I just got done checking the NBA Rulebook, and it turns out the NBA does not award style points.
So, while we Lakers fans can nit-pick another win, remember that this team did what it needed to do — they stuck with the game plan and got the bigs involved early and often, they forced a turnover on 20% of the Bulls possessions and they held them to a 45.7% shooting (eFG%). The Bulls hung in early because Drew Gooden hit shots, and frankly if he’s the guy beating you then so be it, that’s what you want to force as a defense. But the Lakers did adjust and the Bulls couldn’t really counter that, and then the Lakers started to pull away (the first time). Plus, that Rose guy is pretty good. The game got a little sloppy at times and once again the Lakers seemed to try to avoid playing the triangle, but I think that was in part because of the pace (109 possessions, which is a little faster than the Showtime era tempo).
It’s a win. They don’t all have to be perfect and pretty, particularly in November.
• Apparently the tiff between Ariza and Sasha was because Ariza got mad at Sasha for not moving the ball in the offense. It’s a valid point, but if that’s Ariza’s beef he’s got a lot more people to be pissed at than just Sasha.
These kind of frustrations bubble up occasionally on every team and will likely be dealt with behind close doors. By the end of the game, everyone on the bench was laughing and having a good time. Anyone media member trying to make much more of it than that at this point is trying to invent controversy.
• The best part of having Kevin from Clipperblog now employed at TrueHoop is that his amazing analytical eye on other teams more often. Last night he broke down Rose and it is a must read.
What Rose seems to have, though, is the ability to improvise with purpose. It’s a rare gift, even among pro ballers. The league is littered with open-court players, but how many of them make good tactical decisions on the spot — not just in terms of how to use their body, but how to use the court?
• Matt from Blog-A-Bull had some good insights after the game:
Gordon was cold all night, but was at least still attacking the rim. Rose tried to pull them back with spurts of brilliance, but he wasn’t enough.
I thought Luol Deng looked pretty terrible, including two awful early turnovers: one where he got caught in the air, and another inbounding the ball. Though he was charged with guarding Kobe, and that usually warranted Kirk Hinrich a free pass on the offensive end.
But it’s the frontcourt that really separates the Bulls and the Lakers, and it showed tonight. Drew Gooden was in foul trouble, Noah had a particularly ineffective first half (he was better in the 2nd) so it meant a lot of Aaron Gray….
Bulls got the Lakers in the penalty real early in the 2nd quarter, but did nothing with it.
Pau Gasol sure looked like someone worth trading for.
• I want to echo part of what Matt said: I’ve now watched the last two Bulls games, and I have no idea what happened to the Loul Deng of two years ago. During all the Kobe trade BS of a couple summers ago, I kept if you’re forced to make this deal you don’t do it without getting Deng. He was the star the Lakers needed back. I haven’t seen enough or followed it closely enough to know why he isn’t THAT GUY anymore, maybe it’s the offense, maybe it’s that he is out tonight with a groin injury. But he has not impressed.
• And Bill Simmons is right — can you imagine how much better the Bulls would have looked with D’Antoni as the coach? With Rose running the show, that is a roster that could thrive in his style, and Vinny hasn’t quite figured out how to get them there yet.
• I can’t tell you how excited I am that Top Chef is back for a new season. Seriously. Outside of hoops, Top Chef, Entourage, Mad Men and The Amazing Race are probably the only other shows I watch religiously. I’ll tune in to the occasional ER, and Big Bang Theory makes me laugh but they are not regulars. Loved the first season of Heroes, but man it lost me. Tried again the start of this season and threw in the towel.