21 December 2010
The Bulls got off to a 33-19 lead after the first quarter and never looked back. They won the 3rd quarter by 20. They were once winning by 51.
Luol Deng and Derrick Rose led all scorers with 22 points, in only three quarters of action. Rose added 12 assists and 5 rebounds, with a 42 plus-minus.
Carlos Boozer had another double-double, with 16 points and 11 rebounds. But the story down low was Kurt Thomas, in his first start for the Bulls. Thomas scored 12 points, grabbed eight rebounds, and had five blocks and a steal in 28 minutes. Thomas also completely shut down Elton Brand, the Sixers best player.
Off the bench, C.J. Watson dropped 14, Kyle Korver added 10, Ronnie Brewer scored nine and Omer Asik added eight with seven rebounds.
So much for that Doug Collins improved defense, and for the defensive struggle I predicted.
As for the trade rumors that have been swirling, the message to Gar is - Don't do a thing. The Bulls had to decide whether or not to go out and get a big guy to help replace Gibson and Noah, but it looks like Thomas and Asik can be more than serviceable. The Bulls had to decide whether to trade for a scoring shooting guard - Rudy Fernandez, J.R. Smith, O.J. Mayo - but haven't yet, and look at the production out of Brewer and Korver. They had to decide whether to make a move for Carmelo Anthony, even if he wants to re-sign. But why would you make a move?
The one thing you noticed with the Bulls offense tonight is that the ball never stopped. 32 assists on 49 baskets is the true indicator of that. Does the addition of Smith or Anthony hurt that? I think it does. There's no reason to add more guys with high usage rates and affect chemistry and the offense, not to mention the fact that neither Smith or Anthony enjoy playing any defense.
I've always said our star is Derrick Rose, far before the Melo drama and way before the LeBron/Wade/Bosh trio formed in Miami. Boozer, Noah and Deng are great compliments, Korver and Brewer fill roles, as does Gibson and Watson. If you can make the team better without disrupting that chemistry or disrupting the flow, you do it. But making a big move for a new group of players seems too Orlando for me. You want me to say it? I don't want Melo. I don't want Smith. That's not to say they aren't good basketball players, but it's not the best for the team moving forward.
The Bulls are fun to watch, easy to root for, and becoming extremely successful. If you're not excited about this team yet, you're dead.
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