When you’re missing a starter and the 6th man, shoot 2/16 from the three-point line, have more turnovers than assists and you’re playing your second game of a back-to-back on the road, your chances to win decrease dramatically.
Unless you’re playing the Wizards.
Though looking shaky at best throughout most of the game, the Chicago Bulls used a strong 3rd quarter yet again to pull away from the opposition for good. The game had more spurts of hard fouls and bad plays than it did consecutive points, and neither team was left in awe of the awesome officiating (the Wizards picked up three Technical fouls), but having the ability to pull out a win given the circumstances is still a pretty impressive feat.
And with no further adieu, I present to you a new segment: 3 Balls and 2 Strikes, where I will hightlight who my three game balls go to, and discuss two instances that need to improve.
Game Ball #3 – Kurt Thomas
Two starts, two game balls as far as I’m concerned. Though Thomas’ stat sheet isn’t terribly impressive (4 points, 7 boards, 6 fouls) Thomas played a very solid defensive game (2 blocks, 1 steal) and cleared the lane for teammates consistently all night.
Game Ball #2 – Derrick Rose
On another night where Rose’s shot just wasn’t falling consistently (0-6 3PFG), Derrick found ways to score late that kept the Bulls ahead of Washington down the stretch. Rose’s stat line was also hindered by the fact that the Bulls could not hit a shot from downtown, and as the misses piled up Rose’s assists disappeared.
Game Ball #1 – Carlos Boozer
Ladies and gentlemen, this type of game is the exact reason we went out specifically to obtain Boozer this off-season. In a game where our shooters weren’t shooting, our rebounders are hurt, and we’re playing on the road, Carlos Boozer almost willed us to a victory tonight. Boozer finished 11-18 from the field (and 8-11 from the free throw stripe) to finish with 30 points and 10 rebounds, and also a season-high seven assists. He led the Bulls in all three of those stats.
Strike #1 – Kyle Korver
With Rose having an off-night shooting the ball, it really takes a load off the shoulders of our stars when Korver can give us solid minutes off the bench. However, Korver was 0-5 from the field in 14+ minutes. Perhaps even worse, when Korver can’t shoot, Bogans plays more. He finished the game with almost 18 minutes.
Strike #2 – Luol Deng
I’ve tried to lighten up on Lu throughout the season, as I feel his overall play has improved. But when we are struggling, we can’t have Deng go 5-13 and have a +/- ratio 1/3 of that of Keith Bogans.
Final Thoughts: Tonight’s game was like a classic boxing fight. It was ugly, wasn’t always played fairly by either side, and at times both parties would prefer the referees just take a seat. However the Bulls took a stiff hook on the chin, got up and put the Wizards away for good. Keep playing like champions, Chicago, and you may realize your dreams.
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