You could sort of feel the anticipation and excitement for this game. So much happened since I posted my early game preview.
- There was an internet rumor that gained steam about Luol Deng’s wrist injury… One even implying that he might miss the season. Panic ensued.
- Bulls camp adds fuel by being super quiet about the nature of Deng’s injury, but did admit they weren’t ruling out surgery for the popular small forward. If this injury lingers as long as some are speculating, this will prevent coaches from placing him on the All-Star team as a reserve and that would be a shame.
- Ronnie Brewer was slated to start in place of Lu. Taj definitely benched with the high-ankle sprain, but Noah good to go…
- Derrick Rose was rumored to have been returning to the lineup, but nothing was official. It became official only a couple of hours before the game:
And then, it was time for the game…
Just hearing the “…From Chicaaago” D.Rose introduction again after a 4 game absence gave me goosebumps. SO glad he got that rest. I have to admit though I couldn’t take my eyes off of his feet as he played. That toe is the Bulls franchise after all.
- Rip played a team-high 42 minutes and got 22 pts. 10 assists and 4 reb. He had an efficient night, shooting 63% on 10-16 shooting. I marveled during the game at how he was the Bulls big’s new best friend. He just dumps the ball into them so nicely. He’s like a QB.
- Speaking of the backcourt, this is the first game where we see how potent it can be. We got a triple double out of our guards Bulls fans: 51 pts. 21 assists and 11 rebounds (CJ, Rip and D.Rose)
- Noah had a solid game… Helped the Bulls to outrebound NJ 43/32 and ended up with 16pt. 10 reb and 4 assists. Very impressive after scratching the last game with an ankle sprain.
- Booz was more active than I’ve seen him this season. He battled on the boards with Humphries. Not settling for jumpers this time (He was also being defended well out there) he only shot one 12 footer. The rest were inside 2 ft. Nice to see him vary his attack. He also feasted off stellar passing by the Bulls. All 6 of his shots were assisted. 3 by Rip, 2 by Noah and 1 by Scalabrine. As nice as he was on offense, his defensive effort was noticeably stronger. Impressive.
- Deron Williams had a solid game… 16 pts and 10 assists. It was a quiet 16 however… He always seems to fade against D.Rose. In no way did he give up, he continued to move the ball and attempted to make plays, he just obviously couldn’t dominate or impact the game in a big way.
- Speaking of Deron, I feel like Derrick’s presence on the defensive end is getting overlooked. I mean the guy is locked in defensively, and I think his intensity helps the rest of the team do well defensively. D.Rose being re-inserted into the game in the 4Q at shooting guard might have been for defensive reasons. Thibs was obviously not happy with the Nets coming back (never really threatened, but I think this season has made 20 pt. home wins acceptable and 14 and 11 pt. decisions, just ok). I’ve got to find a way to measure this statistically because no one will mistake Derrick for the league’s steals leader, but it seems like he gets deflections and just keeps opponents on their heels because he never takes defensive possessions off.
- Humphries got more than contained on the glass… Again Booz played a physical game and should be commended.
- Jordan Farmar came alive late and hit a bunch of shots… The game would have been won by a much larger margin if it hadn’t been for his activity.
- Brewer’s jumpshot continues to look very good… I used to be of the opinion that there was something missing from his game when he started and that he’s better off of the bench, however he has proven that he now has the ability to hit open jumpers early in the game.
In Game Tweets:
- “…When I’m coming off screens, I am looking to reward my bigs. They do a great job of setting screens and getting me wide open.” – Shooting guard Rip Hamilton
- “…To miss as much time as he did and to come out and play the way that he did says a lot about him.” – Coach Tom Thibodeau on Rose
- “…You can see he was a little tentative, usually he’ll attack a little bit more. But he didn’t have to.” – Nets Point Guard Deron Williams
- “…You know Rip can score the ball, but what impressed me tonight was his passing. He makes the offense easy and he takes the load off of me when he creates for others.” – Point Guard Derrick Rose
- Rip Hamilton got his 15,000th pt. tonight. He said he wasn’t aware that this was the night he would acheive this milestone, and he thanked all of his old teammates.
- Derrick elected to wear his black shoes instead of the Bulls’ usual home whites. It feels like the Bulls have played so few home games that he’s probably not had an opportunity to break them in.
- Both Deng and Taj were spotted on the bench in street clothes. Deng’s wrist was heavily wrapped and taped. Get better guys!
- There was a lot of twitter chatter about the 39 min and 42 min that Thibs decided to play Derrick and Rip in a game that was already decided.
- We didn’t get a chance to see the Nets rookie Marshon Brooks, who was a late scratch with an achilles strain.
Its time to see the Indiana Pacers again. They are coming to the UC on Wednesday. Game preview soon. They are coming off of huge road wins against the Golden State Warriors and the Lakers. They will play the Orlando Magic tonight at Conseco and I’ll definitely be watching closely. Take care Bulls fans, let’s celebrate 4 in a row!