Bulls beat the Celtics behind big nights by Boozer and Deng

Bulls beat the Celtics behind big nights by Boozer and Deng

When the Celtics built a decent lead early in the second quarter, the Bulls found themselves bailed out by everyone's favorite whipping boy. Carlos Boozer came to play tonight. When the game was on the line in the fourth, Luol Deng again silenced critics who've said he doesn't score when it mattered.

Carlos Boozer will frustrate fans to no end at times, and I'm scared to death that he'll not be at his beast against the Heat when they need him most. However, if he can bottle this game and whip it out later, the Bulls are an incredible team. Carlos played up to his contract tonight, leading the charge for the victory.

Boozer displayed deft passing, did an excellent job establishing position, and even showed tremendous hustle on the floor tonight. Just an outstanding game by Carlos.

Meanwhile, Luol Deng scored 13 in the fourth quarter including five over the stretch that built the big lead and the final three which iced the game and ended Boston's attempt at a comeback. This year, Deng's proven over and over that he's no longer a player that you can only count on in quarters one through three.

Bulls share the wealth

The Chicago Bulls had 27 assists on 30 baskets. It's a credit to Tom Thibodeau's offensive coaching to how many baskets the Bulls get off of passing and how little they rely on isolation. With Derrick Rose out, they're able to lean on the system and find ways to get good looks.

Of course it's easier to create a high passing offense when you've got two of the better passing big men in the NBA in your starting lineup. They'll get even better in this regard when Richard Hamilton comes back as SG might be their weakest passing position.

The Celtics had a tremendous defense, but the Bulls were able to create easy looks through quality passing all night long.

The one downside to this is that the Bulls shot just under 40% from the field and really struggled to hit anything except for open kick outs and layups off basket cuts. This is, obviously, where the Bulls miss Rose the most. They didn't have anyone to truly create off the dribble and had to rely purely on the offense to get their looks.

Bulls own the glass

This is the primary reason why Boston has basically no chance of beating Chicago in a series. In the end, the Celtics can play some great defense, and they have the shooting and scoring to hang with the best teams. However, the one component they lack is the ability to rebound the basketball, a flaw which is fatal against the Bulls.

The Bulls, the best rebounding team in the NBA, feast on second chance points when their opponent doesn't secure the rebound, and Chicago had plenty of second and third opportunities last night which really pushed them over the top.

Joakim Noah was instrumental in dominating the offensive glass. Celtics fans have to hate this guy as Boston simply couldn't box him out. The eight offensive rebounds is huge but doesn't even due justice to how much he owned Boston on the offensive glass.

Killing it from long range without Korver

The Bulls were 10/21 from the three point line which in and of itself isn't that exciting. However, surprisingly, they pulled that off while Korver shot 0-5 from the three point line. The rest of the team was 10 for 16 led by Luol Deng's six of nine. When the Bulls get shooting like that from guys outside of Korver they're truly dangerous.

Mike James is the original super freak

Mike James is back on a 10 day contract and ended up playing nearly the entire fourth quarter until fouling out with 41 seconds to go. James's numbers (8 points on 2/5 shooting, 3/4 from the FT line, 4 assists, 3 TOs, and 6 fouls) weren't all that awe inspiring, but he gave the Bulls a big lift.

Of his fouls/turnovers, two of them came on charges (which counts as both), and one of those was absolute BS, the other I suspect was BS, but TNT opted to never show a decent replay of it. I was amused by how Reggie Miller complimented Jermaine O'Neal on drawing the first one by saying something to the effect of: "He did a great job sliding in there after James was in the air" and "That's why you always keep your feet moving".

Yeah, when your feet are moving, it's a block, and if you slide in front of an airborne player it's a block. We just complimented the guy on drawing a charge while pointing out he did two separate things which prove it's a bad call. He didn't have either foot set yet when contact was made and he wasn't remotely well out of the area when James jumped.

Joakim Noah called his style of play "jailhouse basketball" when he got physical with Rondo trying to post him up. His passing was typically very good with a couple of passes where he threaded the needle to get the Bulls an open layup.

Overall, it was another great showing by James who's shown he can still play ball at the NBA level.

Bulls finally, sorta, get a quality win

I've been whining that the Bulls haven't beaten a good team yet, and I'm not sure that Boston qualifies. However, to beat Boston without Rose certainly qualifies as a quality win under the circumstances.

Your Bulls injury update

Rip Hamilton is expected back just before or just after the all-star game which really means just after the all-star game IMO, since why the hell would you bring him back in the game before if you can get an extra five days of rest for free?

Derrick Rose will come back when he's ready and is perpetually deemed close to ready, but I have to ask the same thing about Rose. You've got the Nets, Hawks, and Bucks at home. The Bulls probably go two and one over that stretch without Rose, so I'd say take it and give Rose the extra rest.


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  • How about a mention of Deng getting double digit assists AGAIN after you mentioning we might not see it awhile in your previous postgame. :p

  • In reply to kozelkid:

    Overall Doug's been absolutely killing the pregames this year with some downright uncanny predictions and great analysis...
    I think he's earned a mulligan or two, especially since Deng passing at a career-high level on consecutive nights is in fact highly improbable, so nothing wrong with his "we *may* not see that again for a while.
    If Doug had a tenth of Reggie Miller's ego he'd treat us to a little compilation of all the great calls he's had in pregames this year (Noah's breakout game, por ejemplo).

  • In reply to kozelkid:

    Haha, good point. You're right, two games in a row is crazy for Deng's passing.

  • "at his beast..."
    Doug, you should trademark that as a t-shirt logo. "Be at your Beast."
    Thanks for the re-cap!

  • In reply to coachskiles:


    Unintentionally hilarious is always better than an attempt at hilarity.

  • In reply to DougThonus:

    At first read, I thought that you did it on purpose. great call either way.

  • Doug:

    Reggie said "And that's why you don't leave your feet" in reference to James' first charge.

    Still ridiculous, as not very many players are able to shoot without jumping. I honestly thought that call could go either way. Obviously if it was a bigger name than James' (i.e. Rose), it would've gone Chicago's way. Oh well, James looks great for what role he's been brought in to play.

  • In reply to jt563905:

    On the slow mo replay they showed that O'Neal wasn't even close to being in position when James left the ground (and he has to be in position prior to htat point to draw a charge).

    Even when contact was made he didn't have both feet set, he was still sliding one of them into place.

  • Is it just me or Carlos Boozer plays better without Rose ?

    Rose should feed him more !

  • Look at the game PG Mike James had tonight.

    It was a silly and foolish decision to cut Mike James the day before the Miami game. CJ Watson was injured, and John Lucas XXVIII cost the Bulls 8-10 points in just 3 minutes, and very likely the game.

    Keeping Lucas while cutting James was not a basketball decision, it was nepotism. At the time I was very vocal on this blog in disagreeing with cutting Mike James. He was OBVIOUSLY much better than Lucas can ever be. Yet Bulls recently guaranteed Lucas' contract for the season.

    Meanwhile, Mike James is shutting down Rajon Rondo while on a 10-day contract. Mike James is a backup PG that can play in the playoffs and Lucas is not! Will Bulls have the wisdom to keep James? Or will the Lucas and Scalabrini nepotism of Thibs rule the day once again?

    Deng 44 minutes, Jimmy Butler 0.
    Noah 40 minutes, Asik 8.
    Let's hope these numbers change for New Jersey.

  • In reply to Edward:

    The way Deng was playing last night, he's the reason you win that game. No way Butler's getting those minutes against Boston.

    The way Omer was playing last night, you just couldn't keep him in the game. I'm hoping it's an aberration, but he was awful. He doesn't keep the ball high like a good bigman should, he constantly gets stripped when he keeps it low, and his hands were just awful - not to mention Garnett blasting by him on the drive.

    I don't disagree that I'd like to see Butler and Asik get more minutes in general, but the distribution of minutes last night seems almost perfect to me — with the exception of Lucas getting any burn in the second half after Mike James straight up won the right to be the first PG off the pine during the first half.

  • In reply to Edward:

    You're absolutely right.

    Let's just hope that Thib's loyalty and trust in his former players that know and follow his system (Scal, Lucas^3) helps him get more out of his good players. Having guys that already know and respect his system helps everyone get more out of practices, it means people don't have to adjust as much to new styles of play when these scrubs *do* have to sub for someone (because they're following the same system), and it helps Thibs command respect and maintain great team chemistry. Notice how the Dwight talk hasn't even fazed this team, when they were destroyed by the Kobe talk several years ago?

    That's my attempt at rationalizing it...obviously Mike James is the much better player if not quite the shooter/scorer that JLIII is.

    But at least the midget plays incredible defense on LeBron James.

  • In reply to Edward:

    I agree that James looks better than Lucas right now.

    Lucas looks like a tremendous open jump shot shooter, and he has good handles, but he's too undersized and not athletic enough to make up for it.

  • In reply to DougThonus:

    If Lucas can be a mini JJ Barea in terms of effectiveness for a couple of games...that's the max we can expect. Maybe he goes off for one game against Miami to change the momentum when everybody's shot is not falling. A few 3 pointers to change the momentum. That's all JL3 needs to do to earn his paycheck

  • In reply to DougThonus:

    Yes, we've got to view this from the playoff perspective.
    Lucas cannot stay on the court against the playoff teams.

    Sure he can make some shots and plays against poor competition, but that's about it. If either Rose or CJ is injured in the playoffs and Bulls have to turn to Lucas we are screwed. Mike James deserves a spot on the playoff roster, imo.

  • This was one of the worst officiated games I've ever seen. Terrible. When will the NBA take a page from the NFL to increase fairness/reliability/consistency/accuracy instead of protecting these idiots like made Mafia men with unquestionable papal authority?

    In addition to Doug's rant, there was the time ¿O'Neal? clearly stepped out of bounds before scoring, CJ Watson getting barreled into and pushed to the ground but getting called for the block because his feet were moving as he flew backwards, moments later Watson getting knocked out of the air by Garnett in an awkward way that could have seriously injured him with no call, Rondo throwing a ball out of bounds all by himself but having the call reversed to say Chicago touched it, and countless others.

  • I thought that I finally figured out how to watch the Bulls without being nauseated by boozer, then he goes out and actually has a $15 million dollar performance.

    I "watched" the first 3 quarters while working on the computer, so I only listened to it, it sounded like boozer was having a great game, and I couldn't see what he was or wasn't doing on defense.

    Apparently, boozers has a game(face) for radio.

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