The game between the Chicago Bulls and Los Angeles Lakers was the definition of "something has got to give." Coming into this game Chicago boasted one of the league's best defenses but also dwelled in the slums as one of the league's worst offenses. The Lakers came in as the exact opposite of Chicago as they sported one of the league's best offenses but had one of the worst defenses in the league. As the score in the title indicates, it seems that the the only thing that broke was the Lakers' high volume offense.
Los Angeles struggled big tonight against the smothering and physical Chicago defense. Dwight Howard couldn't get anything going and played possibly worse than Earl Clark, Kobe couldn't do anything against Jimmy Butler, and Steve Nash was repeatedly shut down by Kirk Hinrich (you read that correctly). Unfortunately, in this game the Chicago offense couldn't get going. The three point shots were falling all night but as a whole the team was an abysmal 41% from the floor (almost as bad as Los Angeles's 39%).
I'd start looking more in depth but then I'd start looking at player performances more. So let's just move onto grades:
Unlike the last game, Noah returned to his normal minutes indicating that the last game against the Memphis Grizzlies was nothing more than a rest game.
Anyhow, Noah struggled on offense from both the floor and the line (the latter which is fairly rare so I'm shocked). But for all his struggles on the offensive side, he more than made up for it with the effort on the defensive side.
While he did get into foul trouble at points in the game, Noah was constantly in Dwight Howard's and Pau Gasol's jersey all night which made them visibly frustrated. On the night, Dwight Howard was abysmal and had very few shot attempts while Gasol struggled to get anything going when Noah was on him. Let's not overlook the 6 blocks by Noah against two big men who are considered some of the best in the game right now.
Great game from Noah tonight.
Looks like old Boozer is back. This was the second game in a row that Boozer was inefficient from the floor offensively as he only shot 41% on the night. This number is fairly disappointing considering he played against Earl Clark for the majority of the night.
Defensively Boozer actually did some things though which was a pleasant surprise. While he still was pretty bad and let opponents by him, however, the effort was clearly there to try to rotate his feet and alter the shot.
Good job, good effort to Boozer but tonight was still not that great of a game.
Butler didn't have the best offensive night again, but the defense and relentless energy was brilliant. Kobe Bryant struggled almost all night with Butler on him. That tells you everything you need to know. When you, as a young player, can step up and challenge one of the best scorers in league history that means you had a great game.
The rebounding effort was there as well. Just about every time a shot went up, Butler kept his man from rushing inside for a long rebound or rushed inside to crash the boards as well. AND he did this for 43 minutes of the game. Phenomenal.
Hamilton started off the game pretty well getting 10 early and efficient points. Then things just fell off the cliff from there. Overall, Hamilton had a very inefficient night from the floor and should probably try to forget tonight as much as he can.
Defensively he wasn't terrible tonight, however, when you're defending Metta World Peace, you can be terrible on defense and not be responsible for much damage.
Flashback game for Hinrich. He was phenomenal tonight. On offense he was on fire going 9 of 11 from the floor with three of his baskets coming from behind the arc. Granted he was playing against Nash and Nash's poor defense but hey, a good game is a good game and he can only play who's in front of him. Hinrich also created a great number of opportunities for his teammates, especially in transition which was a huge boost.
Defensively, Hinrich also gave the Laker guards some fits which was very nice to see.
Overall, great game from Hinrich.
The bench was a mixed bag tonight. Nazr Mohammed played a bit while Noah was in foul trouble. As expected he was terrible. Taj Gibson struggled a bit tonight in his very limited minutes. However, Nate Robinson managed to do some fairly efficient damage, especially from long range where he hit three of four. Marco Belinelli posted almost identical stats as Robinson with the exception of going three of three from long range with a couple of free throw attempts to go along.
Thibs got it done. Period.
The Bulls got an impressive win, not because it was against the Lakers, but because they were finally able to stretch the floor on offense while shutting down one of the league's best offenses. I can't find much fault with that and would gladly take this kind of performance again.
What I Expect For Next Time:
- A repeat performance
The Bulls have the night off before hosting the Detroit Pistons on Wednesday night, January 23rd. We hope you're all looking forward to the game.Tags: Chicago, Chicago Bulls, Jimmy Butler, Joakim Noah, Kirk Hinrich, Kobe, Los Angeles Lakers, NBA, Steve Nash