New Jersey was trying to force the ball outside early to try to get the ball out of Carlos Boozer’s hands. But Chicago was consistently able to get him established from early on, and he pounded Kris Humphries and Brook Lopez. The Nets goal of trying to make the Bulls beat them from the perimeter did not work—Boozer got the position that he needed down on the low-block and dominated the paint.
Derrick Rose did not have a particularly good game from the field, ending 5-of-16, but made all seven of his free throw attempts (and very arguably could have had more).
Ronnie Brewer put in a solid effort for Chicago and was very aggressive on offense in terms of attacking the rim and taking all that the New Jersey defense gave him.
Luol Deng is flourishing as a third scorer for the Bulls. With Boozer and Rose demanding so much attention on the offensive end, Deng has been able to pick his spots and catch the ball and attack or get wide open jumpers whenever he is left open.
Deng and Rose each had 19 points while Boozer continued his dominant play, against another sub-par Eastern conference team, with 20 points and 15 rebounds.
Chicago now sits at 21-10 as we enter the New Year. This team has won 12 of their last 14 games, and are showing more than the ability to hold their heads above water with Joakim Noah out recovering from right thumb ligament surgery.
Joakim appeared to be in high spirits as he sat next to, Bulls’ play-callers, Neil Funk and Bill Wennington in the third quarter of the Bulls’ 90-81 victory against the Nets. Noah also praised his coach, Tom Thibodeau, for his desire to see the Bulls execute plays—even if it meant holding them in practices for extra time.
With under two minutes to go, and a decent lead, the Bulls started to get stagnant in their half-court set. This resulted in a 20-second timeout in which Thibodeau was seen shouting at Kyle Korver for not being in good position to shoot the ball. When play resumed, the Bulls moved the ball to Korver, who knocked down the open elbow jump-shot.
Tom Thibodeau is certainly not going to settle for anything mediocre. And neither are the Bulls, as they currently sit with a full seven game lead over the Indiana Pacers in the Central Division.