Basketball is a weird sport, and sometimes things happen and you just wonder to yourself......"why?'. That's the feeling many of us have when it comes to the Bulls recent winning streak. Yes, the Bulls are winning and it's always great when your team wins, but at what cost? Winning now and making a playoff push should be thrilling but if it means a less higher pick in the draft or a sweep in the first round then it's not worth it. But don't tell the Bulls that.
Houston team that should probably be kicking themselves for giving up a 16 point lead as the Bulls walked out of Houston with a 103-100 win. Fred Hoiberg should be thanking his bench, specifically Nikola Mirotic.
After a big game against the Pacers, Mirotic stepped up again as he scored 28 points and knocked down 5 threes in the process. Mirotic shot 8 of 14 of the field and completely took advantage of his matchup against Michael Beasley. Beasley is a decent scorer and has seemed to revive his career in Houston but made some bad plays on defense.
Even though Mirotic can be very inconsistent himself on defense, you still have to close him down when guarding him. Mirotic might be one of the most inconsistent players you'll ever seen, but when he gets it going, he can knock down anything. With Houston choosing to double-team on the pick and roll, it left the roll man open down the lane and someone had to come down and help on defense. That man was usually guarding Mirotic and it left Niko wide open.
It was surprising to see the Rockets not make this defensive adjustment and try and cover Mirotic tigher as the game went on. We saw the Pacers do that last game, though in the final possession where Paul George backed off Jimmy Butler and went to Mirotic after Niko set a screen it backfired. Houston didn't make this adjustment at all though, and it cost them.
It happened again down the stretch even more when Jimmy Butler was able to pass out of the double team off a pick and roll with Pau Gasol and found a wide open E'Twaun Moore. With Patrick Beverley down near the paint to try and cover Gasol, Michael Beasley essentially had to guard two people on the wings. He was late rotating over and Moore knocked down a huge three.
Two other takeaways
2. Great showing by Cristiano Felicio
Without Taj Gibson, Chicago really lacked any post defenders and someone who can try and contest shots. The starting duo of Bobby Portis and Pau Gasol weren't going to cut it as Houston ate up Chicago on the inside. Portis still has to learn how to play defense, and you know what you are going to get with Gasol already.
Then we all remembered Cristiano Felicio. The man from Brazil stepped up big time for Chicago in his15 minutes, showing up all over the place. He should have gotten more minutes down the stretch but was replaced by Gasol.
Felicio showed how crucial it is for a team to have a defensive center and could be a bright spot for Chicago going forward.
3. Derrick Rose shouldn't have even played a minute in this game
Rose was coming in with a left elbow injury and in the opening minutes it showed how much it was hurting the point guard. In fact, Rose rarely even dribbled with his left hand and when he did, it was quickly back into his right hand. He was ruled out during halftime but honestly he shouldn't have been playing in the first place.