The Chicago Bulls started their desired starting five for the first time this season and for a half it was magical. The Bulls dominated the first half of the game crushing the Pistons in all areas. Detroit fought back but the Bulls hung on for the victory.
Derrick heated up as the game went on
Derrick Rose looked a bit slow to me at the onset of the game, but he scored all over the Pistons anyway. As the game wore on, he started playing faster and faster. By the end of the game, Derrick looked close to 100% in terms of how he looked physically though he struggled with his jumper in the second half.
Rose knocked down 2/5 from beyond the arc and overall has shot the ball well from beyond the three point line. By the end of the game, he dominated in the half court off the bounce cutting to the basket for himself and finding others.
His passing vision was very good on the night as well and Rose could have easily had a few more assists on the night easily and set up guys for easy looks and wasn't just Chris Duhoning his way to seven assists on the night.
It was a great game back for Rose given that he's frequently struggled in his initial game when returning from injury.
Joakim Noah still struggling on offense
Much like Rose, Noah started very strong. He rebounded well, knocked down a couple jumpers and looked like he was primed for a big night. By the 4th quarter his rebounding was still superb, but he started getting scored on and couldn't hit a bucket.
Overall it was still a nice game for Noah who really pulled down some tough contested rebounds against the huge Detroit front line. He heavily contested the shots that went in over him to make guys work for it as well. Much of his inefficient scoring came from trying to fight back up tough shots around he hoop through Detroits length.
However, by the end of the game he definitely started to look tentative with the ball in his hands and scared to make a move on offense. These are lesser concerns given he's the Bulls 5th option on offense in most rotations now.
Rebounding better, but...
Sure the Bulls had more overall rebounds, but they didn't really win the rebound battle per se. Detroit had fewer defensive rebound opportunities due to fewer missed field goals by the Bulls. That means, in general Chicago would have more total rebounds if the teams broke even on the glass.
Breaking even on the glass was probably a more fair assessment. That's still a big improvement from where the Bulls were recently as they've bee getting destroyed on the glass. It also shows that the real issue hasn't been the big men as much as the guards.
Detroit has a huge front line, but they don't have so much in the way of offensive boards coming from the perimeter, so the Bulls wings not boxing out wasn't as big a factor as it was in other recent games.
Overall it was a vast improvement, but Chicago's still a long way from dominating the glass like they used to and not just "not losing" the rebounding battle.
That whole minutes thing
Rose and Noah were managed well around 32 minutes a piece. Maybe a shade more than I'd like to see from Rose coming back from the ankle, but he looked strong during the game, so it looks like it won't set him back any.
However, Thibs has quickly lost all trust in his bench guys. Butler played 42 minutes. Gasol and Dunleavy played 35 each. Kirk Hinrich came in for Rose instead of Aaron Brooks which is a disaster of a decision given Brooks has been a total bad ass and Kirk Hinrich has generally sucked balls.
This limited Brooks minutes to 11 while Kirk played 17. Brooks managed to score 10 points on six shots while Hinrich scored four points on five shots. Kirk also got roasted on defense, so he wasn't bringing that either.
Mirotic and McDermott played just five minutes a piece, and quite frankly they both played badly. Here's the thing though, the Bulls need to get these guys on the court some. It would be a great start to not run them in a lineup of: Brooks, Hinrich, McDermott, Mirotic, and Gibson.
Talk about setting your rookies up to fail.
This is a lineup which is:
2: Under athletic
3: Under experienced
4: has no center
5: has no plus rebounders
6: has only one quality defender
No crap those guys are going to struggle out there in this lineup. Why not mix in some of their minutes with more experience. Insteahttp://www.chicagonow.com/chicago-bulls-confidential/d of playing Dunleavy 35 minutes a night, find five minutes where he's playing with the starters and give them to McDermott to play with the starters.
Same with Mirotic instead of Gasol.
Or heck, just swap some of those minutes around, if you're only going to play McDermott and Mirotic five means each then fine, but give them five minutes with a better unit so that you can hide their flaws a bit and take advantage of their strengths while giving them some confidence.
Putting in a lineup destined to fail and then saying "see these guys can't cut it" is just moronic. It's a self fulfilling prophecy. The Bulls should be beyond five man bench lineups at this point anyway. They have depth, but it doesn't mean we need to run out hockey rotation style line switches. Mix the talent up to smooth out the performance of everyone.
It's not like we haven't seen these guys play well. We have. They've shown they can play well when they aren't thrown out there in these ridiculous lineups.
A home win against the Pistons is nothing to write home about, but this is a team that had a front line we thought might cause us trouble on the glass and specifically attacked our recent weaknesses well.
The played their starting lineup for the first time which was great but also a test to their continuity as these guys haven't has much time together yet didn't turn the ball over much.
The Bulls showed a glimpse of what they could be in the first half where they dominated on both ends, and a glimpse of what they were in the second when they went through a stretch where they simply couldn't score then everyone looked scared to shoot.
There's plenty of work to be done, but there's also plenty of time to do it.
Cavs beat Pelicans
The demise of the Cavaliers was fun while it lasted wasn't it? Only caught the portion of the game where the Bulls/Pistons were at half time which was the final five minutes, but the Cavs just ran a Kyrie Irving/LeBron James pick and roll over and over again while the Pelicans tried to defend it with Jrue Holiday and Eric Gordon.
Unsurprisingly, this did not end well for the Pelicans. I have a feeling that LeBron/Kyrie pick and roll will become a staple of the Cavs offense, but when healthy, the Bulls will defend that with Rose/Butler which sure looks like a more promising outcome for Chicago.
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