Bulls collapse to allow OT, but recover to beat the Suns

Bulls collapse to allow OT, but recover to beat the Suns

For once, no one will blame the collapse on Carlos Boozer. He was sitting on the bench as the Suns knocked down an array of difficult looks, and the Bulls offense struggled to score and his efficient offense helped build the big lead in the first place. Phoenix got hot in the fourth as the Bulls cooled off and only a plethora of beneficial calls allowed the Bulls to sneak into overtime.

Once there, Luis Scola fouled out immediately and the Suns ran out of gas. The Bulls built up a nine point lead quickly in overtime, scoring the first eight points. When Michael Beasley score five straight to give the Suns one last gasp, Joakim Noah slammed the door shut by knocking down a mid range jumper.

There's the Carlos Boozer we need

We might not see it again for awhile, but last night Carlos Boozer was the guy the Bulls hoped they signed. He scored 28 points on 11/20 from the field with just one turnover. He didn't create a ton of offense, but every time he had a little seam in the defense he sliced in to score or knocked the jumper.

Of course, detractors might note that he didn't score in the fourth quarter or overtime, but let's be honest, without Boozer's scoring, the Bulls would have been screwed in this game. He came through big early, and the Bulls needed it from him.

That said, I doubt any of us are expecting to see this Carlos Boozer again for another 10 games or so.

This just in, Joakim Noah? Still a bad ass

Noah scored 21 on 9 of 19 shooting and had a rare off night from the charity strip just knocking down three of six. What's most impressive about Noah's efficiency is that the majority of his misses were tip shots that don't really count as true offensive touches (of course, you'd argue his offensive boards don't really count either then).

When given a true possession, Noah probably shot around 75% from the field. He knocked down three of his five jumpers including the one that sealed the game in overtime. He also had a driving layup in overtime to help build the lead, and hit key shots all night long.

The offensive maturity of Noah this season has been something to see. He looks fabulous on that end of the court game in and game out. His unorthodox release is becoming a strength as opposing players routinely given him space figuring no one can hit that shot while Noah buries it on a consistent basis.

Gone are the groans when Noah takes a mid range jumper.

The only thing stopping Noah from being a lock for the all-star game this season is the rule change so that there is no "center" spot anymore, but now just three forward/center spots which opens up the opportunity for more competition against SFs/PFs, but he's playing well enough that he's still a strong candidate even with massively increased competition.

Kirk returns for 27 minutes of action

Hinrich had five fouls and had to sit for long stretches due to foul trouble. The team ball movement certainly looked improved with Hinrich back in the fold and the offense generally ran smoothly under Kirk. Of course it's worth noting he was on the floor for the majority of the epic fourth quarter collapse before leaving the game with his 5th foul.

Hinrich's definitely not a guy who's put up pretty box scores, but he spreads the ball around quickly and efficiently and the offense tends to flow pretty well when he's in the game with quality scoring options. Either way, the good news is that Kirk's injury obviously wasn't that severe since he returned so quickly.

Luol Deng continues his all-star caliber play

What more can you say about Luol Deng. He (along with Noah) has completely stepped up his game. He creates shots when the Bulls need them. He scores at a high level. He's played very efficiently. He's killing it on defense. He rebounds the basketball.

Any thoughts about Deng not being worth his contract can be thrown out the window. He's absolutely killing it out there. Wrist? What wrist? Deng's playing at an extremely high level for big minutes every game contributing in all areas. He's probably still a #3 on a championship caliber team, but he's also paid like a #3/#4 player.

Anytime I want to say something bad about Nate Robinson I remember...

This guy is playing for the league minimum.

He's putting up efficient scoring numbers for a team that desperately needs them. He's knocking down clutch shots, providing three point shooting, and is a great energizer and spark. Yes, the offense sometimes looks choppy when he goes into hero ball mode. Yes, he sometimes throws the ball all over the court causing turnovers.

However, Nate Robinson, as a veteran minimum third string point guard, earns complete bad ass overachiever points for what he's done this season. It will be interesting to see what his role is when Derrick Rose comes back, but I'll say this, at this point I'd probably keep Nate over Kirk Hinrich if I had to kick one of them off the team.

Three good minutes for Jimmy Butler

Early on it seemed like his night as he ignited the Bulls by stealing an inbounds pass and getting a layup, knocking down a jumper, then forcing an open court steal to generate a dunk. In a three minutes, Butler had swung a huge amount of momentum the Bulls way and seemed primed for a quality night.

However, that was about all the Bulls got out of Butler. His only other appearance in the box score was a defensive rebound he added later on, and he missed a few defensive assignments which likely contributed to his spot on the bench, only playing nine and a half minutes total.

Still with energy players, this is the type of thing you get. A big burst followed by not a whole heck of a lot.

Nice win for the Bulls

After a loss to Boston and an upcoming game against the Clippers, the Bulls needed to get this win. They looked on path to take it easily until the Suns smacked them in the mouth, but they recovered to lock up the victory. In the process, they also managed to score over 100 points. Mark that down on your calendar, you might not see that again for awhile.

Things will get much tougher Saturday when the Bulls head to L.A. to play the Clippers who've won four straight. Let's hope the Clippers have a let down game after defeating the Heat last night.

Comments

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  • A lot of bold statements you made there.

  • Haha, yeah, my bad.

  • First I want to say that I that I hope you are able to keep up the good work while Rose is out as it is clear by the lack of comments on a daily basis that the enthusiasm for all things bulls is down quite a bit.

    However, as you noted, "Of course, detractors might note that he didn't score in the fourth quarter or overtime" Exactly what I was thinking as it was happening. This point may seem trivial to most, but it is the true reflection of the ultimate problem with Bozo, you can never count on him to win a game for you when the game matters or when it is on the line. At his best, which happens infrequently he is a garbage time player. Basically, he comes out west and early on gets to play against himself(the suns defense), then when the Suns went nuts with their effort guys he disappears. If that gives you a hard on then all that I can say is whatever turns you on. That is just not why I am a sports fan.

    Secondly, I still don't like the bulls crossmatching Noah on the power forward all the time. It clearly limits Noah's and the Bulls overall defensive performance as it is much harder for Noah to be the primary help defender when he is guarding a power forward who doesn't play in the paint. Again another unseen cost of having to hide Bozo the basket hanging phantam rebounder.

    While I appreciate Noah's improved offensive performance, it is likely, that, as a result of this crossmatching, his defense and especially his rebounding seem to be less effective than his peak performance of the past.

    It could just be the loss of Asik, but he Bulls do not seem to be as dominant on the boards, and it is stating to look like it was Asik that made Taj so effective, not the other way around as many have speculated. In truth, they probably both fed off each other. In case you can't tell I really miss Asik almost as much as Thibs does.

    While Deng has certainly upped his game from the first few, It is also hard to say that Deng was great last night, when he got destroyed during the fourth quarter collapse by some unknown rookie(Tucker). Same thing with Hangdog as he struggled all night just to dribble the ball up the court against either of the Suns points, culminating with that 5 second call which happens about once a decade in the NBA or is it once a century.

    That fourth quarter was emblematic of this Bulls teams fundamental problems and sickening to watch. If Scola doesn't foul out to start the overtime, the Bulls would have lost the game and the tone of your revue changes dramatically.

  • In reply to BigWay:

    Yep, just like I thought, the loss of Asik and Korver really transformed this team. Our rebounding looks mediocre and our interior defense bad at times and we are a below average 3point shooting team. Nazr looks old and slow out there, routinely getting burned and was lit up last night as well.

    What pisses me off besides Hinrick/Mayo situation, was Paxson signing the awful Radmanovic to a guaranteed deal which meant missing out on some good players like etwaun moore(could play shooting guard so I don't want to hear the Nate Robinson excuse) and now our bigs depth is horrible if someone gets injured and it wouldn't suprise me if the Bulls pick up Richardson with the 14th spot instead of getting another badly needed big. Paxson signing Radmanovic and overpaying for Kirk really screwed this team out of some better players because of the cap situation. There is no question the Bulls need to draft a defensive minded Center in the next draft and ditch Belinelli who seems to want to play point guard/playmaker instead of shooting the 3. This team needs a complete overhaul and if the Bulls are serious about having Kirk the starting 2guard next year? God help us all. The only thing they did right was sign Nate Robinson who gives us some scoring and energy.

  • Asik is putting up some awesome #s and is actually scoring double digit pts as a starter for the Rockets! I know this would never have happened with Boozers huge unmovable contract but what do you guys think if we would have started Asik and had Noah be our starting PF (Noah is a awesome mobile big man and guards away from the basket well)? With Noah scoring more as well and his shot falling from outside and a few of his hook shots going in thanks to training with Kareem in the offseason! Would have been nice to have such a dominant PF/C combo in Asik and Noah and then sign Mayo as our starting SG instead of Hinrich!

    O well...we can only wonder how that would have turned out instead of the fight for a win against lowly teams as we are now this season!

  • I miss having Asik, but I'm not too upset at letting him go given the 15 million kicker in the final year would have jacked up the entire financial plan of the team.

    The real mistake was that they didn't sign him to a 3 year deal initially which would have stopped the whole crazy escalator problem from happening in the first place.

  • I really wish that someone in the media could definitively find out why that didn't happen, the 3 year deal. My guess, is the Bulls were just being penny wise and dollar foolish as usual. At least we would have Asik this year, and probably be allowed to extend him early(this year). Although, I actually don't think that Asik had any great interest in remaining with the Bulls irregardless of the money. I think that he wanted a chance to start(not just play more minutes) which wasn't going to happen as long as Noah is a Bull.

    As for not wanting to pay Asik $15 million in 2014-15, that was something we could easily have dealt with in the summer of 2014.
    It is entirely possible that by that time Asik will have proved himself to be a better starting center than Noah, who will be pushing 30 with only 2 years left on his contract. We will be rid of Bozo, one way or another by that summer, Deng will be expired or traded at he 2014 trade deadline, and then you either keep Asik and Noah, or you trade one of them for an elite wing scorer.

    I don't think that Noah's game will allow him to have a long career after he turns 30 and won't be worth resigning when his current contract expires in 2016 when he is 31, so if you still have Asik in the summer of 2014, you trade Noah while he is at or near his max value.

    That to me is how great FO's handle things, with long term forward thinking. If Asik turns out be the starting center that I think he is, the Asik fiasco will turn out to be a fireable offense

    Back to the present, I don't think that Noah is suited to being a full time power forward. Athletic as he is, he is not athletic enough for that, which is why I am not a big fan of Thibs crossmatching Noah on power forwards so that he can hide Bozo the basket hanging phantom rebounder.

    Money aside, that is/was the biggest issue with keeping Asik happy as a Bull. But, I like Asik enough(when push comes to shove, more than Taj) to figure out a way to make it work. I have been in the minority(by a country mile)on that sentiment. The early results suggest that by later this year or certainly next year when Taj is being paid $8-9 million I am confident that most everybody will be on the same page with me.

    FYI, watching the Celtics/Nets game, and surprise surprise Keith Bogans is still in the league, and playing, not sure if the Nets have a ton of injuries at 2 guard or what.

  • In reply to BigWay:

    I think everyone needs to forget about Asik, he's long gone thanks to the Bulls FO incompetence and their stupidity of not valuing a true center in the NBA. As long as the White Sox is the Bulls owner number one priority the Bulls are basically screwed. I feel bad for Rose cause this Bulls organization got lucky in the 2008 draft and received the number 1 pick thus drafting Rose to a team that had no plans of trying to build a contender for a championship. Rose big mistake was resigning with his home town team, but I see a Lebron situation coming when Rose contract is up in 4 years and he make "THE DECISION" to leave his hometown team. I'm sure Rose saying all the right things and saying he's a Bull for life is all PR related, the guy is putting himself through HELL with his rehab and I'm sure he's not trying to come back to a mediocre team when he returns. IMHO, the next few years are critical whether Rose stays a Bull or he leaves for a team that's committed to winning and contending for championships. Rose "LOVES L.A." and we all know how the Lakers are when they want star players... they get the players that they want with money being no object and get the job done.

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