Circus Trip: Bulls 95, Rockets 92

Derrick Rose.


When Rose got benched because of his fourth foul with 5:31 left in the third quarter, the Bulls were leading 60-58. By the time coach Tom Thibodeu subbed him back in to start the fourth, Chicago had fallen behind 71-63 and the Rockets seemed to have all the momentum on their side. Honestly, the Bulls couldn’t have looked any more discombobulated.

Then Rose got ’em “combobulated” again.

On the Bulls first possession of the fourth quarter, he drilled a three-pointer. Two possessions later, he knocked down another three. On the possession after that, Derrick assisted on a triple by Luol Deng. Next possession, he drove in for a layup, drew the foul, and converted the free throw for an old-fashioned three-point play. Two possessions later, he hit an 11-foot bank shot off a crafty drive. On the next possession, he splashed home yet another three-pointer.

I was half-waiting for him to turn toward the scorer’s table and shrug. I mean, Rose catching fire from downtown? We’re talking about a 25 percent career three-point shooter who came into last night’s game 7-for-29 on the season. Well, the 1991-92 Portland Trail Blazers didn’t think MJ could beat them with threes. The 2010-11 Rockets probably thought the same thing about Rose.

They were wrong.

And just like that, the Bulls were up 81-71 and in control of their own destiny. I’m not saying the game was over. It wasn’t. Not by a long shot. The Rockets are a scrappy team and Brad Miller — who scored 9 of his 21 points down the stretch — reminded Bulls fans of why losing him in the offseason was a bit of a bummer. And Ronnie Brewer had a personal meltdown in crunch time, missing two free throws (three, actually, but the Rockets were called for a lane violation), bricking a wide open jumper and committing three turnovers.

Overall, Brewer may have had his best game of the season (11 points, 5-for-7, 3 steals) and the Bulls were +16 when he was on the floor. But man, I thought he’d changed sides in the last few minutes.

Still, Rose — who scored 33 points (13-for-20) to go along with 7 assists and 3 steals — saved the Bulls on a night when Luol Deng (6-for-21), Taj Gibson (1-for-9) and Joakim Noah (a team-worst plus-minus score of -18) just couldn’t seem to get it going. Derrick received some timely help from Brewer, Omer Asik (6 points, 5 rebounds, +16) and especially Kyle Korver (10 points, 3-for-5, 6 rebounds, 4 assists, 3 steals).

No doubt about it. Chicago’s bench came up huge.

And it’s a good thing too. Particularly considering the Bulls nearly choked this game away with missed foul shots (13 of them), turnovers (20 of them) and points given up off turnovers (29 of them). Chicago was also outscored in the paint 44-39 despite the ongoing absence of Yao Ming.

But sometimes having a superstar and a spark off the bench will get you through.

The Bulls are going to need both — and then some — tonight in San Antonio.

Recap, Box Score, Play-By-Play, Shot Chart, Photos.

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12 Responses to Circus Trip: Bulls 95, Rockets 92

    Tony C. November 17, 2010 at 3:06 pm #

    Wow indeed. With Deng, Gibson and even Noah playing below par, it is a tribute to Rose’s will that the Bulls came away with a win.

    It was a frustrating game in many respects, and the Bulls will obviously have to play much better in order to stand a chance against San Antonio. But the good news is that I won’t have to listen to Clyde Drexler, who is a particularly excruciating example of the typically inverse relationship between basketball accomplishments, and the ability to comment intelligently on the game.

  2. Inception November 17, 2010 at 3:52 pm #

    man oh man…keep it up d-rose.

    BoppinBob November 17, 2010 at 4:13 pm #

    IMO this is a good sign for the Bulls team this early in the season. They found a way to win a “should win” game when they played poorly. The bench which has played so-so early in the season stepped in and picked up the starters who did not play well. Rose is beginning to live up to the “super star” label he has been seeded by the Chicago media and fans, he put the Bulls on his back and carried them to a victory. Korver is doing what was expected of him, shooting almost 52% from the field and almosst 61% from 3-pt range. Brewer is rounding into shape and Asik is continuing to surprise. Maybe Korver should get sometime at PG, I just sayin’. I think we are watching the payoff of Gar-Pax team building. Kudos to Gar-Pax.

    Adrian November 17, 2010 at 4:56 pm #

    have you guys seen this?–-bulls-pinch-kyle-korver/

  5. Anonymous November 17, 2010 at 5:24 pm #

    why are so many people bashing on clyde ? he wasnt saying anything dumb, i was paying attention more to the game, but what i heard from him wasnt something i would roll my eyes or face palm at like a george bush speech, do yo people really expect him to disect every player like hubie brown ? jeff van gundy ? now thats one dumb mother#@$%

    rose really went to another level last night. the kid looks focused. 2nd unit looking better defense is looking solid. omer asi, brewer and korver are really putting in work. good win. shout outs to clyde the glyde, and a F.U. to all you idiots hanging on to his every word.

  6. TBF November 17, 2010 at 5:52 pm #

    This is another sign that this Bulls team is so much better than last year. Yet again, we managed to get a win when we played less than our best ball. Last year, we wouldn’t have won this.

    Derrick Rose simply carried us down the stretch. That’s what bona fide superstars do. They will their teams to wins.

    Ronnie Brewer has been impressing me lately, hopefully he can keep it up. Kyle Korver’s defense has been improved as well.

    Asik gets a shout-out. His offense is limited to dunks, basically, but he seems to get at least 1 or 2 a game. Chipping in 6-8 points and 5-6 rebounds a game while playing some pretty solid defense is good out of him this early. Like it.

    Gorditadog November 17, 2010 at 5:57 pm #

    What was with Lu last night? He looked like Jake Stevens, fantasy team owner.

    Enigmatik November 17, 2010 at 9:47 pm #

    I was at the game last night…and Rose did shrug on his way down the court after he hit that last 3 pointer. Classic.

  9. Bleed Cubbie Blue November 17, 2010 at 11:28 pm #

    Rose is the truth. What more needs to be said?

    Andre November 17, 2010 at 11:55 pm #

    Reminds me a lot of boston’s plays and formations.

    inkybreath November 18, 2010 at 1:39 am #

    Goodness, that second unit energy was palpable! Brewer was clearly hobbled early on, as he has shown a huge amount of spring in his step, with this game standing out.

    We are looking pretty lucky to have a shooting point, a good slasher and a marksman on the second unit along with the Perdue/Kukoc lovechild that is Omer, when all of them seem to be getting better stronger and more comfortable as the season moves.

    —Boppin: Korver at PG. I may have thought about this a little more before watching this game. Remember when Korver got the ball out ahead on the break? It did not look pretty, I remember feeling scared for him.


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