This game started sloppy, as the Bulls and Celtics combined for 12 turnovers in the first 7 minutes of game time. It didn't really get much better as the game went on. If there was ever a game to point to in support of the murmurings about Jimmy Butler possibly being an MVP candidate, this game was it. The Bulls looked absolutely lost and listless for much of the night. This began, first and foremost, with Derrick Rose. Rose shot 5 of 18 from the field and 1 of 4 from behind the arc. Despite playing 34 minutes, Rose registered just 2 free throw attempts, which was indicative of his lack of aggressiveness, which has come to characterize his play the last half dozen games or so.
Two Bulls who didn't lack aggressiveness were Pau Gasol and Aaron Brooks. Brooks didn't shoot that well going 6 of 15 from the field, but he was able to parlay 7 free throw attempts and a 3 of 8 night from behind the arc into an efficient 19 points on 15 shots and provided a much needed offensive boost. Gasol, meanwhile, had another monster game. He poured in 29 points on 16 shots, nabbed 16 rebounds, and registered 5 blocks to boot in his nearly 40 minutes of playing time.
With Jimmy Butler and Dunleavy out, Tony Snell got 13 minutes of run and mostly acquitted himself nicely. He put the ball on the deck attacking closeouts a couple of times and was solid defensively for the most part. His 3 points on 4 shots don't look that great, but he seemed to play much more in line with his +8 in 13 minutes mark.
Joakim struggled to finish inside all night and didn't seem to be moving very well. He and Derrick are beginning to worry me a little bit, but the wins keep coming because the Bulls are very good, very deep, and the East has lots of crappy teams like the Celtics to beat up on.
Now for a moment to criticize Kirk Hinrich. Hinrich missed all 6 of his three pointers, many of which were wide open, and he got absolutely roasted by Evan freaking Turner. Turner scored 29 points on 22 shots. That should never happen, especially against a guy like Hinrich who mostly plays because of his supposedly good defense, because Evan Turner is just not that good.
Getting back to Rose, he really seems to be coasting lately, and then turning things on in the last few minutes of the game. He mostly camped behind the three point line the entire game until the last 5 minutes of regulation and overtime. When it came to "crunch time" Rose attacked the way in which he's capable and it produced very good things for the Bulls. It'd be nice if he was doing that all game, so that the Bulls wouldn't let bad teams like the Celtics hang around, but maybe Derrick is just operating in his version of LeBron's "chill mode," preserving his body for the postseason, and frankly, the Bulls are deep enough that it's mostly working right now. It's definitely something to monitor in the Bulls next outing against fellow title contender, the Houston Rockets. In the meantime, here's one of Rose's daggers from tonight.