In one of the worst Christmas Day match ups in quite a long time, the Chicago Bulls took on the Brooklyn Nets to kick off the holiday basketball. Heading into the game, Nets head coach Jason Kidd made headlines once again by stating that his team had gotten “comfortable” with losing. The Bulls, on the other hand, have been in survival mode without Derrick Rose.
The Bulls were also without Luol Deng on Christmas and the Nets took the floor without Brook Lopez, who is out for the year like Rose. Still, it was actually quite an entertaining game — if you were a Bulls fan, at least.
To begin with, Chicago and Brooklyn went back and forth for the first quarter or so. Then, the Bulls went on a couple of separate runs for the remainder of the game to wind up winning 95-78. Chicago got help from six different players in double figures. Taj Gibson led the way with 20 points to go along with eight rebounds and two blocks.
Gibson stole the show a couple of times today with some resounding dunks, including an emphatic put-back slam in the fourth quarter off of a Jimmy Butler miss. Gibon’s energy ignited Chicago on this day and ultimately allowed the Bulls to get a much-needed Christmas gift in a win.
Chicago finished the game shooting nearly 49 percent from the floor while Brooklyn barely ended over 35 percent. Deron Williams led the way for Brooklyn with 18 points on a day they couldn’t get much going offensively.
To say a win over the Nets is pretty meaningless would be quite an understatement at this point, but Chicago needed a victory nonetheless. In such a weak conference, the Bulls could very well make a run come playoff time even without Rose — as long as they are healthy. They may not be able to compete with the elite of the conference, but can still make this season a success in the postseason.
For Brooklyn, the losing continues. Kidd is absolutely over his head, as he has been since accepting the job with the Nets. Brooklyn looks out of sync on most nights, more often than not, and can’t seem to put all of their talented guys together in a winning fashion. The type of season the Nets have had thus far makes me wonder just how much longer Kidd will have a job, and if his coaching career will have any impact on his legacy overall.
The season is still young for both of these teams, especially being in the Eastern Conference. There is plenty of time to get right back in the thick of the playoff race due to the majority of them owning losing records still. The Bulls may have the best shot at doing so, simply because of coaching. Tom Thibodeau has been one of the league’s best over the past few seasons and continues to coach this Bulls team through nearly-insurmountable adversity.
Will this Christmas Day win propel the Bulls back to their winning ways even without two of their stars? Maybe a bit of holiday magic came out of this victory for Chicago, just maybe.