Bulls run wild, annihilate Warriors from tip

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Bulls run wild, annihilate Warriors from tip

Thursday, Nov. 11, 2010
Updated 11:50 PM
By Aggrey Sam
CSNChicago.com

If they hadnt seen Derrick Roses ever-present Fast Dont Lie adidas commercials before, the Golden State Warriors likely have a paraphrase of the slogan ricocheting inside their heads after being trounced, 120-90, at the hands of the Bulls at the United Center Thursday evening.

Roses 22-point, 13-assist effort and Luol Dengs 26 points, 11 rebounds and six assists paced a balanced Chicago effort all five starters were in double figures to help run away from their fast-paced guests by giving them a dose of their own medicine, coupled with a helping of tough defense in making the game a laugher.
Matador

Luol Dengs 26-point, 11-rebound, five-assist, two-block effort was sensational, but Derrick Rose was the engine that made the Bulls go on this evening, just like he is on most nights. Rose pushed the tempo offensively, was aggressive scoring the ball and was also a factor on the defensive end.

Im just trying to be aggressive. I see when Im aggressive it opens things up early and we won the game, and thats what its all about winning, said Rose, who poured in 22 points and dished out 13 assists. Every night, Im trying to be aggressive.

Were a hard team to guard when we get out in transition and we get fast breaks. Get the ball to Derrick and run, thats all youve got to do, added Keith Bogans, Roses partner in the starting backcourt. Hes either going to finish or hes going to find you. Its easy offense when were playing in transition.

Moment of Truth

The tired Warriors they played four games in five nights were out of the game by the end of the first quarter, especially after a sequence in which Bogans recorded back-to-back thefts. After the first, he made an outlet pass to Rose already with a full head of steam who winded through traffic for slicing left-handed layup in transition.

After the second steal, Bogans and Rose executed a picture-perfect fast-break sequence the pair passed back and forth like a high school basketball teams practice drill; the ball didnt hit the floor resulting in a powerful two-handed tomahawk slam by Rose and a subsequent Golden State timeout with two minutes remaining in the opening period.

A little over a minute later, the Bulls put the icing on the cake with a beautiful Noah bounce pass to a cutting Rose backdoor, ending in a remarkably similar dunk to his previous transition finish. Chicago took a 34-20 lead into the second quarter.

Head-to-Head

In a battle between USA Basketball teammates, Rose clearly outclassed his summer pal Stephen Curry, last seasons Rookie of the Year runner-up. Roses aggressiveness, physicality and his teammates help defense seemed to bother Curry, who shot 4-for-11 in the first half.

Its just trying to be aggressive on defense. Coach always tells me out of anyone on our team, Im the one that always needs to help and it showed tonight, Rose explained. Me helping led to Steph being open, but we contested his shots. Me stopping the penetration and kicking out, forcing Steph into a bad shot or contesting his shot, Im the guy thats usually going to help everybody on the floor.

Offensively, Rose benefited from a porous Golden State defense (to his credit, Ellis did finish with five steals) that played him differently than other Bulls opponents had in recent games.

Tonight, they werent trying to blitz the pick-and-roll and I was hitting my shots, and hitting people when they were wide open.
X-Factor

Often criticized for his usually-modest offensive output, Bogans not only scored 14 points (including a pair of three-pointers), he swiped a season-high six steals, while doing a more-than-adequate job on the always-dangerous Monta Ellis.

I just wanted to make everything tough for him. Hes a great player, great scorer and I was just trying not to let him get it going early, said Bogans. Kurt Thomas, Joakim Noah, they were all on me in the training room this morning. Kurt probably said, Dont let it be a 50 point night. I definitely didnt want that to happen, but my teammates did a good job of being in the right spots and helping me contain him.

I just take what they give me on defense. I played the passing lanes tonight, got a few deflections. My defense turned into offense just by getting deflections and steals, and getting out on the break.

I thought Keith Bogans did a good job on Monta, just making it tough for him every shot, chimed in Luol Deng. Hes a great player and the rest of us followed.

Subtly Strategic

To begin the second quarter, Thibodeau left his starting backcourt of Rose and Bogans in the game as well as Deng, who has been playing with the second unit to start the quarter to go with early subs Ronnie Brewer and Omer Asik. The coach would quickly sub in Taj Gibson (14 points, seven rebounds) for Asik, as the Warriors took out backup center Dan Gadzuric in favor of a smaller lineup, but he denied leaving in Rose (Bogans would be replaced by backup point guard C.J. Watson) was a move designed to create more offense from a bench that has sometimes struggled to do so this season.

Well, I was viewing it more defensively. With the matchups with Ellis and Curry, I wanted to stay with Derrick and C.J. They played together just so we could match up better defensively, said Thibodeau. Weve talked about doing it more and a lot depends upon your matchups. We want to settle on our rotation, so guys know when theyre going in. Their rotation changed some tonight with injured Golden State power forward David Lee being out, too. We werent quite sure if they would play smaller, longer and then what that would mean for us in terms of how we matched up defensively.
Thorn in the Side

Although Bogans did a solid job on Ellis, the Golden State scorer still ended up with 24 points (three below his average of 27.1 points per game, good for second in the league entering the contest) on 10-for-20 shooting. An underrated passer, Ellis also dished out five assists on the night, but he and his teammates were obviously exhausted after a tough game in New York the previous evening.

Chicago temporarily solved their season-long foul issues on both ends committing only seven fouls and shooting 21-for-23 from the charity stripe. Not much to complain about overall, although both Thibodeau and Rose griped about turnovers (the Bulls turned the ball over 12 times) late in the game.

What the Future Holds

With the annual circus trip coming up next week, it would be easy for the Bulls to look past their next opponent lowly Washington especially after the high of the blowout victory over Golden State. However, the Bulls are already focused on Saturdays contest against the visiting Wizards, in the last home game Chicago plays until December.

Were going to try to come out and play the same. We cant look past them, said Rose. Theyre a young team with a lot of good young players. Weve just got to take care of that problem first on the way to the road.

Even though Washington has been struggling, No. 1 draft pick John Wall seems to be hitting his stride, with a triple-double in Wednesdays Wizards win, as well as threatening a rookie assist record previously held by the legendary Oscar Robertson.

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.

Five Things To Watch: Bulls battle Celtics in pivotal Game 5 on CSN

Five Things To Watch: Bulls battle Celtics in pivotal Game 5 on CSN

Watch as the Bulls take on the Boston Celtics today in Game 5 on CSN and streaming live on CSNChicago.com. Coverage begins at 7 p.m. with Bulls Pregame Live. And be sure to stick around after the final buzzer to watch Bulls Postgame Live for highlights and analysis.

Click here to watch the game or download the NBC Sports App, your home for live-streaming coverage of the Bulls.

1. Point guards need to be better. It’ll be Isaiah Canaan starting Game 5 at the point for the Bulls, but their game plan can’t be to have him play 34 minutes again. That means one of Jerian Grant or Michael Carter-Williams is going to have to give the Bulls some semblance of good run at times early in the second and fourth quarters. And that’s assuming Canaan can replicate Game 4’s performance.

2. Perfect time for a Jimmy Butler takeover game. Jimmy Butler has been good, not great, in this series. And for a No. 8 seed to upset a No. 1 seed, the eight seed’s best player needs to be great. Butler is shooting just 41 percent – and 24 percent from deep – despite averaging nearly 25 points per game. This could be a game where he decides to take over. When he does that (and is hitting jumpers), he’s unstoppable and can win a game himself.

3. Niko, Portis or Zipser? The Bulls wouldn’t have won Game 1 without Bobby Portis, and they would have had a much tougher time closing things out had Paul Zipser not gone for 16 points on 6-for-8 shooting. One of those two, or the struggling Nikola Mirotic, needs to step up in a big way for the Bulls, especially with Rajon Rondo out and Dwyane Wade struggling.

4. Is this now Isaiah Thomas’ series? With the Celtics going small Isaiah Thomas appears to have found his way offensively. He was dynamite in Games 1 and 2 with one of Gerald Green or Marcus Smart in the small-ball lineup. The Bulls don’t have enough options to throw at him when he’s on his game. There’s a reason he’s an MVP candidate, and if he decides this series is over the Bulls can’t match him.

5. The series is on the line. The Bulls are eight-point underdogs heading into Game 5, and the series is essentially on the line. A loss tonight means the Bulls need a win Friday at home AND a Game 7 road win in Boston against the top team in the East (record-wise). That just isn’t feasible. The season is on the line, and you can bet Fred Hoiberg has told his team as much – as if they needed to be told.

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Rajon Rondo return seems possible for Game 5

Rajon Rondo return seems possible for Game 5

Calling a Rajon Rondo return likely would be a bit strong, but it’s certainly become a possibility in the last 24 hours as the Bulls traveled to Boston before Game 5 of their first-round series against the Celtics.

Rondo participated in Tuesday morning’s practice before the team departed to Boston, going through five-on-five scrimmages to test his broken right thumb he suffered in Game 2 in Boston.

Multiple sources confirmed to CSNChicago.com Rondo has been making progress with the aim to get back on the floor sooner rather than later, but the probability of a Game 5 return hasn’t been determined yet. A report from ESPN stated Rondo staged a private workout in Boston to further test the thumb.

One source described it as Rondo playing with one hand in practice, which would in theory make him an easy target for the Celtics if he returns, considering his right hand is his dominant one.

Most have said it's too early to call while one source tells CSNChicago.com that “If he can play he will," while the fact the Bulls haven’t released an injury report has added to the intrigue of an already wild playoff series.

Bulls coach Fred Hoiberg said before practice that Rondo is out “as far as we know right now," a statement that certainly seems intentionally ambiguous in hindsight.

If he returned it would be a remarkable turnaround considering one of Rondo’s teammates called his thumb injury the "worst I’ve ever seen in my career," leading to cautious words from Hoiberg.

“This is honestly the first time he has touched a basketball with that right hand. We’ll see how it goes. He’s going to continue to condition and do everything he can,” Hoiberg said. “Just watching him wince a little bit when the ball was coming to him makes me think it’s a longshot. But if there’s anybody who can do it and will try to fight through it, it’s Rondo because of the competitor he is.”

Rondo said he couldn’t grip a fork with his right hand, let alone a basketball when he spoke to the media this weekend, and the official diagnosis stated he would be evaluated between 7-10 days, pushing things right between Games 6 and 7, if it gets to a decisive seventh game in Boston.

Hoiberg plans to start Isaiah Canaan at point guard, as the Bulls have lost the last two games after jumping out to a surprising 2-0 lead, mostly on the strength of Rondo’s leadership.

Rondo was seen shooting with his left hand before practice began and had a light brace surrounding his right hand. He missed a handful of games late in the regular season with a right wrist injury, so he’s not just nursing one serious injury but a moderate one as well.

“He’s our floor general out there,” Jimmy Butler said. “He knows everything, knows every matchup, every position, and he’s still helping over there from the bench, but we really want him healthy and out there for us.”