For those who are readers and not listeners, I'll start with some quick thoughts from the Bucks game. Derrick Rose, again, absolutely shredded the Bucks defense. After a quick scoring burst to start the game, he destroyed them with the pass rather than the shot.
Rose scored 14 of his 26 in the first six minutes of the game, draining all three of his threes, and going five of five from the field. However, even after that outburst, the Bucks climbed back to within six, and Rose was only six for 19 the rest of the night. Unfortunately for the Bucks, the lowered shooting percentage on Rose came at a hefty price of wide open shots for everyone else.
Rose racked up 13 assists generating easy looks for everyone else on the team, and the Bulls offense was rolling as all the shooters drained their shots. They shot 14/30 from the three point line, and Joakim Noah had a bunch of easy baskets inside as well. The Bulls made it to the free throw line a record low four times during the game, but it hardly mattered as they absolutely rolled the Bucks.
The biggest news of the night was Luol Deng playing 41 minutes in his first game back from a torn ligament in his left wrist. Luol downplayed the injury saying he knows what to expect since he tore this ligament before in his other wrist [of course he didn't try to play through that one, so how he knows what to expect is a mystery to me].
Deng also made it through Sunday's full practice without incident, and for now, looks good to continue going. Another coach would have probably considered toning down Deng's minutes given it was his first game back, but Thibs went full bore with Deng. I guess he figures if Deng isn't able to play 41 minutes then he shouldn't be playing at all. It's a move which doesn't mean much given that Deng seems to have suffered no setback but would have caused an uproar if he did.
I wonder if John Paxson tries to strangle Thibodeau with his tie if the Bulls players reaggravate an injury due to Thibs use of them. My guess is no.
As for tonight's game, the Bulls roll into New Jersey, the favorite destination to land Dwight Howard.
I want to see Chicago blow up New Jersey big time. I'm talking 50 point win. Win by 50 and send the tape to Howard with a note that says, you really sure you want to be there when you could be here?
According to basically every source you read, Dwight Howard has his heart set on New Jersey as it's the one location where he can be the man and still has a star to play along with him. It also puts him in a huge media market for him to further his non-basketball related goals.
What boggles my mind is why he wants to leave Orlando just to get to New Jersey/Brooklyn. I think I'd take the tax-free, warm Orlando winters over New Jersey if I'm going to land on a team with no better chance to win than the one I'm on now.
Back to the game [made it pretty far in this game thread without actually discussing it, eh?]
Derrick Rose goes for 25+/10+
There seems to be nothing Rose loves more than completely destroying, humiliating, and beating up on the other "elite" point guards of the NBA. Whenever Derrick is matched up with one, he plays with an unmatched intensity and brings out his "A" game. Through Chris Paul on the Heat, and it'd be guaranteed victory for the Bulls, because Derrick would score 150 in a refusal to let another A list PG beat him.
The Nets also have little in the way of players to stop him. Deron Williams is an excellent defender, but he's not excellent in the right ways to slow down Rose and will have little help and no shotblockers. Look for Derrick to slide through the lane over and over again.
On the other end, I expect Rose, one of the league's most underrated defenders, to force Williams into a tough night from the field. When Rose applies himself he tends to shut down even the elite PGs.
Bulls defense will roll
The Nets don't have a lot of offense outside of Deron Williams. Marshon Brooks missed the first game against the Bulls, and he looks like he'll miss this one as well after breaking his pinkie a week ago.
Anthony Morrow can light it up from beyond the arc, but he can't generate his own points, and unlike Korver, he's not a deft passer. Just stand next to him at the three point line, and he won't do a whole lot.
Kris Humphries can do it with hustle, but he's not going to do it with skill, so as long as the Bulls active front court remains active they should nullify him as well.
Defend the three point line
There's only a few guys that warrant watching, but Farmar and Morrow shoot a ton of threes at a high percentage. Williams and Okur aren't necessarily shooting great percentages on the year but can both get hot from beyond the arc as well.
The Nets don't really have the inside game or slashers to attack in the paint, so the Bulls need to make sure to run NJ off the three point line to prevent them from simply having a hot shooting night that raises their offensive efficiency.
Hit the glass
What do you get when you cross one of the worst defensive rebounding teams in the NBA with the league's best offensive rebounding team? I'm guessing a big nights for Joakim Noah and Taj Gibson. They should both get plenty plenty of easy shots on put backs tonight.
However, the Nets are one of the better offensive rebounding teams in the league, so the Bulls will need to watch their back on that end and do their best to box out, particularly Kris Humphries who's averaging over four offensive boards per 36 minutes.
As noted above, go in, dominate, send the mix tape to Dwight Howard and ask him if this is what he really wants.