The Bulls big men romped all over the Milwaukee Bucks depleted front court. Carlos Boozer scored 20 on 9 of 12 shooting to lead the Bulls, why was he so efficient? Because Joakim Noah hit him for about five open dunks/layups on his way to a triple double.
If there was a prop bet on which Bull would get the first triple double this season Joakim Noah probably would have gone off at 1000 to 1. Of course, the odds of anyone besides Derrick Rose doing it were so long that I doubt such a bet existed.
Rose to Noah to Boozer, rinse and repeat. So went the offense all night long. It's not often that a player going for a triple double has to get the points last, but that's exactly what happened tonight. After a year and a half together, Boozer and Noah seem to have finally found their stride playing next to each other over the past few weeks.
Noah's triple double shows how much "buy in" the bulls have
Several interesting things stood out to me about Noah recording the triple double. First and foremost, it shows what a tremendous passer and facilitator he can be. It also shows how fundamental the Bulls are willing to play as a team, allowing their center to become the lead distributor because that's what the defense gives them.
Finally, the reaction to the event by the team shows how focused they are on winning.
Tom Thibodeau said stats are irrelevant and noted that if Noah hadn't done it before leaving the game that he wouldn't have gone back in to get the final tally. A response that would surely make fans boo and potentially piss off players.
However, Noah deflected all of the credit to Derrick Rose, saying that he was only making the plays Milwaukee left him open for and Rose deserved all the credit.
When listening to all of the player quotes and tones of their voices, it felt like they thought it was crazy that it was brought up as an important accomplishment to begin with. This team is focused on wins, and it's great to see that after somewhat of a novelty achievement.
Derrick Rose doesn't care about his stats, and that attitude has permeated down through the team. These guys are focused on winning, and it's great to see.
If Derrick Rose is pain free why is his back wrapped?
Derrick says he's pain free, but I have a suspicion that he's simply playing through pain. He's left his back in a support wrap which isn't something you'd generally do all day long term as it can weaken the muscles. I find it unlikely Rose plays out his career wearing the support wrap which implies there's an immediate need for it now, and what other need would there be other than his recovery isn't complete yet?
I'm probably just being paranoid. There's certainly a psychological aspect to these things when recovering from an injury and a "use this just in case" type of thing for a couple of weeks. That's likely what's going on here, but the possibility that he's out there while not fully recovered still scares me.
Rose also didn't really seem to push the envelope in either of his games back, but there was no need for him to either. He quickly got the ball out of his hands tonight, and the rest of the team consistently scored when he did, so why do anything else? He had a few fearless romps towards the rim, but we've still not seen him need to go MVP on the other team yet.
Team play wins the day
This is the type of offensive performance the Bulls need against Miami. They had tremendously balanced scoring with Noah being the low man on the starter totem poll with only 13 points [which would have been a hilarious question if someone sarcastically asked him if he was upset that he was the lowest scoring starter to balance out all the love he was getting for his triple double].
The Bulls moved the ball quickly and decisively all night long to generate quality looks, and everyone was knocking down the opportunities they had.
The unselfishness was a thing of beauty, but at times the Bulls got passing greed trying to make plays that weren't there and turning the ball over too much. There were points that Milwaukee had opportunities to get back in the game due to the turnovers, but they simply failed to convert.
Not much else to take away
Derrick did a nice job playing hockey assist man. Luol Deng knocked down his open threes. Ronnie Brewer made the best of all the opportunities he had. Joakim had the triple double and played with tremendous energy. Korver/Gibson gave the Bulls continuity and success off the bench. In general, everyone played well, and the team as a whole looked cohesive and consistent.
If only we could swap Miami for Milwaukee in the ECF.