Circus Trip: Bulls 96, Kings 85

Last night, the Bulls beat the Kings. For the record, the Kings have lost 10 of their last 11 games and were clobbered 100-82 by the Clippers during their last outing.

By beating a bad team, Chicago wrapped up their seven-game circus road trip with a 4-3 record, a mere one game over .500. In many ways, what they accomplished doesn’t seem like a big deal. And it’s not…

…it’s a huge deal.

See, the Bulls didn’t just beat the Kings last night. They didn’t just come up with a win at the tail end of a long road trip on the second night of back-to-backs which also happened to be their fourth game in five nights.

No, Chicago also defeated history. Since Michael Jordan retired in 1998, the Bulls had gone 10-61 on their annual circus trip. Last season, they went 1-5.

So by winning last night’s game, the Bulls overcame more than a decade’s worth of psychological baggage and a seeming belief that “We can’t do this.” I can tell you that I’ve seen a lot of giving up on this trip during the post-Jordan years.

The Kings came out on fire and the Bulls stumbled out of the gates, falling behind 57-44 at the half. But the Bullies didn’t quit. During the third quarter, they chipped away at Sacramento’s lead. During the fourth, they turned their defense up to 11 and Derrick Rose (30 points, 7 rebounds, 7 assists) orchestrated a 27-9 blitzkrieg that broke his opponents’ will.

Said Luol Deng: 

“Derrick is great, I think he’s the best point guard in the league right now. He can carry us a lot. He makes all of us better players.”

Rose has some stiff competition in the “best point guard in the league” category. But he sure can carry those Bulls. The great thing is…he doesn’t always have to.

Deng finished with 20 points, a game-best 14 free throw attempts and a game-high plus-minus score of +20. Joakim Noah contributed 17 points, 8 rebounds, 5 assists, 4 steals and 2 blocked shots. Kyle Korver (8 points, 5 rebounds, +15) and Ronnie Brewer (10 boards, 8 points, +12) both provided a big lift off the bench.

Were these guys determined? How else do you explain a road weary team running out for 20 fast break points and earning a 33-17 advantage in free throw attempts on the road?

These Bulls don’t quit. They just don’t.

Said Noah: “This is a game where there were a lot of excuses. Four games in five nights. Carmelo hitting that shot [Friday]. Injuries. People make a lot of excuses, but at the end of the day you got to go out there and you got to play. I think that that’s what we’ve done so far.”

ESPNChicago’s Nick Friedell says the team’s new attitude comes from coach Tom Thibodeau. It’s hard to argue. Despite the fact that Carlos Boozer hasn’t played a single game, everything about this year’s team feels different than last year’s squad.

Noah agrees…but also thinks much of it comes from within the players: “Where does that competitive spirit come from? I think it’s just our character. It’s our character. We’re a team that, we dig in, we dig deep, and that’s something that not everybody has.”

That’s something the Bulls didn’t always have last season…or the last 1o-plus years. But they have it now.

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

17 Responses to Circus Trip: Bulls 96, Kings 85

    Andre November 28, 2010 at 3:14 pm #

    regarding the point guard situation d-rose didnt get many assists because of del negro horrible offense now he can score and assist and hang with d-will rondo and cp3 in the conversation.also if a team thinks they can stop d-rose they can stop da bulls think again.

    Andre November 28, 2010 at 3:15 pm #

    p.s: Theres no such thing as STOPPING d-rose

    bullsfandom November 28, 2010 at 4:48 pm #

    And to think, all this without Booz to boot.

    Chi4life da Bulls November 28, 2010 at 5:15 pm #

    D Rose his Knick Name is UNSTOPPABLE there is not one other name that fits him so nicely I cannot think of one player in the league that can guard him, last nights game was just another reason why I know UNSTOPPABLE will not only be the MVP of the bulls but in the league for many years maybe this year maybe but if not he will win it multiple times that is almost a certainty. Good news finally Boozer will be back soon and we as fans will get the chance to see if he is exactly what the bulls have needed but as for now they are so good they have suprised me in ways of there play on court as a team with there never say die determination looking forward to blowing some teams out this team is gonna do great things I said it b4 this is the best team since (23) and (33) were on the bulls yes fans watch the wait is not gonna be long finally we have a championship type team that is built to win for many years to come, Gar and Pax don’t mess this up and make a bad move breaking it up just for mello he has denver by the balls and if he wants to come n play here he will only take a trade to the bulls therefore be smart stay the course if he does not come here oh well we can win without him good example other night in Denver even though we lost we still won on another level . peace

    Evan November 28, 2010 at 7:02 pm #

    Here’s a comment from Sactown Royalty that interested me:

    On a side note, I was pretty disenchanted with JT one of those final plays, when he saw Beno on the floor and rather than helping him up, just walked away and Chicago’s Deng went over to help Beno off the floor. I think there is more going on in that locker room than any of us know.

    This makes me happy that the Bulls have fantastic team chemistry.

  6. Inception November 28, 2010 at 7:56 pm #

    i have to admit, CHI has exceeded my expectations on this road trip…they competed in every game and were a buzzer-beater away from going 5-2….i just hope we don’t have to face MIA in the first round of the playoffs…as bad as they’ve been playing, that’s one team you don’t want to face in the 1st round.

    Luke November 28, 2010 at 8:18 pm #

    I think the “best point guard” conversation needs to continue….. but first, people need to drop all prior reputations they have about DWill and Paul. I believe Rose is the best Point guard this season…. what he has done in the first 15 games is better than what the other two guys have done in their first 15 or so games.

    Rondo cannot be included in this conversation. Yes, he racks up the assists… but he passes up open lay-ups to get a lot of those, plus he has 4 future hall of famers on his team. Rondo does two things- Assists and Steals. Sorry, but if I am talking about the best point guard in the league, he needs to have more production than that.

    What separates Rose from Williams and Paul this year is his ability to take over the game. I see Paul and Williams as leaders who orchestrate their team while on the court and make sure everyone is doing their job. But Rose takes the game into his own hands and simply dominates. It doesn’t matter what position, there are plenty of teams who would kill for a guy who can take control the way DRose can.

    Scottie Pimpin November 29, 2010 at 6:25 am #

    i wouldnt have been disapointed if thy lost this game. any team on any given night can win. thats how good the NBA is today.

    but these bulls man, wow. the iron horse in noah and rose just keeps suprising me, i mean i knew he was good, but i really had no idea he was this good, and everybody brings something to the table on this roster.

    you know things are looking bright when you jump out of your chair after seeing a 7 foot european rookie slam it down, da bulls are back baby !

    Scottie Pimpin November 29, 2010 at 6:54 am #

    one final note. Leave Luol Alone, hes a bull for life…….deal with it !

    zillaa November 29, 2010 at 7:10 am #

    Actually, since it was brought up, there is a chance that the difference between “MVP” and “Point Guard” could end up making Rose a top-3 MVP candidate with 25+ PPG and 9-10 APG, but still be #4 or even #5 on a (somewhat idiotic) list of point guards. The way they talk about point guards, you get the feeling they would say Tim Hardaway in his prime was a terrible PG because he got 20-10 when he could have had 14-13.

    Sorry, but if the role of a PG isn’t in the form of Stockton/Marc Jackson, they are still a point guard until they stop initiating the offense and getting others involved.

    BigUpsTo#15 November 29, 2010 at 12:42 pm #

    I’m studying for my law finals and decided to take a study break, and naturally go to either basketbawful and/or this blog for a quick read and because of this line, ” they turned their defense up to 11,” my 10min break turned into an hour of watching clips from “This is Spinal Tap.”

    Awesome reference Matt

    BigUpsTo#15 November 29, 2010 at 12:54 pm #

    Meant to include this in my previous post…

    “Why don’t you just make ten louder and make ten be the top number and make that a little louder?”
    [pause]”These go to eleven.”

    BigUpsTo#15 November 29, 2010 at 12:59 pm #

    If the the scale of energy is 1-10 and the Bulls have the flawless logic of Nigel thus deciding to amp up their energy level to 11 then it would be physically impossible for any team in the NBA to match up with them. I sense great things happening this year.

    It’s time for the Bulls to remind the NBA of the order of things.

    Chi4life da Bulls November 29, 2010 at 2:20 pm #

    great point pimpin Leave Deng out of yr bad comments he is a good solid player loyal and hard working on both ends of the court he is a Bull and if yr a fan support him or shut up talking bad about him his game is tops among small forwards in the league and as for his heart it has very few equals at his position I back lou and at the sake of sounding crazy I say keep lou don’t trade him for mello unless and only unless it only involves lou and some picks for if we trade more than that we have set our self up to be weak on the bench as we stand now we have a sold bench any other trade besides that for mello is gonna hurt this team Go lou I see yr game has improved you have that swagger coming back and for any non believers prove them wrong so they eat there words they speak badly of you Go bulls.

    DS November 29, 2010 at 2:51 pm #


    I think Friedell has to be right about the coaching being the difference this year. The core of our roster is essentially the same: DRose, Noah, Deng, and Gibson. All we’ve done is sub out Brad Miller and Hinrich for Bogans/Korver/Brewer/Watson/Asik. Sure, Noah, Gibson, and Rose are all markedly improved from last year, but I’m not sure their individual development alone gets you from 1-5 to 4-3 on this road trip against the quality teams they faced. This is making me very excited about Thibodeau.

    One problem with your post: how could you not post Stacey King’s call of the DRose crossover?? Here it is for you: “Almost came out his Nikes!” God, if there was a prize for the best broadcaster who was an absolutely useless player, Stacey King has to be in the running.

    Mahmoud November 29, 2010 at 3:40 pm #

    Also fun to notice is that the Bulls are FIRST in the NBA in terms of strength of schedule, and have played more than half of their games on the road. I was looking at the schedule, there’s a stretch from mid december to January where I think it’s very conceivable we don’t lose. Fifth on Hollinger’s power rankings as well; he also has us being the two seed in the East. Statistically, these Bulls are as good as anyone.

    A complete side note, did anyone see that Tyrus is in the top ten in the league in PER? I used to be a big believer in PER but that kinda ruined it for me.

    Andre November 30, 2010 at 12:38 am #


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