Bulls beat Hornets behind great team play

The Bulls dominated the glass, knocked down free throws, knocked down threes, had excellent ball movement, and played suffocating defense in the fourth quarter.   It was one of the better team efforts we've seen this season from the team in playing well in almost all facets of the game (a few sloppy turnovers stopped them from dominating all facets).

Derrick Rose shows who the best PG is part II

Rose has a big, but not humongous, offensive night.  He scored very efficiently shooting 7/15 from the field, but pouring in 23 points.   He had plenty of hockey assists on the night as well, making the right pass to the open man who'd then make the pass after the Hornets scrambled to cover him.    It didn't show in his assist totals or his assist to turnover ratio, but Derrick had a very nice passing night as well.

Defensively, he did a great job on Chris Paul, highlighted by drawing an offensive foul on a fast break where the two went up and Paul was bout to get stuffed and had to push off Derrick with his off arm.    Humorously, Rose thought the call went against him at first and started chewing out the ref before realizing they actually called it offensive.  

Great game for Derrick Rose, in consecutive games, he significantly outplayed the two guys in the NBA people would view as the MVP.   It may sound silly, but if Derrick is to earn the MVP this year, I think it's important to win teh individual matchups against the other great PGs to prove he's tjhe best guy at his position.

Carlos Boozer played decently

He had a nice scoring night offensively, shooting 7-12 from the field, and the Bulls did a nice job hiding his defense by putting him on Aaron gray instead of David West.  When he was defending Gray he did a much better job of hedging the pick and roll, showing much stronger on Paul.  

It was a nice coaching adjustment by Thibodeau, and a nice mental adjustment by Boozer to come out stronger on the pick and roll when he knows his man isn't a threat to score offensively.   It'd be interesting to see how the Bulls would have defended if they had Emeka Okafor playing, of course if the Bulls had Joakim then they'd be even further ahead of the game.

Luol Deng not feeling the threes lately

Deng started off the season shooting 40% from the three point line, but he's down to 34% after shooting 27.8% since the new year and is presently riding an 0-9 streak in the past three games.  

Despite his 0-3 performance from behind the arc in this game, highlighted by a 4th quarter airball from the corner with no one in his zip code (the game was out of reach at this point though), Deng played in all other facets.   He did a nice job driving off of Derrick Rose's dishes and finding the open man when the Hornets tried to rotate over to him quick when he received the ball.

He also did an excellent job rotating to defend on the pick and roll an d played well individually on defense.

With the way Keith Bogans is playing why do people want Anthony Parker?

We've all complained about Bogans and his poor shooting, but after shooting 27% from the three point line in October/November, he shot 33% in December, and has shot 46% since the start of January.    

It's not that I'm counting on Bogans to continue to knock down 46% of his threes, but is Anthony Parker really any upgrade to what Bogans has done the past month and a half?    I don't think so. 

In this game he knocked down 3/4 from the three point line had a nice drive in for a layup, and moved the ball really well when the defense rotated out to him off of the kick out.   It was an excellent game for Bogans overall.

Kurt Thomas did his thing

He defended strong and did a great job on the glass.   As noted above, he had to play the tougher defensive assignment in David West.   West had a strong game with 17 points on 6/11 shooting, but Thomas kept him off the glass and did a nice job helping on the interior.

You don't get miracles from Kurt, but he continues to do an admirable job of getting the most of what he has left in the tank.

Ronnie Brewer was huge in this game

Brewer played with huge energy.   He had an awesome block on a breakaway layup attempt, and he did a nice job playing the passing lane and earning deflections.   Not all of his energy showed up in the box score, but he disrupted the heck out of the Hornets offense in the second half.

On offense he was opportunistic, often the recipient of the second pass.   He knocked down 3/5 from the field and drew several fouls as well.    Brewer really helped turn the game around with his presence.

Kyle Korver had a rough shooting night

And when that happens, typically not much else is going really well for Korver.

C.J. Watson had a great fourth quarter

The starters clawed back from an 11 point deficit in the third quarter, but the bench, led by C.J. Watson, put the Bulls far ahead in the fourth.    Watson had a big steal which he converted into a breakaway layup and knocked down a one step dribble three pointer a play later to give the Bulls a big boost.

He had no assists, but much like Rose, made several passes that led to easy baskets for the team which would have earned him hockey style assists. His defense was very strong in the fourth quarter as well, and the Bulls won the game during his stretch on the court largely due to his play.

Omer Asik is tearing it up lately

Okay four points isn't tearing it up, but he's playing with a ton of energy on the glass and adding high quality defense to the team.   Asik is playing well enough that it's tough to take him out of the rotation later.   It will be interesting to see how the Bulls handle Joakim's return and whom out of Gibson, Asik, and Thomas gets sent to the bench.

Taj Gibson was a foul machine but gave the Bulls great energy

Watching Gibson and Asik together when the Bulls also get Brewer, Deng, and Rose/Watson out there reminds me of how dangerous this team can get when they play up tempo.   It's hard to do that with their current starting lineup, but when Noah gets back I expect we'll see that some more.

Gibson mostly collected fouls, but he put pressure on the Hornets on both ends of the court with his speed and energy. 

Final thoughts

This was a well coached game by Thibodeau.   The decision to hide Boozer on Gray was a great one, and the Hornets were really only in this game because of the consecutive three pointers that they went front iron on, bounced 5 feet in the air and went in.   Those were two lucky bounces that go against you nine times out of ten but gave the Hornets a big lead in the first half on what should have been a closer game.

The Bulls won the final two games of the trip, which were the most important two games IMO and come back with a 3-2 record.   Not quite as much as we hoped, especially given that they were favorites in the two losses, but still a quality result.

Random side note, Aaron Gray looked much fitter than with the Bulls, but still couldn't do much of anything.

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  • PLAYERS OF THE GAME = THE BULLS' BENCH

    - 30 points and 20 rebounds, as a unit.

    * They put up 25 pts. and 19 rbs. vs. Utah. Thank them and DRose for the 3-2 trip.

  • Bogans deserved the game ball last night. The last time he had more than 10pts was back in November. He has been playing pretty good lately aside from that Portland game. Games like this make me wonder if the Bulls will make any moves at the deadline. Once we get Noahs' 14pts and 11rebs we should be fine. As for Deng, I don't know where his 3pt shot went but it needs to come back quick.

  • A couple weeks ago I posted about Rose

  • In reply to Edward:

    He is automatic at the line now.

    Next year he will be a 90 % shooter from the line, 40% from 3

  • In reply to Edward:

    Dont forget that we were on those guy's court too....didnt matter though, Rose still outplayed them.

  • In reply to Csharp:

    90% would be an insane improvement, anything over 10% in one year is monumental.

  • Great analogy Mr. Wiggins. I am concerned about Boozer's game since Noah has been out. All the other Bulls seem to have stepped up their play in Noah's absence but Boozer's play has declined. Not sure why this is but he needs to return to being an automatice20/10 power forward soon if we are to have any hopes of beating the Celtis, Magic and Heat.

  • In reply to takdan:

    He doesn't seem as aggressive on offense. I love it when he gets the ball in the post or on the block, with his back to the basket, and he attacks the rim. When he does the fallaway jumper? Not so much.

  • In reply to ChiRy:

    and I think it's a change in mentality. When he first played for us, he knew why he was here; we needed someone to score in the post. Someone we can go to when the offense stalls, or we need to kill a run. He seems to have forgotten that, or gotten away from that. We have other's that can shoot a fallaway, that's not a great shot.

  • In reply to ChiRy:

    If Bogans keeps playing this way, won't have no longer reasons to complain about him !

  • In reply to deewaves:

    I agree. And all he had to do all along is hit that open 3.

    Of course by all means the Bulls need to address the 2 spot, but Bogans is a decent stop gap if he hits 3's like this.

  • In reply to ChiRy:

    +1

  • In reply to deewaves:

    He'll be better when Noah comes back and he won't have to leave his man open in the corner to help inside.

  • In reply to ChiRy:

    1. The amazing thing about Rose is his body control and jumping ability. That's one thing CP3 and Deron are not as good.
    2. I think the whole league still thinks D-Rose as the new age version of Allen Iverson or Marbury. They don't seem to understand his attitude and his will to win. But, that said he has to prove it in the playoffs. That's where the general reputation is made.

    He has to first succeed a few times in the playoffs and he has to show he has the mental will to repeat that. Until that, people will keep doubting him especially who don't watch him everyday.
    BTW, is there a better fit than Deng (I think he is someone who needs the all-star break) for Rose. Even though his shots don't go in, he does so many things that he is a top 25 legit 2-way player.

  • In reply to schaumburgfan:

    I agree with everything you said, and can't wait 'til people see this young prodigy on the national stage. Yo guys remember his first playoff game against Boston? And him tying Lou Alcindor's record?

  • In reply to ChiRy:

    Derrick has gone beyond anything Starbury ever did. Far beyond.

  • In reply to schaumburgfan:

    I don't think the Marbury comparison is necessarily meant to be an insult, Bill Simmons was drinking the Rose cool aid from the start and even he makes it.

  • In reply to schaumburgfan:

    Anyone else watch the Boozer postgame interview on NBA.com? http://www.nba.com/video/channels/nba_tv/2011/02/12/20110212_boozer_arenalink.nba/#

    I found it interesting that Boozer said he called Sloan after hearing he retired, so much for them supposedly hating each other.

    It was funny when he tried to talk about Sloan and realised the only way he could do it without blaming Deron Williams was to contradict himself.

  • With all the advanced stats out nowadays, why don't they have a hockey assist stat?

  • it's clear now that Derrick is the best PG, as he dominates every other candidate. But I still don't think he has a shot in hell to actually win MVP, unless they could somehow get to 60 wins.

  • In reply to ChiRy:

    I think if we finish like top 3 in the east and he continues what he is doing....he has to win it. LeBron and Wade....we dont even know who means more to that team let alone have one be a MVP over the other.

  • In reply to Csharp:

    voters have shown their ineptitude over and again, and despite Derrick being too big, too strong, too fast, too good, I think Rose will also be too young in their eyes.

  • In reply to ChiRy:

    In their eyes, he'll also not win enough, score enough, and be too short. Since Dr. J in 1981, only Dirk and Malone have won the award without having 25+ PPG, 10+ RPG, or 10+ APG. And remember, besides Steve Nash, every MVP in the last 20 years hasn't been on a top-3 team in their conference, but top-3 winningest in the NBA.

  • In reply to LittleAlex:

    Rose is averaging 24.7 a game, there's a chance he'll get up to the 25 PPG standard. And top 3 in wins? That's a possibility. Only three teams are ahead of them in the loss column right now.

  • True about Korver, except for that sweet pass he had

    I wasn't expecting a good night for him. He talked before the trip with Swirsky about how he liked shooting in each of the 5 stadiums, New Orleans was his least favorite. It seemed like a lot of Bulls really struggled with their depth perception on jump shots, especially Deng. The 100 level there looks really flat & wide, probably a decieving background to most visiting teams. It might also explain their huge success at home.

  • I haven't deleted the New Orlean's game yet. I think I'm gonna have to watch it again first.

    I remember the draft lottery when I sat watching with my family, and the Bulls were not called at No.9 or 8 meaning they had to have risen to the top three. I had watched Derrick Rose against some conference opponent just raining down threes and busting it to the hoop. I thought I knew the Bulls had no chance to get him. And I just wished we did because he just as Stacy said, "looked special." When Miami got No.2 Beasley I just jumped up and down, and yelled, "We got Derrick Rose! We got Derrick Rose!"

    It's a good thing I didn't know he'd be this amazing, or I probably would have soiled myself(kidding). But I don't know man. Early in the season and now again, while Derrick has played well all year, these two high point zones to me just show he can play with the Wades and LeBrons; anybody. I really believe that.

    I'd say LeBron and Wade are both better regular season scorers and late game/game winning shot shooters... But Derrick is coming on strong where I do think it's possible that if his team provides balance and they can't just triple team him, then I think he could possibly outplay Wade or LeBron. The problem is of course that the chickenshits decided to take the easy way out.

    I can see two awesome players joining up, but two of the top guys in the game? Maybe Michael and Magic would have joined up if they could..? But it would have been wrong IMO. He had Kareem, but the Lakers drafted Magic, it was a coin flip not a choice. If the top two forces don't battle each other for championships, but instead just "can't beat em', join em'." I just think that's un-American sort of like a collusion or a monopoly. There's just something unseemly/cowardly/rigged about it.

    Of course if Wade and/or LeBron would have come here I would have been thrilled. But to me Derrick still hasn't/hadn't risen to that level so it would hav been different. Now if both of them had joined the Bulls I do think it would have been unfair/ridiculous really to the rest of the league.

    Bottom line: D-Rose is a legit beast, and with the payoffs coming he's going to have a chance to prove it to the non-believers of the NBA world. I just hope the play calling and his teammates help give him the opportunity/some what of a fair chance not get triple teamed so he can do his thing. Booz, Jo, Lu, Kyle, C.J. Ronnie, Taj, and even Bogie; we need you guys. So Derrick can show the world his Team but also he, himself is an elite force in this league.

  • In reply to MarkNorman:

    That could become one of those questions, "Where were you when the Bulls got the #1 pick?"

    Basketball hadn't made me that happy since the last championship in '98. I absolutely knew we landed a stud franchise game changer, the kind we hadn't seen in the rebuilding years. Man I was so excited that day. I chain smoking, so full of nerves, running through in my head all the scenarios of how we could build around him, calling all my basketball friends to talk about it. I didn't know he was going to be this good, this fast though. I think he can be the best player in the nBA soon, I really do now. Why can't he?

  • In reply to ChiRy:

    When he scored 36 was it in his first playoff game? And then in his second year averaged 27(26.9)ppg in the playoffs? And lately his D not in all, but after the Portland let down, has been the best I've seen him play/shutting elite players down for much of the game. More and more NBA inside guys who have been around a long time our saying watch out for Derrick Rose and the Chicago Bulls in this year's playoffs. Jon Barry and Mike Breem both said as much yesterday and today. Derrick is the one to watch.

  • In reply to MarkNorman:

    It was in his first playoff game

  • In reply to ChiRy:

    In my living room going nuts that we got D Rose lol i called all my friends no joke

  • In reply to Csharp:

    I saw it on the bottom line of ESPN, Chicago Bulls win draft lottery. I didn't even watch the lottery balls because I didn't think we had a chance.. needless to say it was the best thing I ever read or ever will read on the espn 'bottom line'

  • In reply to Csharp:

    I really hope Asik stays in the rotation when Noah comes back, even if it's for less than 10 minutes a game he's a guy you can throw in for a few minutes and he'll chase after every shot and really make his presence felt.

  • In reply to DontLetsStart:

    Agree whole-heartedly... give the old man (Thomas) a little break, after a job well done.

  • +2 good comparison lol

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