February 18, 2011
You probably saw the game. Did you think the Spurs took it off?
Do you think the Spurs flew it in easy, that they weren't concentrating well, and that they weren't executing properly on both ends as a result?
Rose managed a career-high of 42 points (though you wouldn't be wrong in marking him down for 38, as two of his buckets came against Chris Quinn(notes)), slicing through the San Antonio lane and working his mid-range jumper to perfection, as the Bulls pulled out an impressive home win over the team with the best record in basketball. Chicago managed good ball movement and great help defense (sometimes the Spurs had their way with penetration) all night, and the team goes into the All-Star break with all the momentum of something that would boast a great deal of momentum.
Around 54 percent shooting and a nice 123 points per 100 possessions for a Bulls team that often struggles to score and shoot well. Rose was clearly the catalyst, shooting 18-28 and tossing in a couple of great (for him) dimes in transition on his way to eight assists. Luol Deng(notes) and Carlos Boozer(notes) both made half their shots from the floor, and little helpers (Ronnie Brewer(notes) with a play save and dunk, Taj Gibson(notes) and Omer Asik(notes) moving their feet) put the team over the top.
San Antonio scored well to start it, but Manu Ginobili(notes) missed 12 of 18 shots, a few calls didn't go their way, and they couldn't keep up with Chicago's withering defense (though Gary Neal(notes), 6-9 shooting, sure knew what open slots to slide into).
Their end hardly matters, to me. The All-Star Game is on Sunday, and the Spurs will have just 10 losses to their credit as they enter the season's unofficial second half. There were others I would have chosen ahead of Tim Duncan(notes) for the All-Star team, but that doesn't mean he's not having an All-Star season, and the same goes for Manu Ginobili and Tony Parker(notes). This is a brilliant basketball club, and even if the worst case scenario (crippling team-wide gambling addictions?) happens from here on out, these first 56 games have been a joy to take in.
Kind of like Derrick Rose's first 53 games.
Exactly what you'd expect, though a bit of a letdown as the game didn't go into overtime.
The Mavericks are clearly better than the Suns; but playing in Phoenix the Mavs were only able to keep the Suns at arm's length for most of the game, enjoying the open looks and delayed defensive rotations but still never able to put Phoenix away. Things only turned for good for the Mavericks in the final minute when Channing Frye(notes) wasn't able to jump twice in the air as quickly as Tyson Chandler(notes), and Chandler tipped in an offensive rebound for his 12th point and 12th rebound of the contest.
Everything the Suns did, the Mavs did a little better. Defended better, shot better from the floor, while winning the turnover battle by one. One! Robin Lopez(notes) did well on the offensive glass, picking up four of those bad boys, but overall this was just a game that the Mavericks slightly prevailed in after 48 minutes of hoop.
See you on the other side.