I think the Bulls are starting to take this stretch run pretty seriously.
After losing 10 games in a row, they’ve won two straight. After 12 consecutive games of allowing 100 or more points, they’ve allowed 92, 84 and 88 in their last three. Coach Vinny Del Negro got so fired up over a few iffy calls during last night’s home game against the Rockets that he rushed out on the court and got himself ejected. Mind you, the Bulls were leading by 10 at the time.
Said Del Negro: “I have to do a better job staying in the game, but sometimes you have to get your team going and let them know the importance of this stuff. I have a lot of confidence in my staff and I know the players, Kirk is a coach on the floor, Derrick Rose, so I felt comfortable. I just thought we needed to get a little bit of a fair shake at times.”
I guess Vinny learned his lesson from the Kirk Hinrich incident.
You know who else was fired up? Derrick freaking Rose. Man, this dude has been on fire the last two games. Against Houston, Rose finished with game highs in points (27) and assists (8) and even added 7 rebounds and a blocked shot. He was also fantastic in the fourth quarter, going 5-for-5 from the field (including a three-pointer) and dishing out a couple assists. The only blight on his clutch performance was bricking two free throws with 43 seconds left and the Bulls leading by only six points (92-86).
Still…Derrick was awesome.
Said Rose: “I have to give it all I got. Tomorrow we don’t play so, why not give it your all?”
Regarding Rose, Houston’s Shane Battier said: “If there is a weakness in his game it would be his consistency on his shot. He got 27 and it was pretty much all jump shots from the elbow or 3-pointers. He gets those down and that’s why he’s an All-Star.”
Battier isn’t wrong. Rose did most of his damage from 16 feet and out. He was feeling so confident in his jump shot that he attempted a career-high seven three-pointers. His previous career high was six attempts…last Saturday against the Sixers. Prior to the last two games, Rose had never attempted for than five threes in a game — and that happened during the first month of his rookie season — and he hadn’t taken more than two in any game this season.
Seriously, if Derrick starts canning threes with regularity, how will anyone be able to stop him?
Anyway, it was a big win for the Bulls. Of course, the Rockets were without their defensive stopper, Shane Battier, who sprained his left knee against the Knicks on Sunday. They also lost Jared Jeffries (who strained his left Achilles tendon in the third quarter) and rookie Jordan Hill (who sprained his left ankle early in the fourth). So Chicago had at least a little good fortune going their way in this victory.
I think they’ll take it. The Bulls have had their share of misfortune lately.