I guess that loss to the Wizards really left a bad taste in everybody’s mouth.
Not too surprising. This Bulls team almost never loses two games in a row. Every loss is like a wake-up call to the players…and they usually come back with a vengeance.
Just ask the poor Bobcats.
For all intents and purposes, this game was over in about 12 minutes, after which the Bulls were ahead 34-20. The Bobcats would go on to score only 9 points in the fourth quarter. Chicago held Charlotte to 29.8 percent shooting — including 1-for-8 on threes — and won the rebounding battle 57-38.
The Bulls also recorded 29 assists on 40 made field goals to only 9 turnovers thanks in so small part to a disinterested opposing defense.
And did I mention we had a three-minute Brian Scalabrine sighting? That’s rarely a good sign for the other team.
On the bright side, the Bobcats tied their season-low with six turnovers. So they had that going for them. Which is nice.
Welcome to the world of a 7-54 team that has lost 18 straight and whose coach recently shoved former Bull Tyrus Thomas after a loss to the Celtics.
The Bulls, meanwhile, continue to own the league’s best record at 47-15 with only four games remaining in the regular season. They’re currently two games in the loss column ahead of the Heat…
…but nothing can be taken for granted yet. After all, the Bulls play in Miami tonight, and they may be without the services of Derrick Rose and Luol Deng. Again. And their final three games are versus the Mavericks, at Indiana and versus the Cavaliers. The Bulls could lose the the Mavs and Pacers with or without Rose and Deng, and assuming the Heat win out, Miami could actually overtake the Bulls for the best record in the East.
That would be a bummer.
If there has been a bright spot amid the injuries and the hand-wringing about the injuries, it’s been Rip Hamilton finally rounding into shape. Last night, he scored 22 points in 24 minutes. Rip hit his first seven shots and finished 9-for-13 from the field and 4-for-5 from three-point range. He also had a team-best 6 assists.
Said Hamilton: “Each and every game I get better and that’s a good thing. When I first came back the problem wasn’t getting shots that I wanted to get it was just being able to get in a rhythm and get a feel for the game again. I’m definitely pleased with that’s going on.
“With Derrick and Lu out the last couple of games I’ve tried to be more aggressive. I always say, ‘Why shoot threes when you can blow by your man?’ That’s always been my thing my whole career. But I did lead the league in three point percentage one year (2005-06 at 45.8 percent). That’s what people don’t realize. I don’t get caught up in that. I take the best shot I can get whether 20 feet, a three or a layup. I just play the game and try to play it the right way. We had a bad loss against Washington. We said we’ve got to get back to the way we play and that’s rebounding, playing defense and trying to get easy baskets.”
Added Boozer: “That’s the Rip I’ve been playing against for a long time. (He) opens up a lot of things for Joakim (Noah) and me. The way he was shooting got Joakim and me lots of layups and dunks. At the same time, he’s a tough defender, another added weapon.”
Another added weapon. That’s a good thing and exactly what the Bulls were hoping for when they signed Hamilton.
Now if only the old weapons of Rose and Deng could get healthy.