It wasn't pretty, but Bulls beat Suns

The Bulls beat the Suns while the Spurs beat the Hawks, so if the two teams finished tied, the homecourt will be based on random draw.   The Bulls built a huge lead largely behind the play of their bench in the second quarter and the starters in the early third.

At this point, down by around 20 points, you kinda figured the Suns would go away.   They've got nothing to play for, Aaron Brooks is on the court while Steve Nash rests, and the game looks like it's on it's way to blowoutville.

That's when things went wrong.   Vince Carter hit a couple threes, the Suns got a few absolutely ridiculous calls in their favor, the Bulls made a few turnovers, and the lead started shrinking and shrinking. 

The Bulls can never quite get it going offensively, and they end up up by a mere two points with a minute (or so) to go.  Derrick Rose time.

Rose slices in and knocks down a three point play, but Channing Frye comes back and knocks down a three to bring it back to two.  Rose knocks down a wicked step back two to push it to four.   Vince Carter hits a driving layup to bring it back down to two but with only 26 seconds left, and after the Suns inexplicably wait 13 seconds before fouling Kyle Korver, who then equally inexplicably splits the free throws....

Steve Nash decides to hand the game to the Bulls with extraordinary stupidity

The Suns have no timeouts, so Nash takes it straight out of bounds, and then for who only knows what reason, he drives inside the lane with about five seconds on the clock and passes the ball off to Gortat with about four seconds left.

I know we want to talk about how great and heady Nash is, but my god what a stupid play that was.   The ball bounces around for awhile as Gortat misses the shot, and the game clock expires.   However, look, you're down three with no timeouts.   What if you make a two with about there seconds left to be down one?   

You're going to foul right away, even if the other team misses both free throws, you'll have maybe two seconds left to get the ball and launch a shot from the opposite end?   Good luck with that.

I mean, I get that your opposition is pushing you hard to not allow a three, but you have to shoot a three there.   You just have to.  There's no such thing as a 'quick two' strategy when you have no timeouts to advance the ball.

The Suns did a nice job forcing the ball out of Derrick's hands on defense

The Bulls did a nice job adjusting to that though.  Rose took only 15 shots and had just four assists, but the Bulls did a great job of making the second pass after Rose gave up the ball to find easy baskets.  

Rose, Deng, Boozer, Noah, and Brewer all had four or more assists (while Watson had three).

Bulls eased off the gas in the second half and it cost them

In the late third and most of the fourth, the Suns just won all the hustle plays.   The Bulls may have been looking for the Suns to roll over and die, but it didn't happen,   At the same time, the Bulls couldn't find any offensive continuity on the other end, and the combination led to the Suns run. 

The Bulls seem to really gear it up for big competition, and they've tended to let other teams hang around a bit too much for my liking, still, are we going to really sit back and complain about not beating a team like the Suns by 'enough'?

Final thoughts

The Celtics don't look like complete trash so much lately, so I'm happy the bulls were able to close down the magic number by a game.  The Celts are no tied with the Heat again (and own the tiebreaker) for the second seed. 

With 5 games left to play, the magic numbers look like this:
Spurs (6)
Lakers (3)
#1 seed / Boston (3)
Miami (2)

[updated Lakers number after waking up to find out they lost to the Jazz]

Comments

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  • Thibodeau Experimenting with Lineups

    I saw only part of the game. It seems like Thibs is experimenting with 2nd string lineup.

    Asik played only 6 minutes. I saw the 2nd unit and wondered what happened to Asik. Thibs inserted Boozer for, perhaps offense?

    Bulls up by 22 and won by a few. Rose has a killer instinct but I wonder about the rest of the team sometimes. This game should have been easier.

    Back to Asik. 6 minutes. Why?

  • In reply to rkraneis:

    Asik played decent minutes in the first half but the Suns only have one legit center in Gortat who Boozer took most of the night. Thibs liked Taj on Frye more than Noah or Asik. In the 4th quarter the Suns went small and on the first defensive possession Asik was on the much fledged of foot Hakim Warrick. Thibs immediately subbed in Korver for Asik to go small as well. And now you know.

  • In reply to johnbegone:

    Thanks...

    That was a helpful reply.

  • In reply to johnbegone:

    How worried should we be about these tight games over the past couple weeks? Last five games are gonna be tough: all five are against either .500+ teams (Celts, Magic, Knicks) OR on the second night of a back-to-back (Cavs, Nets). In theory, the Bulls could knock of five straight LOSSES.

  • In reply to bzoooty:

    Our record on the second night of back to backs is amazing and our record against teams above .500 seems better than against teams below...

    I think the Bulls are just coasting a bit and Thibs is experimenting with lineups a bit before the playoffs we shouldnt be too concerned

  • In reply to UtahBullsFan:

    I also think that for some of these teams, a win against the Bulls is about as close as they're going to come to any late-season glory.

    Potentially, you have the coach of the year, the MVP and the overall #1/2 seed in the NBA. What else does Phoenix have to play for other than to try and beat them?

    I actually prefer the Bulls be forced to maintain a game-by-game focus. It can only help come playoff time.

  • In reply to saigman:

    I agree, they need to get sharp again, the saving grace is that with the #1 seed they should have time in the first round to regain their edge without it costing them more than a game or at worst 2.

  • In reply to bzoooty:

    ..."five straight LOSSES".

    Not going to happen and not worried.

  • In reply to zentastic:

    Especially if the Nets sit Deron Williams for the rest of the season as has been speculated.

    If you are the Celts or Heat, are you feeling good about your chances at the #1 seed with Rose going up against D-Will's backup and Baron Davis??? I wouldn't, either.

  • In reply to saigman:

    Its weird though its been the non-elite/nonstar PG's that have scored on D-Rose maybe it just seems that way I havent looked at the #'s

  • In reply to bzoooty:

    Given that the Bulls haven't lost three in a row all year despite playing plenty of back to backs and above .500 teams, I'd rework that theory you have.

  • In reply to bzoooty:

    With the exception of Noah getting back up to 100%, not worried at all. I mean, really, what are the Bulls playing for? Hard to get up for some of these games now, and other teams no doubt have no trouble getting up for us.

  • In reply to bzoooty:

    Does anyone know what that Grant Hill mess was about last night? Heard some punks spit on him and called him an Uncle Tom & also used some more profane racial slurs. I know Grant Hill is a great sportsman, but he seemed a bit unusually chippy last night.

  • In reply to ChiRy:

    I dont know what was said to him, but I read it was one person who spit at him and shouted insults. That person was arrested.

  • In reply to ChiRy:

    were Jalen Rose and the Fab five in the audience last night.

  • In reply to bzoooty:

    In theory Indiana can win the championship. Doesn't mean it's remotely likely.

  • In reply to rkraneis:

    Utah just beat the Lakers in LA!!! HUGE!!!
    Lakers magic number now down to 3. Bulls ahead of Lakers in the loss column 20-22!
    GO BULLS!

  • In reply to rkraneis:

    Never assume doug never assume! Haha jk jk
    Loved seeing the choke job by their MVP!! He got worked by a rookie haha

  • In reply to UtahBullsFan:

    Gordon Hayward played great! He didn't look like a rookie.

  • In reply to rkraneis:

    Thibs is pulling a Del Bimbo, using BGBoozer as a center is assinine, just like Del Bimbo did with Drew Gooden at the expense of Noah.

    In fact Boozer is basically a smaller version of Drew Gooden only we are paying him 3 times as much.

    Boozer is a fucking joke and playing him almost the entire fourth quarter almost cost us the game.

    I am really starting to despise him.

  • In reply to BigWay:

    Oh yea, just for the heck of it, BGBZR had the worst plus minus(-5) on the team, and Asik in only 6 minutes had the best (+7).

  • In reply to BigWay:

    While I would generally agree Boozer is killing the bulls defensively, I think Thibs is trying to find ways to use him more effectively. Hopefully it's similar to the first Knicks game where Thibs left the bench in to close it out when everyone thought he should have gone back to the starters. That paid off in how the bench gelled and plays now. Hopefully Thibs is killing Boozer in the film room right now.

  • In reply to bullshooter:

    Let's also not forget that the fewer offensive weapons in at the end of the game (e.g., Boozer/Deng out at all), the more likely Rose is to face double & triple teams.

    Suffer 1 bad defensive player for the chance at having two good offensive ones, or possibly lose one good offensive player and possibly neutralize the other for the sake of some improved defense up front??

    I questioned Bogans all season, but at this point, I'm willing to trust Thibs that he knows what he is doing.

  • In reply to saigman:

    The one thing about Thibs is not starting Korver instead of Bogans. But, he seems to know what he is doing. Korver fouls a lot which means he is putting the SG of the opposing team on the line who usually shoot good FT%. So, until next season until we get a two-way player at the SG position, we have to trust Mr. Thibs. If only Noah and Boozer can work better on offense, it will put less pressure on Bogans and Thibs.

  • In reply to saigman:

    BGBZ played almost the entire fourth quarter, as did deng, Thibs went away from his usual rotation in the 4rth as he has been doing lately and we could barely score a point in the quarter.

    BGBZ would have to average 2 points per possession to make up for the damage he does at the other end. But hey, everyone from Steve Nash to the Bulls bench got a good laugh when Nash threaded that pass through BGBZ legs while he was backpedaling away from the defense in his famous crab stance. That has to be worth at least $10 million of his salary.

    Thibs is coaching scared lately in the 4rth quarter. he needs to stick with what he has built during the season and keep the faith in his players and rotations that have been working. If anything BGBZ should be playing less, not more.

  • In reply to BigWay:

    You seem awfully negative about Thibodeau over the course of the season. This makes believe that it would be literally impossible for any coach to ever make you happy.

    I really don't get how anyone could look at Thibodeau's body of work and go "wow this guy is a Del Negro".

  • In reply to DougThonus:

    Seriously, the guy is a top COY candidate and has coached his team to #1 in the East and 1.5 games behind the Spurs for the best record in the NBA with injuries to 2 of the top players on the team all season. No way he could be compared to Del Negro.

  • In reply to kayak0109:

    IF any of you actually read things in perspective before reacting emotionally, or had a proper understanding of how to comprehend the english language you would know that I didn't compare him to Del Bimbo.

    I compared using Boozer as a center which Thibs has done more frequently of late as a Del Bimbo like move just like using Gooden as a center and killing NOahs development for over a season.

    Smart people do dumb things sometimes. I am certain that Thibs is at least as nauseated by BGBZR's lack of defensive effort as I am, but he knows that he is stuck with him so he is taking desperate measures to try to figure out what do to with him.

    Unfortunately he is a dog of Ben Gordon proportions and will find himself on the bench just like Gordon when it matters, because Thibs is smart enough to realize that he can't cost his team playoff games by playing Boozer in crunch time, otherwise he will lose his team.

    Boozer is all mouth no bite, and it will catch up with him on the Bulls as it did in Utah.

  • In reply to DougThonus:

    Simple Doug, Some people that post on this blog, namely Bigway, are nuts.
    Now lets wait for his response. Maybe he'll threaten to shoot me in a dark alley!

  • In reply to Normie:

    NO I won't shoot you in a dark alley, your the crazy one, but I would meet you in a dark alley anytime you want to compare basketball and Bulls bonafides, and I guarantee you are not walking out of that alley.

    You must be the one that Mappy is always refering too, the clueless one.

  • In reply to DougThonus:

    I am not negative about Thibs at all, other than Rose he is the best thing that has happened to the Bulls since 98, I just question some of his moves, and maybe some of his motivations.

    I doubt that me and Thibs are that different, notice now he calls a timeout whenever the Bulls mess up any of his defensive pricipals. You don't become great by patting your selfesteem on the back and telling yourself how great your are. You critically examine everything that you do wrong and you try to fix it, that is how you become better.

    Drew Gooden was not a center, anybody on this blog want to tell me that Boozer is.

  • In reply to BigWay:

    I don't know how anyone with proper english language skills can read what I wrote and contend that I said "wow this guy is a Del Negro". Playing Boozer at center is however, pulling a Del Negro, which doesn't mean that he is a Del Negro.

    Doug, you are usually a pretty rational guy, but maybe your judgement is being infected by the bomb throwers on this blog.

  • In reply to rkraneis:

    You know why, Richard? It's simple, he reads this blog and is stunned by the obsession you and others have about a good, promising player who is still learning the game and has his obvious limitations. GET IT? He's is sending a message!

  • Thanks for keeping us current on the Magic Numbers, Doug.

    So if Bulls can beat Boston on Thursday the East is a virtual lock as the magic numbers for both Boston and Miami would be down to 1, with 4 games remaining.
    (I'm assuming Miami wins on Wednesday).

  • In reply to Edward:

    If the Bulls beat Cleveland, New York, and New Jersey, they win the #1 seed regardless of what happens against Boston, so I don't think the Boston game is as critical as it could be.

    That said, Boston seems to be playing tougher against better teams as they test themselves against other playoff squads. I look for the Celtics to come in with their best effort.

  • In reply to DougThonus:

    Yes, you

  • In reply to Edward:

    If we hadn't beaten other elite teams, I'd agree with you, but I don't think we'll play Boston in the playoffs.

    I think it's more important to get a win @Orlando than against Boston as an example.

  • In reply to DougThonus:

    Winning against Boston is more important for letting Thibs experiment with new things in the last few games especially on offense with Noah and Boozer.

  • In reply to DougThonus:

    I know where you're going, but I disagree. I wouldn't be so presumptuous to write off the Celtics. I don't think Thibs and Rose are either.

  • In reply to Edward:

    The earliest we're going to see them is the ECF, and let's face it, whomever we fight in the ECF is going to be really good, so it's not really a matter of writing them off, as much as just saying I don't view this game as that critical.

    I want them to win, but the Bulls have built up a nice cushion, and if they lose the game it won't be the end of the world whereas a couple weeks ago they looked like it was a must win for the #1 seed.

  • In reply to DougThonus:

    Bulls 3 game East lead is in reality a 2 game lead because Celtics own the tiebreaker. If Bulls lose to Boston it

  • In reply to Edward:

    True..but what Doug is saying is that we have to go 3-1(against Cavs, Knicks, Orl,NJ) which is not very difficult. And Boston has to go to Miami.
    But that said, I hope they beat the Celtics to get the rest they need the rest of the regular season..

  • In reply to Edward:

    Yes, that

  • In reply to Edward:

    Knicks just beat Philly in Philly to reclaim the 6th seed. Knicks have now won 5 straight.
    Who still believes Bulls

  • In reply to DougThonus:

    The Bulls need to play well in both to get back in the groove, this stretch of playing bad teams has been bad for them(other than in the win/loss column)

    They are just not playing sharply because they haven't had to against all these bad team. I am hoping for the best Thursday, but unless they can turn it on like a switch, it could be ugly early.

  • Is Noah hurting both on his ankles and hands? He did shoot his tornado shot though...I think Thibs will let Noah loose after they clinch the East...Boston and Cleveland games.
    Noah uses his jumper against Howard on Sunday...

  • Im nervous about the Celtics game they are trending upward and we are trending downward .... Read a tweet saying noahs ankle was really swollen after the game

  • In reply to UtahBullsFan:

    Any time you play a team as good as Boston you should be nervous, but the Bulls have built up enough cushion that the game isn't so critical anymore.

    Still, I think the Bulls go out and win. The close Phoenix game was good for them because it will push them to play harder against Boston.

  • In reply to DougThonus:

    Ya you are def right I still think we are a better team than them and should pull out a W

  • In reply to DougThonus:

    Did we see Hakim Warrick's bricks yesterday. I definitely don't miss him or Hinrich.
    Noah and Boozer always seem to have one issue or the other. I hope they win against Boston and then take it easy after that. I don't think they can worry about catching San Antonio and play them Rose/Deng/Noah for 35+ minutes.

  • In reply to schaumburgfan:

    Ya we got a draft pick out of a salary dump guy lol not bad

  • In reply to UtahBullsFan:

    Good Memory!
    I think we got 2nd round picks from both Phoenix and Utah. Phoenix for Hakim Warrick, and Utah in the Boozer deal, is that correct?

    Then Bulls gave one back to Golden State in the CJ Watson S&T, is that correct?
    (Golden State gets the worse of the Phoenix and Utah 2nd round picks).

  • In reply to Edward:

    Yeah I think thats exactly what happened ....

    I wonder why we did that with Utah? Booz was ready to sign and we didnt give him the max? I think it was probably dont burn your bridges thing

  • In reply to UtahBullsFan:

    We did it for the pick & as a favor to Utah, who got a huge Trade Exception, which they used on Al Jefferson.

  • In reply to bulls6:

    Where to those trade exceptions come from? Does each team have one every year??

    Im really curious about that

  • In reply to bulls6:

    Exactly! Utah S&T Boozer and a 2nd pick for Bulls' salary cap space which becomes a trade exception. Teams under the salary cap don't have to match salaries in trades as long as they are still under the cap when the trade is complete.

    http://archive.chicagobreakingsports.com/2010/07/bulls-jazz-will-make-boozer-sign-and-trade.html

  • In reply to bulls6:

    more fun with every Bulls fans favorite blogger, Hollinger

    http://insider.espn.go.com/nba/insider/columns/story?columnist=hollinger_john&page=PERDiem-110406

    He does give some very nice love to Omer and Taj.

    Despite his craziness, it sure would have been much more interesting watching Tony Allen next to Rose rather than Bogans.

  • In reply to BigWay:

    In hindsight, the Bulls FO did screwup up the Bogans deal. They missed out on Wesley Matthews, Tony Allen and I am not sure how Anthony Morrow is doing.
    I have this bad feeling that Bogans will come back to haunt the Bulls in the playoffs.

  • In reply to schaumburgfan:

    Bogans was one of the last guys signed. He was #12 and Scalabrine was #13. Thibs asked Gar Forman to sign him since he was still available. he obviously was not a prime target.
    I dont know what kind of Bogans deal you are thinking of. Bulls did go after Redick & lost out on Morrow. they signed Brewer & Korver as they waited for a decision on Redick.
    When Orland matched, then they traded for Watson and signed Bogans.

  • In reply to bulls6:

    Pretty sure Brewer was signed after not getting Redick.

  • In reply to bulls6:

    Heat are going to lose!!!

  • In reply to bulls6:

    Miami lose to the Bucks, without Wade they're crap. So much for the Heat & Lakers winning out!

    Looks like Boston is once again the competition for #1.

  • In reply to bulls6:

    magic number for the heat is down to one game. :)

  • In reply to bulls6:

    Howard got a T which will mean he'll miss the Bulls game. Really great news in what would otherwise be a hard game on the schedule. The Bulls chances of finishing ahead of the Lakers look real good now.

  • In reply to DontLetsStart:

    Are you sure its the Bulls game he will miss? Do they not play again til Sunday?

  • In reply to ChiRy:

    Orlando has 3 days off. Next game is Sunday against Bulls. Apparently Quentin Richardson (who was ejected tonight) may possibly be suspended as well.

  • In reply to Edward:

    Oh man! They are going to wipe the floor with Orlando. I was thinking about going to the game, might not be as competitive now, but it sure would be fun catching a blowout on the road.

  • In reply to ChiRy:

    Howard's 2nd suspension has got to help his MVP chances! LOL
    The ballots are in the voters' hands as we blog.

  • In reply to ChiRy:

    IM wondering if Howards tech is going to get rescinded by the NBA

  • In reply to UtahBullsFan:

    Yes, I just watched the video and it was pretty tame, wasn't it?

  • In reply to UtahBullsFan:

    Lakers are down 17 to Golden State to open the 4th quarter. Lakers are on a road-back-to-back.
    Let

  • In reply to DontLetsStart:

    Knicks just beat Philly in Philly to reclaim the 6th seed.
    Knicks have now won 5 straight.
    Who still believes Bulls

  • In reply to Edward:

    Neither side is likely to have a lot to play for by that point. The Bulls will hopefully have cemented the #1 seed, and the Knicks may actively be hoping to finish at #7 depending on which of the Celtics/Heat they prefer facing.

    I can certainly see both teams playing a lot of their bench.

  • In reply to DontLetsStart:

    A lot depends on the Boston game Thursday night. If Bulls beat Boston (and then Cleveland or Orlando) the East #1 seed is clinched. But if Boston beats Bulls everything tightens up and Bulls may still have a race on their hands because Boston owns the tiebreaker. Bulls current 3 game lead is actually 2 due to Boston owning the tiebreaker. Boston wins and it

  • In reply to bulls6:

    Guys I just remembered it took the lakers 3ot to beat the suns in la I dont feel so bad lol

  • In reply to UtahBullsFan:

    No team is unbeatable or dominating kind of team like even the Spurs when Duncan was in his prime. Kobe is definitely aging and he kind of shows up every other game. He just is not able to show up with the energy needed to beat good teams. The Bulls can definitely beat them if they have HCA or not as they match-up the best compared to other teams in the paint area.

  • In reply to UtahBullsFan:

    That was a pretty sweet surprise to wake up to!

  • In reply to UtahBullsFan:

    Who tweeted about the ankle?

  • In reply to DougThonus:

    Sam Smith mentioned it in his piece

  • In reply to DougThonus:

    http://twitter.com/McGrawDHBulls/status/55472039015886849

    Im not sure who that is but I saw it on the Bullstweets section of your site

  • In reply to UtahBullsFan:

    That's Mike McGraw of the Daily Herald. haha, I can't even read my own Bulls tweets section. I thought I looked at Mcgraw and didn't see it, but I must have missed it.

  • In reply to DougThonus:

    Hahaha kudo on that section though I use it all the time

  • In reply to UtahBullsFan:

    *kudos

  • In reply to UtahBullsFan:

    Remember too - if we beat NY on next Tuesday, we would have beat ALL 29 other teams.
    Bulls last did that in 1995-96 and 19966-97.
    In 1997-98, Bulls beat all teams except Utah, who they then dispatched in the Finals

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