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Friday, November 5th, 2010 at 8:40 am  |  59 responses

Post Up: Thunder Get It Done

And the Knicks do work in Chi-Town.

by Adam Figman | @afigman

New York 120, Chicago 112

Didn’t see this coming. Let’s start with the Knicks.

Straight up, they were hitting shots. If you’re a fast-moving team that takes a lot of shots (read: threes), and you shoot 50 percent or more from the field (40-80, check) and 50 percent or more from three (16-24! check), you’ve got a pretty strong chance at winning. Danilo Gallinari got hot early, and put in 21 first-half points (24 total). Even when he was quiet in the second half, it was obvious how important his play is to the team—when his shot’s falling, the constant threat of him being able to drain the longball helps New York spread the floor. But, we’ve still only seen that for a single half this season, so who knows what’s to come. D’Antoni went to a backcourt of Toney Douglas and Raymond Felton for a few large stretches of time (also: this), and it worked perfectly—TD had a career-high 30 points (and 4 steals; defense?!!) while Felton put up an efficient and relatively quiet 20 point, 10 assist, 5 rebound performance. Amar’e Stoudemire had a decent line with 14 points and 8 rebounds, but his turnover problems continued—he had an unexplainable 8, raising his per-game average to 5.67. I don’t get it. He’s playing as if he has no idea he was my first-round fantasy pick, for some reason.

The Bulls, meanwhile, were a different story. I had a couple of observations ready, and then they came out in the fourth quarter and (might have) proved them both wrong. Let’s list ‘em anyway:

–Observation: They have little-to-no depth, and DRose has the first and last word in regards to their success. They have no suitable backup for him, and even when he’s on the floor, if he goes quiet, so does Chicago.

–Observation: They have a massive hole at shooting guard, and can’t win games consistently with such a gap in their roster.

And then, look what happened. The Bulls made their only run of the game early in the fourth quarter with Rose on the bench, and received a huge boost during that time period from Kyle Korver, who was filling in at the two. So yeah, I have no idea. I’m gonna chalk both of those up as flukes—they were kinda due for a run (the Knicks are notoriously bad at holding leads), while Korver’s great play was really just him hitting some open threes, and he’ll still struggle to guard the more athletic swingmen, leaving their hole at SG agape. But maybe I’m wrong, and maybe that fourth quarter should’ve proved the haters wrong too. What do you guys think?

Besides that, though, some solid showings from the Bulls. Rose had 24 points and 14 assists, though he sat out during valuable fourth quarter minutes while the second string’s momentum was flowing. Also: Joakim Noah went for 12 points and 13 boards; Taj Gibson had 18 and 10; and the aforementioned Korver put in 18 points and 4 threes.

New York and Chicago are now both 2-2. The Knicks host John Wall and Friends later, while the Bulls will be in Boston tonight.

Oklahoma City 107, Portland 106

Sure, a whole bunch of talent might’ve moved east this summer, but the Western Conference is still gonna provide some incredible competition come next May. And last night was proof. These two battled all the way through regulation, and a couple of clutch Russell Westbrook jumpers and a missed potential-buzzer beater by Brandon Roy sent this one into OT. But OKC just made more plays, getting a few buckets and hitting some clutch free throws to take this one home. Kevin Durant was solid—he scored 28 and played all but 32 seconds of the game—but I really can’t say enough about Westbrook’s play. He grabbed huge rebounds, made nice passes, nailed important free throws, and did everything you’d want out of young, rising star—a title we can now safely give this dude. The Blazers used their standard well-balanced attack, and had six players in double figures, but Andre Miller (16 points, 11 assists) was controlling the ball and essentially led the squad through the fourth and into overtime.

Performance of the Night: Toney Douglas: 30 points, 5 threes, 4 assists, 4 steals, 1 rebound.
Moment of the Night: Down four with the clock expiring in OT, Portland’s Armon Johnson jogged up the court, and hit a three. “OHHH!” Kevin Harlan exclaimed. Oh, wait. Right. Don’t worry, I was never very good at math either. But still. Oof.

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  • jahmai

    KD is still not shooting very well (11-24), good win for OKC though, they needed that one. Drose with another good line, last game it was 16 pts & 13 ast, last night it was 24 pts & 14 ast, he’s really doing it all for chicago including that 39 pts, 7 ast game against the Pistons. Drose is REALY going to be in contention for MVP this year. On another note, I’m so excited for tonight! Rose vs Rondo!!

  • jahmai

    One more thing, that dunk by Rose was CRAZY. Seriously, it looked like he wanted to break the backboard. So explosive.

  • http://www.twitter.com/hurstySYD Hursty

    OKC didn’t win that game… Portland lost it.
    Ronny Turiaf was incredible for NY. He was their X-Factor last night.. Douglas and Felton don’t get those looks if Turiaf didn’t feast on the Bulls defensively and on the boards, allowing transition.
    Seeing the ginger ninja Brian Scalabrine try and guard Amare was..interesting to say the least.

  • http://blog.mysanantonio.com/spursnation/ Anthony

    oh yeah, the dunk by Rose was sick. I watched the highlights this morning at work and said out loud “Wow”.

  • http://www.slamonline.com Kulchakris

    Is there a more ath-a-letic (word to Chuck Barkley!) poing guard in the game than Rose? My hope is that once Boozer returns, the offense will run through him, and Rose will take fewer/better shots.

  • IAMORANGE4EVER

    The Knicks won in Chi-Town, and it feels good, thanks in large part to Toney! Toney! Toney!

  • Stepfan

    OKC Thunder got the win cause they finally went back to playing the defense that they played last year. Nenad Krstic is just an extra body on the court. He cant check anybody. But Serge came in there and defended very well. KD shooting 46 percent from the field. Not bad considering he played like some fresh boo boo against the Clippers. Jeff Green showed up. Go Hoyas. But Russell Westbrook. Good Lord he was ballin. Six offensive rebounds, ten total and 28 points. Guards in the L are going to have to respect his mid range jumper real soon if it keeps falling like it did last night. DRose needs helps ASAP. And for some reason I think they will be the same team when Boozer comes back;a .500 team. Oh and Amar’e Stoudemire is nothing without Steve Nash. Steve Nash made his career.

  • http://slamonline.com Kap

    Why does D’Antoni keep allowing Amare to try to create his own shot? All Amare has to do is post up instead of receiving the ball 18′+ feet out.

  • izzo

    Is it just me or is that Ken Jeong ad just about the worst thing in the world?

  • http://www.chicagonow.com/blogs/chicago-bulls-confidential/ Diesel

    DRose’s dunk was the best of the year so far and about the only good thing the Bulls did last night. Thibs’s decision to play 5 bench players at the start of the second for about 7 minutes drove me crazy. I resepected him keeping the bench players in at the end of the game though.

  • bad boys

    Coach Thibs will learn soon enough when you sit your stars down at critical times he will lose a lot of games. He did the same thing with Rose against the Thunder and it showed in their execution down the stretch in that game. you can’t put five subs in the game in the second quarter that have absolutely no clue how to score in the halfcourt, thats when the Knicks made their big run and put the game out of reach

  • JTaylor21

    I think it’s safe to say that KD isn’t even close to being on Kobe/Wade/Bron/CP’s level and might not even be better than Melo/DHow/DWill/Dirk yet. Dude still can NOT dribble the ball, has come up short numerous times in crunch-time, and is never the best player on his own team when OKC wins a big game; it’s usually RWestbrook. Wesbrook is a beast but he’s still not better than Rose at this moment because Rose is the only scoring option on his team and is the main focus of defenses whereas Russ has KD to take away some of that attention and can abuse PGs one-on-one. Like I said in the off-season, the knicks are going to suprise alot of people and will make the playoffs this year while the Bulls need to start playing D if they want to at least be among the East Top4. Also I can’t believe TNT had the nerve to compare Noah to Rodman, I mean Noah is probably the best rebounder today but to compare him to a 6-7 player that led the L in rebounding for 7 seasons and was one of the best defenders of all-time is kind of ludacris. Love Noah but Rodman he is not. RMiller and Kevin Harlan have got to be the worst commentating duo known to man; one can’t not string together a sentence worthy of a 5th grade class and the other is always gassing up the simplest plays.

  • The D Train

    I think the Blazers would have to consider trading LaMarcus for a dime-bag and a used pop can. That cat is so frustrating to watch. Give me the ball…clear out…okay, here comes the 17 foot fadeaway. Ugh.

  • http://slamonline.com Allenp

    D train
    Aldridge was killing early in the post. I don’t know what happened. And KD takes quite a few “bad” shots. Westbrook is an amazing offensive rebounder, but he really didn’t want it with Andre Miller. Miller is crafty as hell.

  • http://slamonline.com Allenp

    Was last night’s Rose dunk better than the one on Dragic? Last night I said “yes” today I can’t decide.
    Either way, there is not another point guard in the league that could finish like that, not even Westbrook. That was freakish.

  • The D Train

    Bulls cannot approach the top tier of the East without an upgrade at the 2. They have nice pieces everywhere else, except all the pieces rely on Rose to create for them. AF hit the nail on the head. They are completely reliant on Rose, whether it be him scoring, or him dishing. Having said all that, if a teams shoots 16-24 from downtown against you, you don’t deserve to win.

  • The D Train

    @Allen: That’s why LA is so frustrating. Portland fans did that song and dance with ‘Sheed, so I can understand why they get annoyed with Aldridge. Camby, on the other hand, is such a great piece. I love watching Gumby ball.

  • http://slamonline.com Allenp

    Amare and Nash are both struggling.
    Amazing how that still translates for some people that Nash “made” Amare.
    Maybe, just maybe, their relationship was mutally beneficial.
    I know it sounds crazy, but for some reason I just can’t let it go.

  • http://slamonline.com Allenp

    Izzo
    I said this two weeks ago. Nobody agreed.

  • The D Train

    Allen makes a great point about Miller, too. The Blazers might make the best “old man at the YMCA” (I think that was AF line I read on here) team in a few years, between Miller, Camby and Roy.

  • doppler

    Harlan smmfh.

  • http://www.slamonline.com James the Balla

    @AllenP, Eric Gordon?

  • izzo

    Allen: They’re wrong. It’s horrible in every sense.

  • http://google c_cantrell

    great game by russell and okc.. okc taking it to the western conference finals this year

  • hillbilly

    @ doppler: Yeah, that call pretty much made my night. “FOR THE TIE!!! Um, no…wait. It’s, uh…it’s over.” Instant classic! LOL Would someone please get that man a calculator or an abacus or…SOMETHING!

  • Noel

    Yeah KD was straight bricking shots in overtime, not getting to the line either, not what you expect from a top 5 player (allegedly) whose only strength is scoring. And reggie miller is awful

  • http://slamonline.com Kap

    Aldridge looks so uncomfortable when he posts up. I just don’t understand why the playing in the post is so hard for that guy.

  • http://www.slamonline.com J

    1. I love Nash and Amare. But Nashty didn’t made STAT.
    2. Why is Amare pretending to be a wing player seriously?
    3. And so as Lamarcus Aldridge?

  • http://slamonline.com Allenp

    J
    Amare isn’t used to this many double teams. In Phoenix, playing with those shooters and Nash, it made it hard for teams to commit to doubling him all the time. I think he never learned how to handle those doubles with his back to the basket (check out his horrible assist numbers) and Mike D thinks it will be easier for him to see cutter as a face up player, and he’ll see the double coming better.
    I doubt it because with Amare it’s a mindset issue as well as a skillset issue. He’s not a passer by nature.
    Aldridge looked fairly comfortable early and in the first quarter he was getting anything he wanted in the paint. The Thunder changed their defense after that quarter, and that’s when he struggled and started shooting jumpers. Whenever he struggles, he goes back to the jumper because that’s what he has faith in.

  • http://www.slamonline.com J

    Speaking of LMA and the likes..
    Why do these big men wants to develop a long-range game when their low-post game isn’t even polished yet? (Dirk is an exception) Seriously.. These guys are so eager to have a mid-range/long-range shot but in the area where they should be milking their skills, their moves are garbage!

  • http://www.bulls.com Enigmatic

    I had a real problem with Thibs leaving those 5 guys out there at the end of the game. Yes, they did a great job of getting us back into it, but at around 4 minutes left or so, I really think Thibs should’ve put in Rose, Noah and Deng. And left Korver and Gibson out there. The Bulls had a realistic shot at winning the game at that point. CJ Watson and Omer Asik are not going to win you any games, Derrick Rose and Joakim Noah will. And Adam’s observations are spot-on. I love Bogans’ D and hustle, I love Brewer’s D and hustle, but we need more scoring at that position. Deng needs to bring it EVERY NIGHT like Noah and Rose do. Until Boozer gets back, Deng can’t take any nights off. I’ve been for the most part happy with Thibs so far, he’s a huge upgrade for Del Negro, but I think he needs to tighten his rotation. Then again, it’s the start of the season. CJ Watson does NOT know how to run a team effectively. We need another option at PG, a pass-first, defensive type would be ideal. The Bulls are gonna have a really tough game tonight. Second half of a back to back (the Bulls, AGAIN, have the MOST back-to-backs of any teams this season) on the road against one of the league’s elite. Last night was a game I expected them to win, tonight I wouldn’t be surprised if they lost. 2-3 here we come?

  • http://www.slamonline.com J

    I mean there’s nothing wrong in adding some arsenal to your game.. But a lot of times they fall too much in love in firing from long distance even when they aren’t much effective. I’ve seen it a lot of times in Green, Blatche, LMA, Randolph..

  • http://www.bulls.com Enigmatic

    Oh, and I scared the SH*T outta my wife, kids AND dog when I jumped out of my chair and started yelling incoherently after that D. Rose dunk. I think it was way nastier than the one on Dragic.

  • http://slamonline.com Allenp

    Enigmatic
    I made my wife mad too! I started screaming, and then yelling “Where’s my phone, where’s my phone?” so I could text people.
    She was like “What’s wrong, what happened!… Wait, is this about a game? I can’t believe you.”
    Man, the NBA is not fantastic for marriages and child rearing.

  • http://slamonline.com tealish

    Kevin Harlan’s OHHH’s are usually quite awesome. Too bad.

  • http://www.bulls.com Enigmatic

    LOL Allen, you ain’t lie. Though I gotta say, normally my 5-year old daughter would be right there with me yelling at the screen. She’s a huge Bulls and Derrick Rose fan. And my son is only 1, but he’s destined to be a Bulls fan too. I mean, I named the boy Jordan for a reason. I gave up on trying to convert wifey though.

  • http://www.slamonline.com Cub Buenning

    Fellas, I pissed off the wife, as well. She was feverishly working on her computer as I yelled and immediately rewound the play about a dozen times for her to see.
    “Look babe, look! You gotta see this bang by Rose! Look, babe, look!”

    Luckily, the Mrs. is a baller, so after her initial frustration, there was elation.

  • http://www.bulls.com Enigmatic

    Ha ha Cub I tried to rewind and show the wife the play too. Her reaction – “that was cool. Hey, Community is on tonight, right?”

  • http://www.twitter.com/TheDiesel Anton

    I fear for Garnett’s wife at home when he sees an exciting play on TV.

  • The D Train

    My wife and kids adjourn upstairs when I’m watching Bulls games, and, to a lesser extent, Blazers games. Although my 3 1/2 year old daughter asked me yesterday, “we don’t root for the Lakers, right daddy?”

  • JTaylor21

    Enigmatic, I think that Thibbs left them in because that lineup was the one that brought them back and they also have a back-to-back with the big bad celtics coming up next, so maybe he knew that there was no need in putting back his starting lineup and potentially wearing them out even more. Also what the hell do bulls fans see with CJ watson and sometimes in Brewer? Just curious because both dudes are very bad in a few areas like Brewer can’t shoot worth a damn and his defense is highly overrated (he does look like a bull so maybe that’s why) while watson dribbles the ball so nonchalantly and struggles to keep the offense running smooth at times. @AllenP, yeah LA did his thang but dude had freaking one more rebound than a dead man after the first half, what’s your or his excuse for that ish and don’t say the blazers had a boatload of big men because only camby was playing last night. For someone as talented as him to grab only 4 rebd the entire game is shameful.

  • http://www.bulls.com Enigmatic

    I can see why Thibs left them in there, just don’t think it was the best descision if winning was the objective, which it should always be. But you know, I suppose I’ll take it if we beat the Celtics tonight. It’ll be hard as hell though. I think Bulls fans were initially excited about CJ because he looked like a decent offensive player in Golden State… but a lot of us failed to remember that that was in Golden State. Dude can score, but he sucks at running a team. Did he play the 2 at Tennessee? I don’t remember, but he doesn’t play like a point at all. As for Brewer, when healthy, he’s a good defeneder, great at playing the passing lanes, and is an outstanding team player, no ego. And yeah, my man do look like a bull, don’t he? LOL

  • Jumper

    He was so genuine with his excitement too. It made me double check the score! I was like, oh crap I misread somehow, then as he corrected himself I was like, “you dummy” LOL

  • http://slamonline.com Allenp

    I don’t have any excuses for Aldridge. I was just pointing out that he was willing to be in the paint for a while, but then, as the game progressed, he started to drift. That often happens with players who like jumpers, particularly when the defense ramps up.
    And Watson didn’t really play the point in Golden State. He was a small shooting guard. They need to get more tick for James Johnson so he can learn to stop making horrible decisions. He has talent, but his decision making can be piss poor.

  • http://slamonline.com Kap

    Supposedly, James Johnson is on the verge of being traded to Bobcats. Dude looks like a bust.

  • http://slamonline.com Ben Osborne

    Another solid write-up. The thing with the Knicks is, hit that many 3s and they’re going to win. But…how often are they going to hit that many 3s. And thumbs down to Thibs for benching Rose/Noah in the 4th.

  • http://www.chicagonow.com/blogs/chicago-bulls-confidential/ Diesel

    I saw that too Kap. Apparently a james johnson for gerald henderson swap.

  • Jaynizzle

    Respect for NY shooting the lights outta the Bulls. I felt like I was playing NBA 2K11 with the Knicks (yes, I use them aside from the Bulls). But I totally agree with Enig and Allen…I was screaming for a lineup of Rose, Korver, Deng, Taj, & Noah. Thibs has real balls for sticking with his gut. Great game by NYK though.

  • CAPTAIN HINDSIGHT

    DA BULLS…….. DA BULLS………. DA BEARS…..DITKA………… DA BEARS……DITKA……..DA BULLS………JORDAN………..DA BEARS……… DITKA…….DA BEARS………SAUSAGE………DA BEARS…..

  • http://www.bulls.com Enigmatic

    I don’t want Gerald Henderson. Give me a shooting guard who can actually shoot!

  • meloman

    Although Rose did have 24 and 14, he also had a negative 11 rating for his team meaning last night the bulls were better off when he wasn’t on the floor. This alone justifies Del Negros benching during the fourth. Stats like 24 and 14 are pretty to look at, but if they come at the expense of your team and cost you an easy win they are utterly meaningless.

  • tRay

    ^^the Bulls could really use that right about now.

  • bullsfan

    Toney Douglas gave Rose the business last night. Talk about destroying someone. No wonder Vinny benched him for the fourth, he`s a liability. Until he picks it up on the defensive end I see this becoming a recurring trend. I mean, Korver was actually playing better defensively than Rose last night, and that`s saying something.

  • http://www.chicagonow.com/blogs/chicago-bulls-confidential/ Diesel

    Spurs just released Bobby Simmons and are bringing in Chris Quinn…why haven’t the Bulls contacted either of these guys? Seems like they could use both.

  • http://www.bulls.com Enigmatic

    Simmons would be a decent pickup. Plus, he’s a Chicago guy. Even went to the same HS as Rose. PLUS….he played for my BLUE DEMONS!

  • TrailBlazing&SportingLisbon

    Portland gave that game away, and @adam figman, STAT had 14 points on 21 shots and lots of turnovers and you cant say dude had an awfull game?! NYKnicks won in spite of STAT!

  • http://slamonline.com/ Adam Figman

    @TrailBlazing&SportingLisbon He still led the winning team in rebounds, had a couple of blocks, and hit 4 out of 5 freebies. So yeah, just decent.

  • TrailBlazing&SportingLisbon

    not decent adam…AWFULL, decent for shelden williams, for an allstar thats not decent

  • rob

    y do ya’ll like the bulls so much? theyre garbage. they lost to boston again. they cant beat the elite teams. so theyre mediocre at best. in my mind theyre garbage. srry d rose. your talent is wasted there

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