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.
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.