Game 22 Recap: Bulls 113, Timberwolves 82

If anybody thought the Bulls were going to fall into a trap the night after they beat the Lakers for the first time since 2006, then those people were wrong.

By a lot.

The Bulls thrashed the Timberwolves — who beat the Pistons in Minnesota the night before — without mercy or remorse. Chicago was up 21 points at halftime and led by as many as 34 in the second half. For all intents and purposes, the game was over after 24 minutes. The only drama in the second half was about whether the Bulls would earn their fans a free Big Mac by scoring 100 points.

Mission accomplished. Greasy deathburgers for everyone!

The Bulls’ dominance was complete and utter. The Timberwolves are a bad team. No question about it. However, they entered the game leading the league in both Total Rebounds and Offensive Rebound Percentage. But although Kevin Love had himself a game — game-highs in points (23) and rebounds (15) — Chicago won the rebounding battle 53-36. That included a 17-11 edge on the offensive glass.

But wait. There’s more.

The Bulls forced 21 turnovers for 27 points. They scored 22 points in transition. They held Minnesota to 39 percent shooting. They blocked 11 shots. They hit 58 percent of their three-pointers (10-for-18). I could go on, but I’m sure you get the point.

Frankly, I wouldn’t have blamed T-Wolves coach Kurt Rambis if he’d called a cardiologist mid-game.

His team needed 12 heart transplants. Stat.

That’s life in the NBA. A bad team playing on the road against a good team on the second night of back-to-back games can be a prescription for disaster. Just ask the Bulls. They’ve been on the receiving end of several similar beat-downs over the past two or three seasons.

Only now they’re the beater instead of the ones being beaten. Feels good.

You know what else feels good? At 14-8, the Bulls are now six games over .500 for the first time since finishing the 2006-07 season with a 49-33 record. They only player left from that squadis Luol Deng.

Chicago’s winning streak is up to five games. And check out their next five games: versus the Pacers (11-11), at Toronto (8-15), versus the Clippers (5-18), versus the Sixers (7-15) and at Washington (6-16).

If the Bulls keep playing with the focus and intensity they played with this weekend, they could run their winning streak to 10 in a row.

Other notables:

Derrick Rose (21 points, 7 assists, 3 rebounds) stayed hot. He went 8-for-10 from the field and connected on a career-best five three-pointers. He is now 37-for-89 over the first 22 games. That’s a 41 percent conversion rate. Wow…right? By comparison, he was 32-for-132 during his first two seasons.

Carlos Boozer didn’t shoot all that well from the field (5-for-14), but he was 7-for-7 from the line and finished with 17 points and 7 rebounds in only 24 minutes. And the Bulls were +21 when he was on the floor. Good things seem to happen when the Bulls post him up early in the shot clock.

Joakim Noah had another rough shooting night (3-for-8). But he rebounded well (10 boards) and blocked 6 shots.

Luol Deng continues to thrive in his new role as third scorer. He finished with 19 points on  7-for-11 shooting. During his last seven games, Deng is shooting 50 percent from the field and 52 from beyond the arc.

Taj Gibson got some decent minutes (24) and responded with a double-double (12 points, 10 rebounds).

Kyle Korver scored in double figures for the fifth game in a row. But even more important than his 12 points was the fact that the Bulls were +21 when he was in the game. That plus-minus score was tied with Carlos Boozer for the best of the night. Korver may lack lateral quickness on defense, but there’s little question that Chicago’s offense runs more smoothly when his shooting is keeping opposing defenses honest. I’d love to see him start at shooting guard for a while.

In their past four games, the Bulls have held their opponents to 90, 83, 84 and 82 points.

Said Chicago coach Tom Thibodeau: “The defense is coming around. Our ball pressure is improved, our weak side is improved, but we still have a long ways to go. There are a lot of areas where we can improve on.”

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


13 Responses to Game 22 Recap: Bulls 113, Timberwolves 82

    bullsfandom December 12, 2010 at 8:23 am #

    Having somebody out there at the 2 who can hit 3’s seems very crucial if this team is going to keep winning the way it is.

    C-Lo-The-Great December 12, 2010 at 1:49 pm #

    Enjoyed watching the Bulls get a blowout. Hopefully their winning stark continues against those sub .500 teams. I expected Rose to be better from the 3 point line but I didn’t expect 41%. He shot lights out last night.

    Scottie Pippen December 12, 2010 at 1:59 pm #

    check the link, Dee Rose new nickname

    BoppinBob December 12, 2010 at 5:23 pm #

    As of December 15th I consider these guys as expendable and they should be targeted for upgrades; Bogans, JJ, Lucas, Thomas and Scalabrine.

    My biggest concern is at C. The Bulls do not match-up well with the Celtics or Orlando at the center position. I believe that Josh Boone is still available and could help the Bulls at the C position.

    bullsfandom December 12, 2010 at 5:50 pm #

    Boone is in China, which explains why the Heat didn’t go after him.

    I’m not sure that we don’t match up well with the Celtics front court. Yeah, they’ve looked good early…but Shaq is in F.U. mode which I’m not sure he can maintain. I also expect KG, and both of the O’neils to be injured late in the season. Also, find me a team that matches up well with Orlando. D-Ho is head and shoulders above every other Center in the league. To beat them, you have to attack him and get him in foul trouble…something we are terrible at doing, and I’m not sure getting somebody else’s castaway Center is going to change.

  6. Inception December 12, 2010 at 6:24 pm #

    derrick rose is shooting a better 3 pt % than korver…go figure! …then again, we’ve only played 22 games so far.

  7. Inception December 12, 2010 at 6:25 pm #

    correction…korver and rose are both shooting 41.3%

    Evan December 12, 2010 at 6:58 pm #

    Matt, I hate to be that guy, but Adrian Griffin is also still on the Bulls from the 2006-2007 season, just not as a player anymore. I’m sure you were just talking about active players in the first place, though.

    chitown4life December 12, 2010 at 7:35 pm #

    Wait a min omar may not be the best center in the league by far but yet at the same time he does play some solid mins for the most part and contributes to the team positively wait scoring is our goal stopping others from scoring is the goal of our coach, the view i want to point out is check our (sg) stats you may come to understand what our team is truly lacking consistant scoring from that position which means if they don’t get any better at the two guard the bulls will face alot of double teams on boozer and rose and deng who ever has the ball cause right now i don’t thkni other teams respect our two guards period but outside of that great game last night it was suppose to be a blow out no chnce which it was of the bulls losing share some of yr opions or options about our two guard delema. Peace

  10. TBF December 12, 2010 at 7:44 pm #

    How good is Love at this point? That dude is a monster. He’s like Jo Noah with a 3 point shot. It must be so frustrating for him right now, stuck with Beasley who just wants to jack up shot after shot and play zero defense all night.

    Speaking of Beasley, Luol just abused him all night. Deng is so valuable as exactly what he supposed to be now; a top-notch role-player. His defense is excellent too.

    If Derrick can keep burying those threes, he’s going to be completely unguardable in this league.

    Enigmatik December 13, 2010 at 1:26 am #

    This is the type of effort we should expect to see. Thrash the lesser teams and get some wins against the top teams in the league.

    Maybe Bogans is blackmailing Thibs…there’s no logical explanation for why he starts in the NBA.

    Between now and January 8th, the Bulls only play 2 teams with records of .500 or better (Pacers, Knicks). Time to load up on wins!

    Gorditadog December 13, 2010 at 2:16 am #

    Matt, I love your blog, but you need to stop campaigning for Korver to play shooting guard. Did you see Corey Brewer’s eyes light up when Korver got him last night? Took him to the paint three straight times- there aren’t many defenders who can turn Corey Brewer into a first option.

    Bulls defense has still got a long way to go. Rose needs to keep improving and Boozer’s abilities are still unknown. We really need to appreciate the work that Deng and Brewer/Bogans do in shutting down opponents wings.

    I think it would be a huge negative to downgrade on the defensive end right now. We could probably get away with it for the next several games against a weak schedule, but what’s the point?

    During our next 13 games we only have one opponent with a record over .500 (the Knicks at Madison Square Garden). If we continue to play the way we have been playing, winning the boards and holding teams shooting percentage under 45%, we should be 10-3 or 11-2 over those games, heading up to our next big test at home against Boston on January 8.

    Let’s let the Bogans/Brewer thing play out over this stretch and see if we can build some confidence in our team defense. We will need it for the Celtics.

    Chuck December 13, 2010 at 3:50 pm #

    I almost quit watching the game mid-3Q. It was such a blowout that I started to feel sorry for the Timberchickens. Love was the only guy on that team that seemed to give a crap.

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