Bulls rebound against the Hawks 86-73. Series Tied 1-1.
Derrick Rose and his Bulls defend their home floor on MVP night for Rose. Derrick Rose is still playing tentatively on his recently re-aggravated ankle injury. That being said Rose played pretty well. He did volume shoot a bit though shooting 27 shots to score his 25 points. Rose also had 10 assists, 2 blocks and 6 defensive rebounds as well. The Bulls were able to beef up their defense and slow down Joe Johnson. Joakim Noah was able to double team Johnson and force him to take bad shots. Joe who was making tough shots in game 1 came back down to earth a little bit. Zaza Pachulia had some 5 timely rebounds and 6 timely points in game 1 only had 1 rebound and scored no points in game 2. Al Horford also had a disappointing night. He scored 6 points and was just 3 of 12 from the field and didn’t get to the three point line.
Apart from some down performances by Hawks players other things the Bulls had going for them was Joakim Noah. Noah who is not thought of as an offensive player because, well he’s not, scored 19 points on 6 of 8 shooting and was 7 of 8 from the free throw line. Noah also contributed 14 rebounds to the effort. I’m pretty impressed with Chicago winning this game considering how poorly they shot the ball. This goes to show that this team plays much better defense than they do offense. Derrick Rose was 1 of 8 from beyond the arc and the Bulls were 39% from the field as a collective. If the Bulls continue to play defense at this level I don’t see them losing this series.
The Mavericks punch the defending champion Lakers. Dallas leads 2-0.
So many things went wrong for the Lakers in this game. Their bench failed them, their three point shooting failed them, Steve Blake failed them, and Ron Artest failed them (very likely getting himself suspended for the next game.) The Lakers had some matchup problems beside the obvious, nobody can stop that Dirk fadeaway problem, they also didn’t seem to know what to do with J.J. Barea in the pick and roll. With a shooting big man like Dirk you can’t leave him when the guard penetrates because all the guard has to do is give it back and Dirk would be left to shoot an open jumper.
The Lakers also had problems from beyond the arc. Like I always yelled at my TV to tell the Spurs, if you take threes you better make them. I did the same for the Lakers. I really need to stop doing that its just starting to look ridiculous. Not as ridiculous though as the fact that the Lakers attempted 20 three pointers and made 10% of them. That’s just 2 made threes for those of you who can’t count. When do you stop taking that shot? After 5 missed threes in a row? 10? 15? There were better shots available but the Lakers were content to shoot threes all day. They didn’t impose their will and they didn’t play their game and Dallas had control of this thing from almost the very beginning.
Jason Kidd didn’t shoot the ball particularly well but he did a good job guarding Kobe Bryant. He also controlled the tempo of the game on offense. The Mavs did a good job of making the extra pass to the open man and almost all of those passes passed through Jason Kidd at one time or the other. Sometimes Jason got multiple touches on a possession that resulted in points.
The thing that the Lakers did that annoyed me the most and cost them the game was miss free throws. I hate watching a team, any team really, but specifically a team as good as the Lakers leave points on the free throw line. The Lakers were 11 of 20 from the charity stripe. Dallas didn’t play great but they played good and the Lakers played bad in key aspects of the game. I don’t want to say the series is over because I did pick LA to win it but I have to believe that the Mavericks will win at least one game at home. American Airlines will be noisy when these teams tip off in Dallas. Which Lakers team will show up?