With the Chicago Bulls posting a commanding 100-85 win over the Atlanta Hawks last night, it would be easy to get carried away and start talking about the playoffs. The Bulls, after all, now sit fourth in the moribund east, right behind the Toronto Raptors. And that’s fine, so long as you understand that any first-round win — a real possibility, since this is the East — would lead directly to a major butt-kicking at the hands of either the Indiana Pacers or the Miami Heat.
But that’s a separate issue. For now, let’s stick to last night’s game. I think the thing we learned is that making a bunch of shots and rebounding pretty much everything in sight is a good formula for winning.
The Bulls, uncharacteristically, shot 50.6 percent from the field and 40 percent from three. They were also just 6/13 at the foul line, but considering they’d made their previous 34 attempts coming into the game, that’s probably just regression to the mean. Anyway, when you do that and also snag 57 rebounds as a team (17 offensive), you’re going to win a lot of games.
In particular, Taj Gibson, Joakim Noah and Jimmy Butler were the driving force behind the win. Joakim, of course, slapped up a triple-double with 19/16/11 to go with 3 blocks. Taj had possibly his best game of the year, putting up 24/12/5 on 12/19 from the field. Jimmy had just 12 points on 5/9 shooting, but he added 13 rebounds, 5 of them offensive. Those three by themselves had 13 more total rebounds than the entire Hawks’ team (41 to 28), and 10 more offensive rebounds (15 to 5). That’s pretty good.
There’s really not much else to say, other than that Taj obviously should be starting, even when Carlos Boozer comes back. Tom Thibodeau probably won’t do it, but he should.
Anyway, that’s all I got. The Bulls are off tonight before they host the Brooklyn Nets on Thursday in the final game before the all-star break.
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