Monday, February 20, 2012
Rapid Reaction: Bulls 90, Hawks 79
By Nick Friedell
CHICAGO -- Let's take a quick look at how the Chicago Bulls beat the Atlanta Hawks 90-79 at the United Center.
How it happened: After missing the past five games because of back spasms, Derrick Rose came back into the lineup and played very well. He scored 23 points, dished out 6 assists and grabbed 5 rebounds. Ronnie Brewer had his best game in weeks, scoring 13 points and pulling down six rebounds, while Carlos Boozer added 16 points. Joakim Noah played with a lot more energy and grabbed 17 rebounds.
What it means: With Rose back on the floor, the Bulls pushed the tempo whenever they could. They did not shoot the ball well from the floor, but they looked much more comfortable with Rose on the floor. Rose's presence clearly helped his teammates, especially Brewer and Noah -- both of whom got easier looks at the basket while running alongside Rose. The biggest mental hurdle for Rose came in the third quarter, when he fell hard to the floor. He got up without any issue, but he will surely feel that one in the morning.
Coach Tom Thibodeau said he would watch Rose's minutes closely, and he did. The 23-year-old played 35 minutes, compared with Luol Deng, who racked up 44. Thibodeau has to be breathing a sigh of relief after this game. Rose looked fine and got the Bulls a win after a poor performance Saturday afternoon against the New Jersey Nets. The question for Bulls fans now becomes, how will Rose feel Tuesday morning after playing for the first time in almost two weeks?
Stat of the night: The Bulls had 18 second-chance points. The Hawks had just four.
What's next: The Bulls will hit the practice floor Tuesday afternoon before facing off against the Milwaukee Bucks on Wednesday night. That will mark the team's final game before the All-Star break.