The moods swings the Chicago Bulls go through are directly linked to the optimism from the procedure Derrick Rose went through and the hope of him coming back before the beginning of the NBA playoffs, leading to a 96-89 win over the Minnesota Timberwolves.
Or maybe it was just them playing a bad team, that didn’t have the boost of Kevin Garnett, whose usefulness mostly comes to leadership and motivation. The Bulls were also playing without Mr. Double Double Pau Gasol, but his absence wasn’t really felt as Joakim Noah took control over the duties of both big man and point guard in a performance very similar to the ones we saw from him last season on a regular basis, falling just short of a triple double.
Noah scored 11 points but also grabbed 12 rebounds and added 8 assists, while the Bulls finished with 22 offensive rebounds; five by the excellent Jimmy Butler and four each for Mike Dunleavy and Noah. Butler led the team with 28 points (grabbing 12 rebounds as well). Dunleavy followed with 21 points and Tony Snell added 12 from the bench. The Bulls shot just 38.5% from the field but their dominance in the paint and on the boards made up for that.
The Timberwolves looked like a bunch of kids when ever they were attempting to box out or grab a defensive rebounds, as Nikola Pekovic got no help from perimeter players while the Bulls attacked the basket after each miss with three or four players. Aaron Brooks was in charge for most of those misses, trying a bit too much to be Derrick Rose and not himself, shooting just 2-of-15 from the field. Maybe giving Kirk Hinrich the starting spot will lead to more beneficial basketball from the starting five.
We’ve seen this happen before. Good news about Rose give the group of guys that are still healthy a certain mysterious boost, as if knowing that their current efforts will pay off once Rose returns. Maybe it’s some psychological trick from Gar Forman to make the players stay the course. No one actually knows if Rose will be back in time for the “real” season. There’s no need making everyone lose hope and faith when there’s still enough basketball to play.