Bulls

Rose leads Bulls over Clippers in 'personal' win

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Rose leads Bulls over Clippers in 'personal' win

Wednesday, Feb. 2, 2011
Posted 11:58 p.m

By Aggrey Sam
CSNChicago.com

LOS ANGELESVery personal. Thats how Derrick Rose described his approach to Wednesday nights 106-88 Bulls (34-14) winthe teams sixth consecutive victoryover the Clippers (19-29) at the Staples Center. In a battle of two of the games most exciting young players, the Bulls' All-Star point guard out-dueled rookie sensation Blake Griffin, exacting some revenge in the process.

The games two featured attractions lived up to the hype from the outset, with Rose scoring nine of the Bulls first 16 points and Griffin pouring in eight of the Clippers first 14 before the contests first timeout.

Rose (32 points, 11 assists, 4-for-8 on three-pointers) shelled the home teamand former coach, Vinny Del Negrowith his improved jumper, as well as his fearless and acrobatic driving finishes to the rim, thrilling the Staples Center crowd. Rose also got his teammates involved, finding the likes of Keith Bogans, Luol Deng (26 points, six rebounds, five assists, 3-for-6 on three-pointers) and Carlos Boozer (16 points, 10 rebounds) for assists.

They beat us last time. I wanted some revenge. It was because of me that we lost. I missed the free throw and that really hurt me, said Rose. In these types of games, you never want to be in those situations, where a free throw is the reason why we lost the game. We just wanted to come out here and be aggressive, and just try to take control of the game early.

Im the reason why we lost last time. I couldnt take the game into overtime, he continued. Tonight, I just tried to pull the game away and make it a comfortable game.

Added Bulls head coach Tom Thibodeau: Thats who he is. Hes never satisfied, he wants the team to do well, hes always driving himself to get better. I thought he had great command in this game.

The way he started off this game set the tone for us. Very aggressive in the pick-and-roll, running the team, aggressive defensively, he went on to say. When hes going like that, it lifts the whole team.

Griffin (32 points, 13 rebounds, seven assists) didnt disappoint either, displaying a mid-range jumper to go with his relentlessness around the rim. A fast-paced affair at the beginning, the games speed waned a bit as the opening quarter went on, but Rose and Griffin both picked up the pace toward the end of the period, which ended with the Bulls holding a 28-23 advantage.

Chicagos second unit sustained the visitors lead, with reserve big man Taj Gibson (nine points, 12 rebounds)in a return to the city where he went to college at USCplaying with energy on the interior and both backup point guard C.J. Watson (nine points, 2-for-3 on three-pointers) and designated sharpshooter Kyle Korver (eight points, four assists, 2-for-5 on three-pointers) providing timely offense. Behind their bench, the Bulls lead surged to double digits before Thibodeau began to filter his regulars back into the contest.

The Clippers, however, were in no mood to lie down and made it a competitive affair, exciting an already-energized crowd. Starting shooting guard Randy Foye (14 points, four assists) sparked the home team, then a show-stopping alley-oop dunk by Griffin nearly brought down the house.

Deng, quietly having a solid night, made his presence felt in a louder fashion, drilling a pair of three-pointers to give the Bulls some breathing room. A flashpoint in the contest came when Griffinwho went on an individual tear late in the halfattempted a monster dunk and was fouled hard by Boozer (veteran Kurt Thomas, saddled with three first-half fouls, also laid some wood on the rookie previously in the quarter), earning a debatable flagrant foul call from the officials. Despite that, the Bulls led, 55-49, at the intermission.

Chicago started the second half on a 6-0 run, which was capped by a Clippers timeout and a technical foul on point guard Baron Davis (10 points, three assists). Rose, aided by Deng, propelled the Bulls during this stretch, and their winning margin grew to a comfortable cushion.

Boozer (benefiting greatly from Roses playmaking) began to assert himself, helping to sustain Chicagos double-figure lead. The home team again battled back, however, and behind journeyman forwards Ryan Gomes (16 points, six rebounds) and Ike Diogu, the Clippers briefly made it a single-digit affair, until a Rose three-pointer late in the quarter made it an 82-71 game after three periods of play.

Watson continued to be effective in relief of Rose, helping the Bulls keep the Clippers at bay until the All-Star point guard returned to the floor, despite Boozer picking up his third, fourth and fifth fouls in rapid succession. Although another Griffin highlight dunk got the home crowds attention, timely individual efforts by Rose and Gibson dampened their enthusiasm.

Afterwards, Thibodeau spoke proudly about how his team limited Griffins second-half scoring.

First half, Griffin just had his way, but I thought offensively we were good, I thought our rebounding was very good, I thought we shared the ball. Second half, I thought our defense was a lot better, he remarked. I didnt like him getting 25 first-half points, but we showed resiliency. We stayed with the plan, we really didnt adjust. It was just doing it better in the second half. We made him work, our help was a little bit better. Griffins a great player.

Gibson shared his coachs sentiments.

After the first half, it was frustrating because we talked about what we wanted to do in the beginning at shootaround. He had 25 points and that was embarrassing, Gibson told CSNChicago.com. Me and Kurt just switched out on him, tried to make his touches hard, force him to do things he didnt want to do. Hes a phenomenal player. We just played real tough tonight.

With the sellout crowds energy fading as the games stretch run approached, the home teams effort followed suit. Thibodeau didnt relax, however (he was assessed with a late technical foul) and neither did his players. A Korver three-pointer took the final gasp of air out of the building and after a Deng steal and subsequent layup on the other end, the game was effectively over, but not until a Rose jumper with under 10 seconds to go put his personal stamp on things.

Very personal, in fact.

Aggrey Sam is CSNChicago.com's 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.

Bulls Talk Podcast: Will Kris Dunn build off career night?

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USA TODAY

Bulls Talk Podcast: Will Kris Dunn build off career night?

On this edition of the Bulls Talk podcast, Mark Schanowski, Kendall Gill, and Kevin Anderson react to a breakout game from Kris Dunn against the Hornets Friday night. They’ll discuss his development and how it impacts rookie Lauri Markkanen. Plus just how long will both the Wolves and Bulls be judged on the Jimmy Butler trade? Is Dwight Howard a hall of famer? And a new era in Philly with Simmons and Embiid. That and more on this edition of the Bulls Talk podcast.

Observations from Bulls-Hornets: Kris Dunn, a sigh of relief and hack-a-who?

Observations from Bulls-Hornets: Kris Dunn, a sigh of relief and hack-a-who?

Kris Dunn did it: You can’t play that position without an edge, without some form of “basketball killer” in you. Kris Dunn showed at the very least, he has that in his DNA in his best game as a Bull with a career-high 22 points, seven assists and five rebounds.

Leave it to Bulls coach Fred Hoiberg to point out a forgotten stat: one turnover in 26 minutes.

“That’s the biggest thing I’m proud of,” Dunn said. “Everyone knows I’ve had a lot of careless turnovers in the season. It’s one thing I’ll take credit for.”

Dunn scored 13 with six assists in the fourth quarter alone as the Bulls outscored the Hornets 40-28 for the comeback victory. More than anything, it was his competitive spirit and aggressiveness that stood out. Kemba Walker stood across the way and gave Dunn—and the Bulls—every bit of 47 points.

“He tested my conditioning, for sure,” Dunn admitted. “He’s a great player. He’s been in the league for so long. It was good to go out there and compete with him.”

It could’ve went a different way had Walker not been bothered by Lauri Markkanen’s challenge at the rim, blowing a layup that would’ve given the Hornets the lead back with seconds remaining but he missed it and the narrative changed at least for a night.

And when teams are talking about learning experiences, it’s good to have them in a win every now and again. Markkanen’s challenge at the rim followed by his closing free throws right after, along with a quietly effective 16 points and seven rebounds, proved huge on this night.

Dunn finally having a confidence booster was imperative.

Dunn scored but it wasn’t an easy 20 or a smooth 20. It was an attacking 20, a necessary 20. He did hit some elbow jumpers, especially in the fourth as the defense laid off him.

But his biggest basket was a slithering drive to the rim for a layup with 2:24 left, because he attacked and was under control.

“That’s huge growth for Kris,” Hoiberg said. “He made the right play darn near every time he had the ball in his hands. Rose up with confidence, knocked down huge shots. Defensively got them going, got steals.”

What a relief: Nobody wanted to say it, but it bore out on the floor, the sheer desperation the Bulls played with.

Coming in with a five-game losing streak and headed out west to for four games in the next week, they were staring in the face of a possible double-digit losing streak to end November.

Confidence was sparse after three bad losses, and it’s a dangerous time for a team that will struggle to win games all season.

The United Center crowd got into it, particularly late when the Bulls began climbing back into contention to start the fourth quarter. The fans wanted this win too, even with the eyes being on a larger prize coming in mid-2018.

The relief was written all over Hoiberg’s usually-stress ridden face and he even cracked a couple jokes that weren’t aimed in his direction, as self-deprecation is normally his escape of choice.

“It is important but I asked the guys: is it hard to play with that type of effort? When you play with that type of energy and effort and swagger, it’s fun,” Hoiberg said. “When you play low energy and hang your head, it’s a drag. It’s hard to play at this level with that mentality.”

Starting change: Justin Holiday returned after his quick leave with his wife delivering a baby girl recently and his game-high 27 points showed he missed the Bulls as much as they missed his shooting, hitting four triples and going 10 for 15 from the field.

“Guys were serious about getting their jobs done,” Holiday said. “It was a lot of energy, a lot of energy, competitiveness. That’s how we have to play every night for our team to do well.”

Denzel Valentine, although he didn’t want to say it, wants to be a starter. Hoiberg chose Quincy Pondexter over him recently and then made the change Friday to insert Valentine for more scoring.

Valentine scored 18 with six assists and five rebounds in 32 minutes of run—and with those two starting as scoring options, the Bulls surpassed that seven-point first-quarter mark really early and scored 26 overall.

He hit a big triple in the fourth with 2:49 left to give the Bulls a 110-109 lead on a set play the Bulls actually executed between Valentine, Dunn as a setup man and Robin Lopez as a screen to pop Valentine open.

If he continues to hit 3-pointers at a 40 percent clip, especially with the way the Bulls have struggled to start games, he’ll have the right to feel he belongs in the first five.

“It’s definitely more confidence,” Valentine said. “You feel you’re an NBA starter, you get to go in and feel it out for a second and bring some energy to start the game.”

He didn’t mince words about starting, with a little honesty saying, “I think it’s huge being a starter.”

When asked if he felt validated by his performance and the result being a high-scoring win, it was just as telling.

“I think I deserve…I think I deserved a starting role,” Valentine said. “At the same time it’s different combinations, different people that need to be on the floor at certain times, so if he feels like I don’t need to start, I won’t start. But I feel very comfortable starting as well.”

Hack-a-Dwight: It could be Hack-a-Dwight, hack-a-Drummond, hack-a-Wilt or Shaq or Charles Shackleford.

The Bulls went to it and Howard went two of four from the line but it took a little rhythm from the Hornets and probably slowed Kemba Walker down just enough before he got cooking in the last 90 seconds and almost pulled a win out of his keister.

But…

I hate it. Get it out of the game completely.