To the player-by-player breakdown:
Forty-three minutes is just too many damn minutes for Luol Deng. He played well (22 points), but when you can’t cut down on his 39 minutes per game average against the Bobcats at home when can you cut down on his minutes.
After the first quarter, when he hit drilled a couple of deep twos, Derrick Rose got his points at the rim. Without the outside shot to help him, it wasn’t Rose’s greatest game when he was stuck in the half court. The Bobcats trapped and pressured him to force him get rid of the ball, which he often did. But, he didn’t always move the ball effectively: a few of his six turnovers came when he tried to attack the Bobcats’ trap.
It was a typical game for Carlos Boozer. The Bulls beat the Bobcats on the offensive glass; Boozer had four of the Bulls’ 11 offensive boards. He was efficient from the floor – 16 points on 13 shots. And there were a couple of possessions on the defensive end that just made you think.
In his 1000th game, Kurt Thomas was great in the first quarter. He was perfect from the field – 3-for-3 – and helped Boozer dominate the offensive glass.
Taj Gibson was really aggressive on both ends of the floor. He had two blocked shots. And on the offensive end, he attacked a Bobcats’ front line that had some trouble with the Bulls. It only took him 23 minutes to go to the line 10 times.
I don’t like to talk about this because it’s a waste of time, and I’m far less passionate about it than those who disagree with me, but I don’t have a problem with Keith Bogans starting. As long as the Bulls’ current crop of No. 2 guards are around, I’m not going to find Bogans getting his minutes early in the first and third quarters. He doesn’t have to do much to keep people off his back – just keep hitting open 3s.
Ronnie Brewer played 18 minutes against the Bobcats, but I wish he’d played more. My untrained eyes didn’t see anything against Brewer’s favor and a swingman who guards can be helpful against the Bobcats’ athletes.
Another guy who I thought could’ve taken some minutes away from Deng: Kyle Korver. Sorry, but even though the Bobcats have beaten the Bulls twice, they don’t worry me. I’m more interested in finding ways to save important players from unnecessary minutes. And this was one game where Korver could’ve taken some minutes: he was perfect from the field. That’s it; he was perfect from the field. As long as his shots are dropping, it’s OK to watch him struggle on defense.
Omer Asik is the perfect player to watch if you’re trying to learn more or master watching the Bulls’ defense, or NBA defensive strategy in general. He’s like those pick-your-own-ending books: a second after you decide what you’d do in his position, he does it. He may usually end up in the right spot, but his movements are deliberate if not a just slow. He’s just a perfect guy to follow when you’re learning what a big needs to do in Tom Thibodeau’s defense.
It was an inconsequential 10 minutes for C.J. Watson.
The human victory cigar (Brian Scalabrine) and the cigar Thibodeau just picked out of the trash (James Johnson) made a brief appearance tonight. When that’s happening, all is well.
Erick Ward is a contributor for ChiCitySports.com. You can follow Erick on Twitter @ErickRWard.