Game 37 Recap: Bulls 95, Pistons 82

I have to admit, watching the Pistons — a hapless 12-win team with only three road victories on the season — build a 12-point halftime lead in the United Center was a little frustrating.

I wasn’t the only one who was frustrated. You could see irritation in the face of the normally mild mannered Derrick Rose when he uncharacteristically slammed the basketball down in anger after Detroit’s Austin Daye scored an easy layup near the end of the second quarter. That’s when Rose did what great players do.

He stepped up his game.

Rose scored 11 points in the third quarter as the Bulls outscored the Pistons 33-15 coming out of the break. Then, early in the fourth, with the game still in doubt, Rose dropped the hammer.

I know Bulls fans have seen some amazing dunks over the years — the United Center is the house Michael Jordan built after all — but is this kid for real? Seriously, is he for real?

Said Carlos Boozer: “That was a great play. That has to be the number one play on SportsCenter, on WGN, on NBATV, and whatever other channels [people] are watching the Bulls games. He went up and got that ball and threw it in so hard. To me, that was a backbreaker, even though we had a whole ‘nother quarter to play … we all got hyped on the bench. He does some special things every night, but that was special for us tonight.”

That wasn’t the game…but it was the game. You know?

Rose would finish with a game-high 29 points on 10-for-20 from the field and 9-for-9 from the line. He added a game-best 7 assists, 5 rebounds, 2 steals and a blocked shot.

Boozer came through with another big double-double (27 points and 11 rebounds) and Luol Deng had a nice all-around game (17 points, 8 rebounds, 4 assists, 3 steals and a block).

I’m glad the Bulls took care of business at home against a bad team. I’m glad the defense came to life in the second half after taking the first 24 minutes off. But I won’t lie. I’m a little concerned.

First, I hate that the team goes through stretches where the defense is inconsistent at best or non-existent at worst. Detroit is one of the league’s worst offensive teams, and yet they scored 30 points in the second quarter and finished the first half with 55.

The Bulls held the Pistons to only 27 points in the second half — 15 in the third quarter and then 12 in the fourth — but, personally, I would have like to have seen the team take control early and maybe get the starters some rest.

Speaking of which, that’s the second thing that worries me. Deng once again logged 40-plus minutes, finishing the night with 44. Rose played 43 minutes. Boozer finished with 36. Thomas and his creaky kneed with for 30 while Omer Asik saw only five.

Ronnie Brewer saw big minutes off the bench — 32 of them — and had a solid outing (11 points, 6 assists, 2 rebounds and a block). But C.J. Watson (five minutes) and Kyle Korver (four minutes) barely played enough time to break a sweat.

And how about the scoring burden? It’s predictable that Rose, Boozer and Deng would have to do most of the heavy lifting. But the other two starters combined for three points (Thomas was scoreless in his 30 minutes). Korver, Watson and Asik all finished with zero points in their limited PT. Which means only six players scored for the Bulls last night while four went scoreless and another (Keith Bogans) finished with three points on one made field goal.

I’m not trying to nitpick, but Detroit ranks 25th in Defensive Rating, giving up 110.2 points per 100 possessions. I’d kind of like to see better scoring distribution.

I might be less worried if the Bulls weren’t facing down a tough four-game stretch: at Charlotte, at Indiana, versus the Heat and then at Memphis. The Bobcats, Pacers and Grizzlies aren’t great teams by any stretch of the imagination, but road games against sub-.500 teams aren’t always gimmies. Just look at what the Nets and Sixers did to the Bulls last week.

Again, I’m pleased with the victory and the continuing dominance of Rose, but the Bulls need to play good defense for 48 minutes and get everybody involved in the offense.

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

18 Responses to Game 37 Recap: Bulls 95, Pistons 82

    Gorditadog January 11, 2011 at 5:05 pm #

    Matt, I am with you- I hate to see Derrick and Lu have to play that many minutes. Second quarter was painful to watch, when Detroit went big I thought that was a perfect time to get Korver some minutes, but he couldn’t guard Daye, meanwhile Brewer was having a tough time with McGrady, and Tayshaun just kept taking Lu to the hole. I was thinking we really miss Noah.

    Scottie Pimpin January 11, 2011 at 6:49 pm #

    people do know that only 3 players are back from last seaon right ? some players are coming back from injuries, our defensive motor is out with a cast on his arm. and the coaching staff is brand new

    chemistry just isnt there yet. still with all that being said we are winning games. and i dont care what you say, everyone any every NBA team has game, its no easy win for anyone. its not like in the past where last place teams really sucked, plus the oppositio seem to be energized to play the bulls, so people need to realize that too.

    BoppinBob January 11, 2011 at 7:46 pm #

    @Scottie Pimpin there are 5 players back from last year (Rose Noah, Deng, Gibson and Johnson). But I agree with you that this team is still building chemistry. They will continue that process for a while after Noah gets healthy.

    I would really like to see JJ get a long stretch of games where he plays 12 to 18 minutes. My guess is that he is not playing because he is having problems doing what the coaches want him to do on a consistent basis. JJ has talen, but does he have the basketball IQ to harness that talent?

    If you look back at the season splits over Bogans career he is a streaky shooter. I would like to see him at least move to the second unit while he tries to find his stroke.

    Scottie Pimpin January 11, 2011 at 8:23 pm #

    your right, i forgot about taj, where is he anyways ?

    i would say 4, because JJ never plays. though i too wold like to see JJ in there for a few plays, but i think the games have been so tight that theres no time to plug him in. last time we saw him was when we masscared philly ? for that 40 something point win.

    NBA aint easy, JJ still adjusting, and even rose is still a work in progress.

    and that dunk , whoa ! rose looked like a 6’10 power foward on that alley oop, that play was nice.

    Chuck January 11, 2011 at 8:43 pm #

    JJ needs some court time to let Deng rest a minute or two. It is insane that Deng is logging this many minutes. He will be dead when the playoffs roll around.
    They really miss Noah and my main concern is being ready and healthy for the playoffs. The Bulls will likely be a 3 or 4 seed so the likely matchup will be Atlanta or the 76ers. Neither of those will be easy outs.

    BFD January 11, 2011 at 9:38 pm #

    I have a good topic for debate…

    Which one of Coach Thibbs’s stubborn decisions will wind up costing us in the playoffs?

    Starting Keith Bogans over Brewer so that the Bulls wind up in the hole every game of the playoffs as opposing defenses play 4 on 5?


    Luol Deng having to use a wheelchair because he got injured from playing too many minutes earlier in the season?

    Chuck January 11, 2011 at 10:06 pm #

    Starting Bogans is more indefensivable than riding Deng into the ground. Deng really has no backup if you buy into Thibbs thinking that JJ is unplayable. Korver is probably the closest to a backup 3. He can fill Deng’s role on offense as the lead distance gunner, but can’t play D remotely like Deng.

    Tony C. January 11, 2011 at 10:23 pm #

    BFD –

    In the last 14 games, the Bulls have been net losers of the first and third quarters three times. I’d like to see the Bulls with a better SG, too, but starting Bogans is not putting the team “in a hole” in anything remotely like “every” game.

    Gorditadog January 11, 2011 at 10:38 pm #

    I agree, it’s got to be Deng. It looks like Kyle is in Tibs’ doghouse right now, and he’s been the only rotation backup to Lu this year, so Lu had to play 44 minutes yesterday. He looked like he was running a Marathon in the 4th quarter last night- I was pulling for him to make it back over the half-court line on each possession.

    Either JJ needs to play some, or else Bogans can get more minutes and Brewer can slide up to the 3. What do you think BFD?

  10. TBF January 12, 2011 at 1:24 am #

    Why do you keep defending Bogans, Tony? Does he have embarrassing pictures of you and Thibs or something? Is that why he keeps starting? It’s all I can think of at this point.

    Yeah, we weren’t “in a hole” net for the quarter; he didn’t play the whole quarter. Look at his +/- numbers. By and large, they’re bad. He’s shooting less than 30% from downtown, when he even bothers to shoot at all. He can’t feed anyone in the post because his man can just sag off of him all day. He’s a complete non-factor in any offensive gameplan. Frankly, his defense hasn’t been anything to write home about either. He racks up a ton of bad fouls.

    I know, he’s not playing starters minutes. I’m upset that he’s playing *any* minutes. He’s garbage. We could find someone off the street who’d be more effective at this point.

    BFD January 12, 2011 at 1:41 am #

    Tony C – Yes, the bulls have won the majority of the 1st and 3rd quarters over vastly inferior teams (although, he has a plus/minus of -30 over the past 5 games which shows that when he was on the floor – the Bulls have been “in a hole”). I am however talking about the season that really matters…the post season.

    Against the good teams, the teams that currently sit over .500, the Bulls are 5-8 so far this year. In those 13 games, Bogans plus/minus is -50. That number becomes -64 when you remove a game against the Nuggets early in the season which we won, at home, and he shot 4/7 in 28 minutes of action (what happened to that Keith Bogans?).

    That means, most of the time, the Bulls are down by at least 5 points against these same teams we will be playing later on in the year.

    Gorditadog – I’d REALLY rather not give Bogans more PT (see the above argument), but would rather that time went to Korver, Brewer, while trying to give JJ 5-10 minutes a game to get his feet a little bit wet.

    Tony C. January 12, 2011 at 2:14 am #

    BFD –

    Do you really believe that the main reason that the Bulls were beaten by those teams is because Bogans was starting?

    Also, please link to where you are getting those stats.


    BFD January 12, 2011 at 3:59 am #

    Tony C – Do you really think that he is helping the team in those situations? All the evidence seems to point to him not contributing on offense with things trending downward. And despite his rep as a great system defender, he doesn’t seem to get many steals or blocks and I can’t remember the last time I’ve seen him shut down a true scoring guard (if I even have).

    As for where I got this information…I couldn’t find any good site that lists +/- I’m sorry to say. I had to go through ESPN’s game logs and write it down by hand. Feel free to double check my work, I know I am not infallible.

    Tony C. January 12, 2011 at 4:48 am #

    BFD –

    It’s not that I believe that he’s helping, but rather that I’m not fully convinced that, given the current roster, it would be very helpful to start someone else.

    If the Bulls can upgrade through a trade – great. If not, then again, to my mind, minutes played, and who plays at crunch time is far more important to me (and I imagine Thibs) than who starts.

    J January 12, 2011 at 5:04 am #

    I would like to see more of JJ.

    BFD January 12, 2011 at 3:04 pm #

    Tony C. – I agree that crunch time is important…but it shouldn’t be exclusive either. I think the Bulls would wind up expending less energy if they would at least start with their best unit on the floor. I don’t see why Brewer can’t just play first 6 minutes of the 1st quarter instead of the second half of the first quarter. Then we would (in theory at least) grab the momentum and the lead early in the game so that we can rest guys. Then when the other team starts to go on a run we just reinsert guys as needed, just like every other championship caliber team I’ve ever seen.

    Tony C. January 12, 2011 at 3:34 pm #

    The important difference, though, between the Bulls and other championship caliber teams, is that it is very likely that we are still one piece away.

    Should be interesting – and fun – to watch, in any case.


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