This years Dallas Mavericks (7-8) and Chicago Bulls (6-7) seem to have a lot of things in common. Both teams have only one elite star that they can count on to score the ball when called upon. Both teams have also been missing that star for the entire season. What would a win tonight have meant for both of these teams? A .500 record that they should have surpassed long ago.Luckily, the Bulls will now gain the honour of being 7-7, defeating the Dallas Mavericks 101-78.
Going into the game, the Bulls had a lot a prove. Coming off an embarrassing loss against the Bucks, it was clear that something had to be done about the second unit. Apparently, they took care of it in practice. Chicago, taking the advantage early yet again, was much more careful to keep the opponent at bay this time around.
Here’s how it happened:
Chris Kaman and Rip Hamilton (4 points) opened the game up for their respective clubs, and the two team’s traded baskets for the majority of the quarter. Notable moment: Chris Kaman, destroying Boozer for the second time in just six minutes, inspired a heckler to give Carlos a piece of his mind. Sources say that his comment, “play some defense, Boozer” resonated with about 107% of Chicago-land viewers. Three Bulls turnovers in a row promptly gave the Mavs an eight-point advantage. After a 20-second time out, Chicago got right back on track, taking a one point lead at the end of the quarter. Notable potential-Bulls-SG-from-forever-ago moment of the game: Vince Carter drives to the cup, beating Luol Deng off the dribble… naturally he blew the lay-up. He would finish the game with 10 points on 10 shots.
Nate Robinson opened up the 2nd quarter in classic Nate Robinson fashion, getting the steal and immediately blowing a 3 on 1 opportunity with a bad pass to Taj Gibson.That wasn’t the best moniker for Nate’s success however. He led all
bench scorers with 14 points and 6 assists. Another potential-Bulls-SG-from-forever-ago moment: OJ Mayo’s attempted jumper gets blocked by Joakim Noah and on the other end Marco Belinelli (11 points) drains a 3 immediately after checking in. Not a bad way to bounce back after a DNP. Head coach Tom Thibodeau, clearly a changed man with a changed bench at his hands, has Nazr Mohammed check into the game at the 8 minute mark of the second quarter. It pays off. Robinson hits a couple of three’s, the Bulls stay paramount on defense and they go into the half up by 16.
The starters checked back in to start the second half and played the majority of the third quarter. Chicago managed to push their lead to 20 and Thibbs promptly called a time-out as Dallas made it an 18-point lead. You could tell the Bulls were being a lot more careful this time around. All in all, this quarter consisted of basket trading and unnecessary foul calls. At the six minute mark however, Luol Deng seemed to tweak his ankle. While he didn’t check out of the game, stay tuned to Pippen Ain’t Easy for an update on his status. Moment of the game: Taj Gibson (8 points, 8 rebounds) , in hard-hat lunch-pail fashion, hit the deck for an offensive rebound that eventually led to a wide open three-pointer for Deng, who led all scorers with 22 points. SWISH. Chicago went into the third quarter up 77-58.
The fourth quarter, as most would expect, was rather uneventful. Aside from a couple of technicals on fake tough-guys Marco Belinelli, Troy Murphy and Dahntay Jones and a nice move by Jimmy Butler, who finished the game with a new career-high: 13 points. Oh, and Bernard James, rookie from Florida State tugged on Taj Gibson’s jersey, almost picking up a flagrant foul. I guess no one taught him that you can’t do that in the NBA.
By the way, it appears that Joakim Noah is still good at basketball. He had a double-double and five assists, taking home the glue-guy award of the night. Can someone say “all-star”? For the bench more than any other part of the team, tonight marked a bounce-back. They poured in 50 points.
With the Bulls possibly getting back on track again, it’s the perfect time for them to be taking on the Philadelphia 76ers, the team that knocked them out of the playoffs following a season-ending injury endured by Derrick Rose. If the Bulls can hold the Sixers to below 35% shooting like they did to the Mavericks today, they might be looking at a 2 game winning streak. They’ll be facing off at United Center on the 1st of December.