The Chicago Bulls entered last night’s contest against the Philadelphia 76ers with an even record at 7-7. They left the game with a winning one. Powered by Luol Deng’s 25 points and double-doubles from Joakim Noah and Carlos Boozer the Bulls were able to beat the visitors 93-88.
The score says that the game was close, but the stats say otherwise. One thing that the Bulls pride themselves on is their defense and in last nights contest they showcased that very talent. They held the 76ers to 44 percent shooting and forced 11 turnovers. In addition to their quick hands they also out rebounded their opponent 50-37 and their bench outscored that of the 76ers 23-13 with 11 points coming from Taj Gibson.
That was the good news. The bad news came throughout the game. First there was the issue of Kirk Hinrich; the starting point guard couldn’t seem to operate the offense. He failed to do what the floor general is supposed to do and that only led to poor shots and wasted possessions. Next came Richard Hamilton. Hamilton went down in the third quarter with what would come to be diagnosed as a sprained left foot. He was unable to put any weight on it and had to be carried off of the court. There is no timetable for his return which may prove costly on Tuesday when the Bulls host the Indiana Pacers.
The last piece of bad news was the coaches decision to not play bench players Vladimir Radmanovic, Marquis Teague and Nazr Mohammed. I have written about these players before and still believe that they can succeed on the court if given the chance. Coach Tom Thibodeau has neglected to play his bench players and it has shown in the box score. Noah played 41 minutes last night while Deng played 42. With key players like this playing the majority of the game it’s only a matter of time before an injury happens to them. Hamilton -while he will be missed- is an easier fix; the Bulls can substitute Marco Belinelli or Jimmy Butler in for him. But Noah or Deng getting injured could devastate the team.
Overall, a solid win for the Bulls as wel las a much needed one. They have time to rest and recover before they host their division rivals and you better beleive that they will be practicing hard in preparation for them.