Kirk Hinrich and Derrick Rose will get plenty of deserved credit for their big shots at the end of regulation and overtime for the Bulls, but Chicago won this game through some luck, defense, and their front court.
Joakim Noah reminded us all, for one night, why he was an MVP candidate last year. This was his first excellent game in a long time, and it was the type of effort he was putting up routinely last season. Pau Gasol gave the Bulls a similar effort, and the Bulls front court dominated.
36 points on 14/24 from the field, 31 rebounds, and 14 assists were the combined numbers for Noah and Pau. With Andrew Bogut a scratch with the flu, the Bulls interior was simply too much for Golden State. They didn't have the size to counter the Bulls.
However, with the Bulls missing Jimmy Butler and Mike Dunleavy, the Warriors get no excuses on the injury front.
Besides the great big man play, the Warriors simply missed a lot of shots we're accustomed to them making. They didn't knock down a single three in the second half. Not something the Bulls can likely count on if they meet the Warriors in the finals, but we'll deal with that then.
The game played out as a battle of big vs fast with the Warriors dominating Chicago in fast break points, but the Bulls dominating the Warriors on the glass and second chance points.
This Rose game scares me
So here's Derrick Rose playing a game full of hero ball, trying to do everything while the Bulls have a huge advantage inside all game long regardless of who is in the game. This was a game begging for someone on the Bulls to simply feed the post every single player, but Rose hoists up 33 shots and commits 11 turnovers.
Even the game winning step back was really a terrible offensive play to be honest, take your coldest shooter and have him shoot a contested, step back, long two? It went in, and for that I'm thrilled and fist pumping. However, this is a game that someone needs to go over the tape with Rose and get him to play smarter.
Rose hit the big one, but with some smarter play the Bulls wouldn't have needed Rose to hit the big one.
A similar thing could be said about Kirk
Kirk didn't hoist up a ton of shots despite shooting poorly, he shot poorly on low volume. He was just two of eight from the field for five points. However, much like Rose, he hit the big one, and for that I'm thankful.
Your combined backcourt numbers?
15/41 from the field, 5/20 from the three point line, 38 points, 2 assists, and 12 turnovers. That's really not a pretty set of numbers right there.
That said, they got after it on defense and held the splash brothers in check [sort of]. Curry/Thompson scored plenty but not with their usual efficiency, and the Bulls kept them off the free throw line. Overall it was a solid job of defense by the Kirk/Rose even if their offensive efficiency was awful and the Warriors shot the ball poorly.
Growing war between Thibs and the front office
Saw this on realgm from ESPN Radio:
Bulls have a history of launching smear campaigns against coaches.
Ron Adams earlier this year said he had a verbal confrontation with the Bulls front office.
Ron Adams is loved by Golden State. He's been loved everywhere he's went. He's not the kind of guy who fights with FO.
Thibs noise never stops. They could be 50-0 & there is always noise about conflict. There's a real issue behind the scenes.
Jennifer Swanson is a big part of the conflict. Physical therapy performance person that the Bulls front office hired.
Front office relies on her heavily & that's making Thibs very uncomfortable.
She's telling management & Thibs how many minutes guys need to play & that's leading to an internal conflict.
Front office & Swanson don't trust Thibs to manage minutes & it's starting to become a problem.
Real mistrust between Thibs & front office. Guys are beginning to choose sides within the team, media & front office.
Any surprises here? No, I'd say not. At this point, I'd be surprised if Tom Thibodeau is back after his current contract is up. The Bulls will likely have had to go through some type of rebuilding process around that time [even if they don't totally bottom out], and they won't want to pay Thibodeau 10+ million a year which he could easily draw from the Lakers/Knicks.
I get why Thibodeau doesn't want someone telling him how to work his players, how many minutes to play them, and is pissed off about the interference involved.
I also think the thing with Adams is interesting. It was reported that he was mouthing off about the front office, but that could also simply be the front office launching a smear campaign to defend firing an assistant who was highly beloved.
It's hard to imagine that the Bulls would have fired Adams just to throw a shot across the bow at Thibodeau. You don't get rid of a good coach as a warning signal unless there are other problems or unless you're a bunch of morons, and despite what fans think Gar/Pax don't appear to be a bunch of morons given the conservative nature of most of their moves.
Even this feud with Thibodeau appears to be over the one issue us fans have been whining about forever, which is that Thibodeau can't be trusted with player health, and the organization brought someone in to specifically help deal with it.
That's causing conflict, but it also appears necessary. Does anyone think Thibodeau was cutting minutes on his own? Unlikely. Either way, Bulls fans should be well adapted to dealing with GM/Coach feuds. This one seems to have nothing on Phil Jackson and Jerry Krause.
While those guys probably didn't hate each other the whole time, they won at least three titles after things got bad. Let's hope the Bulls can find a way to make this tension work for them.
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