Let's start with Rose's buzzer-beater, an amazingly skilled shot from the Bulls point guard and reigning MVP. With a tie game, Rose was able to get separation with the step-back and made sure there was no time left by the time it went through the hoop. It was taken with one of his heels on the 3-point line, a distance he's gotten more comfortable at in his career.
It also helped that the Bucks left poor Brandon Jennings out on an island to defend the much bigger Rose. It looked like help may have been starting to commit, but it never came. It was a case where getting the ball into your best players hands and doing nothing else was actually the right play, and resulted in an absolute killer of an attempt by Rose.
Ironically enough it finished a game where he also had instances showing lack of late-possession execution. The prior possession Rose unwisely tried to split a double-team that resulted in a turnover, and before that he somewhat lazily shot a 3 coming off of a screen that hit the front of the rim. And in a rare instance of him not being great to end quarters (most notably recently against the Sixers), to end the first the Bulls had the final possession and Rose launched an off-balance 3 with enough time left on the clock to allow the Bucks to score on a layup off of the rebound.
That was the quarter that shockingly became the Drew Gooden show, who had 16 in that 27 and specialized (though it wasn't exclusive) in the long-distance jumper. Gooden got his early diet off of some Carlos Boozer defense (it's good for what ails ya!), and it was just the most glaring of what was an overall poor defensive night by the Bulls. Gooden and Ersan Ilyasova (a career-high 32) were active, mobile and spaced the floor well keeping the Bulls defense constantly moving. And while Jennings was a paltry 4-18 from the field, he and backup Beno Udrih did a good job breaking down the initial Bulls defender kickstarting that compounding motion in their offense.
In that way it was a very Skiles-ian effort on the offensive end for Milwaukee, using several weapons and not being afraid to shoot from distance, shoot early in the clock, and run whenever possible. Oftentimes they could've been considered poor shots, but the Bucks were probably smart to realize that their options would only lessen if the Bulls had their defense set. Though oftentimes even when the Bulls were set, they'd still do damage with Gooden and Ilyasova as described above.
However, Milwaukee's injury-depleted undersized frontcourt was a double-edged sword when it came to stopping the Bulls, whether it was defending the rim or securing the defensive rebound if they managed to get that far. Rose may not have had the best shooting night but he was 14-14 from the free-throw line (his teammates? 1-3) as the Bucks were forced to try and induce charges instead of trying to block the shot. And Joakim Noah had another hell-raising night on the glass, with 6 offensive boards (and countless tips) leading the Bulls to an incredible 45.7% offensive rebound percentage. Noah was only 2 off of his season-high point output with 20, able to get his awkward hooks and runners off without any lengthy impediment from the Bucks bigs.
Beyond the mentioned team-wide defensive issues there were some other slightly concerning signs. Carlos Boozer looked worse than his final 7-13 shooting indicated, being opposite of Gooden to start the game and finishing it with with 5 turnovers, but luckily coincided with a quality Taj Gibson game to pick up the slack (10pts, 7rebs) in his 20 minutes. Interesting to see Thibs actually go back to Boozer for the final few minutes before the coach's usual offense/defense switches. And while Luol Deng hit another 4th quarter three and had an efficient shooting night, he didn't look himself as he was stripped several times (4 turnovers) automatically making any observer curious how that wrist injury is affecting him.
And with CJ Watson and Rip Hamilton out of the next few games (Lucas did hit a 3! but otherwise...), hopefully it is just a blip of poor performance from Deng as opposed to something injury-related. The Bulls didn't play great but in this high-scoring affair, but while it was likely not the type of play Thibs prefers to see they were never too far down and it added up to another win. Plus one fantastic D-Rose memory.