The Celtics are trading everybody and tanking, so they looked to be a good remedy for a Bulls team that has been struggling of late. That wasn't really the case for the first three quarters, but Chicago finally looked awesome again in the fourth quarter and pulled away to earn a 119-103 victory with Joakim Noah sidelined.
Derrick Rose was awesome again, scoring 29 points and handing out 10 assists for his second double-double of the season. Perhaps more significant was the fact that he had zero turnovers and went 5-of-8 on threes, representing the second straight game he has torched the nets from three. Who knows if he keeps shooting the three well, but he's basically delivering a giant middle finger to all the haters, which includes me.
Jimmy Butler had a big game because I wrote about him sucking earlier today, putting up 22 points on 10-of-19 shooting. He also had six steals and got some of those easy baskets he hadn't been getting the last few games. It was certainly nice to see Butler play well without Mike Dunleavy, and he "only" played 39 minutes on the front end of a back-to-back!
Pau Gasol bounced back from getting murdered by Nikola Vucevic and Nene, as he joined Rose in the double-double department with 20 points and 11 rebounds. The big man shot 9-of-16 and added four assists.
The Bulls' bench included some solid performances, with Aaron Brooks scoring 15 points and E'Twaun Moore hitting three three-pointers. And even though Nikola Mirotic shot just 1-of-5 from the field and missed all four of his three-pointers, he stuffed the stat sheet with four assists, three rebounds and two steals. Tony Snell mysteriously didn't play in this one despite starting last game.
The Bulls shot 53.9 percent overall and 13-of-25 from three, and thank God they did because the defense sucked again. It finally tightened up in the fourth quarter, but the Celtics shot 60.0 percent in the first half and had 86 points through three quarters. If Chicago plays this kind of defense against Atlanta on Saturday, well, I don't want to think about it.
Yeah, the Bulls play the Hawks tomorrow. Atlanta dong-whipped Toronto in Canada tonight, and the Hawks have won 11 straight games. I have a feeling the Bulls either end that streak or get throttled. We'll see.