Better late than never, a DVR'd watching of the game until midnight followed by intent to write a recap the next day only to get sucked into a sixteen hour work day leaves us with this somewhat delayed discussion of the Bulls Spurs game. Typically, I'd figure a day has passed, just let it go, but it was an important win.
How good a win was this?
The Spurs own the fourth best record in the NBA behind Chicago, Miami, and OKC. They were playing at home with full rest while the Bulls were playing on a back to back with a travel day. It's not a win against Miami or OKC, but it's the next best thing and a reassuring one after the Bulls have generally struggled recently against good teams.
Derrick Rose big again
Derrick scored six in around six minutes in the fourth quarter, but he hit consecutive shots with the Bulls nursing a one point lead with under two minutes to go which put the game out of reach. The Bulls were able to knock down enough free throws and a Deng three to completely put it away afterwards.
It's great to see Derrick rose step up and play like the MVP against a quality opponent rather than simply racking up stats against the league's mediocrity [Carlos Boozer says hi]. Not that there's any doubt about Rose's ability to do so, but hell, it sure makes the Bulls more exciting to see it.
Brewer and Deng shrug off tough starts to finish strong
Heading into the fourth quarter, Ronnie Brewer was something like 0-4 with two missed free throws and two charging calls against him. Not a particularly pretty start for Chicago's finest Brew.
However, the Bulls were down six after Bonner opened the fourth with a three while Derrick Rose and Luol Deng were taking breathers. It was a time when the game could have easily gone out of reach, but Brewer scored six points [four off of two breakaway layups] in a shade over a minute to tie the game for Chicago.
His play gave Thibodeau the flexibility to allow Rose and Deng a longer rest while keeping the game competitive.
Luol Deng had scored just three points entering the fourth quarter and was shooting just one of six from the field. Like Rose, he rested for nearly the first six minutes. However, despite the relatively poor game, Luol Deng knocked down two threes at the end in critical situations to help ice the game for Chicago.
Joakim Noah keeps it rolling
Noah continues his strong overall play, rebounding well, scoring well, and most importantly passing well. When Joakim Noah is able to facilitate the office effectively, the Bulls are particularly difficult to stop. Noah racked up another double double and added three assists with no turnovers.
Noah's playing at a very high level right now, let's hope he can keep it rolling.
Who was that masked man?
Let's hope it wasn't Richard Hamilton, because he did not play well at all. Rip can be an up and down player, and he hasn't been in the lineup much, however, 1-8 with no assists isn't exactly what the Bulls are hoping for here.
Hamilton has a long history of mediocrity when it comes to efficiency partially because he has games like this. Watching this game it made me realize how much of an X-factor Hamilton is. He can be a very inconsistent player with his shooting, but when he's on the Bulls go from a good team to an unstoppable one.
Wasn't Carlos's night either
Boozer jacked up plenty of jumpers, but he struggled to knock them down with consistency and the Bulls eventually pulled him in the fourth for Gibson whom could at least bring it on defense.
I think, despite down numbers, that Boozer's having a more solid year this season than last, but I have very little hope that he comes through in any kind of notable way when the Bulls need him against a quality opponent.
The mob is back
After almost costing the Bulls the game against the Hornets, the bench mob came back and played big for Chicago against he Spurs. Brewer was mentioned above, but Gibson gave them solid defense, Korver hit everything he shot [even if it was just two threes and two free throws], and C.J. Watson had a strong game backing up Rose.
The Bulls basically won this game from the bench play as the starters played them into a whole a couple times only to have the second unit come in and play well.
Let's hope the trend continues
The schedule is brutal the rest of the way, let's hope the Bulls continue to roll against quality teams.
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