Derrick Rose put on another MVP like performance. He scored 26 to lead the Chicago Bulls over the Miami Heat 93-89 Thursday night in a showdown between two of the Eastern Conference's three top teams.
Chicago beat Miami by three at the United Center last month, and this
one, with possible seeding and therefore postseason home court on the
line, was just as exciting. The Heat didn't have Lebron the first time,
but his presence wasn't enough this time either.
The Bulls bench outscored Miami 22-2 and the Heat got outrebounded
53-39 while losing for only the second time in 13 games. Both losses
have come against the teams right at the top of the conference with
them. Boston beat them on Feb. 13, and the Bulls now own the
The win was indicative of how successful this Bulls season has been;
and why. It highlighted everything that's been working right for them:
defense, rebounding, bench production and team chemistry.
"With our record I think we've been tested already, and we think
we're going to keep getting better as the year goes on, we've had guys
hurt, but didn't make any excuses and kept on going," Luol Deng said.
"I think where we are now is a lot better than at the beginning of
the year. I think we all know each others guys' games a lot better and
we're finding guys at the right spots," Deng continued.
In their last 23 hoem games, Chicago is 21-2 averaging almost 99 ppg,
while holding their opponents to 87. They're currently third in the NBA
in both rebounding and scoring defense. They owned the glass Thursday
night and also held Miami way below their season scoring average of 107.
As much fun as Derrick Rose is to watch, as big a name as he's become, there's so much more to this team.
"I think more and more teams aren't going to let Derrick play one on
one, cuz obviously no one can really guard him, he's made that point
loud and clear. So more teams will double him and we'll try to play off
that, it gets the ball out of his hands, and we'll make plays from
there," Carlos Boozer said.
And the spreading off the floor has helped team chemistry.
"We genuinely like each other and get along. Everyone sees each other
working hard, it's not like they're coming in and just going through
the motions in practice and still getting a lot of time. It's not like
that here," Kyle Korver said.
And everyone knows their role; and plays into it.
"We have a lot of guys playing a lot of minutes, and the depth of
this team is one of our strengths, and I think chemistry is too, whoever
is in the game, we're all cheering for him, supporting him. Obviously
we're competing for time, but it's not 'I want your minutes.' It's not
like that at all, and it's a pretty rare thing, which says a lot about
this team," Korver continued.
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