As the Bulls clobbered the Indiana Pacers by 16 points at the United Center, Derrick Rose put on a curious performance. He was 7/16 from the field for 20 points. A stat line that wouldn't be all that unusual for Rose if that were the end of the story. However, his 7/16 came with 11 three point attempts and six makes.
The initial reaction to a guy drilling three pointer after three pointer as his team rolls to a huge victory against a bitter [non] rival is to cheer the performance.
In fact, if Derrick Rose continues to knock down threes with such consistency then look out NBA. However, over the past two games Derrick Rose has had 37 field goal attempts without making it to the free throw line. While 6/11 from beyond the arc is amazing, 1/5 from inside the arc is a bit scary.
Derrick Rose wasn't getting to the rim and finishing. He wasn't creating havoc for the Pacers defense by penetrating and scoring and causing huge adjustments.
In the end, pre-season Derrick Rose looked pretty amazing, but against pre-season competition he as able to drive in more of a straight line. He still looks lightning fast to the hole when he goes in a straight line.
Regular season Derrick Rose needs quicker change of direction to create seams in the defense and has struggled to find it. This was Derrick's best scoring game of the season in terms of both efficiency and total points made doubly great based on who it came against. However, I have an underlying concern over how it was done and whether such a performance is really sustainable during the season.
Bobcats come into town playing a bit better
The Bobcats are currently in playoff contention, and this early in the season it appears as though the Bulls might just get that first rounder from the Tyrus Thomas trade this season. It's top 10 protected for the year, so the best pick Chicago can get is #11.
In fact, while I've long been hoping the Bulls would delay getting this pick until 2016, I now think Chicago's best bet is to collect the pick now. With a star laden draft this season, if the Bobcats have two draft picks [they are owed one from Detroit] then they'll have a very good chance at significantly improving the team next year and giving the Bulls a worse pick in a worse draft.
So let's root for Charlotte to finish 9th in the conference this season.
The Bulls can help out that cause with a win tonight at the United Center as the Bobcats are tied for sixth presently. While Charlotte is certainly playing better, they don't offer anything the Bulls shouldn't be able to counter.
Their big signing, Al Jefferson, has missed all but three games and is questionable for tonight. They've been living off the offense created by their guards with Kemba Walker and Ramon Sessions leading the way. MKG is finally showing some signs of why he was drafted so high and is having a quality season as well.
Still, the Bobcats are largely a group of sub 40% shooters that can struggle to put the ball in the hoop. Without Jefferson they have very little inside presence, and their best scoring big man is Josh McRoberts who's doing most of his damage by shooting threes.
After a shaky start, the Bulls defense has cranked things up to elite level again and is shutting down opponents left and right. I expect the Bulls defense to contain a fairly one dimensional Bobcats offense well.
How will Rose look against these little guards?
Derrick Rose should be able to beast these guys. He's got way too much strength and size for them to hope to contain him. Nor do the Bobcats have much in the way of interior help defense.
It was understandable why Rose took what the defense gave him against the Pacers, but this defense should give him plenty of opportunities at the rim. Let's see how he does taking those.
This is one of those games where the Bulls interior advantage should be extremely pronounced. The Bulls should score through plenty of drives as well as post ups against a pedestrian, undersized Bobcat defense.
Bismack Biyombo is the only quality interior defender on the squad, so the Bulls will need to focus on attacking the basket all night long.
Get this one before hitting the road
This should be a fairly easy win for Chicago, and they had out of town for the circus trip after the game. While the trip overall isn't as daunting as the past (Cavs, Pistons, and Jazz are on it), it starts off with three straight tough opponents over four days in Denver, Portland, and the Clippers.
Chicago needs to continue to bag the easy wins to balance out some of these tough upcoming games.
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