Welp, I just got back from the United Center and that was a really disappointing one. The Bulls fell behind by double digits in the second quarter only to take the lead in the fourth before succumbing to the resilient Mavericks in double overtime.
- Monta Ellis really does have it all. While he missed 19 shots, the 16 that Monta put in were more than enough. Throughout the fourth quarter and overtimes, Ellis hit backbreaker after backbreaker. And while his first three-pointer didn’t come until the second overtime, it gave the Mavs their lasting lead. But that didn’t stop Kirk Hinrich from committing the dumbest foul Dirk Nowitzki’s ever seen…
- Hinrich hacked Ellis on a three point attempt with under two seconds left remaining in regulation and the Bulls up by three. While Tom Thibodeau apparently instructed the team to foul with the three point lead, Hinrich let many precious seconds pass before fouling at the exact time Ellis had to take the shot. And let’s not forget that Monta hadn’t made a three all night, 30 points be damned. God damnit, Kirk.
- Derrick Rose broke the United Center with a floater for three that tied the game at the first overtime buzzer. Unfortunately, he couldn’t connect at the end of regulation or the second overtime. Rose struggled for most of the night but looked healthy and aggressive. Still, he took an eye-opening 11 threes and only connected on four. Rose has a tendency to fall in love with his jumper and it rarely benefits the team. Still, a season-high 37 minutes and 10 assists are truly nothing to scoff at in this return. Another encouraging night from Derrick overall.
- The Jimmy Butler domination continued. He definitely struggled keeping track of Monta Ellis and Chandler Parsons at times, but he was the Bulls only reliable scorer in crunch time. 46 minutes felt low for Buckets in this one considering that…
- …Pau Gasol played a truly WTF-level 50 minutes. That’s baaaaad. He did rack up 29 points and 15 rebounds in a great performance, but this is not a player built to withstand the minutes that the Bulls are asking of him. With Joakim Noah apparently rolling his ankle at the end of regulation, the Bulls need Taj Gibson back now more than ever.
- Nikola Mirotic had another very strong game off the bench. In 27 minutes, he kicked in 15 points, four rebounds, three assists, two blocks, and just two fouls. I wish Thibs would have let him run the floor on fresh legs in overtime rather than sending a hobbled Noah back in. Yet Noah played big in overtime and is so good precisely because he wouldn’t have let Thibs take him out if he could still stand on two feet.
- For the most part, Thibs rode the starters and Hinrich til Kirk’s great gaffe. After that, the starting five closed out the game. Aaron Brooks saw just 14 minutes in a 58 minute game.
- Watching Dirk Nowitzki live was quite the experience. He struggled for most of the game, but when the going got tough, Dirk got hot. The Mavs kept forcing the Bulls to switch smaller players onto Dirk, usually Rose. Dirk made shot after shot late and found himself wide open for a key three pointer in overtime.
- The Mavs have a historically good offense. The Bulls did a decent job trying to stop them, but Dallas hit a lot of tough shots. Monta Ellis getting 35 shots off can’t happen though.
- The Bulls take on the Hornets in Charlotte tomorrow. Hopefully no one dies after tonight’s 58 minute affair.