Derrick Rose scored a season-high 34 points, and Joakim Noah and Carlos Boozer were also outstanding as Chicago won it’s final home game for 18 days, beating the Bucks 107-100 Friday at the UC.
If Thibs truly was sending a message to Boozer by replacing him with Scalabrine for the final minute of Wednesday’s home loss to Indiana, then Carlos certainly got the hint. He played 41:18 and scored 20 points (8/15 FG) to go with 13 rebounds, two blocked shots and a steal. He put out a good effort on defense almost all night as well.
Noah looks like he’s finally in shape, and he had his best overall game of the season, stuffing the stat sheet like we are accustomed to seeing from him. Jo put up 15 points (6/10 FG), 16 rebounds (8 offensive), four assists, three steals and three blocked shots. All in just 33:34 of playing time.
The steals, blocked shots, rebounds and offensive rebounds were all season-highs, and over the last five games he is averaging 12.4 pts, 12.2 reb (6.8 off reb), 3.5 ast (1.0 TO), 1.2 blk and 1.2 stl. And he is doing all that in only 31:48 per game.
CJ Watson and Omer Asik had nice stints off the bench. CJ had 13 points (5/11 FG, 3/6 3’s) in 18:28, and Omer had four points and five rebounds in only 5:40 of playing time.
The Bulls got off to a slow start, missing five of their first six shots as Milwaukee took a 7-2 lead.
Boozer was very active early, getting two rebounds and a steal in the first three minutes of the game. In his 10 first quarter minutes, he only took one shot, but he grabbed three rebounds and added a steal and a blocked shot.
The Bucks definitely missed Andrew Bogut early, allowing Joakim Noah to grab four offensive rebounds in the first four minutes and seven in just over 10 minutes for the quarter.
Rose was certainly out to make a statement after Wednesday’s loss to Indiana, taking eight shots in the first 5 1/2 minutes and scoring 10 of the Bulls first 14 points. But he picked up his second foul with 3:49 left in the quarter and had to go to the bench.
Brandon Jennings was the Bucks offense in the first 12 minutes, hitting 6/8 shots (3/4 from behind the arc) and scoring 16 of Milwaukee’s 25 points.
The Bulls missed 24 shots in the first 15 minutes of the game, but they rebounded 12 of their misses, allowing them to lead throughout despite shooting under 37% from the field.
The rest of the second quarter featured mostly ugly, boring basketball. Rose finished up the half with 16 points, but it took him 14 shots to get there. He also missed two of four free throws and had three turnovers versus only two assists.
Jennings slowed down considerably in the second quarter, taking only three shots (all of them 3’s) and hitting just one. He finished the half as the only Buck in double figures with 19 points.
Whatever Coach Thibodeau said to Rose at halftime, it worked. Derrick came out of the locker room and dominated the 3rd quarter, scoring 14 points on 5/7 shooting. Rose looked like a man possessed, just dominating the floor while pushing his total on the night to 30 points in just over 28 minutes.
The defense also showed up, limiting the Bucks to 18 points on 7/23 shooting. Rose held Jennings to 1/6 shooting for two points, and the Bucks leading scorer committed two turnovers as well. The Bulls pushed the lead out to as much as 13 before settling on a 79-68 lead with 12 minutes left in the game.
The lead was still 9 when Thibs went to a Rose/Watson backcourt with 8:49 left in the game. Rose immediately hit Boozer for a layup, and Watson followed with a 3-pointer to put the Bulls ahead 88-74 with eight minutes to go.
Milwaukee never threatened after that, even though they got the lead down to five with 27.5 seconds to play. The Bulls only hit 9 of 15 free throws in the 4th quarter, and Bucks rookie Jon Leuer- who didn’t play in the first half- scored 13 of his career-high 19 points in the final stanza, hitting 6/8 shots.
The Bulls improved to an Eastern Conference best 17-4 on the year, and now they hop a plane and head for Miami to play the Heat in a Sunday matinee on ABC (2:30 CT). I’m on the air at 93.3 WKYQ from 3-6 that day, but thankfully there’s a TV in the newsroom.
This is the game we’ve all been waiting for since the lockout ended, and while both teams are less than 100% health-wise, this should be a great game. I will have a Bullsville Radio Pre-Game Show Sunday morning, time is still TBA for now.
I’ll have the Bulls/Bucks Post-Game Show up in the morning- I get the audio highlights from the league through an FTP site, they are usually up by now but tonight the team or league one is running late in getting them posted.