Rose said of his left big toe sprain that it won’t get any better this season but he’ll play tonight when the Bulls (15-3) host the New Jersey Nets (5-12).
Not-So-Good News: Power forward and Bench Mobster Taj Gibson is out indefinitely with a high ankle sprain with no timetable for his return. Bulls forward Luol Deng, who played and started all 18 games this season is out with a left wrist. Injury report lists him as day-to-day, but certain media is reporting otherwise. He is averaging 15.9 ppg and 7.5 rpg in 38.3 mpg.
“I just got hit on it, but it will be fine.” – Luol Deng on current injury
“It’s just real sore. It’s real painful; I just have to take it slow. I’m just lucky nothing was broken and nothing was torn. That’s the bright side.” – Taj Gibson on current injury
Good News: Joakim Noah (left ankle; game-time decision) and John Lucas III (left groin strain; day-to-day) are both likely to play tonight.
My Thoughts: No worries Bulls Fam, we have a Bench Mob we are known for! Whether it’s newcomer Mike James (who? Mike James!), Brian “White Mamba” Scalabrine, CJ Watson, Ronnie Brewer, Omer Asik, the Bulls have players they can trust to go out there and play their hearts out. Why else would they still be the number one team in the league? They have the depth. They have a solid team that will pick each other up when a few pieces are missing. They each have a role they are filling and most importantly, they have a coach who won’t let something like injuries bring the team down.
“Our second unit plays a lot, so if there’s an injury, the next guy steps up and we go from there. We got 14 guys on the roster that can all play.” – Coach Tom Thibodeau on the current injury situation
A point guard sets the tempo of the game and can create a shot for his teammates or himself. A leader on the court. When the Bulls pushed the ball down the floor quickly, outscoring Phoenix 13-11 in transition on Tuesday, it was because of their point guard play. The Bigs follow and the guards are why. Bulls Fam sit and think, Derrick Rose. They would be right, but I am talking about all of the guards on the Bulls roster. Rose, CJ Watson, John Lucas III and Richard “Rip” Hamilton.
Rose has sat out the last two games with a sprained toe/turf toe. CJ Watson suited up for the third time this season. An elbow injury sidelined him for nine games. The Bulls were coming off their worst loss of the season, 102-86, in Memphis in which they played without Rose and Rip. Watson, starting in place of Rose, scored 15 points in the first half without missing a shot. He finished with 23 points on an eight-of-12 shooting and dished out five assists in his 33 minute performance. Not bad for his third game of the season.
Watson did great filling in for Rose. I’d like to say he has a “D-Rose Flow” when he is on the court. He ran the offense, drained big shots, drove aggressively in the paint when needed and got his teammates good looks. His fellow Bulls have nothing but praise, because when they need him, he comes through.
“CJ’s been a great player his whole career. He’s always played behind guys that were very good. It’s tough playing behind the MVP this year… He leads our Bench Mob when we’ve got a full roster. He’s a very good pro to say the least.” – Bulls forward Carlos Boozer on CJ Watson
Despite the last two games, John Lucas III has been a breath of fresh air for the Bulls. Standing at 5-feet-11, there is nothing short about his game.
“He (Coach Thibodeau) can put me in at the three, I got their back, because I just love being out there on the court. I love the game of basketball. I love to win. I can’t stand losing; I hate it with a passion.” – John Lucas III on playing time
When Rose, Watson and Rip were down and out with injuries, Coach Thibs put Lucas to the test with his first NBA start at the point in the Bulls’ 78-64 win versus the Washington Wizards on Jan 11. Lucas almost posted a triple-double, scoring a career-high 25 points, grabbing eight rebounds and handing out eight assists in 45 minutes. Before the Wizards game, which will now be known as the John Lucas III game, Coach Thibs was asked who would be backing up Lucas. His response, “Lucas.”
Never mind going 11-for-28 (39%) on the floor, it was his first start and it opened up a lot of opportunities for the Bulls’ Bigs. They out-rebounded the Wizards that night 62-46.
Let’s get to know Bulls newcomer Richard “Rip” Hamilton. Former Piston. Former champion. Hungry athlete. Tuesday night, against the Suns, he returned to the lineup for the first time since January 4, when the Bulls visit and beat his former team, the Pistons. On Tuesday, he posted 11 points and six assists in 21 minutes of play.
As a fan of the Bulls, I’ve spent many years cheering against Rip, and for good reason. He plays great defense, he is a consistent shooter and he leads the floor on offense. Now, years later, he is still the same Rip, just in Bulls uniform.
At 33 years, Rip still possesses the same speed and athletic ability he did when he first entered the league. He runs, the defense follows and he finds an open teammate. That is what happened in the first quarter of the Bulls-Suns game. Five of his six assists came in that quarter.
“I just try to get out there and run, using my speed and endurance for easy plays. That’s the best thing about us. We’re all unselfish. If you get up and run, guys will find you.” – Richard “Rip” Hamilton on his play/speed
When Rip was first acquired he said:
“The only thing I lost was that trophy at 26, and now it’s time to try and get that thing back.”
He’s fitting into Coach Thibs’ game plan alright, especially since he is a defensive-minded player. It’s almost a match made in Basketball Heaven, along with MVP Rose. Taking the pressure off of Rose has been the goal all summer and guys like Rip, Watson and Lucas can definitely help out in that department.]]>
The Bulls last played in Atlanta on Saturday, in which they lost 109-94, breaking their six-game win streak.
In the loss, the Bulls defense was almost non-existent. The Hawks’ 109 points were the most allowed by the Bulls this season.
At one point, the Bulls allowed the Hawks to shoot 68 percent on the floor and 90 percent behind the arc; they finished 57 percent on the floor and 75 percent behind the arc.
Derrick Rose went three-for-10 on the floor for eight points. The starters looked fatigued; they were not moving the ball on offense, which led to pointless one-on-one games leading to turnovers. The Hawks, as a team, did a good job of containing Rose and the Bulls defensively.
“I give them credit. They played the way they’re supposed to. Our defense let them score easy baskets in transition.” – Derrick Rose on the Hawks’ play
Positives: John Lucas III tied his career high, scoring 16 points off the bench in under 20 minutes of play. Kyle Korver also brought a spark off the bench with 13 points, going three-for-five behind the arc. The bench mob lived up to their name and scored a total of 62 points.
The Bulls will look to bounce back tonight against the Detroit Bad Boys. The Bulls won the last contest in Detroit January 4 99-83.
Former Piston and current Bull, Richard Rip Hamilton is questionable tonight with a sore groin.
My Keys for Tonight:
1. Defense. This is the team to start experimenting with different defenses. The Pistons are not doing well this season, and the Bulls are shorthanded, but against the Hawks, found out what kind of players we have in John Lucas III and Jimmy Butler.
2. Intensity. Where was it in Atlanta? Like former Bull and analyst Norm Van Lier used to say, “I need 48 minutes of intensity!” The Bulls need to bring the energy at home and take care of the ball.
3. Communication. Better yet, they need to move the ball. The Bulls play better in transition and when moving. They have the speed and chemistry to move the floor. The Bulls did not communicate on defense or offense. There were times when certain players weren’t aware on what was going on, leading to commit to a double team, leaving the paint wide open for easy buckets. The Hawks scored 54 points in the paint.]]>
The Chicago Bulls are on a four-game win streak and are visiting former-Bull Ben Gordon and the Detroit Pistons tonight.
Injury Update: A sore groin could sideline former-Piston Richard “Rip” Hamilton. This could be his third consecutive game missed. Rip is currently a game-time decision. CJ Watson might be out for the rest of this week with a left-elbow injury. No exact date on his return, once the swelling goes down, the Bulls will release more info. Until then, Watson is day-to-day.
Familiar Face: Former Bull Ben Gordon is currently averaging 18 points per game and the Pistons are 2-3 this season.
Recap: Last night, the Bulls put a mighty performance in the fourth quarter to steal a 76-74 win versus the Atlanta Hawks at the United Center.
The Bulls came out sluggish and settled for jumpers. They scored 42 points in the first three quarters combined and trailed by as much as 19 points.
However, a few defensive plays by Omer Asik and Derrick Rose assisting/scoring on 21 of the 34 points scored in the fourth quarter erased that 19-point deficit and gave the Bulls their fifth victory of the season.
The Final Run Down:Trailing 73-72 with 16.3 seconds left, the Bulls were left to foul Jeff Teague, who missed both free throws at the line. Asik came up with the board and Coach Thibodeau called a 20-second timeout.
Rose up top, drove in the layup to take a slim 74-73 lead with 9.9 seconds to go. Rose scored 17 of his 30 points in the final quarter. On defense, Luol Deng was called for a questionable foul. Al Horford initiated contact as Deng was running around a screen. Horford made one-of-two at the line, tying the game at 74 apiece with 7.7 seconds left.
Coach Thibs made a call to put Joakim Noah back in the game; Noah was 0-4 on the floor and was in foul trouble. Deng in bounded the ball to Noah on top, who immediately finds Deng cutting to the basket for the game winning layup.
Deng finished with 21 points and eight rebounds, Asik grabbed nine rebounds and blocked three shots and Carlos Boozer chipped in 11 points and nine rebounds.
The Bulls may be short-handed in the point guard section, leaving Rose with too many minutes and no time to rest. They can’t win every game the same way they did against Atlanta. They need to play a full 48-minutes of intensity and they can’t keep settling for those jump shots, if you are shooting 15-54, you better penetrate that lane and drive your little heart out. There are other ways to score. They are going to have to show more patience.
The big men have to come out and play. The refs do not seem to like Chicago very much, I see those same questionable calls too. Joakim Noah should be a role model for all players because nothing went his way last night but he kept his head in the game, cheered his teammates on and was a part of the game winning play.]]>
Friday versus the Los Angeles Clippers in LA, Rose posted 29 points and 16 assists (one shy of tying his career high). He also shot 57 percent on the floor (8-for-14 on the floor, 3-for-4 behind the arc). Richard “Rip” Hamilton also broke out of his shell that night with 16 points and five rebounds. Someone the Bulls desperately need to take some pressure off Rose.
“Knowing that guys don’t need any pick-and-roll; they can just score. That makes us tough, makes me feel good knowing I have shooters.” – Derrick Rose on Bulls’ offense this season
Another name comes to mind, Luol Deng. This season he is putting up 18.5 ppg and 7.8 rpg. If the Bulls can keep having performances like this, the possibilities are endless.
The only area the Bulls need to really work on is taking care of the ball and their defense. After giving up 20 turnovers against the Warriors, the Bulls have brought the average down from 18 to 16 per game. A number I am sure that Coach Thibodeau and the Bulls will bring down as they progress. The defense is allowing their opponents score 96.3 points per game.
The Memphis Grizzlies’ big men, Marc Gasol and Zach Randolph are averaging 35.3 ppg and 17.7 rpg combined.
The Bulls will need to keep their momentum going to bring the Madhouse on Madison to life tonight for the first time since preseason versus the Indiana Pacers December 20.]]>
On Christmas day in Los Angeles, the Bulls showed up as a competitive group that came back in the final three minutes after trailing by eight points. Not only did they have a game winning floater by the MVP himself (Derrick Rose), but we witnessed Coach Thibodeau’s defensive-minded team is just that: defensive-minded still.
Game two, what would be back-to-back nights for Chicago, in Golden State is a completely different game with two completely different teams. The Bulls had trouble keeping up with the Warriors, giving up 20 turnovers and 20 points on the fastbreak. Chicago also settled for too many outside shots, going 8-for-24 behind the arc. They were outscored in the pain 42-32. Regardless of five Bulls in double-figures, Luol Deng had 22 points and 10 rebounds; Derrick Rose chipped in 13 points and eight assists, the Warriors starting backcourt, Monte Ellis and Stephen Curry, combined for 47 points and 17 assists.
In the fourth quarter, the Bulls turned the game around, erasing a 19-point deficit, bringing them within five. It wasn’t enough and the lack of intensity was the probable cause for their first loss of the season.
Tonight, the Bulls will visit the Sacramento Kings.
First things first, they need to provide a defensive edge. In the previous two games, they allowed their opponent shoot over 47 percent on the floor. Containing Kings’ guard Marcus Thorton should be one of the top assignments tonight, possibly for newly acquired guard Richard “Rip” Hamilton. In his last three games against the Bulls, Thorton has shot just under 59 percent on the floor.
The Bulls need to find a way to drive the ball to the rim and not settle for the jump shot a majority of the time. The lack of energy on offense has forced the Bulls into 34 total turnovers in a two-game span.
The addition of Hamilton to the roster and the excelling performance of Deng (almost every game) should take some pressure off of Rose, which is the goal Chicago was trying to reach over the summer. Rose has been stopped in the paint these past two games due to double teams but Rose must overcome that and find a way around the defenders. Rose has been 13-for-30 on the floor. In LA, he went 4-for-6 behind the arc and the next day at Golden State he went a cold 1-for-8.
From a fan’s perspective, I believe he can and will excel and the team is still trying to mold together, it’s just a matter of time. Stay tuned and see what happens tonight in Sacramento!
The Chicago Bulls would open their season in Los Angeles against Kobe Bryant and the Lakers. The marquee matchup that included two top players in this league, one, a five-time NBA Champion, the other, the 2011 MVP. Kobe Bryant and Derrick Rose.
Sunday afternoon, the Bulls fought an eight-point deficit with just under two minutes remaining, coming out on top with an 88-87 victory at the Staples Center.
Bryant hit a fadaway turnaround jumper with just under a minute left for a six-point lead. That was the last shot for the Lake Show, the Bulls followed up a three-point play from Deng and a pair at the line to bring them within one.
Rose led the Bulls with 22 points and the shot to win it all. Down by one, the Bulls double-teamed Bryant, resulting in a bad pass to Pau Gasol, in which Luol Deng immediately picked up to find Rose on the other end. Rose then spit two defenders and put up a floater over Gasol for the game winner with 4.8 seconds left in regulation.
In the final seconds, Bryant tried to take matters into his own hands and drive in for a layup; however, Deng was right there to have the block of the game, giving the Bulls their first win of the season.
Deng finished with 21 points, seven rebounds and four steals. Carlos Boozer chipped in 15 points and six rebounds. Noah (nine rebounds, three steals) and Rip Hamilton (debut) each scored six points.
Despite a torn ligament in his right wrist, Bryant showed up to play and didn’t let any injury slow him down. He led all scorers with 28 points, seven rebounds and six assists. He also committed eight turnovers.
The Lakers were forced into 17 turnovers. They missed their final four free throws crucial to the outcome of the game (a pair by Gasol and Josh McRoberts).
Three minutes into the fourth quarter, the Lakers had outscored the Bulls 27-12 (continuing from the third quarter) and the Bulls, who started the game shooting 59 percent on the floor, were down to 18%.
Steve Blake, a spark off the Lakers bench, contributed 12 of their 29 points, including a three-pointer at the top of the key, giving LA a 85-77 lead with 2:11 remaining.
The Bulls finished the night shooting 40 percent on the floor and 47 percent behind the arc (7-for-15) while the Lakers shot 47 percent on the floor and 25 percent from the three (4-for-16).
Bulls Extras: The Bulls will be sticking around the California area the next three games, including Golden State on Monday night, Sacramento on Thursday and the Clippers on Friday…Are the Bulls the team to beat in the East? Send your comments over!]]>
Some people are probably thinking, “Was Noah’s punishment just?”
Well, here’s my take.
For those of you that think Noah should’ve been suspended, please rethink that possibility. Kobe Bryant was in heat for a gay slur toward a referee after Bryant was issued a technical during a game against the San Antonio Spurs in April. Bryant was fined $100,000 and was NOT suspended.
In Noah’s case, he was provoked by the ‘fan.’ I’m not saying it’s ok to disrespect anyway with an anti-gay slur, but just to see it from the other side. There are shades of gray in this situation.
Noah apologized immediately and realized his mistake. Even though he will be judged because of this, the point is that he understood that his choice of words was wrong and that his emotions got the best of him.
“I just want to apologize; I had just picked up my second foul. I was frustrated. He said something that was disrespectful toward me, and I lost my cool. People who know me know I’m an open-minded guy. I’m not here to hurt anybody’s feelings. I’m just here to help win a basketball game. Sometimes fans say things that are overboard. But it’s on us not to react. If you react, they win. And I did. It was a bad decision on my part.” – Joakim Noah’s apology and explaination
Several of Noah’s teammates have said that the fan used profanity regarding Noah’s mother among other insults. And his teammates defended Noah without hesitation.
“What Jo said is something out of frustration; he has to do a better job of controlling his emotion. But that fan should have been thrown out of the game way before. He just kept going at him and in an emotional game like that, and things not going Jo’s way, it’s just human nature to react. I know Jo, and I know he didn’t mean what he said at all.” – Luol Deng defending teammate Joakim Noah
Bryant’s fine was larger because it also “included discipline of a game official.”
This has been handled and the case should be closed. Both sides were wrong and Noah is paying the price. He understands that he went about it the wrong way, but what’s done is done. The media should’ve looked at it from both sides instead of just assuming that Noah was some kind of monster. The Bulls still have a series to play against Miami and can’t afford to lose any focus. This is basketball. This is the Playoffs.]]>
The last time the Bulls lost consecutive games was during February 5-7.
This wasn’t just any loss. Chicago fans witnessed the quicksand that the Bulls were trapped in.
Despite Miami’s 7-0 run with 3:56 remaining in the third, the Bulls continued to fight back and keep it within three at the end of the quarter thanks to back-to-back three pointers by Luol Deng. Deng scored six of his 14 points in the third to go along with his eight rebounds.
However, the Bulls failed to continue their run in the fourth quarter, in which the Heat out-scored the Bulls 28-20. Six Heat points were scored off four Bulls turnovers in the fourth. Chris Bosh scored eight straight for the Heat, extending their lead, 78-72. Bosh led with 34 points, on a 13-for-18 shooting, and five rebounds.
LeBron James posted 22 points, 10 assists and six rebounds. Dwyane Wade chipped in 17 points and nine rebounds. Meanwhile, the Heat held the Bulls big three (Derrick Rose, Carlos Boozer and Luol Deng) under 50% shooting. The Bulls did hold Miami’s James and Wade to a 12-of-30 shooting on the floor.
Even though the Bulls out-rebounded the Heat 41-32 and attempted 10 more field goals, they were missing their perimeter shots and layups. Chicago only shot 42% on the floor and 42% from behind the arc.
Carlos Boozer led the Bulls with 26 points and 17 rebounds, Joakim Noah wasn’t a factor in points, but he dished out six assists (leading the team) and grabbed five boards.
Derrick Rose had 20 points, five assists and five rebounds. Rose went eight-for-19 on the floor but missed his perimeter shots as well and calls weren’t going his way (like usual) either.
My X-Factor (for Game 3), Kyle Korver, went one-for-two (a three ball), but Miami’s defense blocked him out and wouldn’t allow him an open shot. Taj Gibson scored 11 points in 12 minutes. Nine of his points came in the fourth quarter.
Game 4 will be in Miami Tuesday Night. Miami now leads the series 2-1.
Bulls Extras: Speaking of EMOTIONAL issues, in the first quarter, Joakim Noah approached the bench after picking up his second foul with over four minutes into the game and the camera caught JoNo direct a profane word toward a fan in the stands, it was thought to be an anti-gay slur and Noah apologized immediately for his actions…]]>
After being held to 15 points on a five-for-15 shooting, James led the way with 29 points (12-21 FG), 10 rebounds, five assists and three steals (along with five turnovers) in 45 minutes of play.
After the Bulls erased an 11-point Heat lead in the third and tied the game at 73 with 7:16 remaining in regulation, James scored nine of the last 12 (Heat) points while the Bulls went cold on a one-for-11 shooting.
Derrick Rose was held to 21 points (two points in the fourth quarter) on a seven-for-23 shooting. Rose was shut out inside leaving him to fend for jumpers that just weren’t falling in.
“I missed a lot of shots. It was just one of those nights.” – Rose on his 7-for-23 shooting on the floor
I will not doubt Rose when he has the ball, everyone has a bad shooting night, it’s better to take the shot and miss than to not take it at all.
As a team, the Bull had an overall bad shooting night, something that has been an issue most of the playoff series. They shot only 34% on the floor, and missed valuable free throws (16-26; 62%). They also relied too much on the three ball, making three-of-20.
Taj Gibson led the Bench Mob with eight points (all in the fourth) and three blocks. Joakim Noah and Carlos Boozer were both quiet and combined for 16 points, 16 rebounds and three blocks. Luol Deng posted 13 points (four in the first quarter) and five rebounds.
Even though the Bulls took better care of the ball, turning the ball over 10 times to Miami’s 15, they were out-rebounded 45-41 and Miami shot 47% on the floor (hitting 50% at one point).
It also didn’t help when the Bulls came out at the start of the game cold, shooting zero-for-nine on the field.
Udonis Haslem returned for the Heat and chipped in 13 points and five rebounds off the bench. Dwyane Wade went eight-for-16 for 24 points and nine rebounds. After coming off a 30-point performance in Game 1, Chris Bosh scored 10 points and grabbed eight rebounds.
Game two’s performance by the Bulls was the opposite of game one’s. They lacked intensity on both ends of the court and no one led the offense, especially on the bench. Kyle Korver provided another hesitant shooting performance, going one-for-seven in 17 minutes.
“We played a low-energy offense, a low-energy defense and the result was not good.” – Bulls Head Coach Tom Thibodeau
Bulls Extras/Preview of Sunday’s Game: The Bulls will look to bounce back in Miami for game three on Sunday night…After each of their three previous playoff losses, the Bulls have won the following game by double-digits…The Bulls haven’t lost consecutive games since February 5-7…Kyle Korver, please don’t forget to pack the HOTSAUCE! <- He will be my X-Factor for Game Three…]]>