Dynamic Duo: Rose, Boozer will Bulls to victory

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Dynamic Duo: Rose, Boozer will Bulls to victory

Sunday, Dec. 5, 2010
Updated 12:13 AM

By Aggrey Sam
CSNChicago.com

It wasnt always pretty, but in the Bulls (10-8) 119-116 overtime triumph Saturday evening over the Rockets (7-13), the long-anticipated dynamic duo of Derrick Rose and Carlos Boozer was finally more than just a tease.

Bouncing back from two disappointing losses after Boozers return from injury, Chicagos energy level, defensive intensity and offensive cohesion were all evident in the win, even though the Rockets late comeback threw a scare into the United Center crowd before Roses end-of-regulation heroics.

Concluded Bulls head coach Tom Thibodeau: In the end, I think we did what we had to do to win.

From the games outset, the Bulls appeared to be much more in sync. New addition Boozer (25 points, nine rebounds) got off to an active and aggressive start, showcasing the interior scoring and rebounding ability that elevated him to stardom in Utah.

With better ball movement facilitating quality shot opportunities, Chicago more closely resembled the surging squad that came off a successful circus trip than the abysmal team witnessed in the previous two contests.

Because of our defense and rebounding, it allowed us to get into a quicker pace and some easy scoring opportunities. I also thought we had good ball movement in the first half, said Thibodeau. I also thought Carlos got more comfortable. Obviously 25 points in 30 minutes, hes a guy you can throw the ball into and get some good things off of that, too.

Each game, hes gotten better and better, more comfortable, and I thought offensively against Boston, he had several plays that were good basketball plays, where you could see his instincts taking over, he continued. Today, I thought his offense was very good again and I thought his rebounding was much better. I thought he really went after the ball today, so that part was good."

Every day is a little bit more comfortable. Every day Im getting in a little bit better shape. Every day Im more comfortable with my hand getting hit. Every day Im getting more comfortable on offense. Im still learning everything. This is kind of like my preseason for me because these are the first games Ive played in, said Boozer. Im learning on the fly, but hopefully we can keep winning.

If you worry about this, if you think about that, then youre a step behind. Youve just got to go out there and do it, make them react to what youre doing. Be more aggressive thats what Im trying to do and Im following my teammates. My teammates have been playing for two months, so Im trying to follow their lead, the two-time All-Star went on to say. I was happy. Im making steps in the right direction.

However, Houston power forward Luis Scola (27 points, eight rebounds) used his crafty scoring to keep the visiting Rockets in the game. Still, both Rose (25 points, 11 assists, six rebounds, five steals) and Luol Deng (15 points) seemed to find their respective grooves an important occurrence, with Boozer also playing well and with the defensive intensity back at a high level, the Bulls took a 25-23 advantage into the second quarter.

Chicagos second unit maintained and extended the home teams winning margin by virtue of sound play and, quite honestly, facing a M.A.S.H. crew already down starters Aaron Brooks and Yao Ming for extended absences, backup guard Courtney Lee was felled by teammate and former Bull Brad Miller (20 points, four 3-pointers, three blocked shots) of Rockets reserves.

With the majority of Bulls regulars along with reserves Kyle Korver (13 points) and Omer Asik back in the contest midway through the period, Chicagos lead further ballooned, with the Bulls transition game, opportunistic defense, inside-outside offense serving as catalysts.

Toward the end of the half, a trio of Rose plays illustrated the Bulls return to form. First, the All-Star toyed with his defender with a back-and-forth between-the-legs dribble before exploding around a screen to finish with a powerful southpaw dunk.

Then, the Chicago native made a nifty behind-the-back move to split two Rockets and subsequently threaded the needle to find Joakim Noah (13 points, 12 rebounds, four blocked shots, four assists) for a tough layup, plus the foul.

Lastly, following a steal, Rose would explode for whats becoming his signature slam he cocks the ball behind his head, almost to the middle of his shoulder blades to rock the rim with two hands to give the Bulls a 56-44 lead at intermission.

Rose was terrific. I thought the first half, too, he set the tone for the defense with his ball pressure. He really competed hard, said Thibodeau about his point guard, who set a new career-high in steals in the contest. I thought he had a great edge to him today. He came out and it was right from the start of the game. The thing that I like is that I thought he was attacking on defense, too. A normal game, hes always attacking on offense, but when hes attacking on defense, it makes our defense totally different.

While on the surface, the Bulls didnt do anything to take away from their first-half momentum in the third quarter, the teams general level of intensity fluctuated. They still held a rebounding advantage and shot the ball more proficiently than their opponents, but the Rockets in turn, picked up their play and gradually closed on Chicago.

Houston stopped settling for contested perimeter shots (shooting guard Kevin Martin, in particular, was highly effective, along with Scola), got better looks and didnt allow the Bulls defense to pressure them into as many unforced errors, while Chicagos slippage was marked by a less flowing halfcourt offense despite solid starts to the half by Boozer and Deng.

Korver and Taj Gibson (eight points, six rebounds) provided important sparks for the home team and although the Bulls played with more urgency to close the period, a buzzer-beating 3-pointer by Rockets point guard Kyle Lowry (16 points, seven rebounds, four assists, three steals) made it 81-79, in Chicagos favor, heading into the final stanza.

Ragged play marked the early portion of the fourth quarter, but the insertion of Rose gave the Bulls life, as the point guard blended scoring and playmaking to aid his team in maintaining its slight cushion. Houston, however, just wouldnt go away, as timely buckets from the likes of Miller kept the contest close.

Chicago would continually go to Boozer, who displayed an ability to draw contact and get to the foul line, even if he didnt always convert.

Stated Boozer: I was trying to draw contact the whole game, but they do a great job of collapsing.

I think the more minutes that they play together, theyre learning a lot about each other and where he wants to get the ball and how he likes to get it, things like that, the pick-and-roll game. I think the more hes out there, particularly with Derrick, to get a feel of what he likes to do, added Thibodeau. I think theyre Boozers teammates searching him out without getting away from what were trying to do offensively, too. Each game, I think youre going to see more and more from him. Once he knocked down a couple shots you could see how aggressive he was to start the game today you knew he was going to attack.

But the Rockets kept pushing and after a 3-pointer, then a conventional three-point play off a Miller dish; Lee had long recovered from his first-half injury Houston took its first lead since 8-6 in the first quarter.

They Houston can score the ball, acknowledged Thibodeau. That team has a lot of weapons.

Down the stretch, the pesky Lowry made several key plays for the Rockets, while Chicago struggled to convert opportunities, allowing the visitors to stretch their slim lead to two possessions with under a minute to play. But two Boozer put-backs sandwiched around a 1-for-2 Lowry trip to the line and Miller following suit allowed the Bulls one last chance with 10.7 seconds to play in regulation.

With the Bulls down 109-106 following Millers free throw he missed the first Rose pushed the ball down the court and with no hesitation, drained a 3-pointer with no time remaining to send the game into an extra session.

They gave me a little bit of room, Ive been working on the shot and I just shot it, Rose explained to reporters afterwards. At first, they guarded it well. Thats why I had to throw it to Joakim and he handed back and I had a little bit of daylight.

I think thats the first time I celebrated after one of my shots all year. It just felt good knowing that in those situations Im capable of knocking down shots like that.

Added Boozer: Hes that guy. Hes proven that this entire season.

We just got him the ball, hit him with a couple screens, got out of the way, he came off and hit that three to put us into overtime, he continued. Hes been doing that all season. Hes been able to prove that he is that guy for us. We know if we need a basket, were going to D. Rose and hell get it for us.

In overtime, the contest became a back-and-forth affair, with the two teams alternating leads. Rose played the protagonist for the Bulls, as usual, mixing his brilliant drives and finishes at the rim with court awareness, passing and perimeter shooting.

But after an errant Rose pull-up jumper with the Bulls holding a two-point lead, the Rockets had another go at it, but Ronnie Brewer chased down a loose ball after Miller missed an open triple and hit the back end of his trip to the line to give Chicago a 119-116 advantage with 4.5 seconds on the clock.

We played hard in the first half. The second half we kind of eased up, they came back and we got in foul trouble in the third quarter. We were putting them on the line, giving them easy baskets, said Rose. But a win is a win.

We needed it bad. We lost two in a row, it was gonna be hard to lose three, but we just had enough finish it off, he continued. This was huge. If we would have lost this game, it would have hurt very bad. Were just grateful and blessed we won this game.

Added Boozer: I feel like it was ours to win. Aint no gimmes in the NBA. Teams dont let you win. Youve got to take winswe took this game tonight.

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.

Windy City Bulls fill out roster in D-League expansion draft

Windy City Bulls fill out roster in D-League expansion draft

The Windy City Bulls are beginning to feel more like a real team.

On Wednesday, the Chicago Bulls' new NBA D-League franchise that will play games in Hoffman Estates beginning this season participated in the league's expansion draft.

As one of three new expansion teams joining the NBA D-League this season, the Windy City Bulls were allowed to select 12 players from the other 19 teams in the league. Each returning D-League team was allowed to protect the rights to 10 players on each roster with two players being available to the Bulls, Long Island Nets and Greensboro Swarm.

The Bulls acquired the rights to 12 players as here's the rundown of who they selected.

Round 1: Wesley Saunders, G/F, Harvard (Austin Spurs)
Round 2: Kiwi Gardner, G, Midland College (Santa Cruz Warriors)
Round 3: Ralph Sampson III, C, Minnesota (Maine Red Claws)
Round 4: Booker Woodfox, G, Creighton (Texas Legends)
Round 5: Jerel McNeal, G, Marquette (Northern Arizona Suns)
Round 6: Akeem Richmond, G, East Carolina (Reno Bighorns)
Round 7: Casey Prather, G/F, Florida (Northern Arizona Suns)
Round 8: Jon Octeus, G, Purdue (Canton Charge)
Round 9: Justin Dentmon, G, Washington (Texas Legends)
Round 10: Jamal Jones, F, Texas A&M (Delaware 87ers)
Round 11: Xavier Thames, G, San Diego State (Fort Wayne Mad Ants)
Round 12: Ian Chiles, C, Morgan State (Salt Lake City Stars)

It's important to note that although the Bulls have the rights to these 12 players for two seasons that many of them might never suit up for the team. Many players from this expansion draft group will head overseas to pursue professional opportunities there. If they do end up signing a D-League contract, the Bulls will have right of first refusal, giving the Bulls rights to these players for two seasons.

[SHOP: Gear up, Bulls fans!]

Among the notables picked by the Bulls include the 5-foot-7 Gardner, who has had a successful D-League stint in the past as well as some experience in the Saudi Premier League. Local college hoops fans will probably recognize the 6-foot-3 McNeal from his days at Marquette where he played for one season with Bulls star Jimmy Butler. McNeal also has more NBA experience than anyone on the expansion list as he most recently finished out the 2014-15 season with the Phoenix Suns. Former Washington product Justin Dentmon is also a native of Carbondale as the 6-foot-0 guard helped Carbondale High School to a fourth-place finish in the 2004 IHSA Class AA state basketball tournament.

Windy City will tip off the season with a home opener at Sears Centre on Friday, Nov. 11. The 2016-17 D-League schedule was released earlier this week as Windy City will have 24 home games, including 16 that will be played on Friday or Saturday night. 

While the Windy City roster will look very different from this expansion draft list, the Windy City Bulls should help the main Bulls franchise develop young talent in a nearby location as it will be the start of a very intriguing dynamic.  

Derrick Rose is really, really confident with the Knicks

Derrick Rose is really, really confident with the Knicks

Derrick Rose has never been shy about voicing his opinion. And that didn't change once he was dealt to the Knicks in late June.

He told NBA.com in late July that the Knicks, who also signed Joakim Noah, Courtney Lee and Brandon Jennings, had formed a "super team" with Carmelo Anthony and Kristaps Porzingis. Rose said both the Knicks and Warriors, who won 73 games and then added this generation's greatest scorer in Kevin Durant, were the two super teams in the NBA.

Rose then doubled down on those comments earlier this month, saying every player should "believe in yourself" enough to feel as though you're playing on a super team.

That confidence didn't waver in the last week, as Rose made headlines once again for saying the Knicks have a chance to do something pretty special.

"I think (the Knicks) have a chance to win every game, and in the league, that's rare," he told Yahoo! Sports.

Now, it's important to recognize that Rose is not saying the Knicks are going to go 82-0, or even that they have a realistic shot at doing so (though Rose's other super team in the NBA, Golden State, may have a shot). It'd be even more odd to hear Rose say there were games the Knicks had no shot at winning this season, even though their 32-win season from a year ago would suggest otherwise.

What Rose's comments really show is that he hasn't lost any of the confidence that made him the league's youngest MVP. Even while battling through his myriad injuries Rose maintained that he'd get back to the level he once showed as a dominant point guard in the NBA. And with a fresh start in New York, he's hoping that becomes a reality.

The Knicks have a decent shot at getting back to the postseason for the first time since 2013. But with new head coach Jeff Hornacek and many new pieces needing to mesh, there's bound to be a few games early in the year that the Knicks have no real shot at winning (like Opening Night in Cleveland).

Bulls Talk: SB Nation's Ricky O'Donnell on Olympic gold for Team USA, Jimmy Butler's role in Rio

Bulls Talk: SB Nation's Ricky O'Donnell on Olympic gold for Team USA, Jimmy Butler's role in Rio

As part of a joint collaboration between CSNChicago.com and SBNation.com's Blog a Bull, Mark Strotman and Ricky O'Donnell are breaking down the latest happenings on the Bulls. Check back all season long for more video hits and features.

On the first edition of the collaboration, Mark and Ricky break down USA Basketball's road to a third consecutive gold medal in this month's Rio Olympics.

It marked the third consecutive gold for Carmelo Anthony, the first man to accomplish that feat, and head coach Mike Krzyzewski finished his career as USA Basketball head coach 88-1, including a 76-game winning streak to end things.

Bulls shooting guard Jimmy Butler was on that squad and provided crucial defensive work on the team's second unit. The guys break down whether or not he'll be a part of the 2020 team that heads to Tokyo looking for a four-peat.

And Butler wasn't the only member of the Bulls participating in Rio. Mark and Ricky look at Nikola Mirotic's encouraging play for the Spanish national team, as well as Cristiano Felicio getting his feet wet for the host country, Brazil.

See all of what they had to say in the video above, and be sure to check out Blog a Bull all season long for Bulls news and analysis.