Welcome to the first edition of Game Grades in a long, long while. Unfortunately over the past three months, I have been entirely too swamped with everything going on in my life and haven't even had time to keep up with the NBA. But I'm back (hopefully for good) which means Game Grades are back as well. Hope you didn't miss them too much.
Last night, the Chicago Bulls traveled to Madison Square Garden to take on the New York Knicks. From the opening tip to the third quarter, the Bulls were in absolute control of this game as they made New York look like a laughing stock of a team. At one point towards the end of the third quarter, the Bulls took a 25 point lead. Unfortunately we know this Bulls team: without Rose they're unable to close and it showed once again as the Bulls allowed the Knicks to get back into the game late allowing 45 points. But a win is a win and I'll take it, especially this season.
Let's get down to each player's performance.
Noah was an absolute monster last night (from what I've heard, it's a norm this season). On offense, he was getting it done in the paint, knocked down jumpers, and dished the ball extremely well. Had it not been for an ejection, I'm fairly certain he would have recorded a triple-double. On defense, he shut down the paint essentially forcing Carmelo Anthony and JR Smith to keep shooting jumpers.
But the reason he gets a perfect (or really a better than perfect score) is the apparent impact he had on the game. Up until the very moment Noah was ejected for his row with Tyson Chandler the Bulls looked like a competent team. The moment he was tossed, stuff hit the fan in the worst way possible. I'm sure some of it has to do with the starters being exhausted, but I like to think it's because of Noah.
Not the greatest game for Boozer and he definitely didn't do what Chicago signed him to do, but then again he didn't exactly hurt the team tonight. I'd like to see more of an offensive presence from Boozer even on nights that he's not needed. And as usual, defense was noticeably absent.
Deng continues to be solid this season from the games I've seen. He's posting up strong numbers on offense and is fairly efficient at the same time. On defense he's been able to play one on one with some of the best scorers. While he did allow Melo to get shots up and get by him from time to time, he was solid overall. Nothing to complain about.
On a side note, I'm just thankful he didn't get hurt yet again.
First and foremost, Belinelli is going to get an extra point tonight for having played 45 minutes. That's ridiculous. That being said, he didn't have the most efficient shooting night at 41%. However, his night was salvaged by an extremely efficient night from the charity stripe. Defense was lacking but I'll forgive it for tonight since I'm in a good mood after the win.
Kirk Hinrich almost had a triple double tonight. Enough said.
Only two bench players actualy played significant minutes tonight and they were decent. Jimmy Butler couldn't get anything going offensively but played excellent defense. Nate Robinson dribbled a bit too much and almost cost Chicago the game a few times towards the end.
While I don't agree with how much Thibs played the starters and how he only went with a six man rotation tonight, I cant fault him when it gets him the win. I also cant fault him for the minutes the starters are playing when Taj Gibson is hurt and his other options are Nazr Mohammed and Vladimir Radmanovic.
They got the win but I'm not happy about the fourth quarter effort. That cannot happen ever. Especially when the opponent's head coach, top two scorers (Anthony and Smith), and reigning defensive player of the year are ejected.
What I Expect For Next Time:
- I want to see what I saw from the first through third quarter. Simple as that
Thanks for tuning in everyone. We hope you enjoyed the game and are looking forward to the Bulls-Hawks game later tonight.Tags: Chicago, Chicago Bulls, Joakim Noah, Luol Deng, NBA, New York Knicks, Tom Thibodeau