Derrick Rose absolutely destroyed the Clippers in every way imaginable. From behind the arc to off the dribble. Deng, Watson, and Korver crushed their spirits by knocking down three after three, and the Bulls broke their ominous streak of losing every time Bogans scores five points, The Bulls survived a monster performance by Blake Griffin, and if that guy ever learns to shoot, the league better watch the heck out.
As for the individual performances
Derrick Rose sure looked healthier than he has in awhile
Do you think the extended rest helped? I think so. He's probably past the ulcer and back pain, because he looked like he was moving far more freely on the court. Early on, he dropped three three pointers (one originally called a two and overturned) on the Clips, and had tons of forays into the paint finishing with his sick reverse lay up.
He also set up the rest of his teammates for easy looks repeatedly when the Clippers tried to send a lot of coverage his way. Rose launched the Bulls offense this game with an aggressive start and performed at the highest level.
He finished with 32 points on an efficient 11 for 18 from the field with 11 assists on the night, and if they had needed him to do more, he probably could have gone off for 50 the way he had it going on tonight, but the game was in hand late.
Luol Deng looks awfully dangerous when he's drilling threes
Deng finished three of six from the night from beyond the arc, but he knocked down his first three attempts and had room to work with off the dribble most of the night. He got to the line, shot efficiently from inside, and lots of great passing opportunities as the Clippers defense was typically completely discombobulated when Luol had the ball, typically coming after the whole team tried to swarm Derrick Rose who kicked it out to Deng.
It was a great game for Luol who hit all the right notes on when to shoot the long ball, when to drive, and when to pass on the night. There was a lot of talk about whether Deng should be an all-star prior to the start of the game, and I had never really considered the topic too closely.
However, maybe due to our past low expectations for Deng we are selling him short. I typically think an all-star needs to create his own shot better though and play a role in the offense larger than Dengs, but Ben Wallace made plenty of all star games with no ability to do that. Deng's been one of the league's best perimeter defenders this season, and his offense has certainly been very solid even if not mind blowing. The guy's still giving you 17-18 points a night, plenty of boards, and great defense. Maybe he should be on the team.
Carlos Boozer struggled to get it going on most of the night
He shot 50% from the field which is usually enough for an offensive player to have a nice night, but he missed an open dunk and had mostly gimmie shots for his makes. He struggled with turnovers, and he wasn't doing a whole lot in isolation for the team. That said, when Boozer struggles and gives you an 8/16 night from the field it's not the worst thing in the world.
He wasn't matched up on Griffin too much defensively, but when he was, he had no more success than anyone else on the Bulls. He did get a flagrant called against him when he gave Griffin a little bit of a shove when the two collided in mid air and Griffin was going in for a dunk.
I thought the call was complete BS given that Griffin grabbed Boozer's arm with his off hand and threw it out of the way stopping him from contesting the shot. The tail end of the play was a defensive foul, but not before Griffin clearly illegally used his off arm to push Boozer away.
If that's a flagrant, Derrick Rose has been more screwed than I thought by the refs.
Keith Bogans scores five, but the Bulls still win
The stat about the Bulls being undefeated when Bogans scores six has been used as some bizarre form of support for him starting. "Look he only needs to score six and the Bulls win, they don't need much scoring". Others counter with "If only we had a shooting guard who regularly scored 6 we'd win all the time!".
Well, neither point makes any sense. Bogans barely plays. This is a completely random coincidence.
Kurt Thomas tried hacking the hell out of Griffin, and maybe it worked
The returns didn't come in early, but by the second half, Griffin looked a bit more tired and less able to do what he did in the first half which was dominate the absolute crap out of our defense like only Dwight Howard has done before.
Griffin got many of his shots off assisted, easy looks near the basket using his extreme athleticism to gain separation while another player drives or to jump over the defense like he abused Kyle Korver. However, Kurt made him work when they tried to dump the ball into Griffin and get points out of him in isolation and wasn't nearly as effective there.
After a monster first half where I believe Blake scored 22 (off the top of my head), he finished the game with only 32 points.
C.J. Watson played great off the bench and had the second unit rolling
The Bulls first really broke open this game in the second quarter when Watson and the bench came in for Rose. He shot and moved the ball well, and the Bulls managed to build up their first double digit lead which collapsed almost immediately when he went to the bench (only to be rebuilt almost just as fast).
Watson's continuing to play quite well as the backup point guard and has really settled into his roll since his early season struggles. I'm sure he wishes he had more minutes on the floor, and I certainly wish the Bulls would give him about eight of Bogans minutes, but he's making the most of what he has.
Ronnie Brewer had a rare game where you just didn't notice him
Part of it is likely the lack of a dynamic perimeter offensive player (with Gordon out) for him to make his mark against, but Brewer just didn't seem to have it going on. He typically skys for rebounds, makes some marquee steals, and gets you a couple of exciting dunks every night, but the only play I remember him involved in was an end of half play where he picked up a loose ball rebound and was sprinting down the court for the final shot and decided to pass the ball backwards to Derrick Rose for a long three rather than take a regulation length three himself.
To which I thought, how high would Rose's three point percentage be if he didn't take all of these end of quarter threes?
Kyle Korver still shooting pretty well
He was only two of five behind the three point line, but he had another one that was waived off by an awfully dicey offensive foul call. After going through a slump, Korver has rebounded and found his stroke again.
Taj Gibson stepped up with Thomas in foul trouble
Gibson played 34 minutes which is quite a bit more than he typically has recently, and he played them quite well. He had a lot of energy going on, and did a very nice job pulling down rebounds and earned the Bulls some points through effort and nice play.
He didn't exactly shut down Griffin, but neither did anyone else, and Taj has always been more of a help defender than a primary defender.
Omer Asik barely played but had one notable play to me
Blake Griffin was running in for a dunk and Asik got out in front of the circle with both feet, then jumped straight up, put his hand in between Griffen's and got called for body contact. If he had just stood there, he probably would have gotten a charge, but the call was absolutely ridiculous to go against him when he jumped straight up and had established position prior to Griffin's arrival in the paint.
It was just one of many superstar calls Griffin got on the night. I thought Asik looked pretty decent in his very few minutes, but apparently Thibodeau saw something he didn't like, because the Bulls never went back to him.
Tom Thibodeau continues to make the right adjustments at half time
How many times have the Bulls come out and crushed their opponent in the second half? It seems to happen with great regularity to me. I don't know if that stat is out there, but I suspect we'd find the Bulls play very well coming out of half time.
They did so again. Griffin, who dominate the Bulls early, was minimized considerably in the second half, and the Bulls went on to hold the Clippers to a mere 39 second half points and turned the game into a rout by the end.
Nice job by your future NBA coach of the year.
Great first game on the road for the Bulls. They now have plenty of time off before facing Golden State on Saturday, an easier game for us to watch since we can sleep in the next night. This wasn't the toughest game on the trip by any stretch, but it was a game against a team playing really well in their building, and the Bulls came out with the win.
So far the Bulls are 3-0 over the stretch I was hoping they'd go 13-7. They haven't hit the toughest stretch in the schedule yet, but I couldn't be happier with where the team is at.