Game Notes: Mavericks at Bulls
Beaubois is French for ‘Kirk Hinrich is my b***h.’
by Bryan Crawford / @from_the_chi
It was highly unlikely the Chicago Bulls were going to break a three game losing streak against a Dallas Maverick team coming into Saturday night’s game on a ten game roll. So what you hoped to see was progress in other areas, like rebounding, the Bulls Achilles heel over the last two games, and defense, another problem area for the Bulls in all three of their losses.
The Mavericks haven’t lost a game since February 16, a road game at Oklahoma City. Since then they’ve integrated new guys in Caron Butler, Brendan Haywood, and DeShawn Stevenson, and have been steamrolling teams in the process. The struggling Bulls looked to be nothing more than a bump in the road for a team with a schedule sweeter than cake over the next two weeks. After Chicago they have a road game against the Timberwolves and then home games against the Nets, the Knicks, and the Bulls again. By that point the Mavs could have their winning streak pushed to fifteen and building momentum going into the playoffs, and the Bulls could be on an eight game slide and out of the playoff picture altogether.
The key to the Mavericks success has been Jason Kidd and prior to the game, Vinny Del Negro had a lot of praise for Kidd, the veteran point guard still running the show for a contending NBA franchise after fifteen years. He even put Kidd’s time in the NBA in a somewhat odd perspective. “[I played against him] and I played with him too,” said Del Negro, revealing a fact not many people even knew about or remembered. “He has an incredible feel for the game, he’s strong, fast, a student of the game, he makes all the big plays, he has the whole package. He defies time with the way he’s playing with his age, but I know how hard he works at it…it doesn’t surprise me.”
Rick Carlisle also had good things to say about his Hall of Fame point guard who he says has been the key in making sure the team hasn’t missed a beat since bringing in new players. “Jason has embraced the challenge of getting these guys integrated. We haven’t been able to do a lot of playcalling because we haven’t had a lot of practice time to get our plays in. And Jason has just kind of been a facilitator and when you’re winning, it’s always a fun process. Our goal is to keep it going.”
The game in and of itself was very smooth to watch. Both teams shot the ball very well and if you’re someone like me who loves to see individual players go off offensively in a basketball game, then this was the game for you. It was non-stop. That was the beauty of it. Individual scoring outbursts came in waves throughout the game and it kept your attention focused on the court at all times. There wasn’t one dull moment in this game.
Caron Butler kicked it off in the first quarter as he just completely went to work on Luol Deng. Deng has been bothered by pain and soreness in his knee and Butler took advantage of his limited mobility and gave him a quick and abusive 11 points. It was painful to watch for Deng who’s been having a good year and has been Chicago’s most consistent player. He just seemed a step or two, too slow on the defensive end and couldn’t get anything going for himself offensively. It was so bad that by halftime, in almost twenty minutes of playing time, Luol Deng hadn’t scored a single point and Butler already had 15 in the same amount of time. Deng would go on to have is worst offensive output of the season by far going 2-8 from the field and scoring just 6 points.
In the second quarter it was Shawn Marion who put in work for the Mavericks. His quickness, his hustle, and just overall energy proved to be too much for anyone Vinny Del Negro threw at him. He ran off a quick 10 points in a little over seven minutes of playing time. By halftime, the Bulls found themselves down 11 points and that’s when it happened.
Aside from making sure the wheels don’t fall off during the transition period, one of Jason Kidd’s other jobs on the team is to groom Rodrigue Beaubois, the 22-year-old rookie point guard from France. Beaubois is going to be the next big thing in this league as far as European imports go. His English isn’t too strong yet, but his basketball is off the charts. He was coming off a career scoring high 22 point game against the Sacramento Kings the night before and has a been a valuable asset for Carlisle who is without Jason Terry who is recovering from facial surgery for a fractured jaw.
Beaubois got the start and for the most part, started the game off pretty slow. At the half he’d only scored 6 points and wasn’t really much of a factor. But in the third quarter, he just exploded and started giving Kirk Hinrich MAJOR BUCKETS. I normally don’t feel bad when I see guys getting destroyed on the basketball court, but after a while I found myself saying, “This has to stop.”
It was unreal the way Roddy Buckets aka “Boo Boo” as he’s called by Kidd, was doing “Kurt” who is supposed to be one of the better defenders on the team. He just couldn’t keep up with Beaubois. It was just basket, after basket, after basket from Beaubois and when the buzzer sounded at the end of the third, he had gone 7-8 from the field and dropped 18 points on Hinrich while everybody else literally just sat back and watched, including newly signed Chicago Bear Julius Peppers and head coach Lovie Smith who were both in attendance. It was the sickest thing I’ve ever witnessed in an NBA game and it marked the second time in a week Hinrich had been done wrong by an opposing player, Jamal Crawford being the other.
Said Beaubois after the game on how much Kidd has helped him, “Very valuable, very valuable. He’s J Kidd. He knows the game, he knows everything. He’s really tried to help me, give me some advice, and I really appreciate it.”
In the fourth quarter, it was time for the All-Stars, Dirk Nowitzki and Derrick Rose to shine. Rose did his best scoring 13 points in the quarter and had 34 points in the game. He tried to put the team on his back and will them to victory, but Nowitzki countered with 13 points of his own in the quarter and had 27 points in the game and the Bulls just couldn’t get the stops they needed defensively down the stretch and ultimately fell to the Mavericks 122 to 116, giving them their fourth consecutive loss and dropping them from 7th to 8th place in the Eastern Conference. But hey, at least they didn’t get outrebounded this time.
The Bulls will face the Utah Jazz at home on Tuesday.