Bulls front court dominates Celtics in win

Carlos Boozer and Luol Deng each dropped 21 while Joakim Noah played his way into his second career triple double as the Bulls front court annihilated the Celtics.

The Boston Celtics were coming off of two days of rest while Chicago was playing on a back to back, but it didn't seem like it last night. The Chicago Bulls won every quarter and held a comfortable lead throughout the majority of the game. Joakim Noah led a clinic of interior passing, as the Bulls had 16 assists from their big men (19 if we add Deng to the equation).

I'm not sure what's happened to the advanced scouts watching the Bulls, but maybe no one else knows Derrick Rose is still out. The Celtics and Grizzlies have both decided to heavily trap Chicago off of the pick and roll which seems like a losing strategy to defend this team. The Bulls are at their best offensively when they can utilize their passing skills to find openings and worst when they have to beat someone one on one.

The frequent double teaming gives Chicago openings in which to utilize their limited offensive strengths while minimizing their weaknesses. Maybe I'm missing something, but I'd only double team off the pick and roll enough to keep the Bulls honest and would never view it as a primary defensive option against a team where no one can beat you one on one. Especially when Kirk Hinrich is in the back-court as he's no threat to drive or shoot.

Six shooters have been put away

Joakim Noah announced that he's shelving his six shooter celebration in support of ending gun violence. While I think many Bulls fans, including myself, loved the celebration, I agree it's time for it to go. I'm not taking a political stand on the right to bear arms vs disarming the nation, but Noah hits the jumper frequently enough that there should no longer be a cause for celebration when it goes in.

It's time to act like he's been there before.

That said, it will be a bit sad when he nails a particularly important jumper late in a game, and we don't see the celebration come out. Knowing Noah, he'll come up with something else clever to replace it though.

Trade winds blowing?

In a story that surprises pretty much no one, The Bulls are reportedly shopping Rip Hamilton while Bulls fans are shopping Kirk Hinrich. Marco Belinelli has played well enough to make Hamilton expendable while the Bulls would love to ditch him for nothing and get under the luxury tax. In order to do that they'll likely have to give up a draft pick.

While I expect this is a fairly likely scenario, I can think of few things less insulting to Bulls fans than this team, which is minting money, trading away a player who can still help them and throwing in a draft pick just to make the team worse but save some money. They'll likely make 50+ million even if they pay the tax.

As for Hinrich, Bulls fans encouraged by Marquis Teague playing well for about 16 minutes are ready to ship off the guard when Derrick Rose returns. Milwaukee had interest in preseason and could now get him on an even cheaper contract than they had offered him this summer with one less guaranteed year and likely less money.

Moving Hinrich might help Chicago more than Hamilton as they'd clear an extra three million off of next year's books and still could avoid the luxury tax this year if they shipped him off without taking salary back. That said, there's virtually no chance whatsoever that Hinrich is traded.

Quite frankly, the Bulls management are too honorable to trade a guy whom they convinced to give up 5 million dollars halfway through his first season to the team that was willing to give him the extra money. The move also seems unlikely to be popular in a locker room that apparently lobbied hard to bring Kirk in. In short, many Bulls fans are ready to let go, but don't count on anyone within the organization feeling the same way.

Want to stump a casual Bulls fan?

Ask them which active Bulls are tied for the lead in triple doubles on the team and see how long it takes them to come up with Joakim Noah and Kirk Hinrich at two.

It's hard to believe Derrick Rose isn't on the list given that his game seems likely to lead to triple doubles with at least some frequency, but the problem for Rose is that the team has had way too much rebounding during his tenure to ever have much of a shot at 10 while he's not the pass first point guard to regularly log 10 assists either.

If everyone is healthy who's a bigger triple double threat? Noah or Rose?

Thriving not surviving without Derrick?

The Bulls are presently fourth in the Eastern conference without their superstar guard. They aren't dominating opponents, but looking at the long term schedule, this Bulls team looks like it can be sitting at 6 or so games over .500 when Derrick comes back and will be positioned well for a strong playoff run.

The Bulls look destined to lose to the Heat in the playoffs to me, the only question will be whether they're on the opposite side of the bracket to where that happens in the ECF or the second round. The Heat don't take the regular season particularly seriously, so I don't know that they'll make a strong push to get the #1 seed or not.

However, the fact this team looks like it will be in the top half of the bracket come playoff time means Bulls fans should be excited about what they can hope to accomplish this season. It will be tough to take out Miami, but that was going to be true no matter what. If Derrick is healthy, they'll still have that puncher's shot at a title this season which isn't as much as we'd like, but better than 80% of the league.

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  • Awesome game to watch! Noah had 6 assists half way thru the 1st quarter so he came out with tons of energy! :-)

    Beli is doing great and I think Butler could come off the bench for Beli and Deng or have Nate be backup to backup SG but primary backup at PG. Nazr doesn't give us much after having a good preseason and we are very shallow at PF/C having Taj cover both positions off the bench.

    True about management being way too loyal to Kirk! I didn't like that we traded him, but he isn't the same player he was now and he served his purpose helping Rose grow when he was a rookie.

  • It would be nice to see the Bulls explore some trade options to bring in long term talent at the expense of future luxury tax payments. A VladRad/Rip and a draft pick for Reddick would bring in some needed shooting at the 2 and give us Bird Rights for next year. Or considering a trade to bring back another 5 would allow Noah to play less minutes.

  • In reply to nafsllub:

    Redick has a ton of value because if his great shooting.

    I don't know why ORL would want Rip and Vlad when they could just let Redick expire.

  • In reply to nafsllub:

    Reddick is expiring, so I'm not sure this would add any long term talent.

  • I say it all the time, Hinrichs going no where. He's the safest player on the team for personal reasons which is unfair to other players. Anyway I don't mind keeping Hinrich around as long as Hamilton is moved because he stays injured and is wasting a roster spot. Two things that angers me the most about the Hinrich situation is one, he doesn't do anything. All he does is make basic passes with the ball. You could just as easily bring in someone from the D league to do that. And second, I'm afraid the same thing's gonna happen with teague that happened with Thabo Sefolosha. When Thabo was on the team they never really gave him a chance because all the bulk of the minutes went to Hinrich who was playing both pg and sg, but Thabo already showed signs of being a considerably better defender. That would have been the best time for us to trade Hinrich while we had Thabo who was promising. Instead they kept Hinrich and moved Thabo which is how we eventually got Taj Gibson but I thought the whole thing was unfair to Thabo and we were lucky to even get a player of Taj's caliber with the pic we had. I see the same pattern forming with Teague stuck behind Hinrich who is even worse than before.

  • In reply to J Man:

    Agreed. I just don't see them moving hinrich because he's a Reinsdorf guy.

  • Here the Bulls go again making business decisions and not basketball decisions.

    The BASKETBALL DECISION would be to keep Nate and his less than $1mil contract and move Hinrich. Personally, I would like to see this done...

    http://espn.go.com/nba/tradeMachine?tradeId=a8v2xjt
    Hinrich+Rip ...for... Dalembert+Daniels

    Dalembert doesn't play with Sanders, Udoh, Henson, and Ersan, and they are desperately looking for a veteran backup SG. Hinrich is a Skiles boy and would like him to back up Jennings if MIL trades Udrih.

    CHI gets a 7 foot defensive shot blocker to play alongside Taj again. Daniels is a throw in.

  • In reply to YouBlewwIt:

    Who am I kidding...Hinrich is staying out because he's a Reinsdorf guy, Bulls will throw in a draft pick to move Rip just so Reinsdorf can pocket more millions, and Nate will be waived, not because he's been bad, but because the Bulls make business decisions, not basketball ones.

  • In reply to YouBlewwIt:

    targeting dalembert in trade makes alot of sense for the bulls but knowing how they think, they don't want to take a chance and have a guy do well which would pressure on them to resign the player.....they don't want to spend money so they will ride the ghost of Nazr Mohammad all the way to the draft. Getting rid of Nate makes ZERO sense because they won't bring back Rose until March and Hinrich is injury prone besides being god awful. If the Bulls decide to get rid of both RIp and our sixth man in Nate Robinson, do they want to tank the season for a better draft pick? I get trying to move hamilton if he can get us a backup center/tall PF or draft pick. I hope the Bulls don't add a 1st round draft pick next to Hamilton to get rid of him since this team has a serious need for a backup center not to mention a young shooting guard....This would be the ultimate slap in the face to Bulls fans and show the greedy money grub nature of the Bulls ownership. The Bulls are the golden cash cow and it would be nice if some of those profits are reinvested in the team.

  • Didn't Noah do some variation of the 6 shooter celebration, pretty much just shaking his hands enthusiastically at his sides? I agree, he should only do it after big time shots, but people still do doubt him. I watch a lot of road feeds with NBA league pass, and they're always talking trash about how ugly it is, and always surprised when it drops.

  • I would be very mad if the Bulls waived Nate who has been such a high energy and fun guy to watch! He has his limits obviously with his small size and turnover prone but he is definately earning every penny of his vet minimum salary!

    It would be awesome if we could get Tyreke Evans for RIP & Radman. Salary is close.
    http://hoopshype.com/salaries/sacramento.htm

  • Will be interesting if Noah can keep the all round numbers up when Rose gets back. Averaging a double-double with 4 assists and 2 blocks is a pretty rare feat, it's only been done four times in the last thirty years (once each by Garnett, Webber, Divac and Robinson).

  • In reply to Shakes:

    If anything Rose will only elevate Noah's game. Noah doesn't play like your typical big man. He plays almost like a point guard at the center position. It's rare indeed to have a center that can pass as good as Noah and with Rose's offensive abilities it should only improve Noah's assist ratio.

  • Hamilton being traded to get under the tax is utterly predictable, so no point getting too worked up about it, the time for outrage for that was during the summer wheeling and dealing.

    But if they cut Nate Robinson to save a few pennies then that's just a complete slap in the face. There's no word in the English language to describe the level of tight-assery involved when you cut one of the few over-achievers on the team because you don't want to pay his minimum salary contract.

  • Aloha from Saigon. Don't get to watch the Bulls from here but looking at the stat sheets and reading Bull Confidential I do try to stay in touch. The team is certainly exceeding my expectations and my hat is off to Thibodeau for making these guys commit to the team and season, especially a guy like Boozer who has a reputation for padding stats and selfish play.

    I have a friend who is Jazz season ticket holder and he was thrilled that the Jazz did not resign Boozer. WHile he is certainly not clutch and limited he what he can or chooses to give the Bulls, I have to say he is not a disaster like Stoudamare and seems to be finding and embracing his role with the team.

    With respect to trades and dumping of salaries, I dont have much to offer other than I too think it would be blatantly cheeap of the Bulls to cut Nate Robinson.

    The problem I have always seen with the ins and outs of trades is that it is difficult to see the longer term play the Front office has in mind when making moves that on theri face seem to be counter-productive or profit-driven. By the same token, the longer one has to look for a return, the easier it becomes for the front office to rationalize why something did or didn't happen.

    Anyway, I was convinced that with a healthy Rose, the Bulls were fuilly capable of winning the title last year so I am willing to give Reinsdorf, Paxson and Forman some slack, even in the face of signing clearly depreciating assets like Hamilton (full disclosure never liked any of the Pistons other than Dumars), Hinrich and Mohammed.

  • EJ's neeto stats of the night,

    Asik, 15 & 17, even though for some reason his minutes have been cut back lately to the mid 20's range.

    Byron don't call me BJ Mullens 13 & 17, against Dwight Howard of all people, granted Howard gave him 18 & 16, but still not a bad performance against superman for a guy who/is was supposed to be a wimp. Bigmen, especially one and done guys take longer to develop, if and when they develop. I believe that Mullens was available to the Bulls in the James "Dickey Simpkins" Johnson draft.

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