Bulls crush Knicks (by 4) as refs lose control of the game

It started with J.R. Smith fouling out. Then Carmelo was ejected. Then Tyson Chandler and Joakim Noah were both tossed. Mike Woodsen got thrown out to add gas to the fire, and then the Knicks decided to make a comeback just a little too late.

The final score may have been a four point win for Chicago, but that wouldn't really do justice to a game where the Bulls absolutely annihilated the Knicks and allowed a comeback in the final minutes while playing prevent defense without any interior defenders left to call on.

With Joakim Noah out, Taj Gibson hobbled too much to play effectively, and Carlos Boozer yanked for Vladimir Radmanovic due to his inability to play defense, the Bulls ultimately ended up in an ultra small lineup to close the game [replacing Radman with Nate Robinson] that couldn't effectively patrol the paint allowing Raymond Felton to drive for what felt about 15 layups in three minutes.

That said, the Knicks started their run far too late to make a difference, and the Bulls effectively crushed the Knicks as much as any four point victory can be a crushing.

The refs completely lost control of the game T'ing up people left and right, ejecting people over and over, and calling a somewhat uneven game in which light contact occasionally drew fouls while virtual muggings went uncalled. At one point, Jason Kidd hacked Luol Deng bad enough to cause a shoulder injury forcing Deng to leave the game, only to see phantom fouls be called a play later.

Joakim Noah dominated Tyson Chandler

Chandler was limited to five points, eight boards, and three turnovers. Meanwhile, Noah scored 15 with 12 boards and six assists. Joakim Noah leads the NBA in 10/10/5 games with 10 with LeBron coming in second with eight.

The Bulls obviously feel comfortable running the offense through Chandler in the high post where he makes excellent decisions with the basketball and finds his teammates. Noah's improvement in his all-around offensive game has been dramatic this season. He's always been an excellent passer, but has added enough wrinkles to his own offensive game to really open up the possibilities and passing lanes.

Noah and Chandler got tangled up in the fourth period while battling for a rebound. Chandler seemed to lose it for no particular reason except that he was frustrated from being dominated all game. He threw Noah off of him, swung an elbow or two while Noah then got up in his grill and the two had to be separated. A one game suspension for each would not be surprising.

In a battle of potential all-stars, Joakim Noah looked the part, dominating Chandler on both ends of the court and getting into his head as well.

Luol Deng injures shoulder

Luol Deng injured his shoulder after Jason Kidd raked him across the arm pulling it down in at awkward angle. Deng immediately clutched his shoulder and had to be taken out of the game. He didn't leave the bench area though and later returned. Afterwards, he said the game was sore.

Deng will clearly be re-evaluated, and we'll find out more about his condition today. Given that Deng returned to action and played decently upon coming back, and the fact it was his left shoulder, my guess is that Deng will not miss further time due to this injury.

Outside of the injury, Deng had a fantastic game, matching Carmelo's 29 points and doing an outstanding job on Melo defensively [Melo scored more of his points when Deng was not matched up on him]. Deng drilled jumper after jumper and shot well from the three point line as well knocking down three of his five attempts from beyond the arc.

All in all, whenever the Bulls needed a basket, Luol Deng was there to provide it.

Kirk plays his best game in his second stint as a Bull

Kirk Hinrich fell just shy of triple double with 15 points, nine boards, and eight assists. Kirk took just eight shots, but sunk six of them including four three pointers. He played with an efficiency that the Bulls desperately need, but haven't seen much this season.

Marco Belinelli continues his strong play as a starter

Belinelli chipped in 22 points on a nice combination of drives and shooting. While clearly not an elite player, Belinelli's providing the all-around offense the Bulls hoped Rip Hamilton would provide at the SG position. It's a shame that the Bulls only locked up Belinelli for one season, because it will be difficult for them to bring him back next season.

He's as an ideal fit as the Bulls can possibly hope to find in the salary range they'll have to spend on a SG next summer, and it will be interesting if the Bulls re-up with Belinelli or look to pursue other options.

Big win for Chicago

Chicago has proved something to Bulls fans so far this season. After a shaky start where they didn't look like they could hang with quality teams, the Bulls have gelled and played much better basketball. In the midst of a 10 game trip against average to above average teams, I thought the Bulls might get annihilated.

Instead, they've gone 5-2 through the first seven games of that trip with wins over Philly, Boston, New York (x2), and Brooklyn. They lost narrow games to the Clippers and Grizzlies, but were in the Clippers game until the last 30 seconds and in the Grizzlies game until about two minutes to go.

All in all, Chicago has proven that they aren't a bottom feeder team without Derrick Rose. They've beaten some quality teams and have played well in every game. Tom Thibodeau has his team playing well, and the Bulls are well positioned for Rose to return without putting undue stress on him to carry the team to the playoffs all by himself.

Derrick Rose returned to (non contact) practice

Rose has been doing "pre practice" work for awhile, but his status seems to have improved somewhat as he's now participating in the non contact portions of practice according to Tom Thibodeau. I've long thought Rose was like to return in either mid to late January or after the all-star break.

Effectively if he's not ready by end of January, the Bulls won't bring him back in early February with the all-star break looming. We still don't know how far away Rose is, but I'd suspect that an end of January return seems quite possible at this stage with the post all-star break return likely representing the worst case scenario.

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  • I know that there were no interior defenders left at the end of the game which made a big difference. But giving up 45 points in the 4th is a little scary. The Bulls have shown to be susceptible to an active half court trapping defense - which is how Milwaukee stole that game from us. Getting Rose back would help with that considerably, but these 4th quarter melt downs are a tad frightening. Obviously the Bulls do, in fact, know how to close out games - it's just that it's expected so when they do it right we think nothing of it. But the collapse under pressure seems so epic, it's just a little nerve-wracking.

  • In reply to bfranke:

    Yes, the 45 point 4th was pretty scary bad, but I don't think the Bulls collapsed under pressure. They collapsed under no pressure. There was never any real chance for the Knicks to win, and they started the layup line with the Bulls having no bigs and everyone else instructed not to foul.

  • 1. Lets hope the Bulls make the basketball decision of not waiving $900k salary of Nate Rob.

    2. Forget the Allstar, Noah for DEFENSIVE PLAYER OF THE YEAR. We all saw what happened when he got ejected...the Knicks made their 'comeback' and almost blew the game, until...Nate got back.

    3. Thibs replaced Boozer with Radmonovich for defensive purposes, and then replaced him with Nate. Call me crazy, but This defensive backup thingy for Noah is gonna be important.

    4. Hopefully Thibs sees the light and realizes Belinelli is better starting, but he's actually more dynamic and actually plays defense now (as in he's not a liability). Throw in Rip's propensity to getting injured, why wouldn't Rip coming off the bench make sense?

    5. I'm still going to keep pushing this because it makes sense for all teams, including most importantly for the Bulls...saves them money.


    C. Noah (Dalembert, Nazr)
    PF. Taj (Humphries, Vlad)
    SF. Deng (Butler)
    SG. Belinelli (Brooks, Daniels)
    PG. Rose (Nate, Teague)

  • In reply to YouBlewwIt:

    I am fairly certain that the number of times that you post a trade proposal, whether it is rational or not, has absolutely no effect on any NBA's front office decision to pursue any trade.

    Most trades that anybody posts are nothing more than wishful thinking, post it once, or twice if you must, and move on.

  • In reply to YouBlewwIt:

    I second that suggestion that Joakim Noah be voted DEFENSIVE PLAYER OF THE YEAR.
    I may be the only bulls blogger to support you because we have a lot of monsters that patrol this and the other bulls blog. They are dying inside because Noah is showing the basketball world what he's all about.
    This team can beat any team in the world, with or without Derrick Rose. And another thing, Joakim Noah will be an All Star this year!
    Thanks Pax and management for drafting Noah, your wisdom is bearing fruit. Derrick Rose was not management's best move. Show me the team that would have passed on Rose with the number one pick in the draft.
    I read a few days ago, on that other blog, a lot of people who were feeling embarrassed for wanting management to pass on Noah in favor of some fool whose name they have a hard time remembering.

  • In reply to YouBlewwIt:

    The Boozer for Radmanovic switch was hilarious. I was halfway through typing a tweet about how ridiculous that was and how they'd be better off putting Robinson in when they did exactly that.

    Robinson then made what I view as the nail in the coffin play by chasing down the rebound, dribbling through a bunch of players to escape the trap, then sinking a shot after using almost all 24 seconds on the shot clock.

    It'd be interesting to see if Milwaukee does that trade, I don't think the Nets would do the Boozer trade either, and the Bulls probably are better with Boozer than Humphries, so that move really only saves them salary which they won't use which doesn't excite me much as a fan.

  • great game, glad to see our offense being more consistent and especially the 3pt shooting in which we ranked a poor 24th in the league with 34%. The intensity and hard nosed nature of the Bulls was impressive, they were all playing hard and just seemed to overpower the Knicks who resorted to hacking and crying like spoiled little babies.....wa wa we're in nyc, give us all the bs calls but the Bulls remained poised for most of the game and did what they had to do to get the win..

    Like I'm been saying for 2 months now, the Bulls badly need a backup big. Did you see how awful Radmanovic looked? he couldn't even pick up a rebound below his feet.....he got quickly yanked out after 10 seconds of play. He sucks and was a bad signing by paxgar. The Bulls need to stop being cheap and get a backup big......could be Kenyon Martin veteran or a dleague player with nba experience like jajuan johnson or someone else....just a player that can play some defense and rebound which obviously vlad radmanovic simply isn't capable of. Gibson is hobbling and radmanovic and nazr just were bad signings......other front offices would recognize their mistakes and act quicly to patch up the problem the best way they could but the Bulls FO acts like they never make mistakes and wait until the last second when a major injury occurs. Watching the knicks get layup after layup with no big man resistence was not a good way of ending the game.

  • In reply to Defense-Rebound13:

    The Bulls can't really get a backup big by "not being cheap", they are under a hard cap and could only afford someone at the vet minimum.

    There aren't any vet minimum big men worth mentioning available.

    Radmanovic isn't a great signing, but it's hard to be overly critical of end of bench 11th / 12th men signings at the minimum.

  • I'm pissed, the U-Verse version of league pass doesn't include the NBA TV channel. Apparently I missed one of the best games of the year, likely the best if it weren't for the 4rth quarter disaster, Thibs must be apoplectic.

    Reading the various recaps of the game, the biggest takeaway would be that we made a huge mistake not retaining Asik, and worrying about the consequences later. I wish that I had a crystal ball to know what the Bulls would have done with Asik had Rose not gone down.

    Since I couldn't watch the game, all I can by is the box score. This game looks like a freak show statistically. Deng has his best game of the year, Hangdog has his best game of the year, the Clownzer has his best game of the year(only 25 minutes, and a single single), Taj barely played 3 minutes(I guess his ankle is worse than we thought), Bellinelli is becoming the new Deng(45 minutes). The Bulls give up 45 points in the 4rth after giving only 61 points in the first 3 quarters. Seems like Thibs could have used Teague for more than 20 seconds. The Bulls starters minus the Clownzer, averaged over 40 minutes, I hope that they have something left for tonight in the ATL.

  • Taj looked like he could barely walk, so the ankle was clearly a big factor. Hinrich played really well early, but faded later. Deng was awesome pretty much all game long, and Noah was better than his box score would indicate.

    Doubt they have much left in the tank for Atlanta, but Atlanta also played last night, so they might not have a whole lot for the Bulls either. Also, even just splitting this back to back is pretty good given they were going up against two teams with better records than them in the East with both games on the road, so if they fall to Atlanta I won't be that upset even if they get blown out.

  • If the Knicks' guard were flying in for layups, why in the world wasn't Teague in for defense? Maybe this was an experiment? 45 points given up in the 4th, ridiculous! Thibs appears to choose players on the court by whim at times. Can he explain this? I'd like to see a reporter ask him this one.

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