Bulls stop 2 game losing 'streak' against Jazz: Asik the catalyst, Rose the finisher

Pace Eff eFG FT/FG OREB% TOr
Chicago 89.0 102.2 42.8% 24.1 23.4 9.0
Utah 96.6 48.1% 14.1 28.6 16.9

 

A weird game. It had a second quarter where seemingly every play was stopped by a whistle, and a frantic final few minutes where the Bulls lack of timeouts (Thibs sort of pulling a VDN running out with 5 minutes left, though maybe not entirely his fault) meant no TV stoppages. Four times in the game the CSN Chicago feed flashed over to the FSN Utah one. The Bulls had 0 offensive rebounds in the first half but 11 in the second.

Actually that last one wasn't 'weird', it was Omer Asik. With Kurt Thomas in foul trouble (and getting thoroughly worked over by Al Jefferson, who could just shoot over him), Asik may be officially credited with only 4 points and 7 rebounds, but he provided much needed length and activity in his 15 minutes. Overall the Bulls seemingly played better with him and Taj Gibson in the lineup as opposed to Thomas and the purported man of the night, Carlos Boozer. Booz seemed timid early, was blocked often, and was part of some awful help rotations as the Jazz ran their pick/roll at him consistently.

After Asik's fine run, Thibodeau didn't sit Boozer the entire 4th quarter, but he would've been justified to do so. I'm rarely a fan of sitting your best, so it's good it didn't come to that AND the Bulls won anyway. Going back to Kurt Thomas late in the game was more worrisome, but he did help in the closing possessions on both ends, including a screen that freed up Kyle Korver for his only 3 of the game.

But who really closed the game out was Derrick Rose. Williams may have done some damage in his 12 assists on the aforementioned P/R, but otherwise Rose dominated him on both ends all night, and highlighted a bounce-back defensive performance with this late steal of Williams, a play that would even make Nic Batum proud. Williams had another turnover with his team down 3 with 13 seconds remaining, and almost had another in the possession prior. Meanwhile Rose had a single turnover in nearly 39 minutes (a huge edge for the Bulls tonight overall), and his only mistake late was daring to pass the ball to somebody else, whether it was Boozer getting blocked or Luol Deng doing who-knows-what (pretty terrible game overall from Luol tonight, even defensively, though he did draw a key charge in the 4th), but he recognized it and got to the line to keep the Bulls ahead after making two free throws, leading up to that final DWill turnover which iced the game for good.

Coming up next, Rose has another benchmark of his position to conquer in Chris Paul. Nice break in the road trip as it's not until Saturday, with tonight's win keeping things from looking too out-of-sorts: the defense wasn't all the way back, but it was better.

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