Game 53 Recap: Bulls 106, Bobcats 94

“You can’t leave him open. Everybody knows he can’t do anything else but shoot. When he shoots, he shoots it well. You have to respect him as a shooter. He can’t really do anything else, but if you let him sit out there and shoot he’s going to kill you.”

That’s what Charlotte’s Stephen Jackson had to say about Kyle Korver, Chicago’s Mr. Perfect, who scored 15 points in 15 minutes off the bench while going 5-for-5 from the field, 3-for-3 from downtown and 2-for-2 from the line. Korver drilled two of those three-pointers and both of his free throws during the fourth quarter as the Bulls finally pulled away from the Bobcats.

It was another one of those “total team effort” games for the Bullies, who had to sweat out a rough night from Derrick Rose (5-for-14, 0-for-3 on threes, 6 turnovers). Of course, even on a bad night, Rose scored 18 points, went 8-for-9 from the line, and dished out a game-high 13 assists. Credit Rose for using his floor game to make up for his misguided shooting.

And credit Luol Deng for stepping up when needed, which has pretty much been the story of Deng’s season. Lu scored a game-high 24 points on 10-for-19 shooting and finished with a game-best plus-minus score of +22. This guy has been there when the team needs him, however the team needs him, all season long. In all honesty, he deserves a lot more credit than he’s ever going to get from bloggers, the media and even a lot of Bulls fans.

But, as ESPNChicago’s Nick Friedellpointed out, Deng is team-first all the way: “I was aggressive. I looked for my shot early. But it’s the kind of team we have. Some nights you’re going to get a lot of looks, some nights it’s going to be someone else. But we’re a deep team. And that’s what’s been so great about this year. The whole team, our mindset every night is just to win. Somebody’s going to get it for us and it’s been a different guy every time.”

Carlos Boozer (16 points, 9 rebounds) echoed those sentiments: ”Guys are extremely confident. If you’re in the NBA, you can play. … We’re a team — not just one guy, two guys, three guys; we’re a group of guys. Everybody on this team, whether you’re starting or off the bench, can play in the NBA and play well.”

In related news, James Johnson made his return from the D-League, finishing with one airball in one minute of garbage time action.

It was a good win, and I’m happy with it, but in yesterday’s preview I noted how the Bobcats struggle in the second game of back-to-backs. Gerald Wallace (6 points on 3-for-9 shooting) looked gassed. Ditto for D.J. Augustin (5 points on 1-for-4 shooting), and he’s also dealing with a sprained left wrist.

As Charlotte coach Paul Silas said: “My starting guys just didn’t have it tonight.”

And really, they didn’t. That’s not to take anything away from the victory. The Bulls were focused and took care of business. But the Bobcats hung around and then just kind of faded in the fourth quarter. It’ll be really interesting to see what happens in the March 9 rematch in Charlotte. Both teams will be coming off a one-day layoff, and Chicago should have Joakim Noah back in uniform.

Shot locations:
In yesterday’s preview, I referenced Sebastian Pruiti of NBA Playbook, who noted that the Bobcats enticed the Lakers to attack the rim and then forced a lot of in-close misses. Something similar happened last night, as the Bulls went 17-for-30 at the rim (56.7 percent). Normally, the Bulls convert about 63 percent of their shots at the rim, so Charlotte’s D did it’s job. Around the basket.

However, the Bulls were unusually hot from three-point range (7-for-14) and from 16-23 feet (12-for-22). A lot of that was Korver, but Boozer (2-for-2), Kurt “Big Sexy” Thomas (2-for-2) and Ronnie Brewer (2-for-3) also had it going from that 16-23 foot zone. And, of course, Keith Bogans couldn’t feel his face, going 3-for-4 from beyond the arc.

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

10 Responses to Game 53 Recap: Bulls 106, Bobcats 94

  1. reggiemcglory@yahoo.com'
    chitown4life February 16, 2011 at 1:00 pm #

    Its time for all bulls fans to get behind all the players on our team, Bogans has taken so much verbal abuse from us all including myself but I will be the first one to say he has stepped up and hit shots more and more .His game has become worth mentioning on the positive side now moreso than negative, I was calling for him to be benched asking for the bulls to make a trade, now i just wanna see bogans continue to hit shots when left open which will happen because of DRose and lack of respect for his shooting, as long as he hits shots like he has been doing from the three point line to mention i have no complaints his D has always been solid. Great game last night bogans great game last night Deng even Omer Asik has improved vastly since I first saw him play this year he is becoming a force truly not just saying it besides big men hard to find now a day that actually can move and stay healthy, I for one say do not trade him. Go bulls… Melo who for who les it is for a first and one player no way either way our bulls are gonna be fine .. Peace

  2. jake_vick@hotmail.com'
    Jake in Minnie February 16, 2011 at 4:30 pm #

    What Chitown4life said, cept I didn’t rag on Bogans that much.

  3. bleigh82@gmail.com'
    bleigh82 February 16, 2011 at 4:33 pm #

    Luol has been great…and yet again, he played way too many minutes last night. 44 I believe. Thibs absolutely has to find a way to give James Johnson some minutes for Luol, or he will be injured by the end of the season. I’m not talking substantial, 5-10…anything to keep him fresh and injury free. Every thing about his past says at this pace he will be injured by the end of the season. I get that Johnson is sporadic at best and we don’t really have many other options at the 3 to Thibs liking, but I think it is critical we either use Johnson to spell Luol or find a way to bring someone in who can play the 3 to give Lu some rest. Thoughts?

  4. gorditadog@aol.com'
    Gorditadogg February 16, 2011 at 6:20 pm #

    Deng is really the only two-way player we have, (at the wing anyway) so I can see why Tibs hates to sit him down. Last night he spent most of the 4th quarter guarding Jackson, so Korver could move over on Wallace, and that strategy worked out well for us. I don’t think JJ is going to get many minutes. Tibs usually plays Korver and Brewer when Deng sits, maybe he should try Korver/Bogans or Brewer/Bogans.

  5. Jimmy February 16, 2011 at 6:27 pm #

    Agree with you all that Deng is playing too much. Our only option to rest him is to go small with Brewer/Korver, Bogans/Brewer, Bogans/Korver (at the 2/3). Brewer/Korver worked pretty well in the 4th…did you guys see Korver stuff Wallace and then come up with the rebound…my man!

  6. bob.edwards47@yahoo.com'
    BoppinBob February 16, 2011 at 6:33 pm #

    @bleigh82, I agree with you, last season JJ appeared in 63 games and averaged 11.6 minutes. This year he has appeared in 13 games and played an average of 9.5 minutes. There is no way he can become more consistent if he doesn’t get playing time. While I believe that Deng is healthier than he has been in the past, he will need to be fresh for the playoffs, and he will not be fresh playing 40 a game through the end of the season. If the Bulls are not going to play JJ then they should trade him for another SF that can rest Deng, I am more concerned about SF than SG.

  7. Super Joe February 16, 2011 at 6:34 pm #

    In response to #3, SCALABRINEEE!!

    just kidding.

    I agree though, I would suggest putting Boozer at the 3 to rest Deng, and put Taj at the 4. Boozer plays no defense anyways, so might as well let him get burned by the opposing, faster SF.

  8. gorditadog@aol.com'
    Gorditadogg February 16, 2011 at 7:59 pm #

    Jimmy- I agree with your thoughts, but that was Deng with Korver in the 4th. Korver played very well, got a couple nice boards too.

    BoppinBob- a 10-man rotation is about as deep as we need to go, I really don’t think we need a third SF in the rotation. Right now Johnson is odd-man out, he will get minutes if someone gets injured. It would be nice to get JJ some experience I guess, but wins are too important to put at risk for JJ’s development- we need every win to get a top playoff seed.

  9. Matt February 16, 2011 at 10:58 pm #

    Luol’s minutes could probably start going down when the team gets healthy. The Bulls have been killed by injuries so far through the season but luckily guys like Luol have been able to pick up the slack. Maybe when Noah and Boozer are both healthy Thibs will be willing to rest Luol more often…

  10. Luvabull February 17, 2011 at 10:03 pm #

    Bogans has played better of late. His shooting has improved every month and he’s shooting above 52% both overall and beyond the arc in February.
    Someone mentioned in an earlier post that when Bogans scores in double digits the Bulls are undefeated. They noted something like 8-0 or 10-0. Well that got me curious so I looked it up. Bogans has scored in double digits only four times the entire season, (all four wins). Three of the double digit games came consecutively in early Nov. So his 11 points against the Hornets last Sat. was his first double digit game in three months.
    However, Bogans does not have to score in double digits for the Bulls to win. They are 8-0 in games where Bogans scored more than 7 points. And the Bulls are 15-1 in games where Bogans scores 6 or more points. So the magic number is 6. All we have to do is get Bogans to score 6 points or more and the Bulls win. Just two buckets from beyound the arc does it.

    It’s a simple game when you break it down.

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