Derrick Rose skipping to victory lane

Derrick Rose skipping to victory lane

The Bulls close one of the most difficult stretches of the season with a win. Chicago has now won seven of their last eight with victories over the Blazers, Raptors, Grizzlies, and Wizards in that stretch.

Doesn't sound impressive? Those are the 2nd, 3rd, 4th, and 7th best records in the NBA right now, and claimed two of those victories on the road.

Derrick Rose is catching his stride

Derrick Rose may not be all the way back, but he's certainly proving he can lead the Bulls to victory aas he was dominant in three of those four victories [and was ill for the fourth]. Last night, Rose chipped in another 25 points for the Bulls, almost all of them in the fourth quarter.

He's stopped settling for the three point shot [1-3] and focused on his floater, drive, and mid range game [9-14 inside the arc]. The results have been dramatically increased performance from the former MVP as he gets closer and closer to his old self.

Memo to all you Brooks haters, playing him with Rose does work

With Kirk Hinrich out, Aaron Brooks played plenty of minutes, and those who think the Bulls simply couldn't play Aaron Brooks a ton of minutes because defenses would eat him alive can stew about this one. He led the team in +/- over his 25 minutes despite playing a squad that wasn't going small and had three big wings on the floor who could theoretically attack him.

There was no where to hide Brooks, yet the team played much better with him on the floor, despite the fact he had a pedestrian game by his standards, simply because he's so much of a threat both off the dribble and to shoot that it pressures the defense and creates looks for everyone else.

Changing of the (5th) guard?

E'tuane Moore came in and gave the Bulls some pretty solid minutes from the wing which goes to show the Bulls have completely given up on Tony Snell, whom played just nine minutes to Moore's 20. Can't say I blame them there, I'd like to see what Moore can do with a few looks.

It's easy to forget because of their various draft statuses, but Moore was a better college player than Snell and is only two years older. He's also been serviceable in the NBA the past two seasons. I'd say he's probably the better player of the two.

Will any bigs start complaining, and by any, I mean Taj Gibson?

Last night it was
Pau 34 minutes
Jo 29 minutes
Taj 19 minutes
Nikola 14 minutes

Mirotic isn't going to complain. He's a rookie and likely realizes he's going to have to wait in line for this season. He's shown enough that we know he's a bad ass.

Jo and Pau seem like they're still getting theirs. Taj Gibson's minutes have plummeted to sub 20 per game, and he's not necessarily the closer which probably gave him some pride in the Boozer era when he deserved to start but didn't.

Now Taj has always had the right attitude and with two years left on his deal, he doesn't need to do anything special to impress suitors for another year and a half, so he's not losing money.

Still, I think it has to sting for him to not be out there more and to lose some of those important minutes. I wouldn't be surprised if it becomes an issue later on.

That said, I don't know what Tom Thibodeau can really do about it either. I'd say go in with the aim of limiting all the big men to sub 30 minutes. This will be good for keeping guys healthy too. However, 34 minutes for Pau on a night where he's clearly the Bulls best big isn't something to complain about.

It's going to be a challenge keeping everyone on the same page mentally this season if everyone is healthy. One solution is to try Mirotic at the three, but I think that's a tough ask for a rookie.

The defensive responsibilities there are entirely different. You're now on the ball instead of behind it, you now have to hedge screens and funnel guys instead of rotate and call out screens. In a game where your natural reaction can't even be a tenth of a second slow, I don't think Mirotic would be successful handling that.

Maybe Taj could play the three on defense with Mirotic playing it on offense, that might work. Either way Thibs might need to get creative and give it a shot.

Bulls delivering best Christmas present of all

I don't thin any of us are shocked the Bulls are 19-9 right now. That's not an amazing record for this team. However, many of those losses came when the team was really beat up.

Beyond that, the team looks like it's just scratching its potential now. We still haven't seen many games from Rose where he's attacking like he could at his peak. We haven't seen Joakim Noah play near his best ball, we still have tons of continuity issues because guys have played in jumbled lineups.

Even in this recent streak where the Bulls won games against four of the top seven teams in the NBA, the Bulls really only looked like they were at their best against Portland to me.

This team has a lot of head room, I think they have a playoff gear ready to use this time. With some headroom left to spare, Chicago's got a chance to go all the way. Maybe we'll get two parades this year right next to each other.

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  • Washington looks like a totally different team without a healthy Nene making a significant impact. It also helped that we had basically a full team. They could still do some damage in the playoffs if Nene gets back to playing like last year's playoffs, and I have always really liked Beal, just so smooth, but it's obvious they are missing Ariza as well.

    John Wall only went off when the Bulls decided they were going to let him create about 4 fast breaks in a row, which he looked spectacular doing, but besides that, D Rose held him down well and took over again when it mattered. Keep it up Bulls, very happy with the steady progression of this team!

  • In reply to Keep:

    It was scary how fast we lost that 11 point lead when Wall basically one man fastbreaked us to death. Not sure whats holding Nene back, but without him playing like he did against us in the playoffs they have no real shot. I definitely think that they lost out on the Ariza/Parsons/Pierce "swapout". Personally, I still fear the Wiz in the playoffs more than I do the Raps, but less than the Cavs. Not really sure what to make of the Hawks(the hottest team in the league right now), kind of starting to become the Spurs of the east, which means they could be tough in the playoffs also.

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    I don't know that it really matters whether Rose ever fully plays like he did during his MVP year. What if he continues to play how he is now for the rest of the season? For me, I'd be really satisfied with that since he wouldn't be killing himself to get points on every possession.

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    Two parades... Wouldn't that be special.
    Another good performance by the Bulls. Derrick Rose seems to have his swagger back, and Noah is beginning to look like the DPOY again.

    If winning is contagious then everyone on the team has caught the disease except for Tony Snell. I've been rooting for him, to succeed as a fan, but his days are numbered as a Bull, and E'twaun Moore's performance basically tells Tony there's no room for the two of us here. One of us has got to go. As soon as Twaun hit his 1st basket, I could envision Paxson, and Forman on the phones looking to trade Tony Snell aka Bambi (cause he's so timid).
    Maybe Snell's a late bloomer, and some time down in the D League will help him develop his self confidence, but right now he's looking more like a Luv-a-Bull than a basketball player. Keep cheering em on Tony! You have the best seat in the house.

    Merry Christmas to you Doug, and to all of Doug's loyal readers. Go Bulls!

  • In reply to Michael Cunningham:

    Bambi, that's pretty good, was Bambi also known for somnabulance.

    It is hard if not impossible to bloom when you are in a permanent state of dormancy. I'd rather they were working the phones to dump Mr sulking fuckup(Hangdog) instead.

  • In reply to BigWay:


  • Last year, this team was hard to watch with its limited offense ability and hoping the opponents didn't score more than 80 points so they could have a chance to win. The Bulls was an overachiever for the entire season and probably the reason why injuries were so predominant for the team.

    This year the Bulls are yet to play at their max potential and still beating elite teams. The talent of this team is so great and if we get McB back and he also finds his shots, we are going to be scary and unbeatable. We may end up beating our own record and score over 50 points in one quarter.
    I also notice a pattern on the last few game, where it feels like Rose is sleepwalking the first 3 quarters and wakes up on the 4th to take over games. This is a superstar mentality and a perfect setup for Rose to take off and become a top 5 NBA. Yet, Rose has another star next to him (Buttler) plus elite shooters and two twin towers under the rim and a wide open floor to drive and shoot/ find the open men.
    As a side note, the Bulls have been the team with the most road game so far, whereas Toronto is the least. The schedule for January looks soft for us but tough for Toronto and Washington, so this is an opportunity to win 10 additional games and move up to first or second in the East.

  • In reply to BullsDynasty:

    Slow down there buddy, two twin towers? wouldn't that be four 7 footers(and dominant ones), while we only have one guy who is actually 7 ft tall. I don't think that Hakeem and Samson or Mchale and Parish are walking thru that door anytime soon.

  • I agree that ideally you keep Gasol and Noah minutes at about 30. Keeps all our bigs fresh.

    I mentioned this before but I completely agree that it seems to me this bulls finally look like they have a playoff gear.

  • I think the big-picture goal is to make sure that Mirotic is ready to contribute significantly at playoff time and that Thibs has total confidence in playing him 30 minutes in a playoff game if the match-ups dictate that. To that end, I think that goal has largely been reached. With the health issues that pop up on any given team and given that each of Noah, Pau and Taj are likely to sit out multiple games over the remainder of the season, I don't mind a scenario where Mirotic plays 30 minutes on the nights that one of those guys is out and only 10 minutes on the nights when all 4 bigs are suited up and playing. It is not an ideal scenario but I do think it is important to keep Taj engaged and I think there is a risk of him not being so if his minutes start dropping below 20 a game. So Mirotic would sacrifice some minutes, even if not quite deserved.

    I do like the idea of experimenting with a big line-up that has Taj guarding the SF. To me that is much more logical than asking Mirotic to do so.

  • In reply to bjb57:

    Unfortunately, we've already seen that Taj cannot guard 3's either, it only took a couple minutes of trying to find out that it won't work. I don't think that Niko can do it either, but if we try it at all, it will be with Niko at the 3 on both ends.

  • Great win by the Bulls. This game puts the true value of Derrick Rose on display. Last season, the Bulls would have had no counter-measure against Wall going on that ridiculous run at the end of the game, and probably end up losing by 4-5 points. This season, however, Chicago can say, "I'll see your all-star, and raise you an MVP. Game over.

    I'm really digging the balance this team is settling into. Aside from Butler, no one is playing crazy minutes; Rose only needs to push hard at the end of games (and that's only against good opponents), the offense looks dynamic, and they seem to be re-establishing their defensive identity. Baring any major injuries, it's difficult to make a case for even the most elite teams having better than 50/50 odds of beating the Bulls in a 7 game series. I don't think that could be said for the 2010-11 or 2011-12 (pre-ACL) teams.

  • In reply to BullsMan:

    Did you watch the Toronto game, gave up 23 points in the first 6 minutes, 66 in the first half, 13 in the final minute and 120 for the game, not exactly reestablishing their defensive identity. They also allowed the Wiz(primarily Wall by himself) to wipe out an 11 point lead in less than 2 minutes last night. About the only thing we can say for sure right now is that they are finding a way to win and it has more to do with improved offensive options than anything else.

  • It's nice to see the Bulls win when they're not playing at their best, but we need to see them actually play at their best, and more than once. It's hard to say how good they are at their best because we haven't really seen it except maybe against Portland. I think we imagine a team that can beat you at both ends of the floor with a MVP PG, All Star SG and quality bigs with depth at all positions, but we haven't really seen that team yet. I also think part of why the Bulls were so good last night is because Hinrich didn't play, let's hope Thibs sees that as well. I'm afraid Thibs will limit this team by continually giving Hangdog more minutes than he deserves.

  • In reply to Roman F:

    Spot on, well said and realistic evaluation. Right now we are imagining what we think/hope that this team can be without any real indication that they are actually capable of being that team. It is more dream than reality.

  • Very, very nice string of 3 games. All 3 contenders, all went down. Here's some likes that I saw:

    1--Like the spread of minutes for our Bigs. Hoping Taj gets 5 more of Gasol's.,Niko a couple more too, if he's hot.

    2--Like Rose's burst on occasion(not always..,not yet needed) AND his shot selection. (Kat.., not as 2-way consistent as Lilliard, but getting there).

    3--Like how Thibs went with Moore a couple of extra times as a hot hand. Snell better step up or will fall down another peg.

    4--Like Pao's play, steady if not spectacular. Now if he can just maintain with a little help from Thibs(less minutes on back-to-backs).

    5--Like Noah shaving off more rust. Yikes he missed lots of lay-ups, but he kept takin 'em.

    Not so much:

    1--Dunleavy scoring going down. To his credit, he doesn't shoot us out of games. However, if he is worn down from starting, how does he get pumped back up. As I have been saying, this is a team weakness. Good thing Jimmy can swing to the SF. We have some SG depth, especially when Kirk gets back.


  • I basicallly agree with you.

    Prediction: if the Bulls are playing well in most areas, the FO will trade for a SG/SF early in 2015. That will improve the team.

  • Despite mentioning it in your intro, you didn't really offer your opinion of Rose's skip to my lou routine. My immediate gut reaction was that it was off putting. He was up to something last night, because on the previous trip down the court after he got fouled he started shaking his head and mouthing something before he went to the free throw line. I don't know what was going on, maybe the Wiz were talking trash at him? I found the skipping kind of punkish and childish.

    As for the team as a whole, you could say that we have a lot of headroom, or that most of our guys are not as good as we think that they are/should be because they are past their primes, and they are never going to be that good again. While this stretch has been impressive in terms of who they beat, they haven't been overly impressive in how they beat them.

    For some reason, last night it really struck me that Rose simply isn't a very good point guard, or really not a point guard at all, he is simply a scoring guard, which might be why the combination with Brooks is working. Maybe we really don't need to find another starting wing, maybe we need to find a starting pg in the Rondo mode, someone who doesn't think shoot first, but pass first.

    Going into the season a lot of people were of the opinion that Rose didn't need to score 25 a night anymore, that 18ppg would be good enough. I think that the past few nights show that we are at our best when he is putting up Kobe, Carmelo, Durant, Lebron, Westbrook, Lillard scoring numbers, he is just never going to be a Chris Paul type. Now that we actually have other offensive threats(Butler, Gasol, Brooks, Mirotic) it should actually be even easier for him to score 25-30 a night.

    I'm hoping that you are right and that things will continue to get better, but other than the injuries I keep seeing the same crappy mistakes by the same guys over and over again. Lots or turnovers, bad passes, bad hands receiving the bad passes, horrible defensive rotations, and of course way too many offensive rebounds as a result of the mad scrambling on defense and no blocking out. We really aren't improving individually or as a team, we just have more guys healthy at the same time, and for the first time since the Jordan era we have more offensive talent to make up for all the mistakes.

    You highlighted Moore taking minutes from Snell, but what we really should hope for is Moore taking minutes from Mr. Sulking Fuckup, Hangdog himself. Moore is younger, bigger, more athletic and apparently far less moronic and mopey than Hangdog. At this point, it really doesn't take much to be an improvement over Hangdog, just not being a total fuckup at all times ought to do it.

    Moore didn't really have any major fuckups last night and may have even made a couple of positive contributions, whereas Hangdog has dozens per night on both ends of the court. Luckily for us, in Hangdogs absence Taj is around to pick up the slack in the moronic foul department and in the mopey/winey body language department as well.

    As for Brooks, he is one hell of a crazy shot maker, that wrap around layup last night was amazing, if Jordan or Kobe or anyone famous had done it, it would have been the #1 highlight of the night. I told you guys in the preseason that by the end of the year we would like Brooks at least as much as we did Nate or DJ. It is certainly possible that he has already surpassed them both even if he is more Nate than DJ. In addition to his shot making I also really like his demeanor, he seems super cool and unflappable which should serve him well in the playoffs.

    You are right that the big man rotation is starting to get interesting(and perhaps problematic in the not too distant future), as Thibs has closed 2 games in a row mostly without Taj and with more Mirotic. Last night he went back to Gasol at the end not Taj.

    It isn't a thing of beauty yet, but at least we are starting to win more regularly. Hopefully, we can take care of business as the next 4 games are all in the expected win category, which would finally get our winning pct up to where it should be .700 and above.

  • By the way for those of you who get excited every
    time that Dunleavy has his once a month good quarter, here are some typical Dunleavy numbers for you to ponder.

    Over the last 3 games against good teams(the Griz, Raps and Wiz) Dunleavy has totaled, I said totaled not averaged 8 pts, 9 rebounds, and 2 assists, or about one good quarter, maybe a half for a legitimate starting caliber player. Ladies and gentlemen that's your boy, Mike Dunleavy, generic NBA player 101.

  • Some interesting/scary numbers on Rose from ESPN.

    Rose looked fantastic late on Tuesday night, but it's the exception, not the rule. Entering Tuesday, Rose had played in three back-to-backs this season. His numbers in those games? Try 10.3 points per game on 12-for-37 shooting overall (32.4 percent) and 2-for-17 from deep along with nine turnovers to just 16 assists. His PER in those three games? A measly 7.2. In all other games, he sports a 19.6 PER. If the playoffs featured back-to-backs, I could understand coach Tom Thibodeau pushing Rose to play. Alas, there are none. Keep Rose healthy for the playoffs, keep him away from back-to-backs.

    Small sample size, but maybe they have a point. We should really consider some Spurs like strategic resting on back to backs, Rose, Gasol, Noah, heck even Butler could benefit from not killing themselves in back to backs.

  • Quite possibly the most hilarious NBA quote of all time.

    "Just add another basketball IQ, which will help when we make it to the postseason."

    Josh Smith on joining the Rockets. Talk about being out of touch with reality and full of your sack of shit self.

    More self delusion from Smith

    "I think I can add to their toughness," Smith said. "I think I can add to their versatility at the four position, being able to pass the basketball and score the ball down low"

    How tough do you have to be to jack up fade away 3 pointers.

  • Not a huge deal but, while the Bulls are still in 4rth place in the conference standings, they now have the best conference record at 14-4 by one game over the Raps and Hawks at 15-5

  • Would Bulls/Cavs consider a Gibson for Waiters trade?

  • In reply to Swish14U:


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