Well the beat goes on for the Chicago Bulls while the beat downs keep coming for the Boston Celtics. The Chicago Bulls who actually was behind by nine points in the second quarter, got tired of letting the Celtics score in the 4th quarter pulling away to a 94-80 win They went on a 13-0 run to start the 4th led by guess who…DJ Augustin with six assists and Joakim Noah who scored effectively during the run to put things away. The Bulls only gave up ten points to Boston in the last frame. Three things happened on Monday night. One, the Boston Celtics were mathematically eliminated from the playoffs. Two, the Chicago Bulls have officially qualified for the playoffs. Third and most important, the Bulls pull into a tie with the Toronto Raptors for the third seed in the Leastern conference standings. This happened thanks to the Raptors losing to Joakim Noah’s all time favorite team, the Miami Heat for the 1,794th time in a row (actually 15). Toronto hasn’t beat the Heat seemingly since Chris Bosh was their star player. Too bad he now plays for the Heat. Now they may never win against them again. But I digress, Toronto still has the tiebreaker over Chicago so the Bulls must win it outright. Here’s the three things I learned from this game…
1) This Joakim Noah is the one the Bulls need for the playoffs.
Coach Tom Thibodeau was quoted that Joakim Noah should be included in the MVP conversation. After games like this, the man might have a point. After setting a record with the most assists by a center in Boston with 13 breaking a record set by a guy named Wilt Chamberlain back in 1968, he played even better Monday night. Noah scored 19 points grabbed 11 rebounds dished out five assists with two steals and two blocks. Here’s what I liked the most about his game…he took 19 shots. This means that he was aggressive when the Bulls needed him to be. Boston does not have a center that can tie Noah’s shoes. He knew this and took full advantage of that. In a loss to Golden State earlier in the season he took the blame because he didn’t take advantage of the matchups. Obviously, the man learns from his mistakes. The way things are shaping up going into the playoffs the Bulls are going to play either the Brooklyn Nets or the Washington Wizards. In my opinion, the Bulls have the advantage against both teams at the center position. Noah has to take advantage. As you can see from this game, if he does, the team can be very effective.
2) When Jimmy Butler and Mike Dunleavy shoot better that 50% from the floor, the Bulls almost always win.
After the Celtics watched DJ Augustin drop bombs on them all night Sunday night, they were going to make sure that he didn’t have a repeat performance. Augustin shot only 1-9 from the field, but he was still a major factor dishing out 11 assists. Boy it’s good to watch players that don’t allow an off night scoring affect his whole game. With the Celtics overplaying him, that meant someone would have to knock down shots. In this game the Bulls had two players that brought their ability to shoot straight to the arena. Mike Dunleavy led the Bulls in scoring with 22 points. Not only that he knocked down the only three-point shots the Bulls had in the game. He shot a very efficient 7-12 from the field and 5-5 from the charity stripe. Dunleavy wasn’t alone. Jimmy Butler scored 18 points while collecting four rebounds and four assists. He shot efficiently as well shooting 8-13 from the field. I really wish he would stop shooting threes considering he missed all three of the shots he took but hey, I can’t have everything can I? In the playoffs, DJ Augustin will definitely be on the scouting report of the Bulls’ playoff opponent. That means that others will have to fill the void on nights like this one.
3) Kirk Hinrich is going to be a big fat liability in the playoffs…Trust me!!!
In my last recap, I mentioned that Jimmer Fredette has scored a whopping 17 points since he got to Chicago. I end up getting a comment from one of the Pippen Peoples stating that it was a shame that I used that stat out of context. He even pointed out that he has played 22 minutes. He gets the honor of getting…Learn from that! for the night. Here’s the point. If Fredette can score in the NBA which is debatable if the Sacramento Kings just carried his bags to the curb and told security to deactivate his gate key, only to come to Chicago and model warm up gear and practice shirts. I have a question, why doesn’t he play? Sure he scored in college. So did Adam Morrison. We all know how that turned out. Either way he needs to play if Kirk Hinrich continues to carry on these anemic scoring performances. Against Portland he scored the same amount of points as everyone reading this recap and he scored one more point against Boston as I did writing it. Look Coach Thibodeau like familiarity and I get that. That’s why Carlos Boozer gets the same amount of minutes with a NBA League Pass look from the bench in the 4th quarter while Taj Gibson closes the game out. This situation however needs to change before the playoffs. The Bulls tend to struggle scoring, that’s why they are 30th in the league. If Fredette can score the ball let the man play. Anything is better than the 0-6 debacle that Hinrich put up last night. If anyone needs clarity, Kirk Hinrich is shooting 38% from the field this season that ranks…
10th on the Chicago Bulls
62nd in the Central Division
185th in the Leastern Conference
383rd in the NBA
Get the picture? Give Jimmer Fredette a chance.
Since one of the Pippen Peoples got the Learn From That! honor for the night. I’ll wrap this up with Taj Gibson who bounced back from a sub-par performance with a double-double scoring 14 points and grabbing 11 rebounds. But it was that nasty dunk on Kris Humphries that I remember. You would have thought Kanye West had paid him off.
Oh by the way! Carlos Boozer drops 16 points and grabs seven rebounds. Hate him or love him, the Bulls are going to need him in a couple of weeks!
Watch as the Chicago Bulls finish out the regular season strong and try to pull an upset in the playoffs in the coming weeks by getting your Bulls tickets here.