Kobe Plays Through Pain and Bulls Inflict More In Season Opener


This game turned out to be one of the tougher Bulls games to watch. Especially tough when it is a nationally televised regular season opener on Christmas… Really, Bulls? After the Knicks/Celtics nail-biter and the Heat/Mavericks massacre, needless to say I wanted the Bulls to make a statement of their own.

After a second glance though, it was kind of nice that things happened this way…  This is the type of grinding game that the casual fan of basketball rarely gets to see… The never-give-up attitude of the Bulls, the ferocious defense, the game winning shot by D. Rose, I mean it was all on display. It also kind of justifies to my friends and family who are casual fans of the sport why I’m so into this team! Its like a validation that they are really special. Also, for this to happen against a perennial championship caliber squad like the Lakers (recent shakeups not withstanding) with an active, semi-healthy and engaged Kobe Bryant… Its just more than you can ask for.

Game Notes:

  • Rip started out guarding Kobe and picked up 2 quick fouls in 3 minutes
  • Thibs brought in the second unit: Watson, Asik, Brewer, Gibson and Deng at the 2:00 mark of the 1st quarter, and wouldn’t bring the starters back until the 7:18 mark in the 2nd
  • C.J. Watson was a great floor manager during this stretch… Kept the ball moving and made good decisions with the ball
  • Everytime it looked like the Bulls were going to get into a rhythm and start puling away, a foul would be called, Mike Brown would call a timeout… Just a start, stop, start, stop kind of contest
  • Boozer was actually solid in this game from a statistical standpoint, 7-13, 54% however he still remains largely ineffective at the rim. The explosion needed to leap into traffic AND finish the possession just doesn’t look to be there… I know it is early in the season, but this is something we should keep an eye on
  • Rip Hamilton’s performance in this game has been a bit maligned, but early foul trouble hampered him… Still solid… Made great passes and able to finish when necessary. We are a better team with Rip
  • Ronnie Brewer, Luol Deng and Rip Hamilton played exceptional defense in this game. They pressured Kobe (as much as you can pressure Kobe) into 8 turnovers, the last being a key to the Bulls win
  • Rose was cool, confident and efficient… I saw early on the changes in his game this season. No longer feeling the need to take over the game with sick, beasty (and physically taxing) drives when the Bulls get offensively stagnant, he picked his spots, kept the ball moving and deftly led the team
  • Noah grabbed 5 offensive rebounds and even though he didn’t dominate, his presence was felt and his activity around the basket was great to see
  • Pau Gasol had some flashes of brillance in the post and reminded everyone that you still need to pay attention to him in there
  • McRoberts was an active, effective body for the Lakers down low and he didn’t do anything outrageous!

Key Quotes:

  • Bruce Bowen – ESPN: “…Derrick Rose is a junky when it comes to getting better at the game of basketball.”
  • Derrick Rose: “…If it weren’t for my teammates, making the steal and getting the ball to me at the end, there’s no way I could have gotten that shot off to help us win that game.”
  • Joakim Noah: “…What a way to start an NBA season!”
  • Scalabrine entering the locker room after the win: “…We stole that s***”

Sideline Skinny:

  • Kanye West, Chicago native and rap mogul was spotted in the stands
  • Derrick Rose and Kobe Bryant both wore signature shoes for this Christmas game (Purple and Lime for Kobe and a red and black CTA – Chicago Transit Authority themed shoe for Rose)
  • Derrick got sent to the floor from an inadvertent elbow from Deng but was ok after a timeout
  • The Bulls left immediately and flew to Oakland where they face the Golden State Warriors tonight.


This entry was posted in Game Reaction, Regular Season 2011-12 and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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