“Revenge is a dish best served cold.” – Klingon Proverb
The Bulls didn’t exactly get the “you stomped us, we’ll stomp you” flavor of revenge they were hoping for, but they did get the win, 102-97. They entered tonight with a 5-3 record, besting the Cavs and the Thunder, but losing to lesser teams in the Pistons, Timberwolves, and Hornets. They were out rebounded 52-33 in their last contest against Charlotte, and they had another crack at them tonight:
- The Bulls were active on the glass this time, determined not to get beat on the boards again, winning that battle 57-45. Joakim was a huge contributor to this, posting 18 rebounds and six assists in the most active game he’s had all year. He’s the first player with 16 plus boards and six plus assists off the bench since Dennis Rodman for the Spurs in December 1994; it was fitting that he had the final rebound of the game on Charlotte’s last shot. His energy was great and the knee doesn’t seem to be bothering him. His offensive activity both with and without the ball was enough to make me a believer that he’s going to cause defenses some problems this year, which is a great sign going forward.
- Pau was a big factor too, adding 13 rebounds to complement his 19 points in a very productive game, posting his third double-double in the last four games (and the one miss was a 16 point, nine rebound effort against Philadelphia); however, it should be noted he was -8 for the game, and wasn’t as productive with Niko on the floor, who was -6.
- Rose had another decent game, again playing more of a facilitating role with 10 points and eight assists (to three turnovers) in 35 minutes. When the floor was spaced with shooters, Rose was able to penetrate and make decisions between finishing, finding a shooter, or hitting the diving big man on the roll. Unfortunately, he still thinks he can make threes for some reason, missing two more tonight. He’s now 1/18 on the season. Here’s his shot chart, just to rub salt in the wound:
- While we’re on the subject of three-point shooting, the Bulls averaged 25 of them coming into this game, having a streak of 11 straight games with at least seven made threes. That ended tonight, shooting just 4/16 from deep, while the Hornets were 15/33, which is really what kept the game close.
- Doug McDermott continues to shoot well, 3/6 on field goals and 1/2 from downtown. He’s at 57.1% overall from deep for the season and he moves well without the ball. Here’s what a really great shot chart is supposed to look like (*cough* Derrick take notes *cough* notice how it’s green and not red *cough*):
- Early on, the Bulls ran most of their offensive sets through Pau Gasol after a series of dribble hand-offs rather than setting the drag screens we’re more accustomed to seeing with Hoiball. This remained to be prominent in their offense throughout the game as they struggled with reversing the ball and not doing a good job of kicking it out on their drives. The Hornets got their hands on too many passes in the second quarter, but the Bulls found more success as the game went on by pushing the ball in transition and being more aggressive on their drives.
- Jimmy got a little too comfortable settling for isolation fade aways early on in the game, but hit his stride in the third quarter and through the rest of the game, ending with 27 points, five rebounds, and four assists with 11/14 from the line, hitting what was the clinching jump shot in the final seconds of the game. If it weren’t for Jimmy’s short take over, Charlotte might have done more damage, outscoring the bulls 18-0 from three point range in the third quarter.
- The second unit showed up to play tonight, all posting positive plus minuses (except Aaron Brooks, who was even); E’Twaun Moore was a big boost off the bench, going 5/6 with 11 points and five rebounds in 22 minutes. Taj also played well, with 12 points on 6/10 from the field.
- Kirk returned from a sore toe on a 10-minute restriction and surprisingly wasn’t terrible; let’s just keep his minutes down. But the most activity around Kirk was in the two minutes he decided to play without his goggles – the Twittersphere went a little nuts:
- As for the Hornets: Al Jefferson was a surprising non factor in this game, scoring just six points on 3/9 shooting with only five rebounds. He normally causes the Bulls more issues but wasn’t able to gain any kind of consistency in the post. Nicolas Batum went crazy with 28 points on 10/17, including 5/6 from three (though one was a bank shot that he very clearly did not call bank on). He also had eight rebounds in just under 35 minutes.
- Jeremy Lin played pretty terrible tonight (-15, four points on 2/7), but he shockingly has a top 10 PER in the league for qualified point guards (Rose isn’t even in the top 50) at 21.09. And by the way, Steph Curry is at a ridiculous 10-game PER of 37.12 with the Westbrook the next closest guy at 29.77. Remember when I talked about WNBA MVP Elena Delle Donne’s absurd PER of 32.7 this past year, and Wilt’s all-time single season NBA record of 31.82? Obviously Steph will regress (right?!), but you can see why 37.12 is just flat out nasty. I don’t care if it’s only through 10 games.
- Up Next: The Bulls host Indiana on Monday; Charlotte hosts the Trail Blazers on Sunday
- On a more somber note, we try to focus on basketball on a day when the attacks in Paris are heavy on our hearts and our minds. With some of Joakim Noah’s family in Paris, we are even more keenly aware that these attacks strike closer to home than we may think.