- @IND L 107-105 - This was a very close game throughout. As usual, the Bulls looked less than mediocre on the road, and couldn’t seem to pull ahead of a terrible Indiana squad. Ben Gordon hit a huge 3 to tie it up and send the game to overtime. T.J. Ford answered in overtime, with a fadeaway prayer of a shot that somehow went in. While that play was the game-winner for the Pacers, credit goes out to Rose for playing excellent defense on Ford’s shot. Rose also came relatively close to a triple-double, scoring 24 points, 11 rebounds and 6 assists. The Bulls were on a short rotation (I mean shorter than usual) with Salmons on the pine nursing a pulled groin. Tim Thomas stepped in and played admirably, scoring 11 points and snagging 5 rebounds in 30 minutes of play. Hinrich, who stepped into the starting lineup to replace Salmons, poured in 20 points, 7 assists and 7 rebounds. All of the good games were for naught though, since no one could seem to guard Granger again and TJ Ford was getting to any spot on the court that he wanted. Oh and one last thing, Tyrus Thomas snagged only 1 rebound in 30 minutes. 1! I hope Vinny or someone smacked him for that.
- vs. NJN W 103-94 – The Bulls went into the half of this game up 10 and in control of the game. Poor defense and Ben Gordon literally not making one shot in the first 3 quarters let the Nets back into the game. Ben Gordon didn’t stop shooting though, nor should he, and he hit a big 3 and two free throws during a 10-0 run by the Bulls to close out the game. The plays that stood out in this game were during a stretch early in the 4th quarter where the Nets went to rookie Brook Lopez on the block iso against Brad Miller. 3 times in a row they did that, and 3 times Miller got smoked by the rookie. It was not a pretty sight. either they needed to send help, or switch Noah onto Brook. Brad Miller seems like a very average post defender to me, but on this day he couldn’t keep up with Lopez no matter how hard he tried. Derrick Rose also looked very efficient running the offense, scoring 15 and chipping in 5 assists, 4 rebounds and 2 steals. Noah added 12 points and 10 rebounds.
Player of the Week – Derrick Rose
Rose averaged about 20 points, 5.5 assists and 7.5 rebounds this week. He had an amazing game against the Pacers even though they lost. He also had a solid contribution to the win against New Jersey. Since there were only two games this week it was hard to pick anyone who played well in both, but Rose was consistent. Gordon shot terribly on the week, so even though he hit some big shots, he was more responsible for getting us in big holes than getting us out of them. Salmons only played one game and Hinrich played well in one and was a non-factor in the other. Rose may be a triple-double threat in the future, and you have to think its only a matter of time. If he can grab double-digit rebounds once in a while, he will have a shot at getting one sooner rather than later.
What It Means
The Bulls are in a dead heat with the Pistons for the 7 seed and the Bulls hold the tiebreaker right now. It looks like the Bulls will be in the playoffs, the question is where. They have a shot at the 6 or even 5 seed, though that seems difficult as they are 3.5 behind Philly with 5 games to play. The Bulls do meet both Philly and Detroit in the next couple weeks. Boston and Orlando are fighting over the 2 seed, which means the Bulls will probably meet the winner of that battle in the first round.
The Bulls should have won both last week, but in the East a split was good enough. When I looked at the schedule for this coming week I thought it was a joke. The Bulls have such an easy run it would be a collapse of epic proportion if they didn’t make the playoffs (and get the 7 or even 6 seed for that matter). This week it’s 3 more home games against the Knicks, Sixers, and Bobcats. The Sixers is the only real challenge, especially at the United Center where the Bulls look nearly unstoppable this year.
Bulls Weekly Grade: B-
Come on, Bulls. Win a game on the road! The Pacers suck and they didn’t exactly dominate a terrible Nets team. Sloppy play all week will not earn anything higher than a B-, even with a 1-1 split.