Game 6 Recap: Bulls 94, Nuggets 92

Was Carmelo Anthony auditioning for the Bulls?

Maybe. Maybe not. Whatever the case, he had an impressive night: a season-high 32 points on 11-for-22 shooting (including 1-for-1 from downtown and 9-for-9 from the line) to go along with 8 rebounds, 4 steals, 2 blocked shots and an assist. Oh, and 4 turnovers.

‘Melo was at his best in the third quarter, during which the Nuggets outscored the Bulls 27-18. Denver closed the quarter with a 12-0 run…and Anthony scored 10 of those points. He did it with back-to-back layups (the second of which was an old-fashioned three-point play), a three-pointer and a 22-foot jumper that gave the Nuggets a 70-68 lead going into the final quarter.

Well, we knew he was good.

Turns out Chicago has some pretty good players too. The Bulls had a balanced attack from their starting lineup of Derrick Rose (18 points, 6 assists), Keith Bogans (10 points, 4-for-7), Joakim Noah (13 points, 19 rebounds, 4 blocked shots), Taj Gibson (16 points, 7-for-12, 5 blocked shots) and Luol Deng (17 points, 7 rebounds, 3 assists, 2 blocks).

Of course, Rose (7-for-21), Deng (6-for-18) and Noah (4-for-11) struggled to locate the basket. In act, Rose was 3-for-16 from the field after three quarters.

Then Derrick took over in the final six and a half minutes.

The Bulls had fallen behind 77-70 before going on a Rose-fueled fourth quarter run. With 6:26 to go, he hit a layup to pull Chicago to within two points (80-78). After Chauncey Billups canned a 20-footer, Rose hit another layup with 5:48 left to again pull the Bulls to within two (82-80).

On Chicago’s next possession, Rose assisted on a Ronnie Brewer dunk to tie the game (82-82) with 5:11 left. A few possessions later, Rose nailed a running seven-footer to give the Bulls a one-point lead (85-84) with 3:39 left. Following a free throw by Noah (86-84) and a dunk by Deng (88-84), Rose knocked down a 14-footer with 1:07 to go to put Chicago up 88-84.

Said Noah: “Derrick is our leader. His shot wasn’t falling but down the stretch, he put the game on his shoulders. That’s why he’s such a special player.”

Noah’s a pretty special player himself. Joakim had his sixth straight double-double — which currently leads the league — becoming the first Bulls player to accomplish that feat since Artis Gilmore did it in the first 11 games of the 1978-79 season. And Noah had three huge blocks during Chicago’s fourth quarter run, sending back two of Al Harrington’s layups and one by Melvin Ely. He also blocked a layup attempt by Anthony near the end of the third. (Unfortunately, ‘Melo nabbed the offensive board and put it back in).

There’s a word for guys like Noah: All-Star.

Said Anthony: “[Noah] blocks shots and holds the paint down. [He is an] energy guy who got 19 rebounds, you can’t ask more than that for a big guy.”

Careful, Carmelo. Nene’s going to get jealous.

Anyway, it was a tough, gritty win for the Bulls. A necessary win, considering the dreaded circus road trip is just around the corner.

The second quarter:
After being badly outscored during the second quarter of their first five games, the Bulls turned things around last night by outscoring the Nuggets 27-15 in the second to take a 50-43 halftime lead. Unfortunately, their second quarter scoring drought happened in the third quarter, which they lost 27-18.

The Bulls were a little better in this category last night…but only a little. Chicago gave up 17 points off 15 turnovers. Fortunately, they scored 24 points by forcing Denver into 18 turnovers.

The worst shot in basketball:
The Bulls shot only 41.5 percent from the field despite going 13-for-24 at the rim (54 percent), 4-for-7 inside 10 feet (57 percent), 2-for-4 from 10-to-15 feet (50 percent) and 5-for-13 on threes (nearly 40 percent). Their real struggles came in that dreaded 16-to-24 feet zone, where they went 10-for-34 (29 percent).

The 16-to-24 foot jumper is known as the worst shot in basketball for a reason, and 34 attempts from that range is probably too many, especially for Rose, who went 0-for-10.

The Rise of Taj:
Before the season, I said Gibson was a potential All-Star. Some people scoffed at that, but look at what he’s doing so far in his second season: 15.2 PPG, 6.2 RPG, 1.2 BPG and red-hot 63 percent shooting. Taj is currently ranked 4th in the NBA in field goal percentage. He makes smart plays and give the Bulls solid defense. He’s a major asset…especially in light of Boozer’s injury.

Free throw shooting:
Close games are exciting, but this one may have been more exiting than it needed to be. The Bulls missed key free throws down the stretch that gave the Nuggets life. In all, the Bulls missed 12 freebies, which is huge in a two-point win. On the season, the Bulls rank 28th in free throw percentage. That’s going to have to improve.

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


27 Responses to Game 6 Recap: Bulls 94, Nuggets 92

    BoppinBob November 9, 2010 at 12:15 pm #

    Matt, I truely believe that Taj could be the 6th man award winner this year once Boozer gets on the court. There is no way the Bulls should consider trading him.

  2. Super Joe November 9, 2010 at 2:03 pm #

    Agreed. Excellent draft pick.

    Tony C. November 9, 2010 at 2:11 pm #

    While my specific concerns about Taj remain (i.e. his hands and free throws), he has been playing terrific, confident basketball. I’m delighted to see it, and the Bulls couldn’t ask for a better back-up PF.

    At the risk of sounding a little too enamored, let me say again that Bogans is really solid. No, he’ll never be a dynamic offensive player, but to his great credit he plays within himself on the offensive end, and rarely takes bad shots. He has already shown himself to be an excellent defender, and he is not afraid to fight for rebounds. Oh, and by the way, I mentioned after the previous game that the Celtics went on a run right after Bogans came out. Same story against Denver: their most potent run (10 or 12-0, I believe) began as soon as Bogans left the game. More than coincidental, in my view.

    It’s early, of course, but the coaches need to figure out how to best utilize Korver. Nothing that they have tried thus far has worked.

    I thoroughly enjoy watching Rose play, but unlike pure shooters, he should not keep firing away from the outside when he’s not hitting; get to the rim, and the free-throw line, son. Also, a bad shooting night and only six assists? Sheesh.

    Obviously Nene is no Dwight Howard, but it was nice to see Noah and Gibson defend the paint well. Also good to see Brewer continue to develop. Now the coaches need to create some plays for him around the basket.

  4. TBF November 9, 2010 at 2:31 pm #

    This is the kind of game that good teams win. You’re at home against a good opponent but your shots just don’t seem to want to fall. Bad teams lose. Good teams find a way to get it done.

    Rose did what superstars do. Put their team on their back during the 4th quarter and will them to a win. He was bad all night, until the 4th. Then he just took control of the game. N

    Gibson is going to be amazing coming off the bench. He’s really got confidence in his low-post game. I’m loving it. If he can get us 13 and 7 off the bench with blocks, that’s going to help a lot.

    Noah continues to show why he’s one of the top big men in the league. His motor is constantly running and he just owns the glass every game.

    Luol, again, quietly had a good game. That’s why everyone thinks he’s so bad. His game is nondescript, but all of a sudden you look at the box score and he’s gotten you 17 points, 7 boards, 3 assists and 2 blocks. Did you see that block where he swooped in like an eagle out of the sky? Awesome. You can do a *lot* worse for your 3rd best scorer than Deng.

    This team is very solid. Maybe even elite. Once it gels a little more, they’re going to be real tough to stop.

    Gorditadog November 9, 2010 at 2:44 pm #

    I agree, Rose took some terrible shots last night. Denver was packing it in on defense, we needed to be patient and work for good shots early, but instead Rose was jacking like crazy. He played his game in the fourth quarter though.

    Bogans looked good- he really did a job on Chauncy. It’s going to be hard for Brewer to move him out of the starting lineup.

    I thought it was a good win for us. If Deng or Korver’s shots were falling down the stretch we would have had some breathing room, but we still held on.

    Chuck November 9, 2010 at 2:52 pm #

    Did you see the quotes from Melo and Bulls players after the game? It was a love-fest. Melo was saying how good the Bulls were and all the Bulls players were saying how much they respected Melo as a person and a player (a stark contrast to how LeBaby was portrayed). There was almost some weeping and manly man-hugs… It seems to me that there is something brewing here. Maybe Melo is trying to force a trade to the Bulls because he realized that the Bulls are light-years better than the Knicks and Nets.

  7. dengsucks November 9, 2010 at 3:21 pm #

    “only six assists? Sheesh” Rose was setting up guys for shots all night, but once again if they do not make shots there are no assists!

    Rose has proven he can make shots from within the 3pt line, so if he misses a couple he is suppose to stop shooting?

  8. Inception November 9, 2010 at 3:57 pm #

    nice win by the bulls…a nicer win would be acquiring melo.

    i’ve said it before, i think letting go of gibson and deng (or even boozer!) is well worth it…the dynamics of melo/rose/noah would be epic….ball-handling, scoring, and defense all bundled up in that trio.

    it’s a stretch, but hey, anything is possible.

    TimeTraveler November 9, 2010 at 5:00 pm #

    I agree that Taj Gibson has all-star potential. And I have said all along that Taj Gibson is by no means a “throw in” player for a trade for Carmelo Anthony. Knowing what we know now, if the 2009 draft were done over, Taj would certainly be lottery pick. In fact, aside from Blake Griffin, Al Horford, and maybe Jeff Green (excluding this year’s draft), you would be hard pressed to find a power forward drafted in the last 3 years that’s playing better or has more potential. Taj has much more trade value than most novice observers realize. For Carmelo Anthony, a lot of bloggers have been suggesting a package like Deng, Gibson, Johnson, and a couple of first-round picks. The bulls haven’t made that offer because it would be ridiculous. If Taj is ever traded, it will be for someone of equal value and potential, probably in a straight one-for-one trade. The Bulls biggest weakness is at shooting guard. Logically, if you have a potential all-star sitting on your bench who is heavily coveted, you trade him for another potential all-star for a position that you’re weak at (shooting guard!). My guess is that Taj isn’t traded anytime soon because Boozer is just to injury prone, and good defensive Bigs like Taj are very difficult to come by. Right now though, Taj is a huge x-factor for the Bulls and should have a great year.

    Gorditadog November 9, 2010 at 6:49 pm #


    I am pretty sure the Bulls DID make that offer, and am pretty sure it is still on the table if Denver wants it.

    That being said, Taj is playing great, and could be huge for us as a 2nd unit anchor once Boozer comes back. His post game is solid, and he is knocking down the open jumpers. And when Boozer returns and Taj’s minutes are reduced, his foul trouble will be less of a concern.

    I think we are going to keep getting better as the season goes along. Once the players settle into their roles and learn Tibs’ defensive scheme, we will be fine with what we’ve got. (Except we need another point guard, we can’t have Rose continue to play 40 minutes at the point.)

    Luke November 9, 2010 at 7:30 pm #

    Rose had many more “assists” that he did not get credit for in the box score. There were multiple possessions where the Nuggets were clearly focused on Rose, which softened the D for our other guys. I was very happy with the way the team performed, especially with it being a poor shooting night.

    My question is how is Thibs not under any scrutiny here? His substitutions are horrendous. Denver ended the 3rd quarter on a 12-0 run… and who do we start the 4th quarter with? Asik, Korver, Deng, Brewer and C.J. Watson.

    Now I want to give him credit for coaching his team to a big victory, but there is a point where he just needs to sub better. Rose is 21, Noah is 25. These guys don’t need 5 “game minutes” of rest. They need 5 real-time minutes. Rose sitting out until 7:51 left in the 4th is unacceptable. I’m happy the reserves were able to keep us in it, but we need to have a killer mentality and take it to them.

    And on a side note, Asik could be one of the worst centers in the league. I really don’t understand the hype. The guy cannot do anything. Most of his rebounds are system rebounds: you put anyone in his position and they get them, i.e. missed free throw where the denver players don’t even go for it. The guy is just far too weak to make it in the nba. He gets pushed around and cannot finish a shot for the life of him… if he is even slightly grazed the shot is not going in.

    Tony C. November 9, 2010 at 8:07 pm #

    As a couple of commenters have mentioned that Rose would have had more assists had the Bulls shot better, I agree. But you are missing two points which were implied in my criticism.

    First, Rose should have been looking more quickly to pass when it became clear that his outside shot wasn’t working. Secondly, his passing skills remain relatively modest, and I have yet to see much development in that crucial area.

    With rare exceptions, guards either arrive in the NBA as good passers or not. Rose, for obvious reasons, did not emphasize passing as he made his way to the big time. He didn’t emphasize outside shooting, either. So what we have seen in his first couple of years in the NBA is an exceptional athlete whose most highly developed skill is getting to the rim (or close to it) and finishing.

    Now, Rose appears to be a hard worker, and there is reason to be optimistic about his potential. But, as evidenced by his outside shooting, even dedicated work by an elite athlete is not a guaranteed recipe for quick success.

    I know that few are expecting him to ever become a Stockton, Nash or Rondo with regards to passing, but frankly, he has a long way to go before becomes an above-average passer in the context of elite PGs.

    I expect that Rose will improve his passing skills, though I can’t guarantee that I will always be patient with the process.

    TimeTraveler November 9, 2010 at 8:21 pm #


    I’m not so sure about that trade offer. I know there were a lot of rumors about what the Bulls were offering and what Denver wanted, but we can’t be too sure. We know the Bulls offered something that centered around Deng, and we know they wanted Noah too, but beyond that we can only speculate.

    But assuming Denver was willing to take Deng, Taj, JJ and/or Asik and some first round picks. The Bulls wouldn’t be any closer to a championship because they’re giving up their depth at power forward, you upgrade at small forward, but you’re still weak at shooting guard, and you lose any opportunity to get better in the draft or free agency. With the money you’ll shell out for Melo, and what Rose will demand soon on a long-term contract, it will be impossible to get better through free agency.

    Best case scenario might be to play out the year, let Anthony join as a free agent (as Boozer did), then you can trade Deng to free up money and address the need at shooting guard. And you’ll still have a draft pick. If Melo really wants to be in Chicago, he’ll come as a free agent, even if he has to sign for less money as Lebron and Bosh had to do. Even Boozer took less.

    You’re right though, the Bulls will definitely get better as the season goes on, and I can’t wait to see what they look like once Booz is ready to go. Even without Booz, they’re scoring really well, with the exception of a few quarters here and there. The loss at NY was a complete defensive let down, and the refs were dead set against the Bulls winning in Boston, but outside of that, they should be peaking around Christmas.

  14. dengsucks November 9, 2010 at 8:41 pm #

    Tony C,

    So Rose, who is the team’s best player and leads the team in scoring, should look to more quickly pass to other people on the team that can’t make a basket themselves?

    You wanted Rose to find his teammates and he has done that so far. When his teammates have made shots he has had 10, 13, 14 assists etc. When they don’t make shots, he has had less.

    Nobody’s shot is perfect every time, heck Kobe was 6/24 in the last game of the finals. But that does not mean you stop shooting.

    You talk about patience and I know everyone wants a perfect basketball player, but they do not come around very often. Cut Rose some slack.

  15. TBF November 9, 2010 at 9:08 pm #

    Anyone saying Asik is worthless (Luke) doesn’t know much about the NBA. He just came from Turkey, where he’s played his entire career. He’s got skills in that he’s a good rebounder and an aggressive shot blocker. Yeah, he needs to adapt to the physicality and speed of the American game. Once he gets acclimated he’ll be better on the rotation and on the glass. Cut the guy some slack, he’s played 6 games of American ball. If he’s still not hacking it after a year in the system and a full off-season of weight training then we can cut him loose or talk about what a bum he is.

    Seems that everyone suddenly forgets that Noah was an immature weakling who didn’t play very well his first season in the NBA. Then he worked on his strength and his aggressiveness and look what he’s blossomed into. It’s *STUPID* to expect guys to come into the league and start beasting it up like they’re Dwight Howard or something. Outside of freakish athletes, that doesn’t happen, especially down low.

    As to the ‘Melo scenarios, if Melo really wants to come here he won’t do so through a trade that will deplete the resources of the team he’s coming to. If he wants to go to a non-contender or a “maybe a contender but probably still needs a piece or two” he’d go to New York. As far as I’m concerned, we can’t do a full evaluation on what we have on this team because we haven’t seen the best free-agent acquisition we made on the floor yet. It *looks* promising. Taj off the bench is going to add a lot to this team, not to mention Boozer playing as well. You can’t start shipping pieces around until you at least know what you have. This team is very young still; we don’t have to go into “win this season or never” mode.

    Luke November 9, 2010 at 9:42 pm #

    Looks like TBF has the *Final Word* on all these topics, mostly because he uses cute little stars to make his point.

    Asik can block all the shots he wants, he still sucks. If he’s developing (I pray to god that is his excuse), then why is he still getting so much playing time? We picked up Thomas, and he doesn’t play. Give the veteran Asik’s minutes.

    As far as I’m concerned, someone who is very weak, has 6 games nba experience, is trying to adjust to a new country and a new style of basketball he doesn’t fit into well should not be starting over a seasoned veteran who has proven he can defend. Yet, we continue to see Thomas play 2-3 minutes and Asik 11-12. It doesn’t make sense. Asik is like a bright white light signaling the to the other coach that Thibs is trying to coast for the next few minutes and rest his starters, at which point if I was Karl I would have Nene, Melo and Billups on the court in order to rack up an easily gained lead.

    I loved the victory, i thought it was a great sign for out team, but Karl screwed up. Denver easily could have turned that 15-0 run that stretched from the 3rd to the 4th quarter into a 20, 25 pt run and put the game away by the time Rose/Noah came back with under 8 minutes.

    BoppinBob November 9, 2010 at 9:43 pm #

    Melo is only worth a straight up trade for Deng. If the Bulls had a significant need at SF, then I would say go after Melo. But the Bulls weakness is at SG and Melo does not fix that. Any additional players or picks would be over paying for a one dimenional player. The cost to the Bulls would be a severe hit to their depth, which they planned and worked very hard to put in place. Besides, why give up so much talent when Denver is under the gun and could end up with nothing if they are too stubborn or strident in their demands. The longer Denver goes without making a trade the less value they will get for him.

    @TimeTraveler, the Knicks shot the ball about double their normal % from 3-pt land. There is nothing anyone can do about that. The Bulls actually played pretty good defense in the second half of the Knicks game. The Celtics on the other hand outplayed the Bulls in overtime, primarily due to their team cohesiveness that comes from being together as a team for a while. The Bulls do not have that yet, but they will get it before the end of the season. on’t blame that loss on the refs.

    Chuck November 9, 2010 at 10:08 pm #

    People get too hung up on positions. The Bulls primary need (and one that won’t be addressed when Boozer comes back) is “Dude-besides-Rose-who-can-create-his-own-shot”. It really does not matter what position he plays so long as it does not create defensive mismaches. If the Bulls got Melo for a bag of chips, he could start and push Deng to the “2”. Deng can guard all but the most elite 2s (and really, who can?) without embarassing himself. Looks good to me.

    1Love November 9, 2010 at 10:28 pm #

    if loving Dengs defense is wrong i dont wanna be right !

    noah is a beast, 19 boards !

  20. Inception November 9, 2010 at 11:40 pm #

    @ Chuck….EXACTLY…..disregard the SG position and look at the player you are getting…if the coach is crafty, positions can be mixed around, and Anthony is a hybrid-type player anyway….look at the heat, their weakness is PG…do they really need one with those big 3 on the floor? NO…..the bulls had ron harper playing the point during the MJ days…don’t kid yourselves and start getting picky with the SG position.

  21. TBF November 10, 2010 at 12:01 am #

    So, you want to replace a young, developing player who is averaging 3 points and 4 rebounds a game with a 38 year old has-been who, last season, averaged 3 points and 4 rebounds a game.

    Brilliant. Because Kurt Thomas not getting his minutes is the reason we’re 3-3 right now.

    If you think that a 38 year old center on his 5th team in 5 years is a man who needs to be getting 15 minutes a night, I don’t even know what to tell you. He doesn’t block shots and never has. Witness his career average of less than 1 per game. He’s not a particularly good passer, if his career 1 assist per game is to be believed. But here you are, claiming that somehow, some way, had Karl decided to put his starters back in, Kurt Thomas would have held down the fort all by himself.

    At least Asik has the potential to get better. Kurt Thomas is going to be old and worthless until he retires next year or the year after. He’s valuable as a psuedo-bench coach/elder statesmen of the league and nothing else.

    Mark November 10, 2010 at 12:36 am #

    This time without boozer will help the team build confidence. If they produce and win now without boozer they know they will compete with elite teams when he’s in the lineup.

    There are reasons why Asik is getting more playing time than Thomas. He’s more active and isn’t hurting the team on the defensive side.

    Kurt Thomas is the Bulls’ Todd Collins. If you let him play long enough you’ll realize how old and vunerable he can be. There will be times when they will need KT to come in but Asik is doing fine now and any minutes he gets now will only help them down the line.

    inkybreath November 10, 2010 at 1:07 am #

    One Rose shooting jumpers:

    From what I remember, he missed all his ‘jumpers’ in the first quarter? The only one that I was upset about was the last one (of the quarter). He had Brewer in the corner, at the ready, and he passed him up. Brewer needs to practice that shot in-game big time.
    But, besides that, I had the feeling that Rose was getting the feel for his jumper. This is a stretch, but they were hanging in the game pretty well — maybe he was taking out some possessions for himself to practice for when it will really matter 40 games from now. He was taking it to spots and letting it fly. I didn’t see him adjusting or trying to force it. He was just shooting jumpers — and he was quite broke, at first.

    They won and I can live with it.

    Plus, after long, he will much more cushion when Boozer gets back. Everybody’s shot will improve.

  24. Inception November 10, 2010 at 1:44 am #

    Rose has turf toe! nooo….”Rose knows he will probably deal with the injury for the rest of his career.”


  25. Chris November 10, 2010 at 1:45 am #

    Great, hard fought home win against a good team that has played together for a while now. Best thing I saw from the Bulls this game? Brian Scalabrine not seeing a single minute of playing time.

    BoppinBob November 10, 2010 at 5:48 pm #

    Thomas’ role is to be the Bulls enforcer if some one (Howard) starts to manhandle other Bulls players, like last year. That is is only role, another six fouls.

    Luke November 11, 2010 at 11:46 pm #

    Then Thomas needs to more time because Asik gets manhandled every time he is on the court. he is the weakest 7 footer there is. I’m pretty sure even Thabeet in his college days could have beasted him

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