Things started off ugly for Chicago. Jacked up threes and early turnovers led to the Nets taking 20-8 lead early, then it was all Bulls.
Chicago's bench got them back in the game immediately, and then things stabilized as the teams went back and forth to enter the half tied. Chicago opened the third with a slew of turnovers, but their defense held Brooklyn down so that they couldn't take advantage.
After they got their out of their system, they dominated Brooklyn the rest of the way and the rout was on. Derrick Rose had a string of three buckets in a row where he looked explosive and attacked the hoop. The media story is that he looked like the old Derrick, and he certainly looked closer.
However, the return to the "old Derrick" is probably a bit overstated. He did have some excellent drives, and he did do a better job of knocking down some mid range push shots. However, he still took seven threes out of 15 shots. He still didn't really show you explosiveness in transition, and the explosiveness he showed stood out more because it all happened in one close stretch of play, but it wasn't consistent throughout the game.
It was a good step in the right direction, I'm thrilled to see it, but Derrick knows [and said as much in the post game interview] that he still has a ways to go to get to 100%. Still after seeing the past few games, it was refreshing to see Rose blow some guys up off the dribble even if only in small bursts.
Tom Thibodeau calls Taj Gibson's view a bunch of crap
Taj Gibson and Joakim Noah both cited a lack of trust on the defensive end as a reason for their lack of defense.
"That's garbage. That's garbage. Trust, it's work. It's work. That's how you build trust. You got to know what you're doing, you got to be tied together. You got to work at it. It's a cop out."
Taj Gibson responded (From Nick Friedell's twitter):
Gibson responds, understanding that Thibs is entitled to his own opinion: "That's what I see on the court. I've been here for a while I know what I'm talking about. Joakim knows what he's talking about, he was the Defensive Player of the Year"
"Of course he's going to know what he's talking about. We're on the court, though."
After Thibodeau kinda/sorta called out Rose twice, he went on a rant on Taj Gibson's opinion (and if you saw the video, it really did sound like a rant) that the Bulls had trust issues. His "that's garbage, trust, it's work. It's work" was really said with a real negative sound in his mouth IMO.
After the Bulls simply destroy the Nets, things are likely calmed down a bit, but we've now seen Thibodeau starting to go after guys a bit in the media. Something he's never done in the past. I think if wins don't continue to roll in that there might be a little bit of discontent brewing.
As long as the Bulls are title contenders, everyone will put up with the crap, but it sure feels like Thibs might need to start getting cautious about how hard he pushes, especially when it comes to his public comments. I think guys will put up with almost anything in private, but in the media they don't like to be embarrassed.
Taj Gibson didn't need to trust anyone out there
He just decided to dominate the entire Nets offense by himself.
The Bulls started off the third period something awful, turning the ball over, taking horrible shots and could have easily fallen into another hole. They didn't, because Taj Gibson seemed to block every shot the Nets through up over that poor start to the third and Brooklyn couldn't take advantage of those opportunities.
Gibson chipped in a solid offensive night as well, punctuating it with a nasty dunk which should have been an and one.
Pau Gasol still frustrates me
Much like Carlos Boozer, the Bulls have a lot of turnovers when running the offense through Gasol. They frequently lose possessions trying to feed him the post which nullifies some of the offense he's able to bring.
He also is very slow moving and there were two possessions nearly back to back where Gasol had a three step lead on Garnett and couldn't beat him to a loose ball causing a Bulls turnover and then on the other end a play where Chicago would have forced a turnover, but Gasol couldn't beat someone to the ball despite being much closer as well.
Unlike Boozer, Gasol clearly gives a crap about defense, and he protects the rim down low. However, his lack of foot speed at times is a real hole in the Bulls defense. He's not a low effort guy, but his limitations cause legitimate problems and are a part of why the Bulls defense is less dominant this season.
This isn't to say Gasol hasn't been great, he has been great in many ways. You also can't complain about the salary, for the money, Gasol's fricken amazing. However, the Bulls need to still find ways to work within Gasol's athletic limits, provide him help in areas he needs it, and find better ways to feed the post.
Niko-suave much better than three-co-la
Whichever of Stacey's annoying nicknames you hate less, Nikola Mirotic continues to play well. His end stat line wasn't too impressive, but he was a big part of the run the Bulls made in the late 1st to get back in the game.
He's been nothing but solid since getting bigger minutes. He got hosed by the refs several times in this game, and as the game ended what I found interesting is that Mirotic was talking with the refs as the camera's panned out, perhaps seeking explanation, building his rep, building familiarity.
I don't know what he said, but I like the approach, it wasn't a complaining, but looked like a discussion, and I think he's been the victim of a lot of rookie calls and this type of thing will help him avoid that.
Also worth noting, while it may have only been in scrub time, McDermott did appear to get a tiny bit of burn at SF with Nazr, Bairstow, and Mirotic on the floor at once. Maybe that means nothing or maybe it means Thibodeau might consider getting Mirotic some burn on the wing when the full complement of big men is available.
Jimmy Butler played under 35 minutes?
Who are you and what have you done with the real Tom Thibodeau!?!
Butler threw together another fantastic game and looks very smooth with the mid range jumper. Nothing new to see here, Butler's giving you great offense and defense every night.
Let's see if the Bulls can do something
Chicago hosts Portland on Friday. The Blazers have dominated the heck out of the Bulls in the Thibodeau era. I think, off the top of my head, the Bulls are 1-8? against them over that stretch.
They then play a couple intriguing road games against Miami and Atlanta, two of the better teams in the East in a rare Sun/Mon back to back.
They catch a break with a game against the Knicks before taking on Memphis, Toronto, and Washington.
Chicago's not at some awful point right now (13-8), but with six of their next seven against legit teams we'll find out just how legit the Bulls are as well.
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