Gasol Carries Bulls To Win Over Nuggets

Gasol Carries Bulls To Win Over Nuggets

Pau Gasol has his flaws. He's not perfect. Questions remain about his status on the team - both now and going forward - but without him tonight, the Bulls lose to the hapless Nuggets. It really is that simple.

Getting the Bulls off to a fast start with 12 first quarter points, the Spanish big man also closed the game with 12 points and 10 rebounds in the fourth quarter, proving to be the deciding factor in the game. Finishing with 26 points, 19 rebounds and 4 blocked shots, Pau was simply too much for the inexperienced and undersized Denver frontcourt, monstering his way to several statistical season highs.

Following the lead of Gasol, Joakim Noah and Taj Gibson were fantastic once more off the bench. Losing Nikola Mirotic in the first quarter to an errant elbow that required stitches to mend a laceration, the Bulls' starting power forward wouldn't return, remaining out for the game with a suspected concussion.

In his absence, Noah and Gibson set the tone defensively, combining for 22 rebounds from the bench, 8 of those being offensive. Looking fresh and energized, the Bulls' reserve bigs also contributed offensively, combining for 17 points, with Joakim Noah netting a season high 9 points.

Like his bench bigs, Doug McDermott also had himself a very nice follow up game from his solid output against the Spurs on Monday. Having another nice defensive game (relatively speaking) and scoring 11 points on 5-for-9 shooting, McDermott is starting to find his niche as the noted gunner off the bench.

Making his game even more fun is the fact that the Bulls were playing in the "Doug McDermott Bowl" - something all Denver vs Chicago games should be aptly known as going forward. It's always pleasing seeing Doug shoot well against the team that the Bulls dealt with in order to secure McBuckets on draft day. Shame Nurkis and Harris didn't play.

Whilst the frontcourt lived up to expectations, the Bulls' backcourt was underwhelming.

Jimmy Butler was unusually inefficient (for him), collecting 19 points on 16 shots. Clearly bothered by the heal injury, the Bulls should consider resting Butler, assuming he lets them. Carrying on and forcing himself onto the floor each night doesn't seem like an intelligent decision, even if no structural damage exists within Butler's foot. You have to appreciate the will to fight through the pain, but this team and its players should be wise enough to know that fighting through injuries will find you out when you least expect it, even if the notion is brave and noble.

As he's done all season, Derrick Rose couldn't buy a shot. Shooting the ball 17 times for a return of 12 points, the Bulls' point guard was wildly inefficient. Missing easy looks at the rim, opting for tough pull up bank shots and an overall questionable shot selection, Rose's individual offense was bad. Real bad. Despite his shooting woes, Rose had himself a nice game as a facilitator, dishing out 9 assists, committing only 2 turnovers and finishing the game with a +9 on the night.

Still, though, in league full of tremendous point guard play where the reigning MVP dropped 28 points in a quarter against the Hornets, the atypical point guard battle of Rose and Mudiay could only muster 16 points on 30 shots combined for the night. If we didn't all ready know it, this shocker certainly highlighted the critical need for terrific guard play if a team has serious intentions of contending and building towards an elite offense, something both Chicago and Denver currently are not.

Emmanuel Mudiay has his excuses. He's a rookie on a bad team who is learning the toughest position in the league, all while trying to run an NBA offense. You can ignore the Nuggets' point guard horrid shooting this early in his career, but how much longer can we excuse Derrick Rose?

The Bulls are winning, often at times in spite of their former MVPs shooting numbers. They have an impressive 11-5 record, good for third in the East, and Rose has been still been dealing with lasting issues from his orbital fracture. Or has he?

If Rose's shot has nothing to do with his eye, that's...not encouraging.

Hopefully he can work out his issues quickly, as an efficient Rose becomes even more paramount with Jimmy Butler hobbling through games. That, or revert back to Thibs-ball where feeding Gasol on the low block was a staple of the offense.

Hell, if Pau Gasol is going to beast like this consistently and treat opposing frontcourts like he did at the 2015 EuroBasket, get the geriatric the rock!


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  • Nice game for Pau but Rose is killing this team and any chances it might have at anything significant. I hate to say it but this team is not going anywhere until Rose's deal is off the books.

  • In reply to Roman F:

    Right now, it looks like you are correct, Roman.

    The thing is, as was true last season, every once in a while Rose teases us with a great game that reminds us of his potential. Naturally, we keep hoping that Rose returns to the Bulls!

    The Bulls should be entertaining all season. If the M, M, and M boys can each take a step forward, they could well reach the ECF - but, barring a trade for a caliber SF, or the return of a rested and efficient Dunleavy, that appears to be the best scenario.

    Anyway, it's hard to see any team beating GS in the Finals this season. Minus a severe injury, that it.

  • In reply to rustyw:

    However, the Bulls may be good enough to attract a key FA in the offseason.

    The problem will be, can they also keep Pau and Noah? And should they?

  • In reply to rustyw:

    They better keep Pau and Noah--what other team has two great centers that can start and inspire their teams like these two guys. The Bulls can start Pau for a half a season and do the same with Noah--allowing each of them not to be burned out and worn down at seasons end. If healthy their inspired play could give Chicago an advantage it's never had before--its already paying dividends!

    I like Rose's focus getting assists and getting other players involved in the offense. His scoring will come as his muscle memory will adjust to playing basketball--his confidence will also get a boost from just being on the court with regularity. We must remember that some parts of his body have changed with the strengthening of his muscles in many parts while not playing much basketball the last few years. It takes time for the mind and body to adjust. His body will adjust simply by playing and by being on the court to make adjustments from the injuries.

    This will possibly make Rose a more conditioned player once his endurance and muscle memory improves as he is on the court more. If he stays healthy we may finally see that Rose is a much better player than he was ever before.

    That gives us Gasol, Noah, and Butler moving the ball assisting other players to be more effective in the offense. If all of this routinely comes about we have a championship team, guys!

  • In reply to rustyw:

    I'd say that Gasol is gone, of his own choosing. The Bulls might then feel forced to keep Noah, and likely overpay for the privilege. What if Noah becomes the new Hangdog.

  • In reply to Roman F:

    There has to be something still wrong with his eye's, right?

    He looks like shit, and really isn't trying very hard. If it isn't the eyes he really shouldn't be even worse than he was last year in the playoffs, should he.

    Of course, with our/his luck, he'll be the first guy in history to never get his eyesight back, and it will be directly as a result of the Bulls mishandling his injury. I've read that having surgery immediately after this type of injury is not the normal procedure.

    It certainly appears that Chicago has a new curse, the 1.7% solution.

  • "but without him tonight, the Bulls lose to the hapless Nuggets. It really is that simple". You have to give credit where credit is due, Gasol actually won a game for the Bulls. As Stacey King said early in the first, this was just like his Gulliver vs the Lilliputians game last year against Milwaukee when he put up 46 & 18.

    "Hell, if Pau Gasol is going to beast like this consistently and treat opposing frontcourts like he did at the 2015 EuroBasket, get the geriatric the rock"

    Other than Philly and the Lakers, Denver looks to be in the running for the worst team in the league, especially with 40% of their starting lineup(Chandler and Nurkic) out injured. So, you're right, this game resembled a Eurobasket contest for Gasol, defense and all.

    Unfortunately, not many nights in the NBA feature the FIBA D league center allstars like Denver's motley crew. Things might have been a bit different if Nurkic was around to physically kick his ass all night.

    Of course, last night's performance just adds fuel to argument that Gasol should come off the bench to bum slay second units, which pretty much describes Denver's entire front court.

    Pau Gasol Bum Slayer, has a nice ring to it.

    Surprised we haven't heard any gloating from the Douchebag Ayatollah Hgarbellballa. I guess that he's still passed out from all the blood rushing to his penis.

    Hey Mark, does Gasol still have the worst net rating on the team like you reported before this game, or did his performance last night elevate him out of the Bulls basement in that department.

  • In reply to BigWay:

    Pau played against Gortat, Valenciunas and Gobert during Eurobasket where he became the MVP of the tournament. All quality opponents. Your efforts to downplay Gasol's achievements last summer is typical of your mindless Pau bashing. I guess you are still angry with him because he didn't autograph your comic book after a game.

    Noah should come off the bench, not start. In case you haven't noticed, Noah is essentially an energy guy. That is what you need off your bench. He is more valuable used that way.

  • Just wondering if anybody noticed another example of the puzzling lack of BB IQ on the entire Bulls roster, coaches and players.
    For a long stretch in the second half, Denver had Arthur(PF) and Lauvergne(C) playing together against Noah and Taj. For some strange reason the Bulls crossmatched against them with Noah chasing Arthur, a jump shooter around the perimeter and Taj matched up against Lauvergne, who despite being undersized for a center was too much for Taj physically. This crossmatch was clearly not optimal for either Noah or Taj. As soon as Gasol subbed in for Noah, Taj switched back to Arthur and Gasol matched up with Lauvergne, which means that the Bulls clearly recognized that Lauvergne was the center in that lineup and Arthur was the PF. This just seems like a stupid move.

    Any chance that we can trade Snell for Will Barton(my pre draft pick for the Bulls with the Teague pick), at least that guy looks awake if not downright aggressive. Nevermind that Ron Adams wanted us to take Draymond Green, and then got fired for being such a dummy.

  • Another interesting quote from Mr. Sneaky Selfish.

    “Understand things are a little different. As long as we win and are a better team we all sacrifice in order to do the things the coaching staff wants us to do". What exactly is he sacrificing, his personal stats, perhaps.

    He really is a master of passive aggressive Bullshit.

    Plus the usual pile of crap from Rose, just stop it already.

    “The shots I was missing were a lot of short shots and bank shots,” said Rose. “My shot will come. I know how much work I put into my game and I know once I catch that rhythm it’s going to be scary with the opportunities I have at the rim and the open shots I have. So it’s all about working out, taking it one day at a time. The shots I took, they were there; it just I was off a little bit. But my teammates encourage me to take the shots I take. I’m just missing these shots because I am just missing them; it doesn’t have anything to do with the eye. I’m getting good looks. Just missing them.

    If it really has nothing to do with the eye, then he should retire immediately, collect the insurance money and let the Bulls move on.

    By the way, how the heck did Niko get a concussion after getting hit in his beard, that thing looks like a world class shock absorber. The way that he reacted, it did seem like a delayed reaction.

  • In reply to BigWay:

    "By the way, how the heck did Niko get a concussion after getting hit in his beard, that thing looks like a world class shock absorber." Nice to see you have not lost your comedic tough, BigWay!

  • In reply to rustyw:

    Better be careful Rusty, that typo in your post could unleash a character assassination jihad from the far north starting with questioning your academic credentials as well as suggesting that you might live in a trailer park(apparently an insult). Sounds kind of elitist, denigrating people who choose to live in a trailer park, typical of the intolerance of the tolerance movement.

    Obviously, the rest of humanity(the sane part) knows what you meant and feels no need to denigrate you as a human being for a simple typo.

  • In reply to BigWay:

    Don't call me an elitist just because I use a knife and fork. And I don't denigrate normal people who live in a trailer. Just Ted Nugent types like you.

    And I never would think of correcting a typo from Rusty. Just those delusional so-called "fans" who have posted about their fictional academic achievements ad nauseum.

  • In reply to BigWay:

    It's funny but I had the same reaction to the concussion and beard.

  • From BAB, a picture of you know who right after completing his normal PNR defense, or is it after another unsuccessful postup/turnover while his teammates are running back in transition D.

  • Also from BAB, if these #'s are accurate?

    "He’s also far and away the Bulls’ best big when you look at on/off court splits. Niko’s at +6, Noah’s at +1.5, Taj is -4 and Pau is -7. There’s always collinearity issues when looking at raw +/ -, but it’s pretty hard to look at those numbers and believe that Niko isn’t the Bulls’ best big. He’s the only Bulls big with which the Bulls play better offense with him on the court vs. off".

    And overall, here’s what we’ve got as far as big man pairings:

    Gasol/Niko -1.0 (307 min)
    Taj/Noah -3.3 (199 min)
    Gasol/Taj -13.6 (93 min)
    Gasol/Noah +10 (73 min)
    Niko/Noah +11.6 (50 min)
    Taj/Niko +41 (35 min)

    "it seems like any pairing with Noah is better than the same pairing with Gasol":

    Gibson’s numbers:
    with Gasol: -13.6 (93 min)
    with Noah: -3.3 (199 min)
    the "Noah effect": +10.3

    Mirotic’s numbers:
    with Gasol: -1.0 (307 min)
    with Noah: +11.6 (50 min)
    the "Noah effect": +12.6

    BAB POLL Do you want the Bulls to re-sign Pau Gasol this summer?
    38% ¡Viva Pau! -- YES
    (429 votes)
    (690 votes)
    1119 votes total

    Quick, somebody get me his PER.

  • In reply to BigWay:

    Of course you neglected to mention that the vote was predicated on an offer to Gasol of $26M over two years. Certainly this was a big factor in the vote count.

    Pau is the second best player on the Bulls so far this year and the best big. If Niko was really the best big I would have no problem agreeing. The major reason Noah and Gibson have such better numbers is that Pau has had to play major minutes with those train wrecks Rose and Snell. Two of the worst shooters in the league.

  • In reply to hgarbell:

    I've replied directly to you hgarbell, but this message also goes out to BigWay.

    I'm fairly new here still, so forgive me if this seems out of place, but it seems like in every thread, you two guys are always at it. I don't get it.

    We're all Bulls fans here, right? We have our differences as people, but that is the common bond we share. Why do we bother coming on line to take shots at each other, especially when we support the same team?

    You guys disagree on stuff, which is fine, but lets be adults and deal with those conversations properly. Better yet, lets all be Bulls fans and just enjoy this team and the company of those like-minded individuals who share the same bond - supporting this brilliant organisation.

    I know I'm on a rant right now, and you can feel free to take these words however you please, but as a contributor here who wants to see this blog grow and thrive and be inviting to more users through educated and considered discussion, it would be great if you two guys could bury the hatchet and just move on. Life's too short to be arguing with folks on the internet. It really is.

  • In reply to Mark Karantzoulis:


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