will most likely continue to be for another year or so. But very encouraging to see signs of improvement. Rose will not give up and will continue to develop the 3 and other aspects of his game as well. Rose's assists, steal, and blocks are way up this year too.

    Rose was player of the week for the East. Will he win it again this week? If Bulls can win one of the next two games its very possible, even likely.

  • Correction. The grammar police "are" watching. LOL.

  • In reply to Edward:


  • I dont mean that he is unhappy here I think he just misses being in Utah

    Maybe its just how excited booz is to be there that makes Korver not seem so excited

  • I think the problem though is who could we really get as a free agent. Here is a link below for the list of all available free agents as on 11/6.

    It's a pretty sad list guys. The top PG free agent I see would probably be Jamaal Tinsley, who played his way off both Indiana and Memphis. He's also a locker room cancer. The Bulls don't have much roster flexibility left either to pursue a trade.

    To be honest, I think it's too early to judge CJ. Lately, his play has been a little more encouraging and I think as time goes on, he'll improve as he learns his teammates preferences and tendencies. Chemistry takes time. But I don't really see any options out there for improvement.

  • Concerning Hinrich, he's still under that expensive contract for 2 years, no way we can afford him right now. In two years, I would expect that we may try to re-sign him, however we have no idea how the new CBA will effect our roster flexibility. It's clear that Hinrich misses the Bulls and Rose loved playing alongside him, so I would love to see Captain Kirk finish where he started.

  • Yeah, but the bulls have given up late third quarter runs with rose in, too, like against Denver. Thibs is trying to juggle the lineup and rotations so that he gets the last push, but I feel like he's more successfully wearing guys down. The real problem is that th bulls really need an actual backup PG.

  • luke ridnour is better than both and is rumored on the trading rubio comes next season..

    trade brewer for pietrus and swap picks and trade watson for ridnour and cash or something.. two 40% shooters and def guys who can play..

  • we cant trade for hinrich..(rules)

    we can make a deal with a better player for a worst player.. like watson cash and pick for their worst player and they release hinrich.. sort of like big z last year.

  • Really I did not know that! Thats good news I thought Korver was an awesome pickup he is a really good guy.

    Is Booz just putting on a front for the media or do you really feel he is happy to be here?

    I just ask because chemistry is everything. And whether or not a player wants to be where he is could determine how long he will be away with an injury! Like the controversy with Booz and the Jazz last year when he went on the radio in Chicago and all that

  • Common Thomas.. you think Brewer had a good game.. What he scored few points on 1 ft shots under the basket. BUt what did he do in the 4th quarter. Well he single handily almost lost the game .. IN I believe 4 straight plays , he missed a open jumper. let a rebound fall off his hands and go out of bounds. miseed both free throws , and took steps under the basket . Coomon watch th egame.. THibs should have had Bogans in there.. Brewer seems too scared in crunch time and maked mental errors.

    Taj should NOT be playing so much. His outside shot takes way to long to get off .. He needs to be 5 ft in the clear to get it off..

    You are right on though about Asik and Thibodummy.. Its like hes in a daze late in the game. He decision making in crunch time sucks.

  • Hey Mitchell, that would work on paper, but I don't think that Washington would be attracted by that deal. One of the reason's they were excited by Hinrich is because he's a stable and smart veteran on a young team. They saw who he mentored Derrick his first two years and want him to help do the same with John Wall. I would pull the trigger on that personally and then resign Hinrich to the MLE (mid-level exception) when his contract expires (if the MLE is even gonna be in the next CBA), but I just don't think Washington will bite.

  • I get the impression that he could not be happier to be in Chicago, but he is a classy guy, who is not going to rag on his old team, and has a great deal of respect for coach Sloan and DWill.

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