Guess we didn't have to worry about the let down game.
Seriously, at some point in this game, did you kind of hope the
Timberwolves would make a run just to make it a little more
interesting? They were so thoroughly beaten down that I started to
feel bad for them. Of course, it's a nice change from those 1999-2003
years where that was us.
Even the Tribune photographers decided to leave early as they only left me with six pictures to choose for the game.
Derrick Rose is too unselfish to be the MVP
Not fake unselfish (LeBron) where you dominate the hell out of the ball but pass to let someone else score as long as you get the assist, but truly unselfish where you let other people make plays, manage the ball, and don't need to run the whole show.
The problem with Derrick's candidacy is that Derrick Rose just wants to win. In a game like this, Kobe or LeBron would have scored 50+ making a mockery of their opponents and showing off all game.
Derrick Rose was content to win and let his teammates really share in the glory rather than just get his scraps. It's why we love him, and it's why he won't lead the league in scoring at the end of the season, because he's not padding his games by dominating crappy teams in 30 point blowouts.
He scored 21, but he only took 10 shots on the night. Believe me, Kobe or LeBron are putting up 20+ shots against this defense and furthering their own glory.
By the way, 5/6 from the three point line? D-Rose is now up to 41.6% from beyond the arc on the season while averaging 4.2 three point attempts per game. That's simply amazing.
Derrick Rose plays the game how it's meant to be played. We've see how that hurts him at the free throw line because he doesn't get bailed out by flailing into opponents, and I think it hurts him in an MVP contest as well, because though we want a guy to just be a winner, I don't think the voters will vote for one.
All the Timberwolves are invited to the block party
Joakim Noah just shut down the paint early. Amusingly, the Wolves tried to start the game by going to Darko over and over again which resulted in failure after failure, then Noah stuffed Beasley, Ridnour, Love, Petrovic, and everything else going into the paint. He was credited with six blocks but it felt like so many more.
He only had a 9/10 night, but played just 28 minutes and got some well deserved rest.
Carlos Boozer looked better than his box score offensively
Boozer shot a mere 5/14 from the field, but got to the line for seven free throw attempts to give him 17 points on the night. His night was only marred by a couple of bunnies he missed on nice moves to the basket that he just didn't finish.
While Kevin Love had a dominant statistical night, Boozer generally did a good job keeping him off the offensive glass as Love only had 3 offensive rebounds compared to his season average of 7.
Luol Deng started the show with some jumpers and exposed Beasley all night
Michael Beasley simply couldn't be bothered to run around and try to defend Deng who knocked down his first three jumpers then had numerous shots attacking the basket, threes, and generally had a high quality offensive night.
Beasley initially started off hitting some tough jumpers against Deng, but Deng's effort cooled him off before too long.
Keith Bogans even helped out
In the second half, the Timberwolves cut down the Bulls lead to 14 points and starting to get a little bit of momentum, Bogans knocked down an open 3. He did hit 2 of 3 on the night, and hopefully he can build some momentum with his shooting from the game.
I'm glad to see Bogans play better as long as he's going to play, but he's still not doing enough to keep getting minutes.
Kyle Korver made his shots
Korver did what you expect Korver to do, he hit his half his shots including 1/2 from behind the three point line to provide some offense.
Ronnie Brewer had a field day
As predicted, Brewer came up with a boatload of steals, registering four on the day. He pressured the ball and made the Wolves life difficult while in the game. Brewer's really starting to get back to the level we expected of him and fill his niche of aggressive disruptive defender very well.
C.J. Watson was the only Bull not to knock down a shot
He still did a nice job leading the team in his minutes though. He had three assists, four boards, and the second unit still crushed the Timberwolves while he was out there leading it despite his 0-4 performance from the field.
Tom Thibodeau finally rested his starters
The Bulls had been running Deng, Noah, and Rose ragged up to this point, but they registered 30, 28, and 30 minutes against the Timberwolves. It's probably still more than I would have given them, but at least it wasn't 40/38/40 again.
One of the key problems with resting these guys earlier was the strength of schedule, look for the Bulls primary players to play far fewer minutes over the next two months.
If the Bulls dominate the next stretch of games, people will say it doesn't count because of the schedule, but the same people won't credit the Bulls for coming as far as they have over the gauntlet they've presently played.
Strength of schedule is a more or less meaningless metric over the course of an NBA season where everything mostly balances out, but it really means a lot over the course of a quarter season when the quality of opponents played varies tremendously.
The Bulls look like a legit contender to me, but they still need to prove their worth against Boston, Orlando, and Miami. They're 0-3 against that group with two road losses to the Celtics and a home loss to the Magic, but those are the teams they need to beat in the playoffs to make some noise.