Monday, December 21, 2009

Click-a-Bull (Derrick Rose, Tyrus Thomas, All-Star Snubs (Luol /Noah))

[NOTE: I put these links together before the Bulls epic collapse/fail against the Kings. More on that later.]

How often should Bulls rely on Rose?

One thing I found interesting during the Bulls’ late-game rally and overtime win against Atlanta on Saturday is how often when the Bulls needed a big basket, they went away from Derrick Rose.

Rose was knocking down his outside shot and finished with his best regular-season scoring effort ever, hitting 14 of 24 shots for 32 points. The one time in the NBA he scored more was Game 1 of the Boston playoff series when he had 36.

For example, twice in the final 1:20 of overtime, the Bulls had possession with a 1-point lead. Both times, Luol Deng tried to create something. First, he had the ball stripped by Josh Smith, but it bounced right to Rose, naturally, who dropped in a layup.

The next time, Deng tried to drive again and was called for a charge against Smith. Fortunately for the Bulls, Joe Johnson missed a driving bank shot with about 13 seconds left that preserved the Bulls’ 99-98 advantage and Rose tacked on 2 free throws.

The Hawks went to Johnson most every trip late in the game and occasionally, he passed it along to a teammate. After the game, I asked coach Vinny Del Negro what determines the decision on how often to go with the hot hand.

“I think what happens is if we go too much, teams are so athletic, they get locked into what we’re doing,” Del Negro said. “Then we have two or three bad possessions and now they’re in the transition (fast break).

Bulls Could Get Thomas Back Within A Week

Six weeks after undergoing surgery on his fractured left forearm, Bulls forward Tyrus Thomas could play as soon as next Saturday.

Thomas was scheduled to return to full-contact practice on Sunday.

"Maybe a little two-on-two and see how he feels," coach Vinny Del Negro said. "He's been doing some non-contact shooting stuff and moving around, but we'll add some contact and see how he feels. After that I'll have a better gauge of what we're thinking."

Del Negro said it's unlikely that Thomas will play on either Monday or Tuesday night.

6 All-Star snubs in the making

Back around Michael Myers Day, I listed six NBA players who came into this season with All-Star aspirations but would likely end up disappointed come All-Star announcement time. But as Biggie would say, things done changed.

Nearing the turn of the calendar and more than one quarter of the way through the season, there’s a new group guys who have been playing at an All-Star level and could make a solid argument to get on the squad, but have a better chance of landing on the “notable snubs” list. The new six…

LUOL DENG — Still the front-runner to get my vote for Most Improved, Deng (17.9 ppg, 7.9 rpg) has been Chicago’s best player for stretches during their underachieving campaign. In a hard-fought game against the Lakers earlier this week where the Bulls played their best basketball in a while before falling under Kobe’s 42, Deng was the guy keeping the Bulls in it down the stretch; then on Thursday night he put up 24 points, 13 boards and five assists in a win over New York. But there’s so much talent in the East at forward, with bigger names like KG, LeBron, Josh Smith, Pierce, Bosh, Rashard Lewis, Caron Butler, Antawn Jamison — even Gerald Wallace and Michael Beasley are putting up good numbers — Deng has a lot of guys to outshine.

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