Bulls weekend recap: Two more wins

Two more wins.

A 22-10 record. Third-best in the East.

They weren’t pretty wins. Despite playing at home, the Bulls shot only 39 percent against New Jersey and just 43 percent versus Cleveland. And you could easily (and rightly) argue that both contests were a little too close considering the Nets and Cavaliers have a combined record of 17-50. What’s more, the Cavs were without Anderson Varejao (broken cheekbone), Mo Williams (left hip flexor strain) and Daniel Gibson (left thigh contusion).

But wins are wins. And every win the Bulls notch without Joakim Noah is a bonus. In that regard, the schedule is actually working in the team’s favor.

Anyway, Derrick Rose said he wants to be MVP. Well, he’s backing his words up and then some. Against the Nets, Rose had an off shooting night (5-for-16) but went 7-for-7 at the free throw line and finished with 19 points and co-game-high 9 assists. Then, against the Cavs, Derrick had game-highs in points (28) and assists (11). In the decisive third quarter — during which Chicago outscored Cleveland 32-9 — Rose banged home a couple three-pointers and scored 12 points.

The kid is big time. Absolutely big time.

Carlos Boozer isn’t bad, either. He had double-doubles against both the Nets (20 points and 15 rebounds) and Cavaliers (20 points and 11 boards). Meanwhile, Luol Deng continued producing as the “third guy” on offense, contributing 19 points (with 8 rebounds) versus New Jersey and 23 points against Cleveland.

The Bulls have now won 12 of their last 14 games. You won’t see many of those wins — especially recently — on ESPN Classic, but it sure beats the alternative. After 32 games last season, the Bulls were 14-18.

Said Boozer: “I don’t care who you are, it’s hard to win in the NBA. We’re proud of ourselves for winning, but we also do want to play much better. We take it for what it is. We want to play a lot better moving forward, but we are winning. We know that for us to continue to win, we have to get better.”

I need to point out again the the Bulls are missing Noah. They aren’t rebounding as well and they aren’t scoring as many points in transition. Which, as I said, makes all these Noah-less wins a bonus.

Here’s the good news: Chicago’s next five games are versus the Raptors (11-21), at New Jersey (9-25), at Philadelphia (13-20), versus the Celtics (24-7) and versus the Pistons (11-22). And Boston is without Rajon Rondo and Kevin Garnett. This soft stretch of schedule could not have come at a better time.

As an aside, the defense continues to provide the foundation for grinding out victories. The Bulls’ first half defense wasn’t great against the Cavs — Cleveland had 61 points at halftime — but Chicago limited the Cavaliers to 30 points in the second half and only 91 for the game.

The Bulls have now held 11 of their last 13 opponents below 100 points and rank second in Defensive Rating behind coach Thibodeau’s old team the Celtics. Chicago’s D-Rating of 99.9 is barely behind Boston’s 99.3.

That said, Rose knows his squad is going to have to play a more complete game against better teams. Or else…

“We’re going to get whupped. There’s no way [we can play like this]. We can’t come out like that. We just got to hurry up and play our way and continue to play that way.”

Nets Extras:
Recap, Box Score, Play-By-Play, Shot Chart, Photos.

Cavs Extras:
Recap, Box Score, Play-By-Play, Shot Chart, Photos.

14 Responses to Bulls weekend recap: Two more wins

  1. doubleaccord@gmail.com'
    Tony C. January 2, 2011 at 5:03 pm #

    That last Rose quote is key. It’s nice to see that the Bulls have the talent, and, more to the point, a strong enough defense to win games even when they aren’t playing well offensively. However, they have no chance to beat elite teams if they repeat their recent performances.

  2. alldoneq@gmail.com'
    J January 2, 2011 at 9:12 pm #

    What he said ^.

  3. admin@thebasketbulls.com'
    Chicago Bulls rumors January 2, 2011 at 10:06 pm #

    Cavs played a good game, but the Bulls should have still beat them by a wider margin. Derrick Rose was great again.

  4. reggiemcglory@yahoo.com'
    chitown4life January 2, 2011 at 10:35 pm #

    Yes rose is right he is not gonna say we need a better 2 guard to play with us but he will speak about the team as a whole but what he means is we have not gotten solid efforts from our 2 guard position , kurt thomas has filled in nicely with Noah out so far and boozer has been great as expected but korver brewer and boagns all, haver not lived up to there part on the team and it is a definate spot that most teams know is our weakest spot here… outside of that our bulls are looking dammm good something to be exited about no doubt, also even if the bulls keep there current roster they still will be able to compete against elite teams thus I am gonna say it the bulls are an elite team other teams they play do get up there game to play against them and they are not only the good teams that do that the bad teams do play harder also…. the simple fact is I don’t care if we blow teams out or win by one as long as we win a wins a win and that is that….

  5. TBF January 3, 2011 at 12:20 am #

    I’m just worried that everyone’s gonna spend so much time scanning a the clear blue sky for clouds that they forget to enjoy the sunshine.

    Bulls are winning right now, without their second-best player. I’m sorry, Noah’s the glue that makes the team go much more so than Boozer is. The offense is struggling because we have no one who can contribute the 13 a night in points that Noah chips in. I like that the old man is chipping in and Asik is looking better game by game by Noah is just someone we can’t replace right now.

    But hey, we’re still winning. Let’s enjoy it, folks.

  6. yomomma@hotmail.com'
    Scottie Pimpin January 3, 2011 at 12:28 am #

    “we need to stop thinking offense, and start thinking defense” – coach T

    we dont need a 2 guard, we dont need melo, or mayo, we need defense; hard nosed, in your grill, slap yo mamma, eat left over chinese food, wall street bail out , main street left out, wink at your girlfriend, middle finger waving, D-Fence !

  7. reggiemcglory@yahoo.com'
    chitown4life January 3, 2011 at 1:54 am #

    Well well finally somebody is noticing what I have said in my past blogs about coach t and him being a d coach but yet the team seemingly aint really doing a steller job at stopping other teams hmmm, imagine that all those who hoped VDN was gone now we got a D coach and well seems to me aint much changed with the teams scoring on us i aint, gonna let our new coach off the hook of something he is suppose to be a specialist at more to come about this in the future…………

  8. doubleaccord@gmail.com'
    Tony C. January 3, 2011 at 1:56 am #

    “…aint much changed with the teams scoring on us …”

    You’re joking, right? This team is light years better defensively than the VDN teams.

  9. chicago32093@yahoo.com'
    C-Lo-The-Great January 3, 2011 at 2:13 am #

    I just think the Bulls have gotten weaker defensively just because Noah is gone. Still we need better effort on defensive side. There is no excuse for having close games to New Jersey and Clevland because they had key players out as well. But as the cliche goes a win is a win. 22-10 is one hell of a record.

  10. PTFC January 3, 2011 at 11:45 am #

    Not to excuse the Bulls lack of energy sometimes on the offensive end (thus letting inferior teams compete) but give these other teams some credit. It seems these “lesser” teams are coming at the Bulls HARD. I mean the Bulls are still scoring 90-100 points, so is it really the offensive? The Bulls defense as mentioned in the article has been on par. So what is it? I think a lot of is respect. The Bulls are a good team with 3 allstar caliber players and a MVP candidate. Teams get up to the play the Bulls now unlike in years past.

  11. contrerasadvocates@yahoo.com'
    Savage January 3, 2011 at 6:39 pm #

    I Agree with you 100% Tony C

  12. gorditadog@aol.com'
    Gorditadog January 3, 2011 at 8:25 pm #

    @Tony C.- yes, I think our defense is much better than last year’s, and I credit Tibs for that, he has made a huge impact already.

    @TBF and C-Lo-The Great- I agree we really miss Noah on defense. Boozer is a great rebounder, but he is not a shot blocker and has lots of problems with help defense. We are giving up a lot more easy shots without Joe in the middle. Kurt is doing great for us, but he doesn’t have the quickness that Joe brings.

    D-Fence! *waves middle fingers*

  13. bob.edwards47@yahoo.com'
    BoppinBob January 3, 2011 at 10:25 pm #

    chitown, I guess having the second best defensive ranking in the league means “the team seemingly aint really doing a steller job at stopping other teams hmmm…” Granted, there has been a lack of consistency, allowing Cleveland 61 pts in the first half and then holding them to 30 in the second half, (an extreme example). But it is interesting that the Bulls are second to the Celtics who have been playing Thibs defense for a few years as opposed to a few months for the Bulls. How good can the Bulls become defensively? Enough to challenge for a campionship this season? I believe it is possible, especially with a healthy Noah back.

    It was nice to see you write that the Bulls are capable of competing with the “elite” teams and are therefore an elite team.

  14. Anonymous January 4, 2011 at 2:33 am #

    @ BoppinBob yes I am and do back Da bulls fully yet I am also not gonna turn the eye when i think that the team may be lacking in certain area’s and yes the stat’s do’t lie and they are one of the NBA’S best on D statistically but it worries me becaomes I know stats can be some what untrue or at least not totally acurate to sum up the actuall abitlity of our team, yes they are true and Elite but still missing something maybe a key player or two, but this year none the less is gonna be so exciting to watch as a bulls fane for sure…. thanks BoppinBob for the great quote’s………….

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