Tuesday, April 20, 2010
By Aggrey Sam
After the game, a dejected Derrick Rose put on a brave face when talking about LeBron James backbreaking 40-point performance.
Hes a player where hes going to hit shots like that, the best player in the NBA right now on the best team in the NBA right now, Rose told CSNChicago.com in the visiting locker room at The Q after the Bulls loss. Well live with him making shots like that, as long as hes not getting all those other people involved like he usually does.
Weve still got to come with the same effort, even more energy next time. Weve got to rebound the ball more. If we come up with almost the same game and just hope theyre exhausted, we should be fine.
Luol Deng had a solid night -- regardless of James 40 points, Deng made him work for everything he got -- finishing with 20 points, six boards and five assists, after a disappointing showing in Game 1. Deng, who was the second-ranked player in the high school class of 2003 (James was No. 1), has been going head-to-head with the Cleveland star for years, making him more familiar with his game than most, especially as they play the same position.
You cant do anything. You can take away some things, but you cant take away everything, Deng said about defending James. You just hope he doesnt shoot like that. But hes been getting better since high school and when youre talented like that and you have all the confidence in the world, its hard to stop and thats where hes at right now.
He had a good shooting night, but weve got to go home. Ive seen guys do it, but at the same time, I think we did a good job of hanging in there. We had a chance tonight. We didnt have a chance the other night, so were happy about that.
Deng, like Rose, is also optimistic about Chicagos chances in the series, despite their 2-0 deficit.
Were not concerned. Were the eighth seed. Were going to battle, were going to try to win and still try to make a series out of it. The pressure is always on them and weve just to take care of home court and the pressure will build up.
Despite the loss and his villain status among the Cleveland faithful, Joakim Noah showed no remorse for his overblown comments about the city -- which were displayed on the Quicken Loans Arena JumboTron as he shot free throws, inciting fans to boo even more -- saying after the game, I was booed a lot. My whole life Ive been booed. College, I was getting booed a lot. Boston, they dont like me over there and they dont like me over here either. Its okay. I have my friends. I dont care.
Noah went on to say when asked if he regretted his comments, Not at all. You like it? You think Clevelands cool? I mean, Ive never heard anybody say, Im going to Cleveland on vacation? Whats so great about Cleveland?
As far as the game itself, Noah put the loss in perspective during his postgame press conference.
Were playing against the best team and I think this is great for our team, he said. The competition doesnt get any higher than this. Weve just got to keep fighting and understand that this is great for us -- in the big picture. When you go into the summer, you can say, We were playing against the best team and we know what weve got to do to get better, and thats all it is right now. Its all about getting better and trying to win ballgames.
Bulls reserve guard Flip Murray came off the bench to score 14 points, including 10 in the first half, and provided Chicago with a player other than Rose that could create his own shot -- especially in light of the series-long offensive struggles of starting shooting guard Kirk Hinrich. However, his strong outing was offset by the play of Cavaliers backup swingman Jamario Moon, who hit four of his five three-point attempts, including a perfect 3-for-3 in the fourth quarter, as well as two key blocked shots, complementing James with some huge baskets down the stretch.
Moon, an athletic streak-shooting journeyman who played in a various leagues across the world before breaking into the NBA as an older rookie with Toronto, said After that second one, it felt like I was throwing it into the ocean. Its about being confident and being ready to shoot the basketball. My teammates kept believing in me and I kept believing in my shot and I was knocking them down. Coming from where I came from and the road that it took for me to get here, it feels great.
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Aggrey Sam is CSNChicago.coms Bulls Insider. Follow him @CSNBullsInsider on Twitter for up-to-the-minute Bulls information and his take on the team, the NBA and much more.