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Nuggets 90, Bulls 89: when 0.3 seconds isn't enough

Pace Eff eFG FT/FG OREB% TOr
Denver 91.0 98.9 44.6% 17.9 34.1 19.8
Chicago 97.8 46.0% 10.3 32.6 14.3

(more on the 4 factors box score)

Man, do I not like instant replay. I don't like it in any sport, to be honest. Because I feel like every time it's implemented, it winds up ruining the entertainment value of the game, with the increased stoppages where you watch old men peering into a monitor. I think it devalues the entertainment of watching the sport (which is all it is). I can't see many people that concerned about a point here or there unless they're gambling on the game, and I'd rather just assume one catches some breaks and misses some over the course of a sports-watching life.

Enough of that mini-rant, and back to this game. It's certainly possible that the referees would have ruled Brad Miller's shot no good when it occured if they knew they wouldn't have the crutch of replay, because I believe it's one of Newton's laws of physics that Brad Miller cannot catch and shoot a basketball in 0.3 seconds. But they called it good, and there are shots of the replay (ht: Sham) that indicate that it wasn't. When they started taking forever when looking at the replay, it seemed less and less likely that the on-court ruling would stand, and you could feel the crowd getting more nervous.

But honestly, we got to jump around and high-five like idiots (as did the Bulls) when Miller hit the shot, so we got that winning feeling, if only for a short time. That was fun.

This was a great game, and I was immensely impressed with the Bulls defense. I kept being surprised that they were staying in the game, and then to see them really lock down in the fourth quarter and take a lead was outstanding. With the season Carmelo Anthony is having, he's incredibly scary to see opposing your team in a close game, but the combination of Luol Deng and Joakim Noah made his life as difficult as possible, and both were fantastic on that end of the floor all night. Everyone was, pretty much, with the only defensive holes popping up sporadically was a free pass for Nene to dive down the middle of the lane without impediment. Though I wouldn't want to get in his way either.

The offense continues to stink, and I'm getting more used to it by the game. They can't shoot 3s, they don't get to the line (Rose was avoiding the lane it was a pit of lava and his only FTAs were on the late possession where Billups was trying to give a foul on the floor), traits taken to the extreme when they finished the first quarter with 20 points on 10 field-goals. It almost seems like they'd be better off just chucking the ball at the rim as early in the possession as possible to allow their offensive rebounding to take over, and that was actually how they scored their last basket, an offensive board and then Noah getting the ball stripped right into Rose's hands for a layup.

We know how the next possession went, a foul by Hinrich on Billups with .6 seconds left. He missed the second free throw leaving just enough time for a catch-and-shoot, though apparently not enough for Brad Miller to do so.

Can't say enough about how great Noah was tonight, and seeing 21 rebounds may not be to crazy for the next few weeks, with nearly nobody else on the Bulls able to cannibalize his boarding totals (and him being awesome and everything). As I mentioned, Rose was a bit too jump-shooty but made enough of them. Taj Gibson really impressed with some of his finishing around the rim. As far as the bad, Brad Miller had his worst game of the season, making one basket in 14 minutes and forcing a couple of awful passes from the high post resulting in turnovers. Salmons and Hinrich didn't shoot well and again don't hit enough threes. And Pargo sucks. Defensive rebounding remains a problem. Have I mentioned the offense is still bad?

The defense looks good though, and given their opponent tonight it was looking great. Having Luol Deng back makes all the difference, and Joakim Noah is becoming an absolute force.