06 December 2010
Carlos Boozer scored 29 points and grabbed 12 boards to lead the Bulls to a 99-90 win at the United Center on Monday night. Boozer's effort made up for a subpar night from Rose, who scored 11 points on 3-13 shooting, nine assists but an uncharacteristic five turnovers. Luol Deng also added 19 and 8 rebounds and Kyle Korver added 13.
Boozer was the story against the Thunder. He shot 13-21 from the field and played a season-high 36 minutes in the win. The strength he was missing early in the season has been regained, as was seen on his two and-ones in the first half. Boozer's 12 rebounds were also a season-high.
Defensively, the Bulls let Kevin Durant get his - 29 points - but shut down the rest of the bigger names on the Thunder roster.
One of those was Russell Westbrook, who finished with 15 points, but had trouble consistently finding offense for the Thunder. Credit Rose on this night for having the ability to keep the reigning Western Conference player of the week out of the lane and forcing six turnovers.
The rest of the Thunder couldn't ever warm up, as they shot 35% from the floor and 21% from three-point range. Jeff Green was 1-of-8 and James Harden shot 3-of-12.
If anyone wants to know why people think the NBA is fixed, they should have watched this game. Towards the end of the game, there were quick fouls, quick technicals, and a lot of conferencing between the officials on dead-ball plays. The refs almost seemed to be baiting Noah on in the second quarter after he picked up his third foul. The official paused and kept going back to Noah while lined up for a free throw before giving the ball to Durant to shoot the foul shot.
And it wasn't as if the fouls were being called on both sides -- the officials seemed to swallow their whistles when the Bulls had the ball. Boozer finally said something about it, and he was T'd up by Kane Fitzgerald when Boozer was yelling towards Courtney Kirkland. For an NBA game to be exciting and entertaining, there needs to be some kind of a flow. The officials took that away from the players today.
Finally, my gripe with the officials is that the game was slowed down far too often because of their doing. Going over to talk with players, conferencing rather than making a decisive call.
Free Throw Woes
Not to take away from a good win for the Bulls, but there's something that needs to be said. The Bulls aren't good at free throws. In fact, they're awful. I understand it's still early, but there have been a lot of misses this year, and it has already cost us one game in Denver. Chicago came in shooting 70.6% from the line, while the Thunder were at 85%. Again, it didn't have anything to do with the final outcome of the game (although, I could have received a free Big Mac).
Deng is shooting 69%, Taj Gibson 71%, Ronnie Brewer 57%, Keith Bogans 60%, James Johnson 44% and Omer Asik 56%. Ask yourself this, who do you want at the line at the end of the game? For me, it's Derrick or Korver, and after that, it doesn't matter. Everyone else isn't very good this year. It's a small sample, but at what point do you need to see improvement?
Looking ahead, the Bulls travel to Cleveland to play the reeling Cavs on Wednesday night. After that, they host a pair of West Coast teams, the Los Angeles Lakers and the Minnesota Timberwolves. It would be nice to see the Bulls win those three and get off to a five-game winning streak and create some separation in the division. Indiana put up 124 points in a win over the Raptors tonight in Indianapolis.
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