Amazing what happens when the Chicago Bulls control the boards, isn't it? After struggling on the rebounding front to close out 2012, they've been snatching boards at a blistering clip, culminating in tonight's 56-37 advantage over the Golden State Warriors, one of the better young teams in this league.
The edge on the boards was established from the get-go, with Carlos Boozer outrebounding the Warriors by himself in the first quarter. Boozer slowed down a bit in the second half, but still finished with 15 points and 13 rebounds on 7-21 shooting (a rare bad shooting night from him). Super Boozer seems to be wearing off a bit, but 15 and 13 is still a solid contribution, especially with Taj Gibson in foul trouble for most of the night.
Newly-minted 2013 NBA All-Star Joakim Noah was as good as he's been in 2013, finishing with 14 points, 16 rebounds, 4 assists and 3 blocks on 6-11 shooting. Of his 16 boards, 6 were offensive. Jimmy Butler continued his relentless play, filling in for Luol Deng once again and finishing with 16 points, 12 rebounds, 2 assists on 6-10 shooting, with 4 of his boards coming on the offensive end. All three members of the Bulls' starting frontcourt recorded a double-double for the first time this season. Odds are you'll win most nights when that happens.
While that performance from the front court might have been enough to secure a victory, it was the backcourt, specifically the point guards, who turned this game into a blowout. Kirk Hinrich was absolutely deadly, finishing with a season high 25 points on 8-11 shooting (6-7 from three), one of his best performances this year, rivaled only by his evisceration of Steve Nash earlier this week. Nate Robinson had a top-flight game as well, finishing with 22 points on 10-16 shooting. He nailed an array of ridiculous and difficult shots, to the point that I'm not sure if he can actually shoot an up and down jump shot.
While I suppose it's a little concerning that the rest of the team totaled only 11 points on the night, I can't sincerely find fault in it. David Lee (23 points) got to the free throw line at will, but if Tom Thibodeau doesn't have a problem, then neither do I. No complaints.
I honestly can't choose.
(Editor's note: I'd pick Jimmy Butler, but you already knew that.)
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