Chicago Bulls crush New York Knicks for three and a half quarters and hang on .... again

The Chicago Bulls and New York Knicks are making a habit of this. The Bulls built up a 21 point half time lead which expanded to 25 in the third and was over 20 in the fourth. The game effectively looked like a laugher until midway through the fourth when the Bulls lost their offense, the Knicks found their three and pulled things close.

Much like last time [Bulls hung on to win by four], the Knicks run was simply too little too late. Chicago was never in serious danger of losing the game as the Knicks widdled the lead down to five at one point but got no closer.

Luol Deng destroyed Carmelo Anthony's lazy defense for most of the night scoring 33 on 13 of 18 from the field. Deng frequently had open looks behind the three point line and knocked them down and as his confidence built he started knocking down tough contested jumpers. By the time Carmelo could be bothered to play defense, the game was already out of reach.

Rip Hamilton and Marco Belinelli combined to give the Bulls a big scoring lift at SG as the combo scored 26 on nine of 15 shooting, and fans got another glimpse of how good the Bulls offense can play when it gets efficient scoring out of the two guard position.

The Bulls were beat up on the glass and while the rebound differential was only two, that doesn't really do justice to how many offensive rebounds Chicago allowed. All in all, the Knicks had around 17 more possessions than Chicago when you account for turnovers, offensive boards, and trips to the free throw line.

That type of advantage is one which typically spells doom for the Bulls, but Chicago shot 57% from the field compared to New York's 41%. This was a rare win where the Bulls offense carried the day despite not taking care of the ball or winning the rebound battle. It remains to be seen how frequently Chicago can put together similar offensive performances, but it's nice to see the Bulls win some games in this fashion.

Derrick Rose mini-update

Derrick Rose is dunking according to Jimmy Butler and is "approaching" full contact practice. The news around Derrick's recovery seems much like it always has. Everything leaking out is positive, but when people start talking return dates it's suddenly not even close or "we're optimistic he'll play this season".

Derrick's seems on schedule to return around 9-10 months after ACL surgery which is more or less the status quo.

Home court disadvantage?

One thing which scared me about Chicago early in the year was they played a very home heavy schedule and performed pedestrianly. I thought they'd struggle even more so on the road. However, a funny thing happened. The Bulls went out and played big on the road repeatedly. After their three early losses on the west coast trip, the Bulls have only dropped two more on the road and now sit at 10-5 away from the UC with two wins against the Knicks and one against the Heat.

Meanwhile, at home, they're just a game over .500 at 10-9 with some really depressing losses (New Orleans without Anthony Davis/Eric Gordon, Charlotte, Milwaukee twice). The UC lacks the volume and excitement of some of the elite home courts in the NBA and without Derrick Rose there's even less juice than normal.

Still, the lack of success is surprising, and if the Bulls had pulled off a similar home record to their road one (say 12-7), they'd be tied for the #2 seed and only a game out of the #1 seed right now. Hopefully the Bulls can start to turn the UC into a tough place to play again.

Avoid the let down game

The Bulls and Suns meet tonight with both teams traveling from the New York area to Chicago (the Suns were blown out last night by the Nets). There's no excuse for the Bulls to not pick up this game. The Suns are awful, have no offensive focal point and feature a bunch of pedestrian defenders.

As long as the Bulls play with high effort, they should beat the Suns in all phases of the game and come home with a win. The Suns lack three point shooting and slashers. They do get some post play out of Scola, but overally, this is a team that will jack up tons of inefficient mid range jumpers.

They also feature one of the worst defenses in the NBA and lack good individual defensive players as well as team defensive fundamentals. The Bulls should pick apart the Suns with their passing and find plenty of opportunities at the rim.

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  • Good game by deng. I was a little irked by Melo saying deng did nothing to effect his shot. He just missed shots he usually makes. Also that they are not worried about the bulls.

    Wow the guy could give bulls some credit for the way they played them and shut down the 3s they take. I think knicks should be worried about bulls because they will meet in playoffs.

  • In reply to bullzfan:

    Melo is NOT an MVP caliber player. All that talk about him turning it around and become a 'new' player is laughable.

  • Also whenever d rose comes back is he back in the starting lineup or foes he come of the bench?? Pretty sure he will be on limited minutes. We hear all the time about when rose come back they will ease him in games but never talk about if he will start. Thoughts???

  • In reply to bullzfan:

    I'd guess he comes off the bench initially and then moves back into the starters role after he gets acclimated.

  • In reply to DougThonus:

    If we're using Thibs's history as a reference point, then he will start...most likely play limited minutes.

  • I like what I'm seeing out of Boozer lately. He's been active and playing with some aggression, I hope he can keep it up. It's nice to see him being a factor out there. Lately he's been playing like a guy that doesn't want to be amnestied. Even though it hasn't been a pretty season the Bulls have actually exceeded expectations. With Rose injured for the majority and all the roster changes it's a miracle we're only 3 games shy of the 1st seed in the East. That means either the Bulls are much better than they get credit for, or the East is just weak. Good game for the Bulls and hopefully Rose will be back soon. Realistically it doesn't seem like we can beat the Heat in the finals but we have about as good of a shot as anyone.

    I'd also like to add that Rose being injured may prove to be a blessing in disguise. When a team loses their main guy for the length of time the Bulls have, the only to salvage the season is to pull together as a team which the Bulls have obviously done. All this can do is only make the Bulls twice as strong once Rose gets back, because now they know they don't need Rose to win. However they'll be happy to get him back because they will appreciate his talents a lot more.

  • In reply to ajaychitown:

    Whats to like, lately he's been playing exactly the same way that he always has. If you don't see that just go back and rewatch the very first play of the game. Kidd beat Hangdog off the dribble, meandered his way right down the middle of the lane as the spectator backed away and escorted Kidd right to the rim for an uncontested layup. Pure Bozo all the time, and a prelude of the overall butt whipping that Chandler gave him the entire night. It never changes no matter how much people are blinded by his "awesome" offensive game.

    What is it about the Bulls that they love giving up on/away active legitimate 7 footers who dominate the glass and on defense(chandler/Asik) so that they can overpay undersized bums like Wallace and the Clownzer.

  • In reply to BigWay:

    Don't get me wrong, I def would've prefered keeping Asik or having more natural sized players on the team, and I'm not blind to all the bs that goes on within the Bulls organization for the past decade now. I'm just trying to be hopeful and work with what we have.

    I don't like boozer at all and feel even if he played at superstar level for the rest of the season and in the playoffs he should still be amnestied when the opportunity arises. In the meantime while we're still stuck with him, I want to see him bringing something to the table.

  • In reply to BigWay:

    Boozer had four games in a row of over 20/10 and probably averaged about 24.5/11 over that span. That's not what he always does, and if he can keep providing efficient scoring, then it helps balance out his defensive deficiencies considerably.

  • In reply to BigWay:

    He's more like 90% of a new guy...

    He's giving more effort and hustle, he's making his shots, he's being aggressive not with just jumpshots but going towards the rim.

    The only thing he hasn't changed is not contesting the perimeter player who beat his man and got free layups at the basket.

  • Doug, glad to see that you didn't sugar coat the win. Despite being a blowout for 3.5 quarters the Bulls managed to ruin the night anyway at the end. I really don't get the sense that the Knicks would be particularly afraid of the Bulls come the playoffs.

    You pointed out a number of concerns, turnovers, rebounding and disinterested defense allowing a barage of 3's(11-22) and 41 points in the 4rth quarter again. The Knicks put up 90 shots to the Bulls 68, a huge disparity. Tyson Chandler killed our entire front line on the boards and with overall hustle. Chandler had 18 rebounds, Noah, Taj and Bozo had 17 combined. Neither Taj nor Bozo stand a chance when matched up against Chandler, which they were for virtually the entire game. A game like this is where you notice our lack of size(i.e. Asik).

    I think that Thibs made a strategic mistake by not having Noah match up with Chandler and removing Noah when chandler was out of the game. As a result Chandler went nuts on the boards, and Noah picked up a bunch of ticky tacky fouls running around the floor guarding a bunch of nobodies.

    As for Deng, he didn't have a good game or a great game, he had a miracle game, which he does once or twice a season. Basically, he hit a bunch on long 2's and 3's which he normally hits at a 40% rate or less. Additionally, he led the Bulls in turnovers with 5, a main contributor to the Bulls lackadaisical play which eventually let the Knicks back into the game. It is also hard to say that a guy played great defense when he gives up 39 points on nearly 50% shooting to his opponent. The ESPN halftime guys were right when they said that the poor first half was less Deng and more Melo missing shots that he usually hits.

    IF anything, this game epitomizes the incredibly small margin for error that the Bulls face every game. IF they don't play 48 minutes, anything can happen, and every game is at risk. They basically almost blew a 20 point wire to wire blowout in the final 3-4 minutes of the game. In fact, I remember being pissed that the Knicks didn't remove Chandler and Melo from the game coming back out of a timeout with just over 3 minutes left, thinking what was the point. I guess that they knew that they were never really out of the game.

  • In reply to BigWay:

    I hear what you're saying, but they beat what was the 2nd best team in the East, on the road, without their star player.

    Will the Knicks be scared of the Bulls in the playoffs? Who knows, but they're 0-3 against Chicago without Derrick Rose, how are they going to fair if Rose is back and healthy?

    In terms of this game showing a slim margin, the Bulls shouldn't be beating a team like NY in their building anyway. There are certainly problems with the roster now, but I'm pretty darn happy with their present record without Rose.

    Let's face it, it's not all that talented a group that they have, and they're 6 games over .500. I can't complain about that at all. The Bulls are on pace for 48 wins without Rose. That's way above my expectations. Granted, the schedule hasn't been that tough, and it will get tougher as time goes on.

  • In reply to BigWay:

    Nobody should take the Knicks serious. Their roster is made up of old, injury prone, immature, and front running players. If things don't go their way, they will implode.

    Now in regards to the Bulls blowing big leads against the Knicks, the explanation is much simpler than you think. In the previous game, after Noah got ejected, the Bulls didnt have their defensive anchor who could switch from inside to chasing out to perimeter shooters. In this game, after Noah picked up his 5th foul, the Bulls' defense imploded and the Knicks just chucked up 3s that went it.

    Thibs finally put Noah back in with a coupe mi items left, and he settled the defense down before he fouled out. This is why I believe Noah is the leader in the DPOY race.

    Your point about Noah being I properly used on the perimeter is true, by its the only play Thibs has. Because of Noah's versatility, he is the one who has to play the stretch 4s and chase out the perimeter shooters because Boozer isn't going to do that.

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