The Chicago Bulls were obviously going to be rusty. There was no question about that. Derrick Rose returned for the first time in over 550 days. The Bulls’ starting played together for the first time ever. There was going to be rust. Against the Miami Heat however, you can’t have that.
Instead of coming in and upsetting the defending champs like so many hoped they would, Chicago allowed Miami to go on a 17-0 run in the second quarter on the way to a 95-107 loss to the Miami Heat.
The storyline coming out of game will undoubtedly be the poor performance by Derrick Rose in his return after an 18-month absence. In his much anticipated return, Rose finished with 12 points and four assists on a 4-15 shooting performance. After hitting almost half of his threes during the preseason, Rose managed to knock down only one of his seven three-pointers against the Heat.
Perhaps more important though, Derrick looked healthy. There was no hesitation by Rose on any of his moves to the basket, even when he went into clear contact.
There were points where Rose looked like he was picking his spots instead of constantly going all out. While that may be a difference, it’s not necessarily a bad sign. When Rose tries to push for 48 minutes, he puts his body in a place where it should not be. By picking his chances, Rose keeps the ability to turn things on in the fourth quarter, perhaps even more so than he is right now. In this game, he did not have the opportunity like he will in some games.
Power forward Carlos Boozer was the best player on the floor for Chicago. In only 32 minutes, Boozer scored 31 points and accumulated seven rebounds on 13-18 shooting. Boozer has had his struggles in the past against the Heat, especially against the length of Chris Bosh. In the game today, he shook Bosh on multiple occasions, and took advantage of any opportunity he had against other defenders.
Boozer’s post offense can be an essential piece of playing the Heat later in the season when the team is more in sync. Boozer’s jump shot was on today, and it in itself is paramount to spacing the floor if Luol Deng’s jump shots aren’t falling.
And tonight, Luol Deng’s jump shots were not falling. Deng finished on 2-8 on the night with three turnovers. He was limited to only 29 minutes on the night due to foul trouble.
Joakim Noah played today after sitting most of the preseason with a strained groin. He was limited to only 20 minutes, but he finished with 11 rebounds, two points, two assists, two steals and two blocks. He did not appear to be hindered by injury, but we will see how the injury report fills out.
After spending a summer getting hyped by every Bulls fan on the planet, Jimmy Butler delivered. The third-year shooting guard finished with 20 points on 6-12 from the field and 2-4 from the three-point line. Butler also contributed three rebounds, three assists, five steals and a block in merely 30 minutes. If it weren’t for some first half foul trouble, his game would have been even better.
There was question that Butler’s production would be sustainable, but he went a long way towards proving it in his first start next to Derrick Rose.
This game got out of hand in the second quarter when Rose went out and Luol Deng and Jimmy Butler got into foul trouble. Watching the game, it appeared as though Tom Thibodeau waited a little bit too long to put the two back in, despite the fact they had three fouls. By the time Deng and Butler went back in, the game was out of hand.
If Joey Crawford is not officiating this game, perhaps it is a different game.
Many around the league are heralding this game as proving that the Bulls are not ready to compete this year, but fans must keep it in context. The Bulls are 0-1. There are 81 games left to play. It’s a long season, and it’s just getting started.