Korver, Boozer power short-handed Bulls

March, 10, 2012
3/10/12
11:17
PM CT
Friedell By Nick Friedell
ESPNChicago.com
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CHICAGO -- Kyle Korver had to laugh at the irony of it all.

[+] EnlargeKyle Korver
Rob Grabowski/US PresswireKyle Korver shot 6-of-11 from long-range in Saturday's win.

On Thursday night, he sat slumped in a chair in front of his locker trying to figure out how he had just missed five wide-open 3-pointers (six in total) in the fourth quarter of a Chicago loss.

On Saturday night, Korver sat in the same chair in the same locker with a big smile on his face. This time around he was trying to figure out how the Bulls have remained so consistent this season despite the fact they have lost almost everyone on their roster at some point during the year due to various injuries.

Even in a season riddled by injuries, the Bulls were especially short-handed on Saturday. And it didn’t really seem to matter.

Playing without Joakim Noah (flu), Rip Hamilton (shoulder), Luol Deng (wrist) and C.J. Watson (ankle), the Bulls still found a way to win with ease, beating the Jazz 111-97.

How have the Bulls been able to overcome these obstacles time and time again?

"We answer this question time and time again," Korver said. "It's like guys are hurt every night. We've had a lot of guys go down. Jo got sick. It's just one of those seasons. Last year, I don't think we really dealt with that many injuries. This year I think we're making up for it."

They've made up for it in a big way this year; on almost every occasion a new Bull continue to rise to the challenge.

This time around, it was Korver's turn. He finished the game with 26 points, seven rebounds and six assists. Given how poorly he shot the ball late in the Orlando game, his performance may have surprised some, but it certainly didn't surprise anyone in the Bulls' locker room.

"He's a pro," Bulls head coach Tom Thibodeau said. "He will never stop shooting nor do we ever want him to stop. That's his strength. When he has an open look at the three, we want him to take it all day, every day. In a very good way, he has a short memory. He always thinks the next one is going in. He's a great shooter."

For Korver, the fact that he was one of the saviors on Saturday was more of a relief than anything else.

"It was a tough fourth quarter the other night. I wanted to come out and be aggressive," Korver said. "I wanted to take good shots, I didn't want to force it up there. Obviously, I wanted to get over that game. "

He got over it in a big way.

Korver's performance on Thursday overshadowed the fact that Carlos Boozer has been playing very well offensively over the past few games. The Bulls' power forward scored 26 points on Thursday and 27 in Saturday’s win.

Boozer aggressively took the ball to the hoop – nine of his 17 field-goal attempts were in the paint – against the Jazz. It paid off in a big way, especially considering Noah wasn’t in the lineup.

"Everybody stepped up," said Boozer, who has, somewhat surprisingly, not missed a game this season. "We've got a group of guys that believe in each other; no matter who's out there we can win. I think Omer did a great job for Jo. Kyle was amazing tonight for Luol and the rest did a great job of stepping up as we were shorthanded so I'm very proud of our guys."

But can they keep it up this week against the likes of New York, Miami, Portland and Philadelphia?

They certainly believe so, but Derrick Rose knows that in order for the Bulls to get to where they want to go this season, they must get healthy soon.

"It makes us feel good," Rose said of continually finding ways to win. "But if we want to be a championship team, we're going to need everybody. Every coach, every player, every trainer, everybody to come in and do our job and that's what we're doing right now."

Nick Friedell | email

Chicago Bulls beat reporter
Nick Friedell is the Chicago Bulls beat reporter for ESPN Chicago. Friedell is a graduate of the S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications at Syracuse University and joined ESPNChicago.com for its launch in April 2009.

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TEAM LEADERS

POINTS
Derrick Rose
PTS AST STL MIN
15.9 4.3 0.5 31.1
OTHER LEADERS
ReboundsJ. Noah 11.3
AssistsJ. Noah 5.4
StealsJ. Butler 1.9
BlocksJ. Noah 1.5