The Bulls starters showed again flashes of their potential in this one… Similar to the Detroit contest’s 2nd quarter, where the Bulls outscored the Pistons 33-23, they man handled the Raptors in the 3rd quarter, outscoring them 35-14.
Solid game for Rose as he drew fouls on Lowry all night and got to the FT line seemingly at will. Pau continues to put up amazing numbers and while Kirk didn’t stuff the box score, the defense that he played in the 3rd was a game changer to me. Taj got some easy close baskets and Jimmy is just solid all around. I trust him with the basketball and I hope his offense stays right where it is. Defensively, Jimmy was all over DeRozan, who was predicted to be a problem for the Bulls. He only managed 10 pts. on 3-17 shooting.
Noah was the Noah of old… 6 pts, 8 rebs, 6 asts, 3 steals and a block. He’s looking great right before the circus trip. Aside from Pau, he’s the player I’m most excited about. The team plays well when Jo has it going and we are going to need that engine out West.
Former Bull James Johnson led Toronto’s bench attack in the 2nd quarter, outscoring the Bulls bench by an astounding 22-4. Bulls also committed turnover after turnover and the Raptors got 9 pts. during this stretch. The Bulls were down 52-45 at the half because of the Raptor’s strong 2nd, but opened the third on a 13-4 run and eventually, with vintage Bulls defensive pressure and 8 pts. respectively from both Dunleavy and Gasol crushed the Raptors 35-14. The game would remain out of reach for Toronto as they began to over-rely on jumpers and couldn’t respond to the Bulls defensive pressure. Chicago successfully began to draw multiple fouls on James Johnson as well in the 2nd half.
Rose slipped on a drive at the 2:05 mark and turned the ball over… This was his 4th turnover in the 4th (had 5 turnovers overall) and he’d leave the game with what was announced later as a left hammy pull. Derrick appears to essentially be stumbling out of the gate right? A little perspective will show that it was around this exact time last season that he tore his meniscus and had to sit out for the entire season, so Bulls fans have been through worse. Those who have followed Rose and are not listening to and/or falling for all this noise surrounding him right now are still hopeful that his body will get back adjusted to the grind of an NBA season. At the time of this blog, he’s been listed as “day-to-day”.
As Toronto managed to cut the lead (Bulls must play better late and stop letting teams back into games), Jimmy Butler calmly faked a three, got his defender on his feet, came in closer and sunk a 20-footer with 1:31 left. Noah with the assist. This gave the Bulls a 95-88 advantage. Dunleavy also pump faked on the ensuing Bulls possession (0:58 sec left) to go to the line making 2-3 FT’s. These points were enough of a cushion to seal the W.
P. Gasol CHI (27pts 11rebs 1asts 1stls 3blk) 35min
J. Butler CHI (21pts 9rebs 6asts 0stls 1blk) 40min
D. Rose CHI (20pts 3rebs 4asts 0stls 0blk 5tos) 35min
A. Brooks CHI (0pts [0-4] 0rebs 0asts 0stls 0blk) 9min
- Game was on TNT so PLENTY of conversation about Rose’s recently controversial remarks (I’ll be blogging about this separately, since its gotten to be such a sideshow).
- This win ties both Toronto and Chicago at 7-2 records. Bulls are atop the Eastern Conference Standings.
- The Bulls snapped the Raptors 5-0 home winning streak while remaining undefeated on the road. This is the first time the Bulls have started with a 5-0 road record since the ’96-97 season.
- This marks only the 2nd game that all of the starters were healthy and started the game together… Rose, Butler, Dunleavy, Gasol and Noah.
- Rose attempted double-digit FT’s (9-10) for the first time since April 8, 2012.
Bulls face the depleted Pacers on 11/15 at home… No George Hill, Paul George or David West (all out with injury), but the Pacers surprised the Miami Heat the other day and should have some momentum after that game. These kinds of teams are dangerous… Similar to Boston they play loose and they play to win. Teams likely underestimate them all the time, but this is still the NBA.