Game 58 Recap: Bulls 105, Wizards 77

Now this is more like it.

Don’t get me wrong. I’m thrilled that the Bulls have racked up wins against elite teams like the Celtics, Heat, Lakers, Mavericks and Spurs. But there are significant statistical reasons to suspect that blowing out bad teams matters. Of course, this fact was brought up in defense of the Miami Heat, who have been been good at “stomps” (big wins over lousy teams) but bad at “guts” (close wins over good teams).

However, despite what it may feel like, the Heat aren’t the only basketball team on the planet.

That’s why I get concerned about defenseless losses to the Raptors and closer-than-necessary wins against the Bucks. Every game means something. Or maybe I just obsess too much. After all, the 1995-96 Bulls team that won 72 games lost to the Raptors too. Oddly enough, so did the 1996-97 team that won 69 games. I guess Oliver Miller and Popeye Jones just had MJ’s number.

Bad humor aside, it was good to see the Bulls come out and enforce their will over a bad team. Chicago led 50-37 at the half. They pushed the lead to 78-57 after three quarters. The fourth quarter was mostly garbage time.

Brian Scalabrine even logged a minute of playing time. What does that tell you?

As ESPNChicago’s Nick Friedell writes, the Bulls are learning to put away bad teams.

Said Carlos Boozer (12 points, 10 rebounds, +20): “We learned our lesson in Toronto after the break. We had that five day All-Star break and we came back and lost a game at Toronto, a team that, on paper, we should have beat. But we took them lightly and we got kicked in the butt.

“So tonight we came out, I thought we had great intensity from the beginning of the game and we played great defense. I don’t know what they shot from the floor, but I thought we were everywhere tonight. I thought we got our hands on a lot of deflections tonight and did a good job of rebounding. And then on offense, we pushed the ball, made the right plays and I think we learned our lesson from the Toronto game.”

Since Carlos didn’t have a box score in front of him, I’ll supply the numbers. The Wizards shot 35.6 percent from the floor. The Bulls made 9 steals (their season-high is 14) and outrebounded Washington 56-39 and had an Offensive Rebound Percentage of 36.6 (their season average is 28.7 and Minnesota lead the league at 30.9). Furthermore, the Chicago finished with an Offensive Rating of 114.4 points per 100 possessions while holding the Wiz to 83.9 points per 100 possessions.

Said Derrick Rose (21 points, 9 assists, +26): “Thibs came in and talked to us, and was telling us we can’t let down against teams like this, where we’ve got to come out and play aggressive and have an edge. You don’t never want to come into a game like this where you give them confidence.”

Mission accomplished.

It’s worth noting, of course, that this was Joakim Noah’s fourth game back from injury. Jo was fantastic — 19 points on 8-for-10 shooting to go with 11 rebounds — and the Bulls are looking more and more comfortable with him on the floor (which wasn’t the case in the Toronto game). Noah has 52 rebounds (including 24 on the offensive end) over those four and, not coincidentally, the Bulls have won the rebounding battle each time (three times by double digits).

I’d say Noah is back.

Said Bulls coach Tom Thibodeau: “He’s back, almost to the point he was at before the injury. His activity is off the charts. His defense was terrific, his rebounding is very good. And you can see, he’s starting to get a lot more comfortable offensively as well.”

Added Boozer: “And he is a monster. He’s a monster. The way he’s been playing since he’s been back, he missed two and a half, three months, whatever it was, the way he’s been playing, he’s been a monster. It’s impressive.”

It is. And, now that they are really and truly at full strength for the first time all season, so are the Bulls. They’re currently first in Defensive Efficiency and third (behind the Spurs and Heat) in John Hollinger’s Power Rankings and, at 41-17, they are right there with the Celtics (43-15) and Heat (43-17) in the Eastern Conference standings.

This is getting good.

Frontcourt Power:
The starting froncourt of Boozer, Noah and Luol Deng combined for 52 points, 26 rebounds, 5 assists, 4 steals and a blocked shot.

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


19 Responses to Game 58 Recap: Bulls 105, Wizards 77

    chitown4life March 1, 2011 at 2:49 pm #

    Wow this is over the top our bulls looked fantastic, they scored played d and most of all dominated this team as they very well should. the game last night sent a statement to the rest of the teams that if you play us strap up your shoes cause its game on.
    I myself was not sure if the butler thing is a good thing for our bulls but nor was I sure of the John salmons thing and he and miller brought it when they joined the team. I am gonna give it some time and see what happens b4 I stick foot in mouth.
    The MVP tour continues Derrick Rose is so loved in the league it is outstanding he is some kind of player and young man. This kid thrives on games, plays like a giant and talks so humble its no act he is who he is and that is our MVP DRose.
    I have come up with a great name that fits Lou Deng ( DO-All-Deng ) he is all over the place his game this year has been great if it were not for the likes of Rose playing so great Deng would get alot more credit than he does just making my point Deng has had some kind of year almost second to Rose (MVP), look at his minutes played scores the D. He does it all I take my hat off to him Mr Do ALL Deng you go , get it done make it do what it do , this is our year I can feel it. I have not been this optimistic since Jordan left buckle up people its going to be one great ride to the finales…

  2. Inception March 1, 2011 at 2:59 pm #

    the swagger is back…i think the MIA game did it….hopefully, they can maintain this level and grab the #2 seed and let MIA deal with NY in the 1st round.

    Chuck March 1, 2011 at 3:04 pm #

    What I really love about this team is that they are all pros. From Rose all the way down to Scalabrine there is not a knucklehead in the group. Sure, Noah is a big goofball off the court, but when he steps on the court he is all business. It means a lot when your best players are the hardest workers who genuinely care about performing their best each and every night. You never hear reports of players involved in shootings at strip clubs at 3 in the morning. There are no fights on team planes or any of that nonsense. They are just pros in every sense of the word.

    Jake in Minnie March 1, 2011 at 4:50 pm #

    I would amend that to Loul Do-all Deng. but, that’s me.

    BoppinBob March 1, 2011 at 4:51 pm #

    Chuck, I would like to carry your comments one step further. These guys seem to be more than just pros, they seem to genuinely like each other. There does not seem to be any ego issues on this team. They don’t seem to care who starts or how many minutes everybody gets. These guys go out and play the game and seem to have fun. The Bulls may be better off adding someone from the D-league rather than a buy-out player. Why mess with the chemistry?

    BoppinBob March 1, 2011 at 4:57 pm #

    @chitown4life, I really like Do All Deng, it fits the man. With the additional offensive threat of Noah back on the court Do All becomes all the more dangerous. The next 7 games will give us a hint of how good thses Bulls can be.

  7. TBF March 1, 2011 at 6:32 pm #

    Deng is thriving by doing exactly what he’s supposed to do. And that is be a viable 3rd or 4th option. He’s not going to take over a game for you; that’s not his style. He’s at his best when he can quietly get his points, play good defense and just do all the little things right. He’s the perfect glue guy for this team.

    That’s the main reason why this team is good. Everyone knows their role and everyone brings something different. Noah’s the energy guy, big rebounder, can run on the break. Luol does all the little things, Boozer can get down low and score with either hand. Korver can light up from deep, Brewer can slash. Rose is Rose. And that doesn’t even take into account people like Asik (who’s getting pretty beastly on defense these days). This is a solid TEAM. They don’t have the pure talent of Miami or Boston (or maybe even New York now). But they have a superior team.

    Tony C. March 1, 2011 at 7:21 pm #

    Nice to see a blowout for a change. Especially nice to see the improved free throw shooting.

    Too many sloppy passes, especially in the 3rd quarter, but that really my only gripe.

    Should be lots of fun to follow this team into the playoffs…

  9. tom March 1, 2011 at 7:24 pm #

    I’ve been thinking that we should get Corey Brewer according to an article on today he apparently is a better 3 point shooter than his percentages would lead you to believe and he is also a GREAT defender. I’m wondering what everyone else thinks about this

    Chuck March 1, 2011 at 7:46 pm #

    There are only two teams in the East that I fear going into the playoffs.
    Firstly, meeting the Knicks in Round 1. They are the team that no top seed wants any part of. While I think that the Bulls have the size and defense to beat them in a series, it will be tough because of STAT, Melo and Billups.
    The second team is the Celtics. They are the champs and have the players to make life tough. However, without Perkins and Erdah they just don’t have the size they once did. The most perplexing trade at the deadline.
    I don’t fear the Magic, Heat, Philly or Pacers. The Hawks can be dangerous but the Bulls are better.

  11. Luvabull March 1, 2011 at 8:19 pm #

    @chitown4life, – Nice readable post.
    Love the Do-All Deng moniker. I do agree that Deng has been our second best player all year. He’s our second option offensively and not third. Or if you will he and Carlos are 2 and 2A. But unlike Carlos, Do-All Deng brings it at the defensive end also.
    The best thing is, over the past few games, I have seen a change in Deng. He is more aggresive, more confident on the offensive end. Go Luol “Do-All” Deng.
    Since the Bulls have to pick up one more player to meet the required 13. Mike Bibby would be the perfect pickup for the Bulls but it looks like he’s taking his (limited) talents to South Beach. The Bulls need is for a shooting guard but one who can handle the ball and create. None of the current Bulls’ SGs can handle the ball very well or create their own shot. I know Bibby is a PG, but on the Bulls he could play some minutes at the SG and he’s an excellant three point shooter, so he fills two needs.
    If Bibby signs with the Heat, we should sign Butler as he’s a serviceable SG who can also backup Deng at SF. He’s not nearly as good from the three point range as Bibby, but he’s not terrible. And he’s not a defensive liablilty. But I have not read anywhere that the Bulls are going after him. If Thibbs is set with his rotation and won’t experiment with the 2nd unit, the Bulls might as well call up a D-leaguer.

    Jake in Minnie March 1, 2011 at 8:27 pm #

    Tom, I agree, Brewer seems a better solution (especially since he is a natural SF) then Butler. Either way, Bulls need to add a player for roster minimum reasons, so someone should be added soon.

    Having watched Brewer in the Twin Cities, I know he would be great to relieve “Do-all” Deng, as long as he isn’t asked (or tries) to put the ball on the floor.

    Also, he is a former Noah Teammate at Florida.

  13. reggiemcglory@YAHOO.COM'
    chitown4life March 1, 2011 at 8:43 pm #

    Its great to hear the nick-name is fitting in with you all,I like it but the more I see it I love it .The name fits him to a T “Do-All” Deng, he gets the job done even when his name may not be mentioned.. thanks to all who like it.. I hope he does…Peace

  14. reggiemcglory@YAHOO.COM'
    chitown4life March 1, 2011 at 8:48 pm #

    was reading about the future player or players the Bulls may pick up , not sure if either would be what the bulls need one thing I am sure of they won’t hurt our team as long as they keep playing the way they are playing now. So which ever butler or brewer will at least be another body to send to the floor to help with “Do All” Dengs mins to rest on the bench.Only time and game play will tell.. Peace

  15. reggiemcglory@YAHOO.COM'
    chitown4life March 1, 2011 at 10:01 pm #

    The haters/heat lovers/boston lovers spoke on first take saying the Bulls are too young to win , funny did not know you had to be a certain age to win .they even went as far as to say oops skip payless big mouth said the knicks were even better than the bulls wow.Talk about no respect well its gonna be a mighty fine time this year when our Bulls go head to head with any if not all those teams in the playoffs.i am so looking forward to watching that game and after see skip payless and crew eat there words. there was one that said the bulls are ready and the best team in the east great pick by him anyways .peace

  16. Luvabull March 1, 2011 at 11:03 pm #

    Just saw NYC cut Corey Brewer. Hope the Bulls will pick him up instead of Butler. He’s a better player overall then Butler.

    inkybreath March 2, 2011 at 1:03 am #

    Great game. Loved it.

    I really loved how Rose looked SO confident. The way he stepped into those threes toward the end of the game. And then, the two or three drive and dishes at the end were beautiful. I almost got the sense that he was using this opportunity to solidify these plays in-game.

    Going forward, I think it’s exciting for Noah to get his fine touch back. I love when he is in the high post and there is no one open and he just drives to the basket. This is the kind of thing that can rack up fouls against Orlando, Miami and Boston and can get us up against the bench, where we can really make them pay.

    And, I couldn’t agree more about the close-knit nature of this team. Regardless of Boozer’s defensive napping (which I’m fine with … he boards with intensity … he is the anti-Bogans), he has meshed so well on and off the court. We can assume some credit goes to Thibs for creating an good working atmosphere and defined roles for people to settle into…

    lpb March 2, 2011 at 4:26 pm #

    I was hoping to see a complete domination out this team, and they didn’t disappoint. Being a stats geek, I read through the statistical analysis referenced and came up with a couple of weird observations –

    1. Why is there a perception that they hadn’t been dominating bad teams? Looking through the 1st 58 games to date, they have 20 stomps already to Heat’s 18 in 60 games. Hiccups like Raptors, Bobcats and Clippers will happen to every team over 82 game season. That’s with Noah and Boozer missing 48 games, while the Heat have only had 10 games total missed by their big 2.5.
    2. Their record against the other “elite 8” teams in the league (MIA, ORL, BOS, LAL, SAN, DAL, OKC) is ridiculous – especially since Boozer was fully integrated into the fold. They were 1-5 against them prior to that (mostly on the road, but still), but they are 8-0 since – though all at home. That leads me to point 3:
    3. Next 3 games will really show us what this team is capable of: @Atlanta, @Orlando, @Miami. If they come out of these 3 games with 2+ wins, it’s time to reserve Grant Park in June.


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