Hamilton and Rose rip the Nets as Deng and Taj sit

Hamilton and Rose rip the Nets as Deng and Taj sit

It seems this whole season one guy comes back and another guy goes down. Derrick Rose and Joakim Noah returned for the Bulls, but Luol Deng sat the game with a wrist injury which the team is being rather cagey about.

Luol Deng is seeking a second and third opinion on his left wrist [non shooting hand, hooray for that] after injuring it against the Bobcats. X-Rays were negative so there's no break, but Tom Thibodeau mentioned that surgery has not been ruled out at this point.

The quote itself implies some type of tear as far as I can tell, because I don't know what else would require surgery. Hopefully Luol is okay, I'm sure we'll find out more in the next couple of days. I'd speculate whatever is going on won't keep Luol out of the playoffs, but he may sit for awhile.

Back to the game itself.

The Nets fared well against the Bulls vaunted defense, and if the Bulls didn't have an offensive explosion against the Nets pathetic defense, this might have been a game. Overall, the Nets shot a high percentage, turned the ball over rarely, got to the foul line, and knocked down a respectable number of threes.

Unfortunately for them, the Bulls did all of those things as well except they also shot 57% from the field. Early on, it looked like the Bulls would mop up on offensive rebounds alone, but the Nets did a solid job on the defensive glass in the second half. Of course, much of the fourth quarter was spent with the Bulls looking to wind the clock and play conservative rather than crash the glass.

If you listen to the blogger, you'll be blogging along with him

I did not want the Bulls to sign Richard Hamilton. I didn't think the idea was abhorrent, but I was squarely in the Jason Richardson camp. Well, I can be a notorious flip flopper, but right now, I feel pretty stupid for that opinion.

Watching Hamilton just makes me say "screw the stats, this just works", but as it turns out, his stats are better than Richardson/Crawford too.

Hamilton looks incredible in this offense, and I really didn't even notice that he scored 22 points. What he did was make all the plays of a PG all night long. He racked up assists at an unbelievable rate, and while he was certainly fortunate in terms of the shots completed his fit in the roster is just so smooth.

He creates such a threat on the floor, and when he and Rose are playing together the defense is broken down so much more than having a dude camp out behind the three point line. His motion is just crushing opposing defenses. I can't wait to see the Bulls play Miami [hopefully with both teams at full strength] to see how the two square off.

I think the Bulls have improved more than the Heat this off-season, and Hamilton is the biggest reason why [though internal improvements are helping considerably as well].

Hooray for Derrick's return

Rose had a strong game with 22 points and eight assists while shooting an efficient 9/16 from the field. He looked a bit tentative out there to me, and I just hope that he's not trying to push through the pain and lets the toe get better. Rose said that he'll have to deal with pain all year in the toe, but he really doesn't.

He could just sit out for 2 more weeks and be fully healthy, and if the Bulls drop a couple games then do we really care? Better to have the team fall to .500 and have Rose fully healthy in the playoffs than have the #1 seed but have Rose limping into them.

Interestingly, the Bulls played a Watson/Rose pairing tonight for awhile using Rose as the off guard. I'm not opposed to a Watson/Rose pairing, but I think Derrick still needs to play PG in that scenario. I really didn't like the look of Rose playing off the ball much.

Still, I'm glad Thibodeau is taking games like this and using them as opportunities to experiment with new ideas.

Joakim flipped the stud switch to the "on" position

Okay, so maybe he scored those three straight baskets because he was being defended by Shawne Williams. So what? Noah looked very smooth tonight with 16, 10, and 4. Overall, Joakim is back playing with a high energy level, and he's impacting the game.

Amusing moment of the night was when Neil Funk [seriously] said that he thought they were bringing in Scalabrine for Noah to add speed to the team on the floor.

Asik keeps destroying

I don't listen to the opposing broadcast much, but I'd bet when an opposing teams fan watches the game and sees Omer Asik come into it that they don't think a whole lot. 7 foot white dude with no offense, probably a stiff.

Well, he doesn't have a whole lot of offense, but his defense continues to impress, game after game. The Bulls did a great job snagging him in the draft and showing patience waiting for him to come over from Europe. Hopefully after this season they can lock him up at a reasonable price.

Brian Scalabrine looks good in this system

I've always had respect for the way Brian Scalabrine plays the game. He doesn't really have the athleticism to stick as a rotation player, but he puts effort out on defense, shoots well, and always makes very good decisions. I've thought the Bulls could generally do better, but his skillset really fits well with this team.

The Bulls can throw Brian Scalabrine out there and get quality results, because they have the help defense to make up for his lack of foot speed and an offense predicated on moving the ball and making good decisions. Scalabrine gave the Bulls 20 quality minutes last night.

I've come to the conclusion that Tom Thibodeau really knows what he's doing. I thought Scalabrine and Lucas were on the bench because they knew his system and could help lead practices. Watching these guys step up when the players in front of them were hurt, it's become clear that knowing his system has allowed them to make a considerable positive impact on the game.

They have stepped up and given the Bulls quality output when their number has been called taking a team I thought was about 10-11 deep and proving it's really 13 deep.

Missed opportunity to whine

Bulls fans upset that Chicago didn't draft Marshon Brooks missed their opportunity to whine if he scored 20 on his because he sat out with an injury. So sad indeed.

All in all another quality win

The Bulls keep rolling with makeshift lineups and different guys stepping up when they have the opportunity. This team has incredible chemistry on both ends of the floor. The trust in each other is immense on both ends, and it's that trust which allows guys like Lucas and Scalabrine to come into the game and make big impact.

When a team has chemistry and is on the same page they can pass a half second sooner knowing the guy will get there when the ball does. They can hedge a half step further on help defense knowing the correct rotation will be made. In short, this team plays like a true team, and they're reaping the benefits of it.

There's no glory hounding, Derrick Rose has quietly let his stats slide, he could score far more every game but works to get his teammates involved more.

I don't know if the Bulls will win a title, but it's a beautiful team to watch play right now.

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  • The difference so far this year is that these bad teams aren't even in the game for the most part. The Bulls were beating them last year, but often it would be based on a close game where they just put the foot down when they needed to. This year pretty much all the wins against bad teams have been very easy.

    And who would have picked the Bulls to be leading the league in offensive efficiency this far into the season?

  • In reply to Shakes:

    Yeah, thats what I've been saying to my friends. Though they won a lot of games last year, even the bad teams were a grind...A lot of those close wins could have went either way. This year, they seem to nearly effortlessly beat up lesser teams.

    Last year I'd be nervous as hell watching a game against a bad / average team, and they would often play down to the competition. This year Im almost guilty of falling asleep on the couch, waiting to be woke up for a "real" team to challenge us.

  • Luol is the Glue

    Rip is the Offensive Grease

    The O just looks so fluid with him playing and he gives the bigs easy looks that they do not get from any other player including Derrick.

  • The Bulls offense looks great. That i
    s what is important to have multiple options. If they have multiple options, it becomes much harder for Miami to defend in the playoffs.
    That's why it's important for everyone to be healthy for the playoffs especially the five offensive guys on the team(Rose, Rip, Deng, Boozer and CJ).
    Also, the Miami "worship" and "intimidation" has probably gone down. Hopefully, that will trigger them to play more confidently. Everyone needs to thank Dallas for giving confidence to the entire league.

  • In reply to schaumburgfan:

    Agreed, Dallas exposed Miami in the playoffs by matching the Heat in intensity and by playing good solid team defense with some ZONE defense. RIP is the key to the Bulls offense

  • Even when Rip's not seeming to do much, its night and day different when he's in the game running around 24/7. His movement just seems to free up so much more / cause breakdowns in the defense. And Rip's short to mid range game is such a threat, he can hit those little stop-pop-lean-in shots all night long. So you have to be honest.

    Has a veterans knack for passing / seeing the floor as well. Hope he stays healthy because so far he's been a great fit.

  • Who didn't think D-Rose was done for the night when he went to that bench?

    Of course no one can be surprised anymore when Derrick comes back in the fourth quarter with the Bulls possessing a comfortable lead. And RIP with 42 minutes just coming off a nagging groin injury?

    I guess we'll see if Derrick and RIP can remain healthy in this win now at all costs environment. Whenever Thibs asnwers questions about injuries it's as if he's adressing leprosy inquiries. I know coaches want players to suck it up, but that old school mentality can only be taken so far.

    That said, I think Tom Thibodeau otherswise has done an excellent job to this point.Personal growth, as in Incessant harping and yucking it up with refs gone, has made me enjoy watching him coach now. Bulls last night were entertaining as hell. Omer and on up. And how about Omer? Shit. Resign becoming high priority.

    "L.T Deng, Liuuuetenant Deng?! " If Lu is out for a while will Thibs play Ronnie at SF, as he did last night, with C.J. then bumping back up his minutes despite Derrick's return? I'd like to see C.J.'s minutes stay at 25(4.4 assists, 3 FTA's per game, .483 from three) with RIP staying fresh and healthy eclipsing him in minutes maybe every other night. I still think C.J. has to play other points(PG's) to be effective though with Derrick as the two.

    Joakim is certainly showing signs of a comeback I would call it. If he can start bringing double doubles every night again with put backs and driving hooks etc. then he gives the potential of hurting Miami inside with Booz as he scored 15 ppg playoffs two years ago.

    Finally, while I wish he had not played 42 minutes, especially in a game like that with an inferior Nets team, what an entertaining, excellent player RIP Hamilton is or has been to this point anyway. As Doug said, I was a Richardson guy, and RIP just looks amazing.

    If RIP can stay healthy(Thibs!!) along obviously with Derrick, and Jo returns to form, I think the Bulls will have a legitimate shot to beat Wade's Bitches ah-hem I mean Miami, oh sorry, the HEAT!

  • In reply to RoadWarrior:

    The most painful thing seeing a healthy Rip Hamilton is what could have been? Man, was Bogans awful or what last year?

    Anyhow, nice to see Noah bouncing back a little bit. Hopefully, him and Asik can make Boozer's defense a irrelevant concept

  • Anyone else reading the reports that the Bulls have offered Fabricio Oberto a 1 yr offer? We could use another big man, he might be a nice addition as a 5th big guy.

  • In reply to NateTags:

    A offensive minded Euro-type big guy is perfect for this team if that's what he is. The Bulls need a guy who has good shooting form and will make 2/4 shots when left wide open to compensate for Noah/Asik and even Taj's ineffectiveness.

  • In reply to schaumburgfan:

    Oberto is fairly horrible. I hope we're not looking to sign him.

  • In reply to DougThonus:

    I read that he retired due to a heart condition or something but was recently cleared by doctors and is getting in shape to play in the olympics right now.

    I wouldn't want him as a regular rotation guy, but if he gets in shape, I don't have a probably as an insurance guy on the vet minimum.

  • Isn't that the same guy that inspired that catchy shapoo commercial years ago? "Ooooo, Oberto!!" Or was that an Italian adult vid??

  • Big East Player of Year 1998,1999
    NCAA Final Four Most Outstanding Player 1999
    NCAA Champion 1999
    NBA Champion 2004
    NBA Finals 2004,2005
    NBA ECF Finals 2004.2005.2006.2007.2008
    NBA All Star Team 2006.2007.2008

    What an amazing pedigree and skill set! Its like the entire NBA forgot about Rip because Detroit became such a terrible team after losing Chancey BIllups and Rasheed Wallace, etc.

    In recent years all the focus has been on LeBronchitis and Miami's Big 3, Lakers with Gasol/Kobe, Boston's Big 3. Rip was as good or better than any of them. We are now seeing Rip never actually declined personally. It was the Detroit franchise that went into decline. Rip was simply "on moth balls" in Detroit the last 3 season. He is still the same player.

    The NBA forgot about Rip. He was off-the-radar and out of people's minds. Kudo's to Gar/Pax for arranging the buyout of Rip's contract behind the scenes while the rest of the league was focusing on the available free agents.

    I'm very interested in how Rip performs against Indiana and Miami this week, and the 9-game road trip. But 42 minutes Thibs? Against NJ in the regular season? Get a clue, Thibs, and save that for the playoffs!?!

  • In reply to Edward:

    Definitely have to give credit to Gar & Pax here, as it seems like Rip was their plan A this summer. Who would have thought that their 2011 FA would be a better signing than anyone from 2010?

  • Hmmm, I must be in the wrong blog...I don't see a single comment about trading away players to improve the team.

    Things are finally clicking, eh?

  • In reply to BullsMan:

    haha...it's a nice change of pace for this blog!

  • In reply to BullsMan:

    Nice comment lol.

    The call for trades come when players are not living up to expectations or there are chemistry issues. The manic start to the season has not allowed Thibs to run training sessions so the players have had to play themselves into game shape and that has taken longer for some (Jo!). We have been fortunate that the last few games have in effect been training session - yes it is disrespecting the opponents but lets be honest they are not very good!
    Jo's found his mojo (thanks in part to Rip getting the ball where and when he wants it.)
    Booz has been hitting his rainbow; history says he has and will struggle against taller PFs so we cannot expect this level of play all the time, his defence has stepped up a notch from last year, I know its not saying much but any improvement from his matador impression is a benefit. I bet Vegas would have given massive odds that Booz would be our steals leader!!
    Omer is starting to catch the ball on offence and finish to complement his continually great D
    CJ should dislocate his elbow more often if this is the result.
    Rip has been a revelation; back to the Rip we all remember and hated as a Piston lol
    And who needs DRose? (joke)

    I'm really looking forward to the Pacers game. I know we will still not be at full strength but it will be good to play a decent team and see if the confidence gained against the lessor teams will continue and we continue to move the ball on offence and not revert back to "stand and watch DRose" ball

  • In reply to BullsMan:

    Everyone took their meds today :-)

  • Great win. Our offense was unstoppable but the defense was so so. I guess having your two best defenders in Deng and Gibson sitting out will do that. Korver had another bad game and I was wondering how the Bulls passed up on Anthony Marrow who had a solid game against us in favor of korver??? oh well you can't always hit the lotto jackpot when it comes to free agency. Love seeing Noah getting his confidence back and Rip keeps feeding him. Still waiting to seem some jimmy b. on the floor.

  • By meds, I assume that you mean the bottom half of the eastern conference. The difference between the Varsity and the JV teams seems to be at an all time high this season.

    While it is nice to have a feel good game every now and then, I hope that it doesn't lead to a false sense of invincibility and complacency.

  • In reply to BigWay:

    Lol... Agreed Behest, a win against a bottom dwelling team and the Bulls are perfect? Don't get to comfortable some of you Bulls fans cause some holes still need to be filled on the Bulls roster. Will they go through it tho as far as making trades?... I highly doubt it.

  • In reply to Reese1:

    Sorry Bigway mobile phone error with name

  • In reply to Reese1:

    And now with the news of Dengs hand injury the Bulls need to replace some of his scoring.

  • In reply to Reese1:

    Every team has a hole or two, never going to be perfect, but I like this team against Miami or anyone, as long as they're healthy.

  • In reply to BigWay:

    This upcoming road trip is going to be a tough test

  • Bummer

    http://espn.go.com/chicago/nba/story/_/id/7498176/chicago-bulls-luol-deng-torn-ligament-wrist

  • In reply to Jmax:

    Wow!! That's not good news. Hopefully, he doesn't have to decide surgery as an option after a few weeks. We have to wait for more news. But, this means Brewer, Rip and Korver have to step it up a lot more. Plus, the Butler fans might get their wish.

  • In reply to schaumburgfan:

    Butler definitely needs to get more playing time with Dengs injury. The kid has a very descent game on him and he needs more PT to prove it.

  • I cant wait to see how this team responds to indiana and the heat. If we come out like pitbulls and dominate or win easily, im all-in saying we're the favorites to win it all as long as we stay healthy.

  • Hey Doug, I watch most of the games on league pass cause I live in New York. Sometimes they don't let you choose the home broadcast and I have to listen to the other team's guys.

    The Omer Asik secret is out, they have all been praising him as a stud. Yah the mention he isn't the best offensive player but I haven't heard one broadcast team say anything bad about him yet.

    I wanted Richardson or Crawford over Rip as well and I can safely say that I was wrong, even if they haven't played Miami yet. Obviously only the playoffs matter, but the movement the Bulls get with Hamilton on the court is unbelievable and will definately make them better facing the Heat. He also usually makes WIDE OPEN shots, which killed the Bulls last year against the Heat. Deng and Korver come to mind, they missed so many open shots in the entire playoffs last year.

    If they can keep this chemistry Rip should get even better and I see no reason why the Bulls can't win it all.

  • Deng is or was having a great year. If he's back in one to two week(or less), and can avoid surgery that will be huge. If he takes another blow to that wrist or aggravates it to where he can't play and needs surgery, that would not be good.

    That said, this does give Ronnie consistent opps for playing time, and he's played well most of the time so he and C.J both will now have the opportunity to continue their good overall play.

    It'll be interesting now though. With Lu out, unless Korver gets a lot of increased minutes, Ronnie will definitely be needed there(at SF). So C.J. wil be needed for sure at the vacated spot, and with RIP needing to pace himself, and not see heavy minutes i.e recurring injuries.

    C.J. IMO is really much more effective playing against other PG's then he is long legged, striding SG's. I know Derrick at the two last game didn't spark anything on offense, but certainly getting the ball to him rather then walking up into double teams does have to have some possibilities. I hope they at least explore them for a few games because a productive C.J. and Derrick is better then putting C.J.'s great numbers in a compromised position.

    You'd think with Lu out if it is a week or more, then Butler should get a couple of looks as they did with J.J. to see if he's viable. Again, I hope they put him in with plays and looks designed to his advantage and to give him a chance. Then if he's not ready, at least you gave him and the team the shot.

  • I know it's early but does anybody else think Miami is struggling quite a bit. I never saw the Jordan Bulls struggle like this in the reg season against bad opponents. The Heat thought they were going to win not 7,...1 c'ships. Have they become more arrogant?? I know it's the reg season but people have already crowned them in the playoffs too. I think there is a combination of things acting against them:
    a) Intensity has come down. b) Others are not intimidated and understand better on how to defend them c)LeBron has more pressure now and we all know he reacts to pressure

  • I look forward to seeing Jimmy Butler get more minutes, but I also remember reading an ESPN article that Rasheed Wallace (yes, THAT 'Sheed) is looking to make a comeback. Surely he'd only want to play with a contender, which the Bulls are, and I can't see him being a problem on a team with 1) Thibs as coach, 2) the reigning MVP, and 3) an ex-teammate of his from the Pistons' championship run in Rip Hamilton. On top of that, I think he'd come cheap on, say, a non-guaranteed contract. I don't think he'd cut into Omer's minutes too much since he offers a very different skillset, especially on offense. And he wouldn't be the de facto backup at PF either -- that's still Taj.

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