The Chicago Bulls have now won 15 of their last 17 games, as they went into New Jersey and beat the Nets by the score of 84-73.
Omer Asik had a monster game. In 25 minutes of playing time, the rookie center from Turkey scored 11 points with 16 rebounds and two blocked shots. He and Joakim Noah were a wrecking machines on the offensive glass— combining for 15 of the Bulls’ 17 offensive rebounds. Though Kris Humphries added nine offensive rebounds of his own to help the Nets match the Bulls’ 17 offensive boards.
It was ultimately the defense of the Bulls that set them apart from the Nets in this game. Derrick Rose contained Deron Williams by holding him to 1-of-11 shooting from the field. Rose continued his shooting struggles from the floor (8-of-23), but still managed to rack up 23 points.
Perhaps the most underrated aspect of Rose’s game is his defense, which has improved mightily this season under the mentoring of Bulls’ first-year head coach Tom Thibodeau. This was the second time this season that Rose has shut down Deron Williams— the first time was back on February 9th when Rose held, then-Jazz player, Williams in-check for 11 points in a performance that seemed to be the straw that broke the camel’s back for Jerry Sloan’s long tenure as Utah’s head coach. Then, three days later, the Bulls marched down to New Orleans as Rose completely dominated Hornets All-Star point guard, Chris Paul, head-to-head.
So do not be fooled by people who dismiss Derrick Rose based on his defense. Nobody who has watched Rose play often this season could feel that way.
The Bulls now move into sole possession of the 1-seed in the Eastern Conference yet again. Carlos Boozer is also expected to make his return to the line-up on Friday night, in Indiana, after missing the last four games with an ankle sprain.
The game against the Pacers will take place at 6:00 PM CT as the Bulls look to improve to 13-0 versus their Central division opponents.