There seems to be a connection between how the Chicago Bulls do during a season and the optimism coming from Derrick Rose regarding his comeback chances. Last season, when it seemed he’d be coming back early, the Bulls went on a run that got them pretty near the lead in the East. Now that Rose is announcing he might be back for the playoffs, we’re suddenly getting the best from his team once more, beating the Miami Heat by 20 points.
The Heat are missing Dwyane Wade (illness this time) and Chris Andersen, which meant they didn’t have their second best scorer and looked miserable in the paint once again. The Chicago Bulls outrebounded them 49-27, including a 13-6 lead in offensive boards. But maybe it was just this solar wind of energy that boosted them towards only their second win since Rose left the team with a season-ending injury?
Our team needed it. We went through a lot the past couple of weeks. It’s really hard to play without Derrick. I want to win with Derrick Rose. We really got snake-bitten. When that happened to Derrick, that was really like, ‘Wow.’ We’re a family in here. When that stuff kind of happens, it was just … tough. We were on the road, odds were against us.
The Heat did manage to cut things to a 12 points deficit in the fourth quarter, but that was as far as it went. Taj Gibson is averaging 21.5 points per game over his last four, scoring 19 points and grabbing 6 rebounds in the win. He blocked Udonis Haslem and hit another jumper to end any sign of momentum the Heat were thinking of.
Carlos Boozer had an impressive performance, just like in the season opener, only this time with a much better resolution. He scored 27 points and grabbed 9 rebounds, as it always seemed like the Heat were outnumbered in the paint by the Bulls’ frontcourt. Joakim Noah, as expected, was the one who enjoyed more than anyone the huge advantage for the Bulls in the paint, grabbing 15 rebounds and scoring 17 points.
With Miami tightening up on defense, it gave the Bulls a rare opportunity to look deadly on the outside. The ball movement was much better than usual (mostly thanks to Noah’s passing), resulting in a 10-of-19 performance for Chicago. Luol Deng was the best of ’em with 4-of-7 from beyond the arc, scoring 20 points, followed by Kirk Hinrich with 3-of-4 and Tony Snell with 2-of-4.
While some would say the ease in which Chicago handed the Heat their second consecutive loss had something to do with injuries, the Bulls should just shrug and carry on. Jimmy Butler is out, not to mention Derrick Rose and even Mike James, leaving Marquis Teague to do an awful job once again on the offensive end as the backup point guard. It’s hard to say just how far this type of basketball will get the Bulls this season, but there’s no denying that once again, if their effort remains at this level, with Rose or without him, the Bulls are a team that’s going to be very hard not to take seriously.