Wednesday, January 4th, 2012 at 8:35 am  |  37 responses

Post Up: Deng Did It

The Bulls edge the Hawks, and Andrew Bynum goes 20-20 for L.A.

by Abe Schwadron | @abe_squad

Sometimes you look at a box score and the numbers are eye-popping (see: Lakers-Rockets) while other times, watching the final play of a game can convince you that not a single stat mattered (see: Bulls-Hawks). And, sometimes, there’s Jazz-Bucks. Away we go!

Cavaliers 115, Bobcats 101

Cleveland’s future was on display at the Q last night, as the Cavs got big-time performances from their two top-five picks in a win over Charlotte. Kyrie Irving tied a career-high with 20 points on 8-of-10 shooting and 6 assists without a single turnover (plus 2 blocks, one of which came in impressive fashion), and Tristan Thompson scored a career high 16 points and had 9 rebounds. The Cavaliers are .500 for he first time since Nov. 9, 2010, when they were 4-3. (Side note: the Wizards haven’t been .500 or better since Halloween 2009.) Cleveland shot 50 percent from the field as a team and made 10 threes, while holding the Bobcats prized rookie, Kemba Walker, to just 2 points on 1-6 shooting. DJ Augustin was the leading scorer for Charlotte, with 26 points and 9 assists. Augustin is quietly having a very nice start to the year, scoring when called upon and setting up teammates while fighting off Walker’s surge for playing time—check out this dish from DJ.

Bulls 76, Hawks 74

A night after the Hawks handed Miami its first loss of the season, Atlanta’s matchup with the Bulls lived up to the billing. With the game hanging in the balance, Chicago wanted to get the ball to Derrick Rose (30 points, 7 assists) but instead found Luol Deng under the hoop for a game-winning layup with 3.7 seconds left. In a tie ballgame, Joakim Noah called an audible mid-play and found Deng on a backdoor cut that was enough beat the Hawks, after Joe Johnson threw up an airball at the buzzer. Deng had 21 points for the game, including eight points in the final four minutes, and also had 8 rebounds. The Bulls won despite shooting 34 percent from the field and 4-17 from three. The Hawks’ percentages weren’t much better (FG: 35 percent, 3PT: 4-15), but ATL held a hefty 38-26 lead at the half before Rose led a second-half charge. Josh Smith had a double-double with 15 points and 14 rebounds, and Al Horford led the Hawks in scoring with 16.

Trail Blazers 103, Thunder 93

There is only 1 team in the Western Conference with just 1 loss, and it’s the Blazers. After beating Oklahoma City behind 30 points from LaMarcus Aldridge, Portland sits atop the West, yanking that honor from the Thunder. Portland held OKC to just 40 points and 34 percent shooting in the second half, and held Kevin Durant to 8-of-26 shooting for the game (19 points). And after two games with an astonishing 46 total turnovers, the Blazers turned it over just 9 times. Gerald Wallace scored 13 points and had 10 rebounds and Wes Mathews scored 16 points for Rip City, while the Thunder were led by 23 points from James Harden, who got his first start of the season while Thabo Sefolosha battled the flu.

Grizzlies 113, Kings 96

Last time out, Memphis got spanked by the Bulls, so last night they came out firing against a friendly opponent in the Kings. The Grizz were without Zach Randolph, but Mike Conley returned from an ankle injury and had 14 points, 7 assists and 4 steals in 23 minutes of the bench to spark Memphis, while Rudy Gay poured in 23 points on 10-16 field goal shooting. Oh, and he threw the hammer down, too. DeMarcus Cousins returned to the Kings rotation—continuing one of the season’s weirdest sagas so far—and had 8 rebounds but just 4 points on 1-5 shots in 22 bench minutes. The scoring leaders for Sacramento were two rookies: Isaiah Thomas (15 points in 16 minutes) and Jimmer Fredette (17 points in 29 minutes), while JJ Hickson (12 points) was the only starter to score in double figures for the Kings, who remain winless on the road.

Jazz 85, Bucks 73

Milwaukee was without Andrew Bogut for “personal reasons” and also Mike Dunleavy and Beno Udrih with various injuries, and with Bogut not patrolling the paint, Al Jefferson scored 26 points and grabbed 10 boards to lead Utah back to .500 for the season. Apparently, when Jefferson heard Bogut wasn’t going to play, he said “Thank God!” While that’s simultaneously hilarious and awesome, he has been bothered by Bogut in the past, so give dude a break. At least he delivered. Once I tell you that Drew Gooden was the Bucks’ leading scorer, you’ll know why they lost. Gooden had 24 points and 12 boards. Unfortunately, that’s not a winning formula, and not only that but the rest of the Milwaukee roster decided to take the night off with Bogut, Dunleavy and Udrih. In 44 minutes, Brandon Jennings shot 4-for-19, 0-for-7 from three-point range and finished with 8 points. The team numbers weren’t much better: 31 percent shooting, 2-21 from deep.

Lakers 108, Rockets 99

The Lakers shot 53 percent as a team, and got a pair of monster performances from Andrew Bynum and Kobe Bryant, who both played 37+ minutes. I promised you the stats, so here they are—Kobe: 37 points (on 29 shots), 8 rebounds, 6 assists, only 2 turnovers, and Bynum: 21 points, 23 boards, 3 blocks. Bynum had 23 rebounds, and the Rockets had 36 for the game for the entire team. By halftime, Kobe had 15 points on 5-of-14 shooting, 5 rebounds and 3 assists, and he scored 7 consecutive points in the fourth quarter to put away the Rockets. The Lakers also held Houston scoreless for almost six minutes in the final period. For his part, Kyle Lowry had a big-time game, flirting with a triple-double at 22 points, 10 rebounds, 9 assists—the guy is a fantasy basketball beast, book it.

Line of the Night: Andrew Bynum: 21 points, 22 rebounds, 3 blocks.

Moment of the Night: Noah finds Deng and the Bulls beat the Hawks in Chicago.

Kobe of the Night: I swear this is a travel, but then again, it’s pretty fresh.

Tonight: 12 games in all on Wednesday night, highlighted by Indiana at Miami and an NBATV doubleheader: first it’s Javale McGee vs. Dwight Howard as my Wizards head down to Orlando, then the Rockets are in Lob City to take on CP3, Blake and company. Meet you back here in the morning.

  • Add a Comment
  • Share
  • RSS

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

  • Myung

    good write up’s, Abe. I thought the Hawks played a tremendous defensive game through 3 QTRs, but honestly, no way we should’ve won the game. Way too much ISO-Joe (3 for 17 for the game including missing the game winner) in the 4th (he made, what, one bucket during that stretch?). Way too many Josh Smith jumpers at the end of the shot clock (one Josh Smith jumper is way too many but 3 or 4?). TERRIBLE FT shooting. Horrible defense in the 4th. How we almost won that game is beyond me. BUT (spoiler alert: I’m going to be a homer and make excuses)… we had no business winning that game to begin with. We played in Miami the night before. Now we’re playing (arguably) the 2nd best team in the League the next night in their place, yet somehow, we’re beating them by 16? Most teams in this situation (back to back road games vs two elite teams in cities very far away) get blown out, but we inexplicably were on the other end of the blow out through 3 quarters. The Bulls got hot, and tired legs kicked in. I honestly don’t think either team deserved to win. It was like late 90′s basketball. What was the score at the end of 3? 56 to 42? The Bulls had 26 in the first half. The Bulls WON with 76 total points. If the Knicks played the Suns, I think the halftime score would be 76 to 74. Man, this was an ugly game. I’m proud of how hard we played, in spite of our fatigue. No time to dwell: we’ve got three straight in three nights, starting Thursday (including Miami and Chicago again).

  • Myung

    Is the alley oop to Josh Smith our new signature crunch time play? Two straight nights it’s worked.

  • Myung

    Lastly, while the Hawks were running their 2nd unit, Thibs was playing his starters. Rose and Deng both played 43+ minutes. I’m not saying LD is a better coach than Tom (he’s not), but LD has at least figured out that the best way to combat this ugly 66 game schedule is to USE YOUR BENCH. You’re not going to win every game. You need to go deep, not run your starters into the ground, and try to win 2 out of every 3 games on your schedule.


    beautiful game by the blazers. i have never seen KD so bothered by the D of Batum and Wallace. and where is Russ lately?

  • http://nba.com GP23

    Deng and Rose were amazing last night.. great comeback from the Bulls.
    Bynum was great on the boards, and Kobe did his thing, Lakers have nothing to worry about.
    Good win for the Blazers also, against a strong Thunder team.

  • matt

    imagine the blazers with a healthy roy and greg oden …. then they d be scary good ….. they somehow still find a way to deal with that and win games!

  • lexluther703

    lol @ Myung, we KNOW you’re not saying Drew is a better coach than Thibs, that’d be downright ignorant. And when you are ice cold from the field and playing without any heart or energy, you need to keep your go-to guys in to make plays (like d-rose nailing three 3′s in the fourth), which Thibs did. Overall, sloppy game from the Bulls offensively, but the moral of this story is, once again, we found a way to win.

  • http://www.slamonline.com J

    Kyrie > Rubio/Williams/Knight/Walker.
    I remember almost everyone saying the Cavs should’ve drafted Williams and then Walker/Knight instead. LOL doubters.

  • robb

    I really hope those knees can stay healthy. And DRose was sensational in the 4th. That’s what a true great does, he finds a way to win even when things are not happening.

  • AdamD

    That will be a tough loss for the hawks to take, second night of a back to back, but their defense was good again. That’s a good sign for the season if he can continue like that. It really was free throw shooting that cost the game in the end not just Teague and Horford towards the end, the whole game it was terrible, that was the difference.

    @ Myung – I was really hoping that they would have went for a lob for josh on the last play. Have a screen to make it seem he was going to collect the ball then curl back toward basket and another pick to get him a free alley to the hoop. Similar to what wade got against the Timberwolves.

  • ratguts

    i STILL can’t believe the hawks gave johnson that contract. WHY?

  • http://www.slamonline.com J

    It might be too early but I’ll say this. As being a pure point guard Irving might already be better than Wall..
    Wall is a tremendous talent. Crazy upside. But as far being a court general, Kyrie is a little better to me. The way he sets tempo and controlling the pace is very impressive despite having less experience under his belt. Wall has a higher ceiling. But its not impossible for Irving to eclipse the guy sooner.

  • ripslam

    Honestly wanted to see ATL win that one. Beating Miami and Chicago on back-to-back nights would have been smooth.

  • AdamD

    I’d imagine he got the contract because he came into free agency at the worst possible time. Plenty of teams below the cap to try an lure him away, and frankly atlanta needed to keep him, because he can play. Yeah, he didn’t play well last night, that’s the exception not the rule though. That said, the contract could really hurt in a year or two if his ages starts to catch up to him.

  • ripslam

    By the way, Andrew Bynum is looking like an enormous steal for my fantasy team, provided of course that he stays healthy. Nobody wanted him ’cause of the suspension, but the man has been a MONSTER so far.

  • http://nba.com GP23

    Bynum will be an All-Star this season.

  • Allenp

    Lying is right about the bench thing. The Bulls made their run when the Hawks rested their starters and had nobody on the floor whoncould create offense. Against the Bulls defense that spells doom. Of course D Rose going HAM didn’t hurt either.
    I like the activity of Marvin Williams and the speed if Jeff Teague.

  • Allenp

    Myung, sorry.

  • http://www.slamonline.com J

    ^^ Lamarcus should be on the all-star too.

  • http://slamonline.com nbk

    Marvin Williams has been a pleasant surprise so far this season. And I watched Kyrie Irving last night, I did not realize he was that good of an athlete.

  • http://www.slamonline.com J

    Kyrie is fast. He’s no DRose athletic, but he has great speed. And he can get to the rim.

  • Myung

    Saying Bynum will be an All Star is like saying the weather is going to be nice in San Diego today. First of all, he’s PLAYING like one so far this year, so in fairness to him, he just might actually deserve his spot for once. But even if he didn’t deserve it, he got the 2nd highest number of votes every year at Western Center the past few years and the only reason he hasn’t been a multiple time All Star isn’t because of his lack of consistency or his ability to stay healthy: it’s because of Yao Ming. Remeber: Yao received nearly 1,000,000 votes last year, despite playing in just 5 games (Tim Duncan replaced him in the starting lineup as an injury replacement). Bynum had twice as many votes as either Marc Gasol or Nene a year ago. Bynum is a shoo-in for All Star starter for years to come, as long as he’s not playing in the same conference as Dwight. Greg Oden was probably the one guy who could say something about that, but I think we all know that’s not happening. So for the next few years, is anyone going to take Bynum’s spot? The fans get to vote, and as long as he’s 1. Halfway decent and/or 2. a Laker (Lakers always get a ton of votes), I don’t see Marc Gasol or Nene taking his spot. Andre Drummond (if he develops as a Center) could do something about it if he gets picked by a team out West. But other than him (or other than Dwight coming West in a trade not involving Bynum), I think Bynum will be a multiple time All Star, whether he deserves it or not.

  • http://www.chicagonow.com/blogs/chicago-bulls-talk/2011 Diesel

    @Myung – Thibs played Gibson, Asik, and Korver the entire fourth quarter. He WAS resting his starters. Deng and Rose are your main players so they’re not going to get any rest ever unless sits a blow out.

  • http://www.chicagonow.com/blogs/chicago-bulls-talk/2011 Diesel

    You’re 5 games into the season. Rest them as you get deep into the season, not the second week. I’d say that was horrible coaching on LD’s part giving up on a game that you had won and could have been a huge moral booster (beating the 1st and 2nd place teams back to back).

  • http://www.optimabbc.be Max

    That oop play from the Hawks is money every time.
    It was just the same play as against the Heat.

  • Myung

    Yes, we’re 6 games into the season. But you’re not seeing the bigger picture. Last night was our 4th game in 5 nights. Or it was our 2nd game in as many nights (playing in Miami one night, Chicago the next). Or our 2nd game out of 5 games in a 6 day stretch this week. No matter how you look at it, we’re in the middle of our toughest stretch of the entire season and you’ve got to somehow MANAGE playing time. In hindsight, maybe we should’ve won. Maybe LD should’ve kept his foot on the pedal. Look, I don’t even like LD as a coach, but I’m honestly fine with what he did because we’ve got a season to worry about, not just a single game. Diesel, the Bulls are my 2nd favorite team so I’m not just making a point of it to criticize Thibs. I’m saying it out of concern because I want to see them succeed. I just don’t think it’s smart to run your stars into the ground this early into the season. It’s a marathon, not a sprint. The Hawks are playing 9 games in 12 days right now. This 66 game season is no joke, and I feel like you’ve got to play your cards right. Rose is averaging almost 40 minutes a night. I’m glad he got some time off against Memphis in that blow out, and Rose seems like he has more energy and athleticism than most cats (and he’s young) so maybe he can handle it… but in my opinion, you need to manage playing time extra carefully this season, even if that means conceding a game you might normally win. Going 66-0 is great, but it’s not realistic. By focusing on 2 out of every 3 games, you’re going 44-22 (basically like going 55-27 in a regular season), which is a fine record.

  • http://www.chicagonow.com/blogs/chicago-bulls-talk/2011 Diesel

    I know what you’re saying Myung and I agree to a point, but you need to pick and choose your spots. The game was won….keep your guys in just a little bit longer and you have the win. Instead, you take the loss, will probably lose against Miami the next game, and now there’s unnecessary pressure to win that Bobcats game so that you don’t drop 3 straight. Beat the Heat and the Bulls if you have the chance so that your team has that added confidence down the road. Rest them against the Bobcats. If you lose to them its not a big deal because your players know they can beat them.

    I agree with you on Thibs tho. In fact my only complaint about his coaching is that he keeps guys in games too long. He didn’t sub outt he starters until like 6 minutes left in a 40 point blow out. I don’t think last night was one of those nights though. Bulls had two of their main guards out in Watson and Hamilton so Rose was set to play additional minutes regardless. And like I said, he did rest the rest of the starters because they sat the whole 4th. My main concern is with Deng. Thibs plays him unnecessarily long. Especially with what appears to be a capable up and comer in Butler wasting away on the bench.

  • Myung

    I agree with a lot of what you wrote, Diesel, but in the grand scheme of things, a loss to an elite team like Chicago IN Chicago after expending a ton of energy 24 hours before IN Miami to beat the League’s best team is a lot easier to swallow than a home loss to one of the League’s worst teams (sandwiched between the Heat and Bulls again). Maybe it’s just me, but you can justify a loss like last night a lot more than possibly conceding a home game to the Bobcats. Yes, I’m HOPING we can build a big lead and rest the starters on Friday night vs. Charlotte, but the way the schedule is right now, I think we need to expect the unexpected. For example, would I be shocked if we beat Miami tomorrow night and lost to Charlotte Friday night? It would be truly pathetic, but I can’t say I’d be shocked if it happens. This season is just wacky like that. I get what you’re saying though. ON PAPER, last night was the game we should’ve conceded (per my point), BUT you are 100% correct in that if LD had just gone for the win rather than rest his starters and letting Chicago go on that huge run, we probably hold our heads high as the team that just beat Miami and Chicago on back to back nights in their home arenas. It was a brutal way to lose, but dude, we played so poorly that I almost feel like we deserved to lose. Yes, we blew a huge lead, but Joe was terrible and our FT shooting was so bad that HAD we won, it would’ve been one of the biggest fluke wins in history. I hope we can beat Miami and Chicago on Thursday and Saturday, but all I know is… as far as THIS season goes, if you’re playing a bottom dweller, you HAVE to win those games. Even if we lose to Chicago (again) on Saturday due to fatigue, I will be super mad if we lose to the Bobcats Friday night. haha (apologies to any Charlotte fans on here).

  • ThaWindy

    The Bulls don’t fold. ATL played good D in streches that had Chicago second guessing shots. The Bulls helped them out by missing wide open shots. Only 26 pts at the half our D keep us in it until Rose took over.
    Great play by Thibs.

  • http://cnbc.com JTaylor21

    The Bulls are a great team and will be right there at the end but what does it say about their offense that they struggled to crack the 40pt barrier half way through the 3rd qtr vs a Hawks team on the second night of a back-to-back.

  • http://slamonline.com nbk

    They didn’t have Rip Hamilton!!! duh. Or else they would have won by 80

  • http://shinefluid@aol.com yada

    you can make all the excuses you want. no way in hell the hawks shouldve lost that game. when the heat was on each teams TRUE character was on display

  • http://www.chicagonow.com/blogs/chicago-bulls-talk/2011 Diesel

    @jtaylor, it says that they had a bad shooting night. On a good night, the Bulls are a decent scoring team that relies on its defense. When their shots aren’t going down you get scores like last night. I’m more impressed that they had 42 after 3 quarters and still kept themselves close enough to win.

  • http://slamonline.com datkid

    god the hawks really do underachieve don’t they? they could be so much better with a great coach. and In other non-derrick rose related news…. the blazers have way too much depth for anyone to deal with smh

  • Showmeyourwits

    As a Lakers/Clips fan, I definitely fear Portland with home court advantage in the playoffs. Even in the Lakers’ championship seasons they struggled at the Rose Garden. The Lakers should sign Aaron Brooks when he gets back from China, so he can at least stay in front of/get by the bevvy of speedy PG’s the Lakers will face in the playoffs. As for the Clips, I’m excited to finally check out Lob City in person tonight!

  • http://www.leaguelineup.com/welcome.asp?url=pawtucketymca Gametimeweezy

    Dwight Howard is a beastin..
    Bynum, I need to see him play on the National team for real! He’s def the 2nd best center right now.
    The Knicks, im not even trying to talk about them except that Melo is MVP.
    Oh yea, P-Double is the Truth..

  • http://www.leaguelineup.com/welcome.asp?url=pawtucketymca Gametimeweezy

    Curry sup with ur ankle?