Tuesday, Dec. 21, 2010
Posted 9:25 PM Updated 11:13 PM
By Chris Cason
Derrick Rose and Luol Deng both scored 22 points apiece as the Chicago Bulls (17-9) cruised to a 121-76 victory over the Philadelphia 76ers (11-17) Tuesday night.
With second year forward Taj Gibson joining Joakim Noah on the inactive list for precautionary reasons after suffering a concussion in Saturdays game against the Los Angeles Clippers, an emphasis was placed on the importance of starting with intensity and the Bulls answered the bell, dominating on both sides of the floor.
The Bulls jumped on the Sixers 33-19 in the opening frame. Rose, Deng and Carlos Boozer accounted for 29 of those points as the team only trailed in the opening minute.
"I thought we came out, right from the start and had great energy, said head coach Tom Thibodeau. Shots went down for us early. Defensively, I thought we did a really good job with our body position, getting back and challenging shots.
Rose also finished with 12 assists as Chicago led by as many as 51 and were firing on all cylinders, helping shut down a team that had won eight of their last 11 games.
Chicago shot 64 percent and held Philadelphia to 28 of 80 shooting from the field.
I knew the first three minutes of the game, we had no juice, said Sixers coach Doug Collins regarding his team being out of rhythm the entire night. They ran the same play six, or seven straight times. We gauge where we think were going to be in a game by our first ten possessions and they scored eight of their first 10 possessions. I looked at our coaches and said, our guys just arent there tonight.
Chicago outscored Philadelphia 52-26 in the paint - thanks in large part to Kurt Thomas holding Elton Brand to six points on 2 of 9 shooting. They also had a 28-9 edge in fast break points, assisted 32 times on their 49 made field goals and scored 31 points off of Sixers turnovers. There was no lack of intensity in this one and leading 92-54, the Bulls were able to rest all of their starters in the fourth.
I just thought we just did a great job of getting ready to play, said Boozer, who finished with 16 points and 11 rebounds. "We were disappointed how we started last game. Its been a point of emphasis the last couple of days of practice. We came out tonight focused and did a great job of being ready offensively and defensively.
We helped each other a lot, continued Boozer. We dominated the boards, shared the ball a lot, and were efficient inside. We just did a great job of being prepared for this game.
Filling in for Gibson, 16-year veteran Thomas got the starting nod and finished with 12 points, eight rebounds and five blocked shots.
Hes been doing it for 100 years, joked Thibodeau about Thomas performance. Hes a smart player, plays great body position defense, great communicator I thought he helped our pick and roll defense tremendously.
In a game with so much exerted energy on both ends, the 38-year old - who has more miles on his body than the entire roster combined - appreciated the game for obvious reasons.
Its best when you have a back to back, that youre able to get some rest, said Thomas. Your main guys are able to get some rest, so thats always good.
The Bulls will play the Washington Wizards on Wednesday night. It will be the second time the two teams have met this season, with Chicago taking the first game a 103-96 win on Nov. 13.
It will be their first bout with the slightly new-look Wizards, who traded away long-time franchise cornerstone Gilbert Arenas to the Orlando Magic for Rashard Lewis on Sunday.
Taj Gibson told CSNChicago.com that he feels great and would be ready to play on Wednesday, but the decision will determined by the Bulls team doctors.