If the Bulls were playing a quality opponent, or even a bad opponent on an average night, they would have lost this game. They came out flat in the final quarter, scoring just just two points over nine and a half minutes from the 10 minute mark to the 35 second mark. However, the Wizards were unable to capitalize and only scored seven points over the same stretch.
The early portions of the game were high lighted by the Bulls sloppy, lazy passing and Nick Young and Kurt Hinrich (had to, it's tradition), burying shots. However, both players came up empty in the fourth quarter when it mattered for the Wizards.
Carlos Boozer shows you the good and the bad
Maybe we're spoiled by Taj and Noah playing defense, but watching Boozer on defense in this game really made me want to vomit. He was so atrocious, and yet the Wizards were just completely incapable of taking advantage. There were numerous plays where he just let guys go from 3-4 feet a way and got position to get a board rather than attempting to contest the shot.
Contrast that with what Boozer gave on offense and it was a fairly impressive display. Boozer carried the Bulls in the first quarter, carried the second team in the second quarter, was key in building the lead in the third, and he hit the shot that really put the game out of reach in the fourth as well.
Boozer's deficiencies defensively were hard on the eyes, but ultimately had little impact on the game. Guys simply didn't hit shots tha the gave them, his offense swung the game in favor of the Bulls though, and if it weren't for a couple really dicey offensive foul calls against him, his night would have been much bigger.
It was a truly great performance by Boozer offensively, but the defense is worth mentioning, because it will be a much bigger factor against other teams.
Derrick Rose seemed to play worse than the box score for once
He had four turnovers, but some of them were so bad it felt like more. He couldn't score down the stretch and Kirk Hinrich did a great job locking him up. It felt like he played much worse, but at the end of the day he still had 25 points on 21 shots, so it obviously wasn't that bad.
Half of Rose's 12 misses came from the three point line and two of those were on half court heaves, so the numbers weren't quite as bad as they look from an efficiency stand point and neither was his three point shooting.
Luol Deng started with a bang and finished with a whimper
Not all that unusual for Deng, but he knocked down a couple threes early then did very little the rest of the game. He was 1 for 4 in the second half until he had a wide open lay in with 22 seconds left as the Wizards let the game fall away from them.
Why does Keith Bogans still play?
Like the number of licks to get to the center of a tootsie pop, the world may never know.
Kurt Thomas played really well again
It's game where you need to ignore the numbers, Thomas came up big defensively challenging shots, rotating well, and playing really heady ball. Given his lack of speed and quickness, Thomas does an excellent job of help defense and used his toughness to really help the Bulls again.
The Bulls really broke open the game when Thomas got away with a foul on Rashard Lewis to give the Bulls an offensive board, then Lewis got caught on the revenge foul and received a tech for complaining. The bulls ended up with three points on the possession (though the refs made about five straight fairly ridiculous calls against the Bulls in order to make up for this play).
Either way, Thomas is playing at a pretty high level defensively.
Ronnie Brewer played some great defense
He absolutely made Nick Young's life miserable at the end of this game and had a clean strip on Hinrich to give the Bulls the ball back in the defensive possession that, combined with Boozer's score, put the nail in the coffin.
Brewer also did a nice job contributing on the defensive glass which was a big help because of the lack of mobility the Bulls had at times with Thomas/Boozer playing next to each other.
Kyle Korver disappeared again
Another complete brickfest from Korver, what's somewhat disconcerting over the past three games is that Korver was dreadful in the two close games and solid in the complete blowout. Still, shooters have those kinds of nights sometimes, he just needs to keep at it.
I will say that Korver did a fairly solid job defensively. Josh Howard did get the best of him a couple times, but Korver held his own in isolation as well. The overall effort of isolating on Korver was more disruptive to the Wizards offense than helpful for them.
C.J. Watson was the anti-Boozer
His offense was mostly dreadful, he had a couple terrible turnovers, and missed a wide open shot on an outstanding Boozer pass, but he really put a lot of effort into his defense and did a great job especially in the fourth quarter. The Bulls still need a bit more than that, but it's nice to see him still contributing on the defensive end.
Taj Gibson didn't play, but that's a good thing
He said he was going to play and wanted to play yesterday as well, but the Bulls held him out, and with a concussion, safety first. It's the type of injury that can really affect the rest of your life, so I'm good with the cautious approach and not just letting the players run themselves out there whenever they want to go.
Omer Asik has fallen behind Thomas in the rotation
It will be interesting to see if this continues just while Noah/Gibson are out or if Thomas begins to play over Asik even when the pair are healthy. He only played a few minutes, but had a couple blocks, some boards, and knocked down his two free throws on the night.
The Bulls played excellent defense in the second half after giving the Wizards way too many wide open looks in the first half. Andre Blatche really shot the Wizards out of this game by just jacking up a bunch of contested jumpers while Nick Young scored 20 in the first half but only two in the second,
It wasn't a pretty win, the Bulls offense looked really ugly and stagnant for large portions of the game, the initial energy was very poor defensively, and the team failed to ever build up much of a lead, but at the end of the day, they escaped with a win, so I'll take it.