After the Chicago Bulls had a tough loss against the LA Lakers on their Circus Road Trip, Kobe Bryant came up to Derrick Rose and had a few secretive words to say to the Bulls premier point guard. Since then, there has been some speculation to what Kobe told the MVP candidate. The Chicago Tribune asked Kobe about it, and had some fun results:
Asked if that conversation might have any symbolic passing of the torch undertones to it, Bryant flashed his legendary competitiveness.”Oh, sure, but I ain’t passing (expletive),” Bryant said.
With that, to the game! And what a start to the game it was! Thank the good Lord above for the Lakers inability to close out this game in the first quarter, because they sure had the opportunity. The first few possessions had the Bulls and Lakers battling back and forth. Then The Bulls ceased to hit any shots. Luckily for them, the Lakers were hardly fluid during this stretch and did not blow them out. Instead, the Lakers settled for a 22-12 lead at the end of the period.
The second started with Unit: DJ Trainwreck. While they did not screw up anything more, they did not improve anything as well. When the starters filtered back in, magic started happening. I must stress here that the Lakers were not hitting anything in the first half. But you take them however you get them, and the Bulls dominated the second quarter 24-10, ending up 36-32 at the half.
The third quarter was like a bastard version of the second. The Bulls were still the better team, but not as dominating. It is a good time here to take a timeout and let out a guilty admission: I agreed with Jeff Van Gundy’s analysis. Not all of it, mind you, but the point that when they dump it down to Boozer, good things happened. I constantly preach that penetration is key to this team (not that the Bulls are unique in that strategy), usually citing that Rose needs to drive more/always. Yet, in this one, it seemed that every time Boozer set up in the post, the floor opened and that is a good thing. The perfect example in this one came with about three minutes in the third. Boozer got the ball in the post, Fischer went for the double team, and Boozer kicked it out for a wide open Rose three.
The third was very entertaining, and the fourth was no exception (it was very much needed after the earlier, nearly unwatchable first quarter). The Bulls played the fourth well, started to pull away, but hold it there, pilgrim, this is the World Champs. The Lakers made a surge at the end. It was one of those moments when a cartoon character slaps its hands over their eyes, then peaks through them. You had the feeling that the Lakers had the champion-caliber comeback in them. Then MVP-lock, Derrick Rose had the shot that buried the champs. Weaving and finding nothing, Rose passed to Noah. Noah wanted nothing to do with the ball and passed back to Rose. Rose weaved some more, pulling up and nailing a jumper at the top of the key with twenty-some seconds left. Lakers = done
This was not a pretty victory by the Bulls. The first quarter was woeful. I feel like I am getting repetitive, apologizing for Bulls bad wins, but winning against the Lakers – under any circumstances – is a good win.
On top of the win were the glorious chants from the sold-out UC of, “M-V-P!” for your guaranteed MVP shoe-in, Derrick Rose. Rose started off poorly (as did all of the Bulls), but came on strong and was the reason the Bulls won. (As a side note, he ended with nine assists, while his teammates shot about .5% on his passes.) Rose was a total stud on this night, and I have not even mentioned the sick three-second buzzer beater, turn around jumper late the fourth – that defied gravity. Genuflect: