Derrick Rose stars in Bulls win over the Lakers

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The Bulls played suffocating defense, and Derrick Rose provided all the offense they needed to defeat the Lakers in what could be Phil Jackson's final game in Chicago.   The Lakers jumped out to a strong start as Kobe Bryant and Pau Gasol abused Keith Bogans and Carlos Boozer defensively, but the Bulls roared back behind Kyle Korver's shot making in the second quarter and went into half time with a four point lead.

Both teams improved their shot making in the second half, but the Bulls came out a shade slow out of the gates allowing L.A. to take the lead.  However, the Bulls ended the third on a 21-12 run after Tom Thibodeau called for time out with 4:31 left to go in the period.

The game started to get out of hand, and it looked like a route might be on, until Kobe Bryant and Pau Gasol brought the Lakers back into the game.   However, Derrick Rose had an answer for every time they scored, and the Bulls hung on to win, in a game that never got close than three points.

Derrick Rose: Why can't I be MVP?   --- No reason I can think of anymore

When Derrick first uttered this phrase, most of us were excited to see him displaying more of an alpha personality while at the same time kind of thinking, you're probably a couple years away from that. 

Not sure that's the case anymore.  Derrick Rose has been spectacular, he's single handedly won so many games for the Bulls this season that it's ridiculous, and he's done so in a spectacular fashion. 

He had 29 points and 9 assists, but at the end of the game, no one else on the team was ready to step up on offense, the Lakers were ignoring the rest of the team and focusing everything they had on Rose, and they still couldn't stop him.

Besides scoring on consecutive plays, he also had a great pass to Noah that should have resulted in an easy bucket, but Noah couldn't handle it.    Rose knocked down 3/5 from behind the arc throughout the game, and hit a crazy, buzzer beating fadeaway in the fourth as well. 

Anyone out there who hasn't gotten the memo yet?   Talk to Stacey King.

Joakim outplayed his stats in my opinion

If you looked at his box score relative to Gasol's box score you'd think Noah was abused all night, but he came away with a lot of key rebounds, a few key putbacks, and did a great job on help defense.

He didn't have an efficient offensive night, and didn't dominate the glass in terms of rebounding totals, but I still felt he looked really good on the floor.

Carlos Boozer also had a solid night

Lamar Odom had his number early, but as the game went on he did a nice job on the glass and gave the Bulls some solid scoring.   Boozer also did a better job defensively in this game than we've seen out of him all year which is a positive sign that he's getting more acclimated to the schemes.

It may not have been a high volume output night, but good things happened when the Bulls threw the ball into Boozer in the post.  He was able to kick it out and create space and do a nice job creating for himself.

Luol Deng had himself a great night

Really did a nice job defending Kobe Bryant one on one for awhile, and he chipped in with a very efficient 14 points on 8 possessions.   This is the exact type of game you'd like to see out of Luol Every night.  He knocked down 2 of his 3 threes and displayed nice shot selection and restraint.

He used his length and size to disrupt Kobe, and when Kobe has trouble getting off against Luol Deng, who's not exactly a SG defender by nature, then it's fair to say he's lost a step.

Keith Bogans really shouldn't play anymore

It's unfair to rail on the guy to much given that he tries hard and does what the coach tells him to.  It's not his fault if Thibodeau starts him (though I'm sure he likes it).    All he can do is the best he can.

Still, his shooting isn't good enough, and his defense is really pretty average.   He was the worst defender the Bulls used on Kobe all night as Deng played Bryant well in stretches as did Brewer.

The Bulls were -16 in Bogans 11 minutes and +20 in the other 37 minutes.  Granted, +/- doesn't typically mean much, but watching this game, it really meant a lot Bogans both killed the offense and the defense.   His replacements only kill one of the two.

Ronnie Brewer brings the energy again

Everytime he enters the game for Bogans there's a huge lift for the team coming, why we don't simply start him or Korver and play the pair all of Bogans minutes (or give Watson more burn) is beyond me.

The game turned in both quarters when Ronnie was subbed in for Bogans.  He did a much better job on Kobe defensively, pestering him with his length and athleticism, and he really disrupted the Lakers entire offensive flow.

Korver had a fine night, but missed a couple open threes

Hard to bang on Korver for scoring 13 on 11 shots and hitting 3 of 6 from behind the arc, but he missed a couple wide open threes, and I'm sure he was pissed at himself for it.  

Still, he was absolutely key in the Bulls 2nd quarter comeback, the game had the makings of a potential route, but Korver stuck 3 shots in probably 2 minutes, 2 of which were 3s and that was a huge factor in bringing the Bulls back.

Taj gave the Bulls a bit of defense in the 1st quarter

When subbed in for Boozer, Taj helped stem the tide of the Lakers offense and did a nice job on the glass for his minutes. 

Unfortunately, he was held scoreless, attempting only four shots, and had three turnovers (and they were mental errors as well). 

All in all, it wasn't Taj's best effort, but even so I found it odd that Thibs didn't go back to him more.

Omer Asik missed a dunk and a free throw

He didn't play much, and he didn't do a whole lot when he did play.  At best you could say he didn't kill the team.

His offense is still putrid, but he still makes up for it sum with his defensive presence.  You can never have too many interior defenders in the paint.

Tom Thibodeau pushed the right buttons

If he'd ever figure out that Bogans could be yanked from the rotation because he's really killing the team, then he'd be the perfect coach.   The Bulls always play tough out of timeouts, and he tends to be able to change momentum with them.

it was interesting hearing him talk inside the huddle where he repeatedly harped on defense even when the Bulls were holding the Lakers down and defending well overall (though they did have a few complete breakdowns).   It was interesting to listen to him harp on defense while the Bulls were allowed only 22 points to the Lakers in the first quarter while only scoring 12 themselves.

The problem wasn't the defense, but maybe that's what you can coach up the best.  I'm not sure you can really coach up offense as much in an NBA timeout.   Either way, Thibs continues to impress. 

Final thoughts

The Bulls now ride a four game win streak with two of those wins coming against western conference power houses.   The Bulls now enter a stretch where they will be favored in virtually every game.

As we've seen against the Cavs and Rockets, the Bulls don't always dominate games that they 'should' win.   They'll need to stay focused every night as they work their way through the easy part of the schedule.   Hitting February, don't be surprised if the Bulls have ascended into a #2 or possibly #1 seed in the East.   Even if so, they'll struggle to hold the ranking through the end of the year, but things are looking up.

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  • Really puzzling how the Lakers don't go to Gasol more, even though I thought Noah played him pretty well he was still hitting tough shots.

    Bogans seems to be getting worse, really struggling to hit anything right now. Even if he was hitting shots with Rose and Deng providing three point shooting I don't think you could make a case for him.

    Korver came up with some big defensive plays too, three steals in the last quarter. If you have a situation where Deng can guard the stronger offensive player then Korver's defense is not an issue at all.

    Lastly LA obviously didn't get the memo that Rose can hit set shots from three now, sending the defender on Rose to double Boozer is a seriously bad idea now. Either Rose is going to burn teams from three or they're going to adjust and Boozer will get single coverage a lot, I like that scenario going forward.

  • In reply to DontLetsStart:

    I like that scenario a lot as well. I also think they should have Korver on the same side of the court as Boozer to create the same type of match-ups.

  • Bogans really ruined the 1Q. He had 2 or 3 wide open 3pt shots and missed everytime. It's really time to bench Bogans, maybe our SG position wouldn't look as bad if Korver/Brewer/Watson consumed all of Bogan's minutes and played off of Rose. Also, whats up with Noah's thumb?

    ...and did anyone else hear Jeff Van Gundy say that Thibs can bench press over 350lbs and is one of the strongest coaches in the league!? I hope Paxson got the memo! lol

  • In reply to joeacook3:

    I think Noah did a good job in the 2nd half, but in the 1st half he looked pretty bad (as did the rest of the team). Granted, they did pick it up at the end of the 2nd quarter, thanks to Korver, but Noah missed 2 or 3 layups that should have been gimmes. I think that Pau did outplay Joakim tonight, but Jo settled down in the 2nd half and played better.

    Neptune, I did hear Jeff Van Gundy's comment, it was pretty funny, but I still think he's a terrible commentator. He just has a really pompous attitude and I hate listening to him rag on the bulls every time they play.

  • In reply to bpmueller:

    I watched the Heat/Warriors game and Bill Simmons was the special comments guy and about 5000 times better than Van Gundy. Van Gundy doesn't seem to realise people are interested in the game not him.

  • In reply to DontLetsStart:

    I guess everyone has their own preference. Simmons bugged the hell out of me during the heat game. I don't like columnists/reporters on the mic during televised games in any sport unless the columnist also happened to play pro sports or at least is a seasoned TV sports announcer.

  • In reply to bpmueller:

    Whoever thinks Noah didn't get dominated by Gasol wasn't watching the game closely. The Bulls lucked out that the Lakers stopped going inside and Gasol only got 15 shots in 45 minutes. Meanwhile Kobe shot it 23 times in more limited minutes, against a defender who was playing him tough (Deng especially played him well). Invert the shot attempts (23 for Gasol, 15 for Bryant), and the Bulls probably lose.

    I think Noah is wearing down from his heavy minutes, and I don't blame him for not holding down Gasol. Gasol is a great player, and Noah did a pretty nice job on the glass. He just couldn't stop Gasol from scoring.

  • In reply to bpmueller:

    Thibs is doing a great job, but I am concern the way he is riding his starters. Noah for example, said that Thibs practices are very intense and that although he likes it, it is frustrating for him because he gets very tired. This comment is a sign of why Noah is going south with is energy play. I think that Noah minutes must go down (rounding 32 minutes) and Omer minutes must go up and Thomas should start seeing some minutes too. If Thomas is not capable of playing 8 to 10 solid minutes, then just signed a big that can. And you can make a case for Deng and Rose minutes too. Just hope that Thibs has a plan and now that the schedule gets a little "easy" these guys get more rest (and that includes practices).

  • In reply to supercesto:

    COMPLETELY AGREE! Noah has never played anywhere near these minutes before this season.

    The problem is Thibs is stubborn about making changes. I wonder if he will give Noah and Deng more rest now that Boozer is back and the schedule get easier in December. Come January Bulls have so many games. Including two 4-in-5-nights. Thibs needs to spread the minutes. Maybe that's his plan with Bogans. LOL!

  • In reply to Edward:

    Definitely - More Boozer, Taj, and Omer. Boozer needs to continue to get into better "game" shape, Taj has been solid virtually all year and can handle starters minutes, and Omer could use more playing time to continue to develop. Asik is already way ahead of where I thought he would be and I think he can develop even more over the next month.

    And I agree about Thibs being too stubborn as well. Just look at Bogans. In the first quarter he let Kobe go right by twice for layups/dunks and missed 2 wide open 3's. You could say that these four plays only contributed to a -4 rating during those moments, but the effect is so much larger. All 4 plays are defalting and lower the energy of the crowd and the players. I was at the game last night and the only people cheering in the 1st quarter were the 5,000 Laker fans there. Once the Bulls finally hit a couple of shots in a row and make a few stops the crowd was defening the rest of the night and you could tell the players feed off it.

  • In reply to bcz1980:

    deafening* (sorry i type too fast)

  • In reply to bpmueller:

    Hey Doug, I remember you posted once that one of Thib's focuses this season is to go inside out. It started to work for them in LA, but why haven't they done that more in the game and why haven't they been using it as much when Boozer got back?

  • In reply to rnohria310:

    Boozer had 29 points against the Thunder a few games ago and they did go into him more yesterday as well. I think you will see more and more of it as the team gets more used to each other with Booz back.

  • In reply to rnohria310:

    Great post by all of you

    I agree, Deng is a terrible inbounder, i think like 4 or 5 times this season his passes have been stolen from inbound plays. He has been playing really good since Boozer has been back though, i give him that. His 3 ball is starting to fall alot better now too.

    Noah is playing a lot of minutes, same with Deng. Hopefully like someone else said, we can limit their minutes as our schedule gets much easier. Asik an Kurt Thomas might see some time. I have no problem with that.

    Bogans.....its time to sit him. Its to the point where he knows he will miss now. Yank him. Either put Brewer in OR ......maybe....just maybe.....let James Johnson try playing those spare minutes in the starting lineup. That way we can keep our bench strong while getting James Johnson in the mix of things.

    And just something i wanted to add....Kobe is what...a 5 or 6 time all defensive 1st time type player....Why wouldnt he take on the challenge of Guarding D Rose last night? I think i know why....he didnt want to look stupid trying to guard him lol hahahaha If MJ saw a player like that destroying his team...he would of guarded him for sure.

  • In reply to Csharp:

    csharp,

    The Bulls need better depth to limit Deng's and Noah's minutes.

    Plus, it would help if the Bulls played hard for 48 minutes. Falling behind by double-digits constantly only forces Thibs to play his starters longer minutes in order for them to comeback and win.

  • In reply to bpmueller:

    I agree with Bigway on Deng and Thibs, Deng is the worst inbounder of all time!

    I have never seen someone throw the ball directly to the other team so much! He has to hold the record for just throwing it too the other team without a chance of the Bulls getting it.

    Other than that I think that the Bulls are between Bigway and Doug. They didn't play that great but in the end they are improving in areas that the Bulls have been horrible in for years so it is very promising. go Bulls!

  • In reply to bpmueller:

    REALITY CHECK:

    Luol Deng was great? Wow...that's debatable.

    This was a great win for the Bulls. DRose certainly made a STATEMENT and EARNED his way into the MVP discussion. However, this team still lacks BENCH SCORING and CONSISTENT good play from 2 out of it's 4 team captains.

    And let's not forget they are still in the 4 spot behind Boston, Orlando and Miami. It's imperative that John Paxson and Gar Forman DO THEIR JOBS and ACQUIRE A SHOOTING GUARD (Nick Young had 17 points last night...just saying) and/or another BIG-MAN, so they can DISTANCE themselves from New York and Atlanta in the standins. That will put themselves in great position to land Carmelo Anthony come February.

    Without Melo, this team can't COMPETE with the ELITE teams in the NBA.

  • In reply to MrHappy:

    But who do you suggest Bulls trade away to acquire the SG and 7-footer? You want to trade Taj Gibson? That's Bulls dilemma - they need to ADD an asset or two yet no one on Bulls bench has any trade value beside Taj Gibson.

    Unless O.J. Mayo or Courtney Lee can be had for JJ and Bulls 1st pick, I don't think Bulls have many trade options.

    Without trade options Bulls need to develop young talent on their own and that means bench a certain no-upside SG who turns 31 at season's end (Bogans) and give his 10-15 minutes to either Kyle Weaver or JJ. That's how Lakers developed Shannon Brown - they developed him over time.

    News Flash - Washington is not looking to trade Nick Young.

  • In reply to Edward:

    Edward,

    And you're the GM of the Wizards, so you know for a that they aren't looking to trade Nick Young?

    Washington is 6-16. That SUCKS.

    I would imagine they don't have a lot of UNTOUCHABLES on that team.

    Nick Young isn't UNTOUCHABLE.

  • In reply to MrHappy:

    You are correct, I am not the Wizards' GM and the Wizards have a poor team trying to rebuild.

    What do rebuilding teams do? Focus on developing young talent on lower salaries like John Wall, Javale McGee, Andray Blatche, Nick Young. You honestly think Wizards are going to trade those guys? I don't, but if you do, please enlighten us what Bulls would offer to pry away one of their young talents who is playing 23-32 minutes most nights. I asked earlier and you didn't respond.

    Now if any team wanted to talk to Wizards about a trade for Gilbert Arenas I'm sure they will be very Happy to listen.

  • In reply to MrHappy:

    Deng shot 6-8 and did the best defensive job he could do against arguably the best player in the NBA. Stop hating on him and show him respect. I would love to see your boy Nick young gaurding him and see if he could do a better job

  • In reply to Edward:

    QUESTION:

    Is "playing great" not getting to the FT-line or only having 2 rebounds?

    Is so, I guess Luol Deng played great then. Nice analysis Doug.

  • In reply to joeacook3:

    Bigway, I'm going to say this as respectfully as possible, but sir you are severely misinformed. First off, you state that the Lakers played like "shit" but when truly after the first quarter the Bulls played really good defense. Secondly, your basketball knowledge on handling a basketball is quite inaccurate. Have you ever even played a game before? Because if you have then you would realize the player that has the ball 90 percent of the time will have more turnovers than your average player. If you take a look at mostly all the players that has high usage stats or in lament terms ball in there hands the most, you would notice they are the one's in high turnover rate. You have your rare occasions in i.e. Chris Paul, but he truly does not play at the quickest pace as players like Lebron James and Russell Westbrook just to name a few. I want you to understand the game of basketball though because we won the game and we did not play at our best either. You do realize we shot at a miserable 41% for the game and we still won correct? You also understand that we shot at a better rate at the three point line and corrected our mistakes against the lakers unlike the previous game where they shot a putrid 3-13. Like Doug mention, coach did make adjustments to the game throughout because you notice I hope we got the ball to Boozer taking advantage of the mismatch he provided to get better shots all the way around for this Bulls team.

    I'm done with this rant, but I just wanted to inform people that don't seem to have the knowledge of the game that they claim to have. Everyone have a happy holiday and a Happy New Year.

  • In reply to bmoneymaker001:

    I didnt see this as a rant at all. I was thinking the same things when I read is post.

    And to re-affirm. The Lakers didn't play like "shit." We beat it out of them!

  • Just curious if anyone was paying attention enough on the Lakers final possession to notice that Gasol spent the entire 10 seconds in the lane, pushed Noah in the back with both hands twice to get 2 offensive rebounds and then got a foul call to get to the line.

    It may have been inconsequential, but it was still bullshit.

    NBA officiating has never been worse, it is officially a joke. On the possesion before, Barnes shoved Brewer with both hands to get the offensive rebound and a put back. Hey, if they want to let the guys play, I'm all for it(thats the way that I played)but do it both ways and for the whole game.

    That little rant aside, I really can't agree with half of what you said, but I'm not sure that I have the energy to argue about all the screw ups that Bulls fans always ignor when we win.

    The first quarter the offense looked as clueless as it did last season under Del Bimbo. I wanted to kick Deng(you cannot play a great game when you take an entire quarter off) in the balls to wake his ass up as he stood around and watched everyone else play, never mind that assinine turnover on the inbounds play.

    The guy is a royal fuckup as an inbounder(why doesn't Thibs go to Noah who is a much better passer and taller so he can see over the defender). Which is just one reason that I cannot agree with your assessment of how great the Bulls are coming out of timeouts, lately they have been major screwups.

    The Obvious thing that I agree with you on is Bogans as the most useless slug in the NBA. Someone needs to kick Thibs in the balls to wake him up with regard to Bogans. As you say +/- doesn't always tell the story, but tonight it is blindingly revealing. As you said Bogans was -16, Watson, Asik and Taj combined were -8, everybody else that played was +5 to +11. Thibs stubbornness is bordering on insanity. There has to be a videotape somewhere.

    The Bulls had another of their anti-AllState games, again demonstrating themselves to be the worst hands team in the league, which the announcers finally commented on in the second half.

    It seems to me that against good teams, we become a clumsy, clutzy, rumblin, bumblin and stumblin team. IF we had executed the fundamentals(especially blocking out, that would be you Deng, Boozer and Rose) and simply corraled the balls that we got our hands on we would have blown the Lakers out by 20+ points and Rose wouldn't have had to bail us out at the end.

    I think that Thibs played Noah all 24 minutes in the second half. Noah expends way to much energy with his all out play, he needs a blow at the quarters, and Asik should have played 4-6 minutes in the second half.

    The only fault I had with how Rose finished the game, was his stopping the pace of the game(trying to run out the clock) at the 4 minute mark with the Bulls up 13(really 12). It was way to early to stop being aggressive, don't know if it was his choice or Thibs, either way it seemed like a Lovie Smith move and almost cost us the game.

    Rose does seem to be a legitimate 3 point threat now as a kick out option, and despite his usual ballhandling problems throughout the game he does seem to be becoming a legitimate closer.

    It is great that we won the game(and it was even somewhat enjoyable after the first quarter), but the Lakers played like shit, and we barely won a game that we should have run away with.

    I know that you had to rush out your post game analysis so that you could enjoy your weekend with your family, but you definately viewed this one through Rose colored glasses.

    Enjoy the win, but be aware that we never win this game in the playoffs against anyone of the top tier teams.

  • How was he hating on Rose? He said Rose doesn't shoot enough free throws to have an elite efficiency. Guess what? Rose doesn't shoot enough free throws to have an elite efficiency.

    I also enjoy the implication that he doesn't watch games. You know all the Per Diem's he writes for ESPN are games he's at, right?

  • Hey by the way what did that Hollinger article say? If anyone has insider, I hate Hollinger because he is all about stats so I knew I would hate that article.

    It is obvious that Hollinger never watches games cause he has no clue!

    If it is about a prototypical PG than I have to puke! I can't stand those old schoolers (Colin Cowherd) who want a PG to assist only, please. I'm sorry but Magic, Stockton and Robertson aren't cocking back the ball over their heads and dunking on anyone. Basketball is about high percentage shots. Rose, Iverson, Westbrook, DWilliams can all finish much better than Magic, Stockton, IThomas, Tiny Archibald. When BBAll started the small guys could not get high percentage looks around the basket, now they can. Please stop with the I want my PG to be like Rondo!!!!

    If the Celtics had Rose last year in the Finals, they win hands down. Game 7 not one person even guarded Rondo!

    So Hollinger and Cowherd are officially basketball idiots!

  • The bulls early struggles lately seem to me to be because they are all trying to make "the pass" instead of just swinging the ball around a few times until somebody gets an open look. When they force it early, the other team gets steals and easy fast break buckets because the bulls can't get back and set up the defense.

    That's why it is so important that Korver is coming in with the second team. They run a few set plays and everybody knows when to expect the shot and when to rebound and Korver generally hits shots so there are few opportunities for runouts.

    I don't feel they script the opening plays as much as they should. The old dynasty bulls use to run the first few plays to the center in the post every game. After that Pippen and Jordan would take over, but it got everybody into a rhythm. This bulls team hasn't figured out how to get into that rhythm early yet.

  • In reply to bullshooter:

    I agree with some of what you are saying here but dont forget they found Bogans for an open 3 on 2-3 occasions. We hit one or two of those and things would loosen up more.

  • In reply to bcz1980:

    And this isnt the first time this season that this has happened. This is become too routine for my tastes.

  • In reply to bcz1980:

    I definitely agree that Bogans needs to knock down open shots. But he is still the fifth option. It shouldn't come down to that. They should be able to get quality shots before they are forced into a Bogans 3 on a kickout.

  • In reply to bcz1980:

    Side note - Brewer looks as comfortable as ever now and has even been knocking down more and more of those "wait... dont... ok good shot" jumpers lately. He, KK, and Watson need to completely replace Bogans minutes.

  • In reply to bcz1980:

    I'm not going to get into who had a good game and who didn't last night; I just want to say that BOY, did I enjoy watching that game last night...and tonight's T-Wolves game is on WGN America, so I hope my wife doesn't get too pissed that I'm going to spend both Friday and Saturday nights yelling at the TV...
    One last thing, and I'm surprised I never noticed it before bcz1980's post here, but I sure hope Kyle Korver's middle name DOESN'T start with a "K"....

  • In reply to bcz1980:

    lol thats exactly what those shots are too.....NOOOOO....wait, oooo nice shot lol!

  • I'll 2nd that

  • Yeah they did have a tough time around the rim. I hat to have to keep harping on this though, but the refs were definitely part of this problem. I lost track of how many times I saw Gasol use Noah's back as his "springboard" when going up for a rebound of attempting a shot block.

  • Punked, its not as if getting the ball to Gasol is a choice that the Lakers decided to stop making. Defense denied the ability to get the ball to him in solid positions. Hence the coaching adjustment.

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