Derrick Rose didn’t have an MVP kind of night, not at all. Not that 25 points, 10 assists and six rebounds is bad. Not at all. Especially coming off a shocking opening series loss at home. But there quite a few bad numbers on Rose’s Stat sheet – 10 for 27 from the field – He’s 21-54(!!) in the series. He jacked up 8 threes, making only one. He had 8(!!) turnovers. Rose said it has nothing do with his ankle – Shots I normally hit, they just didn’t fall tonight. The way that they’re playing me, I’m going to continue to shoot.”
The Bulls haven’t lost consecutive games at home this season, and weren’t planning on doing the chasing tonight again, grabbing the lead in the first quarter and never letting go. The Hawks did get within six but a 9-2 run finished them off, leading the Bulls to a 96-83 win.
The rebounding wasn’t a problem this time around – Three players on the Bulls team finished with over ten rebounds (Noah, Deng, Boozer), outrebounding the Hawks 58-39. Joakim Noah was probably the Bulls’ best last night, scoring 19 and grabbing 14 boars. He and Boozer did a great job on Al Horford and Josh Smith who combined for only 19 points, shooting 7-29 from the field. Larry Drew pushed his starters to the max last night, especially Teague, Johnson and Horford, all playing over 40 minutes. Joe Johnson was not his Game 1 self, scoring only 16 points.
The 86-73 win was one that Bulls coach, another award winner this season, extremely enjoyed, knowing the joy he takes from watching good defense. The way the Bulls pressured the Hawks throughout the game left Atlanta no chance and was a very different image from game 1. Heading to Atlanta on Friday, the Bulls have to keep that same defensive focus to get back the home advantage in the series.
Rose insisted that his ankle was fine, but it seemed he wasn’t convincing anyone. He had his aggressive and dominant moments, especially in the first half, scoring 16 points. His second half production wasn’t as impressive. Despite not having the greatest of shooting nights, it seems the rest of the Bulls are feeding off his energy. His strong start elevated everyone to better defense, higher intensity and that carried on through the match, even Without Rose at his best.
Isn’t that what being an MVP, a leader, is all about?