Game 51 Recap: Bulls 91, Jazz 86

Last night, the Cleveland Cavaliers Cadavers lost their 26th game in a row, which ties the all-time record for the longest losing streak in the four major professional sports.

I bring this up because Chicago’s two-game losing streak — which ended last night in Utah — seemed to last forever. It’s probably a sign that a team is pretty good when dropping back-to-back games makes it feel like the sky is falling.

Meanwhile, it’s raining frogs and brimstone in Cleveland. But that’s another story.

As for the Bulls, looking at the box score, you have to wonder how they won this one. The Jazz shot better, won the rebounding battle, had more assists and blocked more shots.

The Bulls, on the other hand, converted only 39 percent of their field goal attempts and, once again, got exploited by opposing big men. Al Jefferson scored 26 points on 12-for-19 shooting to go with 8 rebounds and 2 blocked shots. Paul Milsap had 20 points, 14 boards, 3 assists, 2 steals and a blocked shot.

But beyond that, Chicago’s defense kind of came through, holding a Jazz team that ranked 12th in PPG (99.6) 13.6 points below their average. On the season, Utah ranks 9th in the league in Offensive Rating at 108.8. Last night, the Bulls held them to an Offensive Rating of 96.8. For some perspective on that number, the poor Cavaliers Cadavers rank dead last (get it?) in the NBA with an Offensive Rating of 100.6.

It helped that the Bulls held the Jazz to 1-for-8 from beyond the arc. The Jazz helped the Bulls by missing 10 of their 21 free throw attempts.

It didn’t hurt that Derrick Rose (29 points, 7 assists, 3 rebounds and a steal) didn’t get embarrassed the way he was by Andre Miller in Portland. By now, everybody’s heard Nicolas Batum’s already infamous “He can’t play defense” line. And as one-game samples go, Miller’s obliteration of Rose’s D was pretty damning. But, then again, LaBradford Smith once dropped 37 points on Michael Jordan, in Chicago no less, and we all know how that turned out.

So, really, it came as no surprise to me that, after having his defensive efforts shredded and criticized in such a public fashion, that Rose held (with help) fellow All-Star Deron Williams to a notably sub-par performance.

D-Will dished out a game-best 12 assists, but he scored only 11 points (10 below his average), shot 5-for-13 (eight percentage points below his shooting average), missed all three attempts from beyond the arc (35 percentage points below his average), made only one trip to the foul line (despite averaging nearly seven free throw attempts per game) and committed a game-high 5 turnovers.

Now check out Williams’ splits. This is a guy that averages 23.3 PPG on nearly 50 percent shooting at home. I’m not saying Derrick completely shut him down, or Chicago’s help defense doesn’t deserve a big assist on this one, but Rose was hardly exploited on the defensive end in this one. Quite the opposite.

And, in the end, Rose stole the show. Literally.

Nick Friedell of ESPNChicago writes: “In the Bulls’ minds, the steal Rose made on Williams was the play of the game. Williams got the ball and was headed up the floor with just over a minute left and the Bulls clinging to a one-point lead. Seemingly out of nowhere, Rose came racing up the floor from behind and popped the ball away from his counterpart. The entire sequence exemplified the type of all-around night that Rose delivered.”

Said Bulls coach Tom Thibodeau: “Huge. That was a great hustle play. That’s what we needed. That basically wins the game and then Ronnie [Brewer] made a big steal too. Offensively we struggled all night … I thought our defense was a lot better tonight.”

That defense forced Williams into three straight turnovers down the stretch. Then Rose and Brewer drilled clutch free throws to ice the game.

That’s the thing. It was a total team effort. Sure, Rose scored 11 points in the fourth, but Boozer also hit a couple big shots, and he pulled down a huge offensive rebound and dished to Kurt Thomas for a short jumper with 3:18 left that extended Chicago’s lead to 82-79. Boozington also stole a pass by Williams with 33 ticks on the clock (one Jazz possession after Rose’s big steal). And let’s not forget Kyle Korver’s three-bomb with 2:16 remaining. Or Ronnie Brewer’s steal on Williams with seven seconds left that really and truly ended things.

It’s funny. Utah had all five starters score in double figures. Chicago had only two players (Rose and Boozer) reach double figures in scoring. But the Bulls played better team ball…as evidenced by their 25-5 edge in bench points.

In the end, the Bulls just wanted it more.

Said Thibs: “The thing that I did like was that I thought the mental toughness at the end [was there]. To do what we had to do to come up with the win. To come up with some loose balls, to hustle, when you do that you give yourself a chance.”

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

33 Responses to Game 51 Recap: Bulls 91, Jazz 86

    Wes R February 10, 2011 at 1:44 pm #

    The game was very uneven for both teams. Outside of DRose, the starters had mostly quiet games. Boozer was playing with a strange tentative aggression. Not quite going hard enough to force the defense to be out of position, it led to more blocked shots, short jumpers, and non-calls. Thankfully, the bench more than picked up the slack when it came to points, rebounds, and essentially energy.

    To be fair, Deron Williams is probably still working his way back from his wrist injury (this being game 4 since his return). DRose didn’t give him a lot of good looks through most of 3 quarters, with his two field goals coming on layups late in the second quarter when DRose was playing with 2 fouls.

    Two more tough games against New Orleans and San Antonio, and then it’s time for the All-Star break!

  2. Inception February 10, 2011 at 2:02 pm #

    WOW, that steal by Rose was something else….perfect timing along with that crazy sprint.

    BoppinBob February 10, 2011 at 2:27 pm #

    Team defense wins games and championships. While the Bulls offense could definitely be better, their defense is good enough to swing things their, especially when they turn it up like they did at the end of the Utah game. While Boozer and Deng seemed to struggle offensively, the bench did a good offensive job. I believe we will see many more games like the Utah game than we will see games like the Portland game.

    Luke February 10, 2011 at 2:30 pm #

    I dont know what game everyone was watching, but DRose did not play good defense. Sure, he had that steal at the end… but come on. You gotta look past Williams’ stats. He could have scored at will against rose and I wasn’t quite sure why he wasn’t. Watch the replays of some of his drives…. Rose barely makes it one side step in either direction before Williams is already around him. I thought it was embarrassing. Boozer and Rose did not play very good defense at all… but for whatever reason, Williams didn’t take advantage.

    I am not saying I don’t think Rose is a good defender… I think with his quickness he tends to stay in front of his guy most of the time… but last night was not one of those nights. He seemed lazy and/or mentally out of it on the defensive end.

  5. Jimmy February 10, 2011 at 5:05 pm #

    I agree with Luke that Rose did not play great D yesterday. I was too suprised of D-Will inability to capitalize on many drives (or opportunities to drive). That being said, Rose showed why he a better PG than D-Will because of the killer instinct he showed come 4th quarter. With the game close, Rose took over with the clutch 3 pointer with 3 seconds on the shotclock and the steal on D-Will. D-Will failed to turn it on late, and consequently caused TOs instead of making shots.

    Also lets give some love to Asik! I know my man Stacey King already gave him alot of credit during the game, but Asik played with (mind my language) cojones on offense for the first time this season. Hopefully he keeps this up, because his flare off the bench won us the game.

    Mark February 10, 2011 at 5:06 pm #

    The revenge game by Jordan on LaBradford Smith was just awesome. Great find on YouTube!

    chitown4life February 10, 2011 at 5:22 pm #

    MVP , MVP DROSe he is a beast if he does not win this year as well as the bulls go deep into the playoffs and maybe into the championship from the winner in the west this would be a bad year in my eyes. I saw the game Rose played his butt off and the rest of the team did what they had to do to win, I say Rose played D Williams best he could and if he did not score it was not because he did not want too he knows Rose has a high veritcal don’t want to be shooting to much with Rose near you might be rejected. Go Bulls…

    Luke February 10, 2011 at 5:43 pm #

    Chitown, its getting easier to read your comments haha. But as to what you said, I don’t think Williams was too worried about DRose blocking his lay-ups. :36, 2:00

    I wish I could show you links to the comcast broadcast of the game to show you what I am talking about… but you can go to and look at their highlight real… look at DWill’s drive at 0:36… that is just one example of how easy he was driving. Then at 2:00, on Utah’s last possession, the ball is forced from his hands, but not because of rose… Nope, its Big Sexy stepping up for Rose who is chasing Williams.

    There were only 2 things I was disappointed with… 1.) Boozer’s play (Both the forcing of his offense and the lack of defense), seemingly because he was letting all the “Back Home” stuff distract him, and 2.) Rose’s one-on-one defense. He was playing man-up defense as if his legs were 48 years old and had no lateral movement left.

    Ivo February 10, 2011 at 7:22 pm #

    I just read through a long summary of the game and 6 comments and only one guy remotely mentions that “Deng struggled offensively”?

    Seriously? This is the guy you are hyping up to be an All-Star, the guy that is so helpful on offense, great mid-range jumper…all just a load of crap.

    Luol Deng showed last night (as he’s shown many a nights before) that he cannot consistently help Rose with the scoring…and if he doesn’t which guard/small forward will?

    Kurt Thomas had as many points as him, and Deng played 40+ minutes!!

    He continuously hit rim after rim, could not get by his man to save his life, and was just a wax figure on offense. And this happens sooooo often.

    I am really surprised no one brought this up.

    Savage February 10, 2011 at 8:26 pm #

    Ivo, you are playing on the jumps to conclusions mat aren’t you? Deng is averaging 17.6 points, 6.2 boards, 2.5 assists, just under 1 steal a game and shooting 34.4% from downtown not to mention a team high 39 minutes per game. He would not play so many minutes if the team did not need him greatly. So while he had a bad game against the Jazz to spout so much trash about how bad he is is going much too far. He is a valuable member to this Bulls squad we need not go any further then that.

  11. Jimmy February 10, 2011 at 9:21 pm #


    The problem with Deng is he decides to take games off. Boozer was getting owned in the paint, and Deng needed to step up. We are lucky that Utah shot poorly at the line and behind the line…

    inkybreath February 10, 2011 at 9:54 pm #

    Sloan stepping down?

    We killed another coach!

    GotNext February 11, 2011 at 3:45 am #

    Luke, I’m going to clue you in a little bit. ANY point guard in the NBA can blow past anybody 1v1. If you think he got embarrassed against D will, than you must not have watched the Portland game. Derrick stepped up on D against UTAH, and played D will as good 1v1 as you will EVER see.
    Rose still needs to improve on D significantly, but if he plays like he did against UTAH, I will take that any day. The game was not decided by those 2 plays (lol) you are talking about. If you try hard enough you can “expose” anybody, even your best defenders.

    Wes R February 11, 2011 at 4:38 am #

    It’s unfortunate that people will measure defense based solely on how many blocks or steals a player gets. This a major reason why LeBron and Wade seem to be perceived as excellent defenders, despite taking frequent gambles, and letting players blow by them so that they can make the more spectacular looking weak side block.

    Additionally, some will say it’s based on how many points that they scored.

    Based on how the Bulls defensive scheme works, I will still contend that DRose’s defensive instincts are far improved from previous seasons. Based on the scheme, there are situations where a given player isn’t trying to stop dribble penetration, but funneling them to the baseline. Now, if someone misses an assignment, it will look like DRose gave up a layup.

    To be fair, DRose isn’t perfect. A D Will 4th quarter layup was a lack of focus on his part, turning his head expecting for a potential pass that never happened. (The two 2nd quarter layups? DRose letting him go then risk picking up a 3rd foul.)

    inkybreath February 11, 2011 at 4:54 am #

    Just checked on JJ in the D-League:

    6 games, 30 minutes a game:

    19 pts, 8 rebs, 4.5 ast, 2.2 blks, .7 stl
    .575 FG%, .273 3ptFG%, .906 FT%, 2.7 TO

    Luke February 11, 2011 at 5:31 am #

    No, i agree with a lot of what you guys are saying… he has improved his defense, the portland game was far worse, and the 1st half he was playing with the fouls. But the first thing I noticed in the second half was that there seemed to be no change in him from the end of the 1st to the start of the 2nd (Halves). Normally he does play better. And I know that 1v1 any point guard is going to get around you, but I remember 3 plays where Rose looked as if the defensive scheme was to allow DWill to drive and either dish or shoot. I cannot find the clips of them. I was discussing this with my buddy while we were watching. But he was also getting it done at the other end (That shot to end the half or 3rd quarter, along the baseline on the drive, was unbelievable; plus the 3 in the corner with the shot clock at 3).

  17. Inception February 11, 2011 at 2:26 pm #

    everyone relax…Rose is a 3rd year player….things will get better….2nd year is this system should be a treat for us fans….it’s a process people!

    Paul February 11, 2011 at 4:10 pm #

    On the whole “D-Will had his way” argument…

    D-Will is perhaps the best pick-and-roll PG in the league… and the PNR is one of the toughest plays to defend. So Rose wasn’t set up for success here.

    Check out this other blog (fantastic for people who love to analyze the game) about how Thibs’ PNR defense strategy works. A big take-away is that the PG defender isn’t really the primary person to defend it. It’s more about how the screener’s defender swarms the ball, and how the other off-the-play defenders rotate. Sure, D-Rose has to recover (which his speed lets him do quickly). But the way Boozer/Thomas/Asik/Gibson play the swarm and how the off players react is why D-Will had some easy baskets or assists.

    Defense is a TEAM thing. Each player has to do their part. Thankfully Joakim returns soon…

  19. tony-o February 11, 2011 at 4:54 pm #

    I hope to see Rose “the best player in the league to me” keep using that speed and athleticism on D. If he can shut down Williams scoring, Rondo’s passing lanes, and C. Paul’s whatevery thing else, Rose would not only be MVP canidate, he would Championship contenter #1. And I would also love to see him go back to Golden state and just take over like he was supposed to. Oh Yeah, go back to Portland and block a couple of Andre Miller’s shots. But LaMarcu Aldridge is another story, Boozer and Taj’s story. Overall, D. Rose is the Coldest.

    BoppinBob February 11, 2011 at 5:00 pm #

    Team defense wins championships, not individual 1v1 defense. As a team the Bulls sucked in the Clipper and Blazer games. As a team they performed very well against Utah. I personally do not see that Rose is any sort of weakness for the Bulls team defense. Rose is definitely not a shut down defender but he does an above average job in team defense, and that is what counts if you are working for a championship. It is too early to tell whether the Bulls are in a position to seriously challenge for the championship. Noah needs to get back on the court and work into the rotation and stay healthy. I anticipate that both the defense and the offense will be considerablely stronger once Noah works back into the line-up.

    Savage February 11, 2011 at 7:18 pm #

    @Jimmy, Deng sure gets a lot of playing time for a player who takes games off. A coach like we have would not play a player that simply takes nights off. So I’m not really buying that one. Deng is a big contributor to our team and all too often fans get frustrated and take it all out on him. Is he a star no by no means. However, he is a solid SF who contributes on offense plays good defense and grabs boards. I get a bit tired of reading nothing but derogatory comments regarding him I guess.

    chitwon4life February 11, 2011 at 8:26 pm #

    @ Savage Right on way to put it in black and white. PEOPLE STOP HATING on DENG he is by far the best small forward we could have now unless we unload alot for another and who is to say he would fit better with this team than DENG does. STop it just keep that stuff out of the post Deng does a solid job so what he does not score big points every night, he plays hard each and every game. Name one player now the bulls could get that would do as much as Deng does for this team also without hurting the core players of this team via trade if not shut it ppl stop, either get on board with him or put up or shut it up about his game play our coach feels he plays hard as do I the proof is in the record we have via team ball play not just D Rose got it.

    Charlie February 12, 2011 at 5:43 pm #

    @Wes R (comment 1) dont forget about charlotte! still winless against them cats

  24. TBF February 12, 2011 at 9:19 pm #

    Notice how all the Deng haters only come out on the off-chance that he has a bad game. Interesting, I don’t hear anyone complaining about him when he drops 30 on someone.

    inkybreath February 12, 2011 at 11:17 pm #

    Random Stat:

    The Bulls have 4 players in the top 50 of combined pts/reb/ast:

    Derrick Rose – 37.3
    Carlos Boozer – 32.1
    Joakim Noah – 28.4
    Luol Deng – 26.2

    The only team with 4 players in the top 50, it appears.

    I guess this helps explain (a bit) how Bogans has been able to stay on the floor.

    Scottie Pimpin February 13, 2011 at 4:02 am #

    DO NOT TRADE OMER ASIK. we already have a good shooting guard his name is kyle “keith bogans” brewer.

    inkybreath February 13, 2011 at 5:17 am #

    No doubt!

    For one, his REB per 48 is about 14 and going up…

  28. Bam! February 13, 2011 at 2:21 pm #

    I definitely agree. Omer Asik is going to be big for us next year, while Kurt Thomas will continue declining.

    I am starting to see that there is no way the Bulls can acquire Arron Afflalo because, when Melo leaves Denver, he will be a major part of the Nuggets’ core. Right now I think he’s virtually untouchable.

    I think Bogans should stay on our roster. Next year, he will be a good backup two guard. Right now we should figure out a way to get rid of Brewer (who I dislike more than Bogans) and grab Courtney Lee or Landry Fields. Lee is probably more doable, but I like Fields better.

    BoppinBob February 13, 2011 at 4:24 pm #

    While he has not displayed the same fire that Noah has, Asik has shown a lot of other similar attributes to his game. Asik has been a pleasant surprize with his production so far this season. We have gotten a lot of valuable minutes from him. If he can add a little more bulk and spend some more time practicing FTs he will become a very valuable commodity for the Bulls. He has already shown some improvement in FT shooting, when he was in the Euro league he shot 35% from the line, for the Bulls he is hitting 55%. Since good centers are hard to come by I would definitely not trade him now, if he continues to improve his value will go up, and right now the Bulls need him, even when Noah comes back. Thomas needs some time off so he will be ready for the post season.

    According to Gar, JJ should be back with the Bulls for the Charlotte game. The question I have is whether he will be given a shot at a spot in the rotation or will he be showcased for trade purposes? He was inconsistent during his 8 games with the Energy, but he did put up good numbers (19.3 ppg, 8.9 Rbds, 4.3 assts, 1 stl/g, 2.5 blks/g, .535FG%, .918 FT%) he had some bad numbers also, 3.8-0 TO/g and 3.6 PFs/g. I would like the Bulls to keep him and fit him into the rotation as a back-up for Deng, his upside is very good, and PT experience should cut down on some of his mistakes. I have wondered if he was having trouble picking up the defensive scheme.

    BoppinBob February 13, 2011 at 4:25 pm #

    JJ had 3.0 TO per game in Iwoa in 32 minutes per game.

    inkybreath February 13, 2011 at 7:33 pm #

    Hehe … hell, there were only two players on the Bulls that didn’t have any turnovers last game! I think it JJ could get into any stable groove, it would really help Watson with the second group. Watson’s shot needs to be set up and JJ is a pretty willing drive and kick candidate. JJ can also take some fouls off Taj, as he likes to get in on the block party.

    I am still bothered by Taj’s play of late. He just seems off and can’t seem to get things to go his way. He has continued to be pretty successful challenging a lot of shots at the rim. But, too often, it seems like he is out of position and draws the foul. It may just be he is still playing to eagerly, but I can’t tell anymore.

    Speaking of ‘potential’ players … I was reading about Tyrus in Charlotte and it really looks like the Bulls FO made the right call there. I think he has started one game since he came back from injury and his overall minutes average is actually down from last year. He is just going to be one of those guys that won’t give in until his body breaks down a little bit and he is forced to play the game right.

  32. Jimmy February 14, 2011 at 5:58 pm #

    @ Savage

    I am not a Deng hater by any means. I would rather have Deng and Taj over Melo anyday. But when Brewer takes more shots behind the line than Deng, then Deng is not doing his job. Yes, Brewer should not have attempted any of those 3 pointers, but Deng only shoot 2 of them in a game where Boozer was getting 3 guys on him in the paint. Like I said, we won because of the effort of Rose and the bench(25-5 bulls-utah bench points), since Boozer was getting tooled in the paint, and Deng could not get his shots off.

  33. Jimmy February 14, 2011 at 6:00 pm #


    Taj offensive contributions have seem to degress this season. Maybe he cant get into a scoring groove as easily coming off the bench? But I am still very pleased with him overall, since he is strong in the paint and his 1v1 defense is fun to watch.

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