Takin’ Care of Business: Bulls 108, Timberwolves 92

There’s not too much to say about this one. The Timberwolves have the worst record in the West. The Bulls have the best record in the East and demonstrated the kind of statistical domination you’d expect. This game was the NBA equivalent of somebody casually swatting a fly.

Chicago outshot Minnesota 50.6 percent to 41.2 percent (including 42.1 percent to 29.4 percent on threes), won the rebounding battle 50-34, and had 31 assists (on 41 field goals) to only 12 for the T-Wolves. The Bulls led by as many as 26 and won 108-91 while limiting the starters’ minutes (except Luol Deng, of course, who logged a game-high 36 minutes).

All this without Joakim Noah.

That the Bulls finished with an Offensive Rating of 116.8 wasn’t too surprising. The Timberwolves rank 25th in Defensive Rating (110.4) and appeared disinterested in playing defense for most of the night.

Some Random thoughts:

It was nice to see Carlos Boozer have a big night (24 points, 10-for-18, 14 rebonds, 4 assists). Boozington hadn’t scored that many points since February 23 or grabbed that many rebounds since January 12. So what’s the deal? Other than Carlos going up against a Minnesota frontcourt that seemingly has a serious medical allergy to defense?

ESPNChicago’s Nick Friedell writes that Boozer tends to play better without Noah. Nick may have a point. If you peruse Boozer’s game log, you’ll notice his best statistical stretch of the season happened to coincide with Joakim’s long absence.

Said Boozer: ”It’s just a little different [with Noah off the floor]. Because Kurt [Thomas] is a pick and pop guy. And so it opens up spacing out there. Like you saw in the first quarter, they collapsed a little bit on me and gave him wide open jump shots. And as the game went along, they started getting closer and closer and closer to Kurt and it gave us more space to operate in the middle.”

Carlos may have a point. On offense, Noah is either in or around the paint trolling for offensive boards, or he’s on the perimeter looking to pass rather than shoot, which allows his defender to sag way off, which affects the amount of room Boozer has to work. I say this a lot, but basketball is a game of split-seconds. And the presence of an extra defender around the painted area ready to provide help or a quick double-team can significantly alter (read that: limit) a post player’s opportunities.

It’s something to think about.

The Bulls came out aggressive and got out to a quick start, leading 30-19 after 12 minutes. It was nice to see the team so focused and assertive in the early going, since that’s been a problem the last few games, and at various times throughout the season. That said, I’d like to see them do it against a playoff-caliber team, too.

Derrick Rose didn’t shoot particularly well from the field (5-for-14), which has been an ongoing trend since the All-Star break, but he went 9-for-9 from the free throw line and finished with 23 points, 10 assists and 4 rebounds with only 1 turnover. One stat that jumps out of the box score is his nine three-point attempts. He hit four of them, which is a pretty good percentage as far as that goes.

However, Rose is averaging 6.1 three-point attempts per game this Month. That’s too many. For some perspective, Golden State’s Dorell Wright leads the league in thee-point attempts at…6.1 per game.

Most have you have probably heard that LeBron James said Derrick deserves to be the leading MVP candidate. Which is nice, I guess. But check out this extended quote:

“Right now, statistically, it’s probably one of the best years I’ve had. But we’ll see. The media kind of controls it. You’ve got some guys here that have done their job also. At one point, I thought Dirk was also [worthy] until he got hurt. But Derrick Rose definitely has gotten a lot of the exposure and a lot of the media attention because of the work he’s done. He’s playing some unbelievable basketball.”

Very careful and politcally correct. Points out how well he’s playing, acknowledges (and, perhaps, subtly criticizes) the media’s role in MVP selection and then praises Rose. Then, in what I’m sure is completely unrelated news, LeBron plays big minutes (43:49) in a blowout win over the dreadful Wizards, compiling more gaudy stats for his resume (35 points, 8 rebounds, 8 assists, 5 steals).

Moving on.

I know I already mentioned this, but none of us want to see Deng playing 36 minutes in an obvious blowout. But what can we do? Thibs likes playing Lu and Lu likes playing.

Finally, can I just say I have a huge man-crush on Kurt Thomas? I was pretty underwhelmed when the Bulls signed him, but his consistency and professionalism have turned me into his biggest fan (or one of his biggest fans). I’m bummed he has to undergo carbon dating to determine his true age…I’d love to have four or five more seasons of this guy. I’ll settle for at least one more. How about it, Kurt?

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

23 Responses to Takin’ Care of Business: Bulls 108, Timberwolves 92

  1. Ike March 31, 2011 at 2:15 pm #

    Perhaps LeBron is making excuses already, in case he doesn’t get the MVP.

    That way, he can always say “see, i told you Rose would get it.”

  2. Inception March 31, 2011 at 2:20 pm #

    Booz and Noah better figure out how to effectively play with one another, or else the playoffs won’t look too promising.

    Booz has gotta be that 20/10 guy

  3. lukerygh@gmail.com'
    Luke March 31, 2011 at 3:18 pm #

    I am not so sure the Noah/Boozer conundrum everyone is talking about is much to worry about. Even if Boozer loses a little bit on the offensive end/rebounding side of things, the product of boozer and noah together makes up for it.

  4. Inception March 31, 2011 at 3:45 pm #

    maybe Thibs and his staff needs to draw up better plays/schemes/spacing for those two big bodies?

    I have confidence in the coaching staff, and i’m sure they’ll figure it out…8 more games to go…can’t wait for spring!!

  5. cliniclysick March 31, 2011 at 5:04 pm #

    I don’t know what Derrick is thinking, but those transition threes he’s been throwing up, that has to stop. The ones he made were when the ball went around and he ended up with an open shot. Those are the ones he needs to take, and he makes them. Also, the one mid-range shot he took went in nothing but net. And in previous games (not the recent ones) he’s shown he has mastered that mid-range jumper. In my opinion, that is the shot that could take him from a 25 to a 30 PPG player (not that he needs to). I can’t understand why he doesn’t go past the first wave and knock one down from 18 occasionally. Kudos to Derrick on the free-throws though, you would almost thank the Clippers for that game back in December.
    Nice game by Booz, hope he keep it up when Jo comes back. Now on to Motor City and hopefully another win.

  6. Ryan March 31, 2011 at 5:07 pm #

    I think this can relate to why I have noticed Boozer shooting the 15-17 footer so much recently. I know he can be consistent with that shot, but I would rather see him at the rim. Most of it is mental with a guy like Booz. As for Noah, he has been through some injuries that have made it hard for him to get back into game shape – better off to let the kid rest and tune-up that motor. Thibs and the coaching staff will make it work.

  7. Ajit March 31, 2011 at 6:08 pm #

    if this continues to be a problem, Thibs should implement some sort of system where after they both start, they eventually get to a point where they alternate time in.
    Actually, he would never do that. but it would be interesting.

  8. Njcamporese@yahoo.com'
    Nicky C March 31, 2011 at 6:41 pm #

    Matt…

    You’ve got to read the trash bag article Hollinger just posted about the MVP race. It’s a good read, but JH is such a statistical puppet that it’s sickening.

  9. bulls2011champs March 31, 2011 at 7:20 pm #

    legitimate question here: who do you think will be a better player in 10 years: Beasley or Rose? I love Rose but am unsure how his game will translate when he loses speed (relatively). Of course the same was said of Jordan, but he at least had the size to develop a post-up game. Beasley on the other hand is intriguing b/c of his size and talent. What you all think?

  10. SteveL March 31, 2011 at 8:52 pm #

    I realize that i’m pretty critical of boozer, but I still cant say that i was really impressed with him last night. i’m happy he FINALLY decided to dunk the ball instead of seeing him resort to his weak “two handed layup.” still, I would like to see him actually dunk while a defender is in his face. (the problem is that he can’t – and he usually ends up getting blocked).

    I remember during the memphis game, boozer actually looked effective when posting up his man. I realized when he was backing his man down, he put up a hook shot (HE WASNT BLOCKED!). I dont understand why boozer doesn’t utilize the hook shot more often, seeing how often he gets blocked in the post. next, i realized that boozer rarely gets his jumpshots blocked (because he always shoots fadeaways!).

    solution to boozer’s susceptibility to getting blocked in the post = THE HOOK SHOT

  11. jake_vick@hotmail.com'
    Jake in Minnie March 31, 2011 at 8:53 pm #

    Nicky C,

    I am a pragmatist, so I think Hollinger does have valid points, and If Howard won the MVP over Rose, I for one would not be upset…but the MVP is such a crap shoot for what is the criteria? In my head my list is:

    1 Rose & Howard

    noticeable gap

    3 Dirk

    4 Kobe

    5 James

  12. Tae March 31, 2011 at 9:22 pm #

    Matt, the solution to Boozer’s problem (according to him) relies on the other 4 people to be threats outside the paint. Noah NEEDS to re-develop that jumpshot, because trolling the paint isn’t going to cut it against the true bigs in the league like Pau, Bynum, Dwight, and Perkins.

  13. lukerygh@gmail.com'
    Luke March 31, 2011 at 9:41 pm #

    I agree with Jack in Minnie…. but I would go one step further and say nba fans will look back at this year as the year Dwight was robbed of his deserving MVP trophy.

  14. inkybreath@gmail.com'
    inkybreath March 31, 2011 at 10:11 pm #

    I am sure I would agree more if I wasn’t such a Bulls homer, but as we’ve noted – year after year – there is someone that can cry about not getting the award.

    I gave up a long time ago trying to care to much about the specifics and take it as it comes.

    Those of us that watch the Bulls games are confident enough that he deserves the award. And, yes, Howard deserves the award, too.

    I don’t care about LeBron.. he made his Decision.

  15. njcamporese@yahoo.com'
    Nicky C March 31, 2011 at 10:46 pm #

    Jake in Minnie,

    1) Your list is dead on with my thinking…and probably the majority of the media at this point.

    2) I don’t want to attempt to take anything away from Howard, as he’s had a remarkable year considering all changes in Orlando this year (a truly underplayed storyline this year).

    3) Hollinger’s article was infinitely better than his previous, more feeble attempts at ‘proving’ DRose isn’t this year’s MVP. I can surely appreciate how he comes from all angles and tries to dispel all the arguments and counterarguments hurled at him by Rose/Chicago supporters (and his colleagues). That’s why it’s a good piece of writing and, as you say, has valid points. Hollinger is obviously no dummy. He knows what he’s talking about. But I can’t stand that he throws hissy fits via his articles when advanced metrics and statistical data don’t support his beliefs. He continually resorts to PER throughout his arguments, particularly when he is trying to show that Nash, Kidd, & Iverson shouldn’t have won / should have received votes other years. But Hollinger forgets that it wasn’t that long ago when the casual to die hard NBA fans had no idea what ‘PER’ was and how it was measured, including the Iverson and Kidd years he speaks of, and even the Nash year is pushing it. Hollinger makes it seem like those players heisted the MVP trophy from someone else when that obviously isn’t the case at all. Sure, maybe Duncan, Garnett, and/or Shaq should’ve won a few more MVP trophies in their respective hey-days, but to completely disregard what those ‘good story’ players did in those particular years is appalling. Iverson led his team to the finals with the worst supporting cast of any contending team during the past decade; Nash was the catalyst and best player on the best team in the league; Kidd ALMOST won the MVP (so why is he in this conversation again?), but he single-handedly dragged his crummy team to the NBA Finals two years in a row! I don’t care that Iverson’s assist to turnover ratio was garbage, that Nash only averaged 15 ppg, or that Kidd shot a lowly percentage from the floor…those guys brought it night in and night out for their teams, and to say they are/were undeserving of winning an MVP – especially when there are absolutely no clear cut rules as to how/what makes or defines an MVP – is a slap in the face to some truly great players for some truly great performances. Rose this year is no different. Does he have a ‘great underdog story’? Absolutely. Does that increase his chances of winning? Possibly. The ‘history’ Hollinger writes about somewhat supports the notion. But Hollinger’s statistics fail to measure some of the most important stuff that makes MVPs, MVPS: the intangibles MVPs and championship caliber teams need to succeed. The attitude. The confidence. The drive. PER, adjusted +/-, et al. simply cannot encompass the importance of these necessities. Iverson, Nash, & Kidd – they did the same things for their teams, arguably more so than Shaq, Garnett, and Duncan did for their teams during the disputed years. And Rose is doing it right now for his team. You can’t dispute that. One final comment…

    4) Hollinger failed to address one incredibly large piece of evidence that supports Rose’s MVP candidacy: peer support. This has nothing to do with a ‘good story’; why would these guys care or even think about that? Look at this list: Michael Jordan, Isiah Thomas, Juwon Howard, Chris Webber, Jalen Rose, Hubie Brown, LeBron James, Jason Kidd, Tyson Chandler, Doc Rivers, Gregg Popovich, Chris Bosh, Charles Barkley…the list goes on. Every single one of these basketball legends (well…minus Tyson Chandler) has endorsed Rose as MVP as of late. Am I missing something, or does the opinion of these guys hold more clout than that of Hollinger and his PER?

  16. Inception April 1, 2011 at 1:32 am #

    @bulls2011champs, look at Tony Parker….he’s still got game…..Rose can certainly play at a high level for years to come.

  17. inkybreath@gmail.com'
    inkybreath April 1, 2011 at 1:50 am #

    With Oklahoma City at 50 games and playing very well, does Durant get no play at this point?

  18. Matt April 1, 2011 at 2:21 am #

    Dear John Hollinger,
    Thank you for saying that Derrick Rose wasn’t a star because he didn’t have range. Also thank you for saying he couldn’t get free throws. Finally thanks for saying that he doesn’t get enough assists for a PG…I think he’s been hearing you. Now it would be really great if you could say that his playoff numbers aren’t good enough to compete when the games start mattering, cause we’d really appreciate another banner in the UC.
    -Bulls Fans

  19. inkybreath@gmail.com'
    inkybreath April 1, 2011 at 3:01 am #

    Side Note:

    It would seem any hope the Bulls have of getting best record in the league started tonight with the Spurs and rest in a huge battle down in Houston tomorrow night.

    Go Red …

  20. reggiemcglory@yahoo.com'
    chitown4life April 1, 2011 at 1:42 pm #

    @ Nicky great post just wanted to give you a heads up, this hater named Brian might have to come and put rd marks on yr post. he is a school teacher not a real sports fan loves to make remarks about correct way of doing things but great post Nicky.I like it and yeah pls to all the haters of the bulls and D Rose tell us that he sucks and he will not win in the playoffs i love it when he plays with even more focus cause you haters add to that ..Peace

  21. Brian April 1, 2011 at 7:31 pm #

    good to see i’ve garnered the reputation of school teacher now. haha. it’s not so much about spelling and punctuation, as i initially noted. that was my mistake. it’s more about the lack of coherence in your posts. i think it’s great that you’re a bulls fan. so is everyone else commenting on this blog, myself included. but i feel most others, like myself, are left wondering what you’re talking about most of the time.

    i’m not even trying to say that in a negative manner, just expressing the truth. i like having good conversation and reading opinions from other bulls fans, which is why i post here. i just can’t read your posts most of the time because i don’t understand what you’re talking about. seriously. others made mention before i ever did, and you seemingly haven’t taken it under advisement.

  22. reggiemcglory@yahoo.com'
    chitown4life April 2, 2011 at 4:44 am #

    Tis tis Brian like I said before tell your wife you got served on by the horns and you are not the man she thought you were not even half the man. Find another way to get off loser…The only one being schooled is you look in the mirror next time instead of the floor you will see what I am talking about ..Peace

  23. hellajax@gmail.com'
    BULL4EVER April 6, 2011 at 4:26 pm #

    I have always known totally idiotic BULL-haters are going to hate these DAMN GOOD OLD BOYS from the SECOND CITY, when they win it all this season and beyond because this is nothing but a another dynasty after that UNSTOPPABULLS/UNTOUCHABULLS of the 90′s.I have already heard this BS before from stupid anti-BULLS about the bulls never winning NBA titles after the JORDAN & PIPPEN days, man will these fools be totally silenced when they are totally proved wrong. GO BULLS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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