It's a sign of the rising expectations, a sign of what we hope this Bulls team can accomplish this season. The Bulls went into Cleveland, came out with a victory, but no one is likely too happy about it. Tom Thibodeau will enter the Lakers game with less hair, and a Scott Skiles vein in his forehead can't be far behind. Derrick rose (who actually did not play terrible) said it best:
"I can't eat right now the way we played," Derrick Rose
said. "My stomach is messed up. Just the thought of losing that game
hurts. No way we can accept that. We played terrible. We're thankful to
The Bulls played a terrible brand of basketball offensively, couldn't hit their free throws, and threw the ball all over the court in such a fashion that the 16 turnovers doesn't give justice to how bad it was at times.
However, in the end, we have Derrick Rose, and they no longer have LeBron James.
Derrick Rose is good enough to win you games you shouldn't win. Like this one.
He went into "I won't let my team lose" mode at the end of the game, scoring seven points in the final 2:13 of the game, and because we had Derrick Rose, I never felt the game was in doubt even when close down the stretch.
He's so good that the assumption is that he will bail out the team when we need him, and he's done it in spectacular fashion in two of the past three games (with the OKC game not requiring his heroics).
On top of his spectacular drive late in the game, where he was literally fouled by three separate defenders on the way to the hoop prior to finishing a three point play, Rose quietly shot 4 of 6 from behind the arc. His three point percentage is up to 37.9% on the season now which is now improving beyond capable and into "good".
Granted, Rose is still largely taking easy three point looks, but the thought of Rose's percentage climbing up to 40% has to scare the pants off of teams game planning to stop him.
Carlos Boozer isn't going to do it every night
You ever notice how people always refer to Boozer as a 20/10 guy, but he's actually only averaged 20/10 or better twice in his career and it was 3 and 4 seasons ago? Boozer's season is sprinkled with games like this where, for whatever reason, he simply doesn't have it going on.
Thibodeau benched Boozer for the fourth quarter, likely for not playing with enough energy, and the Bulls went on their run. The Bulls struggled to get quality looks for Boozer in the game, and played much worse defensively while he was on the floor.
Besides the injuries, this is why the team won't trade Taj Gibson anytime soon. You need insurance for when Boozer's not getting it done offensively and isn't good enough defensively to leave in the game.
Joakim Noah had a quality game after a few mediocre games
Noah did a great job on the boards where he's struggled a bit recently, pulling down 14 rebounds agains Anderson Verajao. In a moment which I hope Thibodeau goes over in film study with Derrick Rose, Noah drove against Verajao repeatedly in the fourth.
He appeared to be fouled on consecutive plays without getting the call, and after the second one, he sat back and laid into the ref. The next play, the Bulls went to Noah who drove again, and this time, with probably the least contact of all three drives, he got the foul call and finished with an and1.
The Bulls are getting notably chippier with the refs. I hate it and love it. I hate that it's necessary, but love that they're doing it because it is necessary. I love Stern's concept of stopping players jawing at the refs, but the execution is terrible. Beyond not jawing at the refs, they need to send a message that if you complain, we'll allow even more contact next time you get hit not the other way around.
Players will keep complaining as long as it's effective, and sadly, Noah proved it still works that way tonight.
Luol Deng had his typical Luol Deng night
He played solid, but didn't score in the fourth quarter, and played a crapload of minutes. Thibodeau continues to run him out there as a PF in a small lineup at times despite the Bulls depth in the front court.
He's still giving the Bulls solid defense, adding some three point shooting, and providing quality play for the team, but never quite living up to what you'd hope for him to do.
Is Keith Bogans about to lose his starting spot?
We ask this after every game, but against the Cavs he was yanked 1 minute into the 3rd quarter for letting Daniel Gibson walk into a three pointer. If your specialty is defense, there's really no excuse for that, and Thibodeau obviously felt the same way.
Ronnie Brewer made a huge impact with his energy
Rose may have been the offensive star, but Brewer turned this game around. He was credited with six steals, but that only begins to describe the disruption he made to the Cavaliers offense.
He changed the tempo of the game with his pressure and the quality of shots the Cavs were shooting took a huge nose dive once Brewer entered the game, disrupted the passing lanes, and forced Cleveland to expend a lot more energy just to set up a play.
He also hit the glass hard and scored six in the final quarter, including a couple of "Don't shoot that! ... YES NICE SHOT RONNIE!" jumpers.
Kyle Korver set the stage for Rose's triumphant 4th quarter
Derrick Rose closed out the game, but he was in position to close out the game because of Kyle Korver's offense earlier in the fourth quarter. He was 0-4 in the first half, but scored all 12 of his points (and the Bulls first 12 of the quarter) in the fourth to carry the load for the Bulls as they climbed out of an eight point hole.
Korver's defense is what it is, which isn't necessarily good, but when the Bulls needed some consistent offense late in the game, he provided it and was instrumental in the victory.
Taj Gibson helped settle the team down early
The Bulls jumped out to an early lead on a 10-0 run to start off the game, but they let Cleveland right back into it as the Cavs cut the lead down to a point. Thibs substituted Taj in for Boozer, and he came in had a monster stuff, hit a jumper, and got a dunk, and the Bulls built out the lead again.
The team seemed to settle down when Gibson came into the game and provided some defensive improvement and played pretty well with Gibson on the floor most of the night though his box score contributions were mostly over at this point outside of a couple rebounds.
Those who want to add Daniel Gibson to the Bulls got their wish
No, he won't be traveling with us to LA, but Gibson did win the Bulls one game this year, thanks Boobie.
The Bulls escaped with a win, and two days from now no one will sit back and complain about whether it was a close win or a blowout win. We'll just complain about a loss to the Lakers or cheer a defeat of the Lakers.
The game also provided us some more heroic moments by Derrick Rose to appreciate and left the team feeling pissed about such a poor effort. In that sense, it may have been the perfect lead in game to playing the Lakers on Friday as the team won't be complacent or full of itself after barely escaping the Cavaliers.
That said, poor effort, poor energy, poor execution. We didn't even limit the Cavs scoring due to great defense, but more so due to poor shooting on their part. If the Cavs hit their free throws we may have lost this game (though if we hit ours it may not have been close either as both teams were down around 60%).