Not since John Lucas took LeBron James to school have I seen a 13th man scrub player annihilate an unstoppable superstar, but that's just what E'Twaun Moore did.
What was more impressive? Moore's 9/10 from the field, including the game winning three, or Moore slowing down Russell Westbrook once he defended him? Moore brought tremendous offense and defense. Given that Kirk Hinrich and Doug McDermott look like lost causes for the Bulls right now, E'Twaun should get plenty of opportunity until someone proves they can do better.
Beyond Moore, the Bulls won behind a great team effort.
Pau Gasol seemed to get so many cheap points in this game it was ridiculous. He was 9/19 from the field, and it was one of those nights that I felt it really wasn't his night, but he probably scored five baskets just being big and hanging out near the basket. It wasn't always pretty [though the early spin move dunk sure was], but he used his size well against a fairly big Thunder front line.
Joakim Noah was trying to do his Jason Kidd impression to rack up the assist/rebound double/double but fell an assist shy. His energy on the court was awesome again and for the second week in a row he looks closer to all-star Joakim than broken down Joakim. Let's hope he can just remain healthy through the playoffs, and the bulls will be in much, much better shape.
Nikola Mirotic has continued to prove my point that Thibodeau was a moron for not playing him more at his natural position. He didn't shoot the ball particularly well, but he did drill a three when it counted, took largely good shots, and got to the free throw line a ton. At PF, Mirotic is a match up challenge for opponents. At SF, he's just a plodder with pedestrian accuracy.
Aaron Brooks did a nice job breaking down the defense, but he displayed his typical spotty shot selection and was hurt by his lack of size several times when driving too deep and getting left with no where to go. Kirk Hinrich shot the ball fairly well (3/4), but his defense was awful and he passed up open shots frequently and also showed fairly shoddy decision making skills.
What's interesting is that Kirk Hinrich was not in the defensive sub lineup at the end of the game, so those that feel he's still making a defensive impact? Yeah, not so much.
Doug McDermott was an absolute train wreck on offense for the second game in a row. It's a small sample size, but he's 0-8 over the past two games with four or five of his shots being blocked. It's incredible how smooth his stroke looks in practice but how he seems to lose it on the court. That said, he was pretty solid for the second game in a row defensively which is an encouraging sign.
All in all, it was a great win against a quality team. The Bulls were down late in the fourth and showed a lot of mental toughness to hang in and come back.
Happy thoughts to Craig Sager who made an appearance on the sidelines after struggling with leukemia and received a Bulls colored blazer. It was a nice moment and some great crowd support for Craig.
This was the first game in a four game in five night stretch. It was an emotional win for Chicago which means tomorrow's game against the Pacers will be extra tough, especially given how hot Indiana has been recently.
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