Bulls 87, Wizards 80: Bulls oblige escort to the ugly-game zone, but have Boozer and Rose

Pace Eff eFG FT/FG OREB% TOr
Chicago 93.0 93.5 43.8% 31.5 27.3 22.6
Washington 86.0 40.5% 20.3 22.0 16.1

 

The Bulls entered the fourth quarter with only a 3 point lead, and at times it looked like neither team wanted to win as they combined for only 24 points in that quarter. But the Bulls can execute down the stretch of games because they have the talent to not need to execute perfectly. On one late possession, the Bulls spread the floor with Korver, Deng, and Brewer, and ran a pick/roll with Rose and Boozer that resulted in a late Washington rotation (surprise) and a trip to the line for Booz (who finished with 30 pts on 18 shots, and played the last 6 minutes with 5 fouls). Even later, the Bulls beat the press for an easy Deng dunk. Meanwhile, on the other end, you'd have a contested Nick Young 3 that was airballed, or Kirk Hinrich getting stripped as he tried to drive and seeing the ball go off his own knee out of bounds.

The Bulls can always look like they have some sort of plan, because they have Rose and Boozer. While the Wiz were able to keep it close (and if Rashard Lewis doesn't go 0-5 on mostly-wide-open 3-pointers, maybe it's a different game) the Bulls never lost the lead in that 4th quarter and always had those two to throw the ball to, even if they mostly looked unorganized themselves (as the turnover numbers show).

Kurt Thomas didn't repeat his Tuesday night performance, though it looked like he might after hitting his first two jumpers. But while those turned out to be his only points, he played an incredible 40 minutes before fouling out (the minutes themselves weren't incredible, just that there were so many of them). Taj Gibson was cleared to play in the game but played under a minute. Omer Asik only had 6 on a Noah-less night, so while it's nice that Kurt Thomas is revealing himself to be not completely toast and isn't killing the Bulls while on the floor, it'll be interesting to see if Asik starts to gain some of these valuable minutes in Noah's absence.

Boozer and Rose were enough on offense tonight, but I thought both had pretty poor games defensively. Kirk Hinrich showed that Kurt Thomas wouldn't be the only maligned-as-washed-up player who'd show a pulse tonight, to a much higher degree. Hinrich was downright aggressive on the seemingly-always-trailing Rose, and even hit an inside shot or two while drawing 8 foul shots (often on Boozer, who they targeted on pick/roll). Hinrich also did a solid enough job defensively on Rose, seen moreso in his brief absence in the 2nd half when Rose was able to torch backup Lester Hudson.

But as he came back in that fourth quarter, it was obvious that while he had a nice game...he was still just Kirk Hinrich, and the Bulls have the superior talent. On a back-to-back game on the road, we should expect games like this, and it's nice to also expect victories in games like this, albeit ugly.

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