The Chicago Bulls are officially rolling. Starting the season on the road with one of the tougher NBA schedules, they have certainly paid their dues. It seems only fair (now that players are breaking down), that we would catch a break and face some weaker teams.
Last night’s challenge came from the Charlotte Bobcats and the Bulls, without Taj, Lucas AND Rose did not disappoint. They turned the Bobcats away with defense, a hot shooting 1st quarter and stellar ball movement.
- First off, the unanimous player of the game was Mike James… Gar looks like a genius for bringing him up out of the D-League on Jan 11th. He had 9 pts and 10 assists in 17 minutes. He ran the pick and roll to perfection a few times with Booz, hit Rip perfectly coming off of a screen, hit his own three and a nifty floater off the dribble. GREAT to see him back…
- CJ started off strong, but he started jacking three’s at the end of the game for some reason. He definitely reverted to over-dribbling and stopping the ball on offense, particularly during a 10-0 Bobcat run…
- The Bobcats Mullens had a great game. Stacey King criticized him thorougly for taking so many outside shots, but he hit them, inlcuding a three to end up with 17 pts. Henderson had a good game too, hitting his shots at a decent clip. He ended up with 22 pts.
- Charlotte, in the end was just too small for the Bulls. Rip and CJ just shot over the top of the Bobcat backcourt all night.
- Booz continues to dominate the scoring column (he led all scorers with 23 pts) and also got some benefit of the doubt from the refs. Any contact under the rim with Booz and another player more often than not results in a charge against Carlos, but he got 2 ‘and 1’s’ last night which was nice to see.
- Asik started in place of Noah who was a late scratch. Noah’s left ankle is apparently still bothering him from last night’s contest against Cleveland. Asik picked up two early fouls in the 1st Quarter, but damn, I like his presence in the paint. The opposing team has to rethink what they are going to do in the lane… Omer has great feet, great body position and we’ve just gotten a chance to see his reaction time down there grow and grow.
- Sca-la-bri-ne… Clap, clap, clap-clap-clap was NOT trotted out as the Bulls’ usual victory cigar last night. No, Scal was needed in the rotation after Asik picked up his early fouls. You always trust Scal to come into the game and make smart plays. He got a steal, ran the floor with Korver and assisted Kyle for the easy layup.
- “…I thought Rip’s performance tonight was just sensational.” – Coach Tom Thibodeau
- “…When guys are hurt, they cheer for guys that are out on the floor. In the NBA, that’s hard to find.” – Shooting Guard Rip Hamilton
- With this win, the Bulls are now 4-1 without Derrick Rose in the lineup.
- Bulls also now boast the best record in the NBA (15-3) and also have played a league-high 18 games.
- The Bulls announcer made a Mo Williams/Chauncey Billups faux pas when he announced Noah’s name as Asik was walking out.
- D.J. White of the Bobcats was thought to have suffered a knee contusion. He left the game and did not return.
- Derrick Rose sat on the bench in his warmups instead of a suit. He did not wear the walking boot, but had on his sneakers, one appearing unlaced/untied. Joakim also appeared on the bench in his warmups later in the game after scratching late.
- The Bulls have won 33 of the last 35 games at the United Center. The last home season loss the Bulls suffered before the ECF was to the Philadelphia 76er’s on March 28th 97-85. That loss snapped a 4-game winning streak. Chicago would win its remaining 4 home games (as well as 5 road games) before the playoffs.
Injuries are occurring so quickly, I thought I’d do a quick graphic showing who’s injured and officially listed as day-to-day. Get well Bulls, we need you!
Bulls will be hosting the New Jersey Nets on Monday – 7PM CST on WGN. Game preview soon.
Be sure to check the power rankings on Monday, we should still be holding our own!