A 40 point drubbing of the Kings was only surprising in the way the Bulls kept the foot on the gas at the end of the game. However, the big reason the Bulls can turn these blowouts into super-blowouts is that when both teams empty the bench, the Bulls bench would probably win 30 games as starters.
The Hawks kept it close for the first 10 minutes or so, and it looked like we might have a real game. Then the Bulls caught fire in the last three minutes scoring on 5 of 6 possessions while getting stops on 5 of 6 on the other end to push the lead from one point to ten points.
After that they never looked back, and the fourth quarter looked like a preseason game with both teams just finishing it off with the end of the bench.
The irony is the absolute blowout means Kobe Bryant probably helped his MVP chances more than Rose on the night
The Lakers needed triple overtime to knock off the Phoenix Suns on their home court while the Bulls went into Atlanta and absolutely annihilated a team that probably wins 47-48 games this season.
However, the Bulls game was unwatchable if you aren't a Bulls homer, so Rose probably won't get all that much credit for completely dissecting the Atlanta Hawks (quality) defense.
The MVP is still Derrick's to lose IMO, but in a game where there's not much to recap except shear dominance and great play by the team, it's an interesting side note.
Derrick Rose hasn't stopped launching threes, but he's knocked them down
One of the interesting trends with Rose recently has been the heavy volume of his three point shooting. He's shooting 34% on the season which is good enough that he's not hurting you with the threes he's taking overall, but he's streaky enough that it can really spoil an otherwise good game.
Rose likely has increased his three point shooting, because on average, it's not hurting the team's offense, and it's giving him a few possessions of offense where he's not working quite so hard and can conserve a little more energy.
It also sets the precedent that teams have to come out and guard him which opens up the drive. Improving his three point shot further is probably one of the things he'll do this summer to come back even more dangerous next year.
Over the past two games he's launched 12 threes and connected on eight of them which is pretty good. Up until recently, it was fairly rare for Rose to shoot more than six a game, and most games were around four. However, in the past seven games, he's shot 9, 11, 7, 5, 8, 4, and 8 three point attempts.
That's 7.4 three point attempts per game over that stretch. The most threes anyone shoots per game in the NBA this year is 6.1. Rose is now 13th in total threes taken and 17th in threes per game. I'm not sure that's where we want Rose's three point attempt numbers to be while shooting 34% on the year.
Bulls keep the pressure on Boston
With a win, the Bulls pull a half game ahead of Boston who hosts Memphis tonight. You'd expect Memphis to be an easy win for the Celtics at home, but I don't know how much I trust the Celtics anymore.
Despite gutting out a win against New York, they just don't look that good to me. I don't agree with Rivers, they don't look soft, they look like a bunch of thugs, but they look like a bunch of thugs who have to mug it up because they aren't what they used to be.
The Bulls are crushing it on national TV
One of the big reasons Derrick will have so much MVP hype is that his team always wins on national TV. It's the anti-2006/7 Bulls, and it probably separates the men from the boys.
No one wants to lose on national TV, and the Bulls play their A game in those times now. In the past, the was pretty good, but when the good teams really focused, the Bulls lack of talent was exposed. They were just motivated and could grind out wins otherwise.
This Bulls team is the opposite, they drop games here and there that they really shouldn't win, and while I think they do a nice job staying motivated and grinding things out, they have shown the ability to crank it up a notch when the lights are teh brightest.
The Bulls have three national TV games left. Boston, @Orlando and @New York. I'm not sure if the Bulls are underdogs in any of the three (certainly not against the Knicks I'd imagine), but they're certainly the only games on the schedule you could consider making them underdogs for.
Has anyone ever gotten so many road MVP chants going?
The Bulls had homecourt advantage by the end of this thing. Probably 30-40% of the stadium was Bulls fans to begin with, and it didn't take long before the Hawks fans left and the Bulls fans were all that's left.
The Atlanta crowd probably rivaled the UC crowd in how loud they were chanting MVP. Has any player ever gotten so many road MVP chants? Maybe I just didn't follow Kobe closely enough, but every single game Rose is getting road MVP chants, and I just don't remember that ever happening for anyone else.