Drink: Chateau Montet – Bordeaux
The Bulls obvious weakness is their limited offensive abilities. What happens when you take out the engine that runs said offense? It sits idle on the tracks. Yet, that was not even the biggest story in today’s Da Roseless matinee. The inability of the rock of this team, the defense, grabbed that headline. Joakim Noah and Carlos Boozer were starting and are presumably healthy, yet Memphis did what it wanted to in the paint when the underwhelming duo was on the hardwood. We come to expect Boozer’s imaginative interpretation of defense, but Noah getting burned by Marreese Speights wwaass ddiissgguussttiinngg. The forward who could not find the court in Philly to begin this season, looked like an All-Star lock against Noah. Credit must be given where it is due. The Grizz hit some difficult shots early, which parlayed into a great offensive performance to begin the game (they were shooting 70% halfway through the second quarter).
On the bright side, CJ Watson played his first game since dislocating his left elbow against these very same Grizzlies on New Years Day and looked solid. CJ came in off the bench and showed no signs of being timid – driving to the basket without fear. He was able to put up 17 points on 50% shooting, but did turnover the ball four times. John Lucas III Esquire was a good enough replacement for Watson, but watching CJ play today, it is clear that he is a much more developed back-up for Rose.
Derrick Rose missed this game with his “It’s not turf toe” (via Thibs) turf toe. He is questionable for tomorrow’s game against the Phoenix Suns at home. I would think that the combination of the Suns and the UC would be enough to let Rose rest another game, then have two more full days off before Friday’s game in Cleveland. Granted, this team looks lost on offense (and defense?) without him, but we need a healthy Rose for the playoffs, not fighting-injury version against the Suns in January.
Graceland Observations: Was it Martin Luther King Day today? I could have done without the ESPN crew jack-knifing King references and quotes into the game every few minutes, but I suppose that was inevitable. … The two teams were equally sloppy tonight, mirroring each other with 19 TOs. … Boozer & Noah got some more rest (sitting out the entire 4th, again), while Thibs found it necessary to play a very tired-looking Deng almost 39 minutes. I wonder when he will simply fall apart. Some of his field goal attempts in the second half almost looked like set shots – the man had no lift. … The Bulls were out rebounded 46-34 (a category they are known to win). With poor defense, a tepid offense, and lacking boards, it is a wonder that they only lost by 16. … We will end it on a positive: Taj Gibson. The third-year power forward had another strong effort, 16 points (6-8 FG), 5 rebounds, 2 steals, 3 blocks.
MERRY MLK DAY!