Okay, the game should have never gone to OT. Derrick Rose couldn't get a single foul call despite 17 shot attempts from inside the paint. Carlos Boozer shot 7/10 from the line, but 3/6 at the end of the fourth quarter. The Rockets went on a three point shooting binge at the end of the game to come from behind.
A lot of things conspired to make a game that should have been a semi-blowout for the Bulls a close one. In fact, with 36 second left, the Rockets had somehow built a five point lead, and things looked grim indeed. Carlos Boozer tipped in a Noah miss. The Rockets split their free throws, Boozer, scores off of a Rose layup miss, the rockets split free throws again.
Then Rose hit the shot.
Okay, 'the shot' can only refer to one thing as a Bulls fan, but Rose threw the ball to Noah for a give and go three pointer over three Houston Rockets where he had enough elevation to dunk on a 12 foot rim. It's the type of shot, you simply don't think Derrick can hit, but he did, and sent the game to OT on a buzzer beating three.
In the OT, the teams traded baskets, but the Rockets had a one point lead because they had a Brad MIller three. Rose came to the rescue hitting another three, scored again, and the Bulls went on to finish off the game.
Derrick Rose played the rule of the superstar
See previously written description. Two things stood out about this game for Derrick. The first was that his lack of foul calls was ridiculous. The Bulls need to start sending tapes to the league. Thibodeau needs to step up and get fined. Paxon/Forman need to step up and get fined. Rose needs to get in the refs ear and draw a technical every game perhaps.
Something needs to give here though, because while he does avoid contact sometime, he's not getting borderline calls. In the first play of overtime, Kyle Lowry just ran in front of Rose while he was airborne (illegal), didn't get his feet set (illegal) and somehow drew a charge call on Rose when it should have been a clear (for two reasons) blocking call.
The good news though, is that Derrick Rose wasn't lying about his three point shooting this summer. He's now shooting 35.7% from the three point line. It's not an elite number, but he's hit a lot of threes when the Bulls have needed them, including two last night. He's creating space for himself with his shooting and becoming more and more difficult to guard.
Carlos Boozer showed what he can give the Bulls
He scored on all kinds of nifty moves in the post, gave the Bulls that second option, got to the foul line repeatedly, and he came up with big offensive rebounds and put backs at the end of the game to ice it.
The only thing marring his game was the fact that the team defense still doesn't look nearly as sharp while he's playing, and the fact that he missed some critical free throws down the stretch. Still it was great to see Boozer come back in and do the things we expect him to do.
He scored 25 points in only 30 minutes and made it to the free throw line 10 times.
Is it me, or is Noah's energy down?
Joakim is still playing great overall. He was key in the big three that Rose hit at the end of regulation, and he helped get the Bulls off on the receiving end of a pass from Rose in the first OT. He had 12 boards, 13 points, 4 blocks, 4 assists, and shot over 50% from the field (though 6 TOs). It seems like that's a stat line where he was really getting it done. Especially with Boozer back taking some inside looks away.
However, what concerned me is near the end of the game, there were multiple plays where he failed to get out and cover Brad Miller. He wasn't picked off or hedging a screen, but instead he just looked like he lacked focus and allowed Miller to drift away. He did so after Miller had already knocked down a couple threes, and he allowed Brad to shoot a couple more that he missed that would have been big.
Maybe Thibodeau wanted to give Miller that shot, and he missed three of them in OT, but prior to that he was 4-6 from behind the arc.
Luol Deng played the type of game we want
He had 15 points, knocked down a couple threes and had lots of attempts on basket cuts. He shot 50% from the field and while he didn't have a dominant performance, he chipped in efficient scoring and played well as a third option.
Many people will likely criticize Deng for not putting up more points or stats, but settling down into a third man role is really what the Bulls need from Deng, and a 15 point average going forward seems fairly likely.
Deng's three point percentage is also up to 38% again as he's had a couple good games from behind the arc. While Deng may not be special for his salary, he's solid as a third offensive player for this team who's primary role is playing off the ball. The only downside is that he's typically not capable of creating his own shot to become a 2nd option when needed.
Keith Bogans is Tom Thibodeau's Duhon
He's playing far more than you'd think his stat line warrants. He has a player you feel is more impactful on the bench behind him, and you get the feeling that this isn't going to change regardless of the production.
Bogans did knock down two of his three shots in this game including one three, but overall you just wish he was doing more. I still like Bogans as a guy who chews up minutes without killing you. He's paid 12th man money, and he's a great 12th man, but I'd be tempted to play Brewer/Korver/Johnson/Watson more and pull Bogans out of the rotation.
An interesting argument with James Johnson can be made, do you play Johnson, you might get something really good, which you aren't likely to do with Bogans. However, Johnson's also likely to turn the ball over three times and make some bone headed plays which you also aren't likely to get out of Bogans.
If you continue to play Johnson, his mistakes will probably improve considerably over time, while Bogan's isn't going to get any better at this stage, but if you're losing games due to Johnson, and he did put the Bulls in big holes earlier this season when Thibs gave him an extended tryout, then that's not acceptable either.
Korver should start.
I said early in the season that I'd start Korver, and I still would.
Korver's, by far, the most effective playing with Rose in terms of his
own shots and in terms of helping Rose's effectiveness. While spacing
the floor helps everyone, it impacts the game most while Rose is on the
floor, and I'd tend to make 100% of Korver's minutes overlap Rose's
I've campaigned for Brewer to start over Bogans as well, but that's because I don't think the Bulls are willing to start Korver while they are likely willing to start Brewer. However, I would choose to start Korver over both Brewer and Bogans.
Kyle Korver was 1-7 from the three point line, but he still managed 13 points on 12 possessions which gave him an okay night overall. Even when he's missing his shot, teams are so scared of it that they refuse to leave him. Korver's still shooting over 40% from the three point line on the season though, and that's an impressive 40% because the degree of difficulty in a lot of those attempts is very high.
Ronnie Brewer needs to start taking more of Bogans minutes
He doesn't shoot as well, but Bogans isn't shooting well enough for that to matter. He defends better, makes more impact plays, and he gives you some offense with his athleticism which Bogans can't do.
He also helps the Bulls on the glass from the guard spot which has been an issue at times and tends to fill up the box score in the hustle stats. My preference is for Brewer to start playing 30 minutes a night.
C.J. Watson did some good things out there
Watson's played decently in small minutes, but I think Watson's play would improve if he played more minutes, not just in totals, but in terms of efficiency. I realize it's hard to take Rose out of the game, but Thibodeau is really burning up his starters, and Watson's been decent in relief, especially when playing with more talent.
Funniest moment of the night was when Brad Miller laid out his own teammate, shouldering Courtney Lee in the face on a screen and then C.J. Watson being called for a foul on the play. It was that type of night for the Bulls from the refs.
The Bulls won this game, they should have won this game. They made it harder than expected, required a miracle from Derrick Rose, but they pulled it off, and that's the important thing.
The Bulls play two of the next three games against tough teams (Lakers/Thunder), but after that 2/3rds of the games left in the season are against teams under .500. At 10-8, the Bulls record may not look too special, but they're in position for a 50+ win season right now.