It was a spirited night at the United Center on Tuesday.  From Benny-the-Bull: giving former NBA guard Reggie Miller an intense stare down at the broadcast booth.  To Marisa Miller: who was in attendance, singing D-Rose praises from the stands (who was recently anointed “Chicago’s Sexiest Athlete”).  Tonight the Chicago Bulls won a huge game to regain their 1 game lead over the Toronto Raptors – now with only 1 game to go in the 82-game season.

Derrick Rose should be nick-named the “Celtic-killer.”  More specifically – The Rondo killer.  He seems to dominate Rajon Rondo on both ends of the floor in all of their head-to-head match-ups.  Rose followed up that game-winning block from Game 6 last year by packing 2 of Rondo’s early shot attempts tonight.  Derrick also followed up his 36 point playoff debut with a career high 39 points tonight.  He played like the superstar he has the potential to be, on Tuesday night.  He and Kirk Hinrich combined for 69 points (compared to the stellar 53 put up by Pierce & Ray Allen), had 9 rebounds, and 11 assists with only 3 turnovers between them.

The Chicago Bulls immediately got out to a relentless running start.  The key to this game was the Bulls’ relentlessness and fearlessness going up against what still remains to be a great Boston defense.  Chicago also won the battle of the boards by the count of 49-40.  Joakim Noah made Kendrick Perkins seem almost non-existent tonight with his activity and solid all-around play.

The fans in the United Center gave the Bulls a standing ovation as the time was running down in their 101-93 over the Celtics.  This is Chicago’s fourth nationally televised game in the past month, and they are putting themselves on the basketball map in a big way.  They have won 9 of their last 13 games and have stormed back into the Playoff picture after many people counted them out of the mix.  When you consider the fact that they are missing much of their depth from last season, you need to give this team credit.  They have a youthful, vibrant core in Rose and Noah.  These two guys, in their 2nd and 3rd seasons, respectively, have put this team on their backs and not only have filled up the stat sheet but have made their teammates that much better who surround them.

Somewhat of a fuss was made on TNT tonight about Bulls’ VP of Basketball Operations, John Paxson, allegedly shoving Vinny Del Negro over a dispute about Joakim Noah’s playing time.  As unprofessional as it may have been on Paxson’s part, to me it is actually refreshing seeing Bulls’ management this passionate about winning.  Del Negro is at a point where he needs to be decisive as the coach regardless of what the nay-sayers say, because there are no guarantees, playoffs or no playoffs, that he will keep his job next season.

The magic number for the Bulls is down to 1.  They need a win in Charlotte tomorrow to clinch #8.

April 13, 2010

-Rami Abboud

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