For the fourth time this year, the Bulls came back from a 12+ point deficit to win the game, and like usual, it was a combination of team defense and Derrick Rose offense that brought the team back. The Bulls finish off the road trip with a win that was closer than the final score, after Derrick Rose returned from a stiff neck to lead them to victory and complete the first winning circus trip since the Jordan era.
Unfortunately (or fortunately depending on your perspective), I only caught this game from the mid third quarter on. I happened to turn it on when the deficit was roughly at it's worst and then saw the Bulls shut out the Kings for the rest of the night.
As such, no overall player reviews on the night, as I only have about 1/3rd of a game to go by, but a few general thoughts and observations.
Derrick Rose can do anything on the court. His confidence has gone to a new level and when he wants to get to the hoop, he has no problem doing it. He averaged 30 points on this road trip, and his assist numbers have been consistently higher as well. The sickest play I saw on the night was when he broke Tyreke's ankles and left him lying on the floor like Andre Miller.
The team defense was absolutely stifling to close the game. The Kings didn't do themselves any favors with the way they played offense, but the Bulls team defense was ferocious. They switched well, man defended well, played the passing lanes, blocked a crapload of shots, and dominated the glass. They basically completely shut down the Kings offense in the second half, the fourth quarter in particular.
The Kings scored only 9 points in the 4th, and 16 points over the final 17 minutes of play, and the game went from a Kings rout to an easy Bulls win. Once the Bulls tied this game, you just felt it was over for the Kings given that they simply couldn't get a good shot off.
Bulls did a great job at getting to the line and knocking them down. The bulls have struggled in both areas this season, but their success in them was the difference in the game.
Bulls stepped up when it counted. They've struggled to put together many complete games, but the team has also learned to play from behind and that they're never out of a game. The vibe around the team has to be outstanding as they don't ever appear to feel out of a game, and they've backed it up by overcoming significant deficits in half of their wins.
Great road trip guys. The Bulls come out at 9-6 which is a game better than I thought they'd be able to accomplish. The schedule doesn't get any easier though, as they may come home, but they've got Orlando up next followed by Boston on the road again.