Rose returns from back injury as Bulls beat the Hawks

The Chicago Bulls beat the Hawks in Rose's return. Derrick took plenty of hard falls in forays to the hoop and tended to pick his spots as the Bulls road a 35 point first quarter to victory.

What to think of Derrick in his first game back?

As long as he reports no lingering back problems over the next couple days then all is well. He looked a bit cautious at points in this game and then threw his body around with the same reckless abandon that he always does at other times.

Rose missed several finishes he'd normally make, looked shaky from the line, and had a high turnover game. All in all, he still played well but not quite up to his MVP standards. Something which isn't much of a concern unless his play was impacted by soreness rather than rust or simply an off game.

Big men dominating

With Al Horford still out for the Hawks, the Bulls big men dominated the depleted Hawks thin front court. Zaza Puchilia and Josh Smith were about all the Hawks had for big men, and it wasn't enough as the Bulls killed them on the glass.

Carlos Boozer had a strong game, and I thought played well on both ends of the court. He knocked down his jumper at key points, and scored efficiently. On defense, he tended to reach at good times, and did a nice job keeping his body on ZaZa and not letting a scrub beat him up.

It also allowed Noah to roam and play more on the perimeter to help which he did an excellent job of.

The offense got ugly after the first

The Bulls had an awesome first quarter, but in quarters two through four, the Bulls scored 20, 18, and 17. They struggled to find good looks or knock down the quality looks they did get. They tended to settle for a lot of mid range jumpers that they couldn't knock down, and when they were getting boxed out the offense stalled considerably.

The Bulls have struggled with the lack of a secondary player to create, and that hurt them again today, particularly with C.J. Watson out with migraine symptoms after being diagnosed with a concussion. We still haven't seen the Bulls offense with all their offensive pieces for more than a handful of games.

Has Mike James passed John Lucas at PG?

Initially James came in to play back up point guard over Lucas, but then Lucas ended up playing one minute more though he got most of his time at shooting guard? James was fairly successful early in his run, but his style of play grated on me a bit. He had two possessions where he took the ball the full length of the court and used 15+ seconds of the shot clock without passing and eventually took a shot.

Lucas, meanwhile, generally didn't look all that much better. He forced up some ugly shots, was beaten up due to size at time, and generally played like the type of player that he is [one who should be at the end of the bench moreso than in the game]. That said, I'll say this for John, he can knock down an open shot.

Lucas can't really hit threes well when moving around, but if he gets an open kick out, he seems to shoot at an unbelievable percentage.

Where's Omer?

Omer Asik didn't play in the game. There was no reported injury that I'm aware of [though I haven't checked back with the news as I saw the game live]. I'm sure the Bulls will simply say it was the matchup. The Hawks only rolled out one true center all game, and the Bulls decided to matchup small rather than try to press the Hawks with more size.

The timing is somewhat interesting only in that Gibson/Omer have both struggled, but particularly Omer. I suspect Thibodeau will go right back to him when the opponent whips out a true center on their bench, but it's still telling that Omer's play has been spotty enough that he's benched due to matchup.

In an emergency take Pargo out of the box

Jannero Pargo had one of those one in five game performances where he just went nuts and drained threes and shots all over the place to lead the Hawks in scoring. It probably didn't hurt that he was frequently defended by John Lucas.

The Bulls did a nice job on pretty much all the rest of the Hawks though, and the defense looked solid.

A quality win

Overall, the Bulls played reasonably and beat a good team which is good to see. Just one more game [against Milwaukee Wednesday] before the Bulls shut things down for all-star weekend. I look for the Bulls to pick up the final win and hopefully come back at full strength post all-star game.

Filed under: Game Threads


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  • I think the Bulls still need another offensive weapon off the bench, assuming they don't pull off a D12 trade. If the Bulls are truly serious about winning, which I'm not sold on, they would parlay the expiring contracts of Brewer and Korver for a real offensive weapon to play the 6th man (Jason Terry) role.....Ben Gordon would be the ideal fit....and Detroit would JUMP at that trade to cut salary.

  • Good win even though the Bulls are still struggling with their transition defense. It's like they're playing all or nothing for the rebound. If they board well, they win. If not, they get burnt or let teams back into games. Hope they can find a way to shore it up before the playoffs.

    I'm still pretty positive about what James brings to the table. So far as Lucas is concerned, you can never have too many shooters. It would be nice to see them perform well enough to move CJ to almost full time SG duty backing up Hamilton should everybody actually get healthy at some point.

    As for Omer...let the trade rumors begin.

  • In reply to Redwhitenblack:

    Would you trade Boston Asik + Korver and Brewer for Ray Allen? I think I would do it - Ray starts and Rip comes off the bench.

  • In reply to Dajody1:

    Not sure that I give up all 3 for Ray Allen. If Howard goes to a contender we will need Omer to play against him. Noah gets abused by Howard. Heck we might need Omer to beat the Pacers, Im not sure how Noah can defend Hibbert. Also I think the 3 of those guys could net us a bigger upgrade than Allen (right now he is better than the guys Im about to mention but how much longer can he play at this level), someone like Kevin Martin or Monte Ellis. MY personal choice would be Ellis. Having a secondary ball handler would take some pressure off of Rose. Rose is also an underrated defender, I still believe that Deng is the best perimeter defender in the league and Noah is one of the best help defenders in the league, this would cover up for Monte's lack of defense. Monte is also ten years younger than Allen.

  • In reply to Dajody1:

    If Ray were several years younger, maybe. At his current age, NO.

    We already have problems with Rip because of his age, it will soon happen to Ray Allen, its inevitable.

  • In reply to Edward:

    You are right. I just don't understand the fascination with Ray Allen from both fans and the media. What has Boston won in the last 2 years and they are on the downside. Ray Allen is at best good for replacing Kyle Korver and not as a starting SG. I would gladly take OJ Mayo instead of Allen.

  • its no big secret the Bulls actually needs an extra 1ball handler 2offensive option3Defensive player. A player like that would keep Thibs from doing the off/def at the end of games. It would help if that person was a veteran, if that person was hungry. Well ,ladies and whatever, whats wrong with Grant Hill?

  • Man o man does rose need help. Boozer has been playing well and providing offense but you cant count on anyone else on this team. Deng plays well one night and doesn't the next (4-15 shooting)brewer is nothing but another bogans, joakim is joakim, I dont expect him to ever be a threat offensively, and I wont bother with the rest of the team.

    Hopefully gar/pax make something happen by the trade deadline because rose by himself can't beat the heat and maybe even indy and the knicks.

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