The Bulls improved to 12-0 in the Central Division with a slow 83-75 win over the Bucks.
Thhhhhiiiiiiissssssss wwwaaaassss aaa vveeerrryyyy sllllooowww ggaaamme.
The Bulls (40-17) and Bucks (22-36) put on a crap-tastic 82-possession show in Milwaukee on Saturday and the Bulls came out with an 83-75 win, improving to a perfect 12-0 in the Central Divsion and 14-13 on the road.
The Bucks offense -- least-efficient in the NBA -- put up an embarrassing 91.5 Offensive Rating against the Bulls second-most efficient defense. That said, the Bucks are fifth in Defensive Rating, and stopped the Bulls on a high rate of possessions as well. The end result was a very slow game, filled with bricked shots, and won on the glass.
And the Bulls' 47-39 rebounding disparity was dominant.
The Bulls' crazy 28 second-chance-points on an also crazy 18 rebounds more than made up for only shooting 41.1% (32-for-78) from the floor, 68.2% at the FT line (15-for-22), and 22.3% on threes (4-for-18). Joakim Noah led the way for the Bulls to finish the game with an insane 41.9% Offensive Rebounding Rate with nine of his 17 rebounds being on the offensive end.
The two teams were tied at 39 at the half. The Bucks came out of halftime with a 7-2 run, but the Bulls iced the game with 25 of the game's next 32 points through the last eight minutes of the quarter. The Bulls' Trio Grande of Luol Deng, Carlos Boozer, and Derrick Rose combined for 28 of the team's 31 third-quarter-points -- individually scoring 11, 10, and 7 in the quarter..
Of the 18,717 who showed up to the Bradley Center for the game, Bulls fans "appeared to be half" of the crowd, Rick Braun wrote at NBA.com.
"It was almost like a college atmosphere where you've got one side for one team and one side going for the other team," Boozer said after the game.
Rose called it an "easy game" that "felt like a home game," as the Bulls will stay on the road until Mar. 7, against the Wizards, Hawks, Magic, and Heat on their home floors.
- How slow was this game? The massive amount of offensive rebounding on both ends elongated possessions, with the Bucks grabbing 12 of their their own. Considering that neither team took 25 shots at the FT line, neither team taking 80 shots in a game with 30 total offensive rebounds tells you both defenses were making it difficult to find scoring opportunities.
- The pace makes Bulls' 13 turnovers even worse. They finished the game with a 15.9% Turnover Rate, but the Bucks had issues coughing up the rock as well with 12 turnovers at a 14.6% rate themselves. Only three committed by Derrick Rose, but his two steals allow us to forgive him. Noah had four turnovers, but the 17 rebounds and three blocks more than made up for his.
- Noah was a beast. The 17 boards were on thing. His dominance of Andrew Bogut was another. Bogut barely accumulated six points on 2-for-10 shooting. His footwork on help shifts gave perimeter defenders a lot of wiggle room to be aggressive. "I thought 'Jo' was really good tonight," Tom Thibodeau said after the game. "His defense was terrific -- individual defense, team defense, rebounding effort."
All of those nine offensive boards were in the first half. A half where the Bulls could only score 39. Extremely valuable. His stamina isn't where it should be, yet, it's getting there. "I need to get my wind back," he said after the game.
- Deng, balla'. He finished with a game high 19 points only 5-for-11 shooting and 1-for-4 on threes. He was the only Bulls who could get to the line and not be a brick machine, going a perfect 8-for-8 on his FTs.
- Rose's defense and pace control were crucial to the team's control of the game. Milwaukee's fast point guards, Brandon Jennings and Earl Boykins, run in a lot of circles with and without the ball. Rose stayed with them very well and attacked the passing lanes hard for his steals to ignite rare easy buckets.
He finished the game with 17 points on a pretty not-so-hot 7-for-19 shooting night and only four assists. His three was a bad as everyone, going only 1-for-4. Despite eight shots at the rim, he was only 2-for-2 at the FT line. Again a couple of whistles give him 20-22 points on 15-17 shots, but the Bucks are good at collapsing and positioning to be physical in a grey manner.
- Boozer, hit your damn FTs, please. Don't let his 13 points on 5-for-9 shooting fooling you; he had the ball in his hands quite a bit and knocked down a couple of shots. But he was only 3-for-7 at the line -- bricking three of the first four when the game was very tight and it was clear buckets wouldn't be easy.
- Ronnie Brewer and Omer Asik were extreme hustle machines off the bench. Brewer grabbed two steals and played very smart. He had the ball in his hands a lot as a secondary ball handler to disrupt Milwaukee's spacing. Only five points on 2-for-5 shooting, but three assists and zero turnovers in 25 minutes. He can usually be trusted to ignite efficient transition and make the right second pass. Asik had six rebounds in only 15 minutes.
- Keith Bogans was a brick machine. Only three points on 1-for-5 shooting -- 1-for-4 on threes. His one three was a second-chance bucket after bricking one. He and Brewer just made John Salmons look silly and baited Salmons into being... well, John Salmons.
- Kyle Korver was more aggressive than usual. It led to a really weird foul going for a steal in a weird spot and leaving trailing shooters open in transition. It's why Tom Thibideau blasted him with a face full of rage on the bench in the fourth quarter, but he came back and finally hit his only three of the game. His 11 points were mostly off the 16-to-19-foot catch n' shoot off the screen when he'd get his defender to trail too hard, anticipating threes.
I'd like to never see this game again. Just take the win and move on to Washington, D.C. on Monday to face the Wizards (15-43).
Advanced Stats via Hoopdata.