Bulls make a statement in Orlando

The Chicago Bulls rode a five game win streak into Orlando and came out with a six game streak. Much like the Clippers game, the Bulls fell into a whole early, but absolutely dominated after the first few minutes turning the game into a laugher with a few minutes left.

Despite Howard's 28 points and 15 rebounds, I felt the Bulls did a solid job defensively on him. They forced him into shooting mostly jump hooks rather than getting wide open dunks and forced him into a bunch of turnovers. The Bulls defended Howard by committee with all four big men taking a crack at him and all of them doing a respectable job, even Boozer.

Kyle Korver brought it

Korver played an unusually high 31 minutes and delivered. He was 5/7 from down town and played very well defensively against an Orlando team without a bunch of slashers. He did a nice job helping out on Dwight and overall had, by far, his best game of the season. With Korver's shooting, the Bulls were 8/14 from beyond the arc overall hitting one more three than Orlando on six less attempts.

Boozer steps up big in a big game

It was nice to see Boozer play so well in a big game. Boozer was very solid offensively, but he also did a very solid job defensively in this one as well including some defense on Howard at points. While we frequently take shots at Boozer's weaknesses one of his great strengths is how quickly he gets shots up on offensive rebounds or basket cuts.

He can just flip the ball up and in so quickly with excellent body control which makes him so deadly when he slip a screen or rolls to the basket.

Derrick Rose was there when the Bulls needed him

Rose missed a bunch of bunnies in this one where he destroyed the defense and just didn't quite get the roll at the rim, but most of those misses were in non critical points with big leads. When the Bulls really needed a hoop, Derrick delivered, just like always.

Rose broke down the Magic defense over and over getting into the paint whenever he wanted and came two boards shy of a trip double on the night. Even though Rose is playing big minutes this season, his minutes don't seem nearly as stressful as they were last season.

He's not having to put up nearly as much effort to handle the scoring load as the Bulls offense has been much more diversified so far this season.

Luol Deng didn't absolutely humiliate Turkoglu

But he still completely outplayed him on both ends of the court.

I don't know if Deng is an all-star, in fact, I suspect that he may not be. However, what I can say is that he's proven to be one of the best two way SFs in the NBA. At this point, how many SFs are you really taking over Deng? LeBron, Durant, Melo, and then... I'm not sure if there's another SF I'd take over Deng after that point.

Deng's offense looks so much better this season, and it's easy to see how much he benefits from playing with better personnel. With Bogans gone and Deng playing more of his minutes with more threats on the floor his high basketball IQ allows him to get far more easy points than last season where the defense typically only had to cover four guys on the court.

Quick hits

Taj Gibson's defense is awesome. What a luxury to bring this guy off the bench.

Give John Lucas some props for coming in and playing very solid back up PG minutes. So far, the Bulls haven't ever been hurt with Lucas in the game, and when you go from Derrick Rose to John Lucas and break even or increase the lead by a couple points then you feel really good about those minutes.

Bulls just beat another top 8 team in the NBA on the road and did so without Rip and Watson.

Final thoughts

Big win for the Bulls, and they did it without seeming to push that hard. Derrick Rose didn't have to go into beast mode. Things don't get a whole lot easier tomorrow against the Atlanta Hawks team that almost beat them in the United Center, but after the Hawks the Bulls catch a soft spot in the schedule with a bunch of winnable games.


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  • I was really impressed with Boozer's defense tonight, as you mentioned he even did a good job of checking Howard on a few occasions.

    He has the hands, the strength and the quickness to be at least a solid defender- if he keeps putting out the effort on that end of the floor, he won't be overpaid.

    When healthy, he's had a few seasons where he hit 45% or more of his jumpers- if he can get close to that percentage here, with the other weapons we now have on offense, he could really open up the lane for DRose to get easier looks.

    Here's my game recap, if anyone is interested:

    http://thebullsvilleblog.blogspot.com/2012/01/bulls-now-7-1-after-beating-orlando.html (Bullsville.com)

  • In reply to Don Ellis:

    I'm with you Don. It is very easy for some to complain that Booz is not earning his corn but we have to understand that he is in a completely different setup than he was at the Jazz. We do not run the same offensive sets as the Jazz did for him so he is adjusting to that. I am very pleased with how he has decided to take on board Thibs philosophy; no-one can deny that he is no longer a matador on defence, he has embraced the team first ethos, and even with all the detractors he doesn't whine and just gets on with trying to get the team to win.

    Unless we get Dwight in a trade this season (don't think Adidas will let him come here tho - there was a lot of Bulls players having a quiet word in his ear at the end of the game; I wonder what they were saying lol) we have a choice: be a TRUE supporter of our Team and support what Thibs is doing to get this team a banner or continue to gripe about who we should have instead of whoever. I do believe this team has a great shot of winning it all (barring injuries to Derrick or Luol). It will not surprise me if once again we only have one all star in Orlando this year but that just highlights the strength of our Bulls. We are team focused were egos do not belong. The Knicks are likely to have 3 all stars but is there anyone here who would trade their whole squad for ours?

    This is Derrick's team. But thats the point - its a team. Everyone has their role in the team and everyone has bought into it. With a bit of luck, no injuries come playoff time we will be the team others will have to bulls.

    I happily stay up to 4am to watch this team. They play the game I love the way it should be played.

    Go Bulls

  • In reply to Don Ellis:

    D-ellis: I am the leader of pointing out Carlos' defensive deficiencies; but give the man his props! Boozer played a complete game + did not look a step slow. I was surprised to observe him elevating on several defensive rebounds. What ever the reason-it was a very productive game for CB tonight! Would it be unreasonable to expect similar contributions for the rest of the season? C

  • In reply to Don Ellis:

    D-ellis: I was impressed with your earlier Korver blog prediction:

    If Rip can't go, the Magic are the perfect team for Korver to get lots of minutes against.

    He can take Hedo on the defensive end, since he's one of the few SG/SF in the league who isn't much (if any) quicker than Korver. He can certainly get Kyle into foul trouble with his deceptive moves, but it's not like he'll be blowing by him all night.

    Yes, Korver does have a role on this team. It was a huge concern early in the season. My boy hot sauce looked out of sync is most offensive sets + could not get an uncontested shot off. Is Miami that bad or did Kyle rediscover some key to his game? C

  • In reply to cgiebelh:

    I've thought Korver's played pretty well this season for the most part in limited minutes. The tough thing with Korver is I can't envision how you can use him against Miami. The Heat immediately went to a pick and roll to get a switch on him the second he was in the game, and then the Bulls defense was completely overmatched.

    I like him offensively, but against the Heat he brings way more negatives than positives, and I'm in the "nothing matters but beating Miami" camp right now. Until, of course, we beat Miami, then I'll be in the "nothing matters but beating the Thunder".

    Of course the Thunder have three quality perimeter threats as well with Durant, Harden and Westbrook, and it's a pretty big leap to assume they're the team coming out of the West [though I think they're the favorite].

  • In reply to DougThonus:

    LOL!!at the "nothing matters but beating Miami" camp. I think a lot of the Bulls fans are in that camp. I think it is because the Bulls have won under MJ and know how tough it is to get one plus the drought after that. If the same Bulls team was in NY, NJ or Philly....that fanbase will probably be not so obsessed with every play/player and visualizing it against Miami.

    Also, I feel OKC is over-rated but they are lucky that they are in the West. If they were in the East...they would have a tough time getting past Miami/Chi. I think except for Harden, most of their BB IQ is not great and Brooks is riding the talent for now but will be exposed.

  • In reply to schaumburgfan:

    unfortunately(or not) after last season, and with a player like Rose, and with the contracts that we have given out(Boozer, Deng, Noah) anything short of beating Miami and at least reaching the Finals has to be a failure.

    After nearly a dozen years in the wilderness post Jordan/Pippen/Jackson it is nice to be back in the land of high expections.

  • In reply to DougThonus:

    Just saw a stat today which somewhat shocked me, Korver has the highest +/- on the Bulls, and the highest in the league per 40 minutes. Of course that includes one game where he scored 2 points and still had a plus 18. It is not always the most definitive stat in the world, but interest none the less.

  • In reply to Don Ellis:

    I agree with you on this one. Plus, apparently Boozer leads the bulls in steals this season (1,3 per game). Like I said below, Boozer has a very efficient weapon, which he doesn't use enough, namely the mid-range jump shot. In my opinion, he should take it a lot more than playing in the paint.

  • I found a few little tidbits interesting from this game.

    - At one point Boozer was toweling off and threw his towel at Stacey(with an E) King's broadcast area to which Stacey looked up with a slight scowl. Kinda strange I don't know if that was a joke or just like a F U to Stacey.

    - Dwight and Derrick talking before the game don't you wish you could be in on that convo.

    - Then ESPN also showed Boozer and Noah embrace which seems very rare as Boozer whispered something in Noah's ear and looked down over and what I thought was the Magic bench? Wish I would read lips but anyways. Maybe he just said that how we gonna roll every night Joakim. Or maybe Boozer said you're going to love this place Joakim.

    As fare as the game I was shocked at how well Boozer and Korver played. Also it seemed like every time ESPN or JVG tried to hype up Deng he did something bad. lol Bad timing I guess.

    ~thats all I got

  • In reply to SoulEater7:

    Kind of like when they tried to hype up Korver's free throw shooting and he missed.

  • In reply to DougThonus:

    lol that always happens.

  • In reply to DougThonus:

    Noticed that too, I don't know about you guys, but I still have some trepidation when Korver steps to the line despite his 88% career percentage. He has a weird delivery that does not inspire confidence in crunch time. He gets up on his toes, and then has a little hitch before he releases. I'd rather have Rose on the line when it counts, but Korver has to be the Bulls second best guy at the line.

  • nice to see deng hit his 3s finally. i think hes an all-star, hopefully the coaches agree. he'll be the top minute guy again for a .760 WP% team-- how is he NOT an all-star?

  • It looks like Thibs followed my advice. He told Boozer to shot more instead of playing in the paint. It's a very good idea since Boozer is only good at shooting. Nice win bulls !

  • In reply to deewaves:

    I like Boozer in the paint, but not in isolation. His attempts in the paint should go through basket cuts and slip screens rather than low post offense.

    Keep him in the pick and pop/pick and roll all the time.

  • In reply to DougThonus:

    Agreed, this is so true. Boozer looks so much better when he is playing with movement within the offense. It seems this is closer to how Booz played in Utah.

    I don't recall Bulls using Boozer like this last season. Has the team finally figured out how to use him? But I'm not completely sold yet. Like your earlier comment, I want to see Boozer play well against Miami and a few other elite teams.

  • In reply to DougThonus:

    totally agree, let a role player play his role, fill his niche and keep him away from doing things that hurt the team.

  • Does anyone else think if Durant doesn't get help on defense, Deng can do well against him and Deng can pretty much neutralize Durant in a playoff series except for a game or two.
    One thing I hope will improve for the Bulls is finishing around the basket and shooting some jumpers. They almost depend on chaos around the basket to get offensive rebounds for a lot of their points. I don't know how you practice that "chaotic" tip-ins and put-backs especially Noah.
    What happened to Brewer's shooting?

  • In reply to schaumburgfan:

    I don't think Deng could neutralize Durant, but i think he'd be a very good defender for him. Unlike LeBron, Durant doesn't have freakish strength/athleticism. He's extraordinarily fundamentally sound, an incredible shooter, and still fast.

    However, he's the type of player that I think Deng could do a pretty good job on. I'd feel more comfortable with Deng on Durant than LeBron. There's still no neutralizing him though, only slowing him down.

  • Hey Doug, can you tell me how to put a picture on a profile ?

  • In reply to deewaves:

    funny as somewhat of a technophobe myself, I was trying to figure that out just the other day, good question.

  • Hey Doug, I have always enjoyed reading your recaps, which is insightful and to the point. One question, don't u think Noah is shooting too much from the outside? also, when he misses (which happens too often), we can't get the rebound. Also, why do u think his numbers are down so much from last season when he is not injured? Is his elbow injured? I saw he had his elbow wrapped when he played last night, and he kept holding his elbow. tks.

  • Statement rescinded. :/

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