It’s a beautiful day in the neighborhood, it’s a beautiful day to be Pippen. Would you be mine? Could you be mine? I know that I write these recaps most days. It’s starting to look like when the Bulls lose a game, the next team gets blown away! Even though the Bulls lost to the Nets, if you picked them last night you won your bets. Will you be a… please be a…won’t you be Pippen Peoples? Well, well, well everyone. After the Bulls lost their four game winning streak losing to the Brooklyn Nets on Monday night, they started a new one running away in the 4th quarter and defeating the Detroit Pistons 105-94. This was a night that belonged to the Chicago bench. With both teams basically running a seven man rotation for the game, it was DJ Augustin and Taj Gibson’s night combining for 48 points on 18-30 from the field. The two combined to finish the Pistons off scoring 20 of the 34 points in the final frame to seal the win. Greg Monroe led the Pistons with 27 points while the main players off the Detroit bench Rodney Stuckey and Will Bynum went a combined 5-20 from the field for 12 points. I heard in the news that Detroit is trying to rebuild the city back up to the way it was in the glory days. Well Josh Smith donated to the project and supplied some bricks shooting 6-21 from the field for 15 points.
DJ Augustin after going through a little valley with his jump shot for a few weeks has come back strong. Since the 4th quarter of the New York game, Augustin has been on a tear. DJ Augustin led six Bulls in double figures with 26 points and found time to dish out six assists. The Bulls have been off and on at the free throw line lately, so it should be pointed out that Augustin went 10-10 from the free throw line. His bench partner Taj Gibson backed him up quite nicely scoring 22 points and grabbing five rebounds. I don’t know much about fantasy leagues, but Jimmy Butler is a fantasy player’s dream these days. Jimmy Butler stuffed the stat sheet yet again scoring 18 points collecting 12 rebounds dealing out four assists and getting three steals. He was part of the turning point in the second quarter (more on that later) that sparked the Bulls. He had some highlight reel dunks that is showing some much-needed confidence in his game going into the playoffs. He did so well I’m going to ignore that he missed all three of his three pointers. Stop man, stop! Oh, that’s not ignoring it, is it?
Joakim Noah had yet another triple-double scoring 10 points on 5-7 shooting (Hey Joakim, shoot the ball man!) grabbed 11 rebounds and had 11 assists. Joakim will not be MVP this year because that race is between LeBron James and Kevin Durant, but he has to be in the conversation. This marked his sixth triple-double in his career and second in this week alone. The entire offensive dynamics of this team has been changed to run through Noah by putting him in the high post to read the defense. This allows Noah make disciplined plays that drive lesser teams like the Pistons crazy. It is a sight to behold watching Noah improve his game over the years. He has gone from a high energy player to a highly skilled player. His game will never be as pretty to watch as a LeBron James or Kevin Durant, but believe me, his all-around game is no less important. Learn from that!
The Bulls as a team do not get a total pass however. The Bulls again started slowly coming out of the gate in both the first and second half. The Bulls scored 19 points in the these two quarters respectively. Now that the Bulls are going into a playoff run, this is an issue that has to be cleaned up soon. When the playoffs start, scoring starts to become more difficult the further along the rounds go. The Bulls were behind 25-19 at the end of the first quarter and was behind 41-34 in the second. Then Josh Smith showed the NBA why he has the most toxic contract in the league getting his shot blocked, not getting back on defense, getting a technical foul that got the Bulls back in the game. Chicago will have to address this problem in the last 20 or so games if they want to have any success in the playoffs.
Ah, the Boozer report. Carlos scored 10 points and had five rebounds. How much does this guy make again? Bulls management had better be very glad that Joakim and Taj are busy playing ball because if they saw Boozer’s check and looked at their own based on the impact these guys have every game in comparison to Boozer…FRICTION! Just sayin!
The Bulls are winning games without Derrick Rose because of discipline. Period. I read articles on how it would be if D-Rose was in the line-up or the constant what-ifs. They are not realistic because the dynamics of the offense would be different. The offense would not be going through Noah meaning the Bulls would be depending on D-Rose’s penetration and waiting on him to create opportunities instead of everyone moving without the ball and playing off each other.
As for Josh Smith, I have this to say on behalf of the Bulls fans. Thanks man. When Dunleavy blocked your shot and you showed why you get on Detroit fans nerves by not getting back on defense which led to a highlight reel alley oop dunk by Jimmy Butler and getting a technical foul to compound it, you got the Bulls untracked. I know deep down you wonder why Atlanta basically helped you pack when you left. This is why. It’s a crying shame that Maurice Cheeks got fired about a month back. It’s probably because you poisoned the locker room against him. Don’t worry, your contract will probably get Joe Dumars fired in the summer too. But don’t worry man, you’re not going anywhere. You know why? No one in the NBA would want your presence in the locker room. Just sayin!
The Bulls play the Memphis Grizzlies next. They need to win. Showdowns with the Miami Heat and San Antonio are up next.