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Bulls barely, and we mean barely edge Magic without Dwight Howard

Apr 10, 2011, 4:22 PM EDT

Chicago Bulls v Orlando Magic

Bulls 102 Magic 99.

This was a fantastic ballgame that will be overshadowed by narratives about the MVP. The questions will be about how the Magic nearly beat the Bulls with Dwight Howard spending a one-game suspension for hitting 18 techs, and what that says about Howard’s MVP candidacy. The other side will respond with how another brilliant game from Rose nearly resulted in a loss due the defense, which many say is the real MVP of the Bulls, and what that says about his MVP candidacy. In reality, both of those questions are stupid. It was a great game for Rose, an example of why he’s probably winning MVP, and shows that the Magic have some teeth left in them.

Perhaps most notable in the game was how the Bulls were undone by an effective defense and how the Magic’s ability to create ball movement inside led to cuts. The Bulls’ normally tenacious defense was pretty meek today, allowing cuts inside and Ryan Anderson to be active at the rim. On the flipside, the Magic played solid defense in terms of bringing doubles in the post. This gave Bulls fans a full look at what they’re getting from Carlos Boozer in the playoffs. Boozer was terrific in the first quarter, using a nice array of moves to create points in the post. In the fourth, he was mostly a disaster, including a terrible pass out of a soft double that led to a transition bucket from Jason Richardson.

But all the doubles the Magic brought? None of them were committed to keeping the ball out of Rose’s hands on the perimeter. Time and time again Rose caught a kickout pass with a defender trying to recover, ball faked and went right around the defender. The result was a blistering 39 points, 5 assists performance. Though Rose did have five turnovers to those five assists, he also scored those 39 points on just 17 shots. Crazy efficiency. And that was the difference in the game. Well, that and about .000001 seconds.

Jameer Nelson had a shot to tie the game at the end of regulation. He caught and had to pump fake to free himself from Rose. He rose, and fired from 38 feet, making it. The ball left his hand just a tenth of a second late. Waived off, Bulls win.

A great game that showcased that if these two meet in the second round, this could be tougher than most people are counting on.

Provided that Gilbert Arenas doesn’t get minutes. Yeesh.

Some notes:

  • Chris Duhon actually played really well in limited minutes to keep the Magic in it late. Then Gilbert Arenas came in and, well, yeah.
  • Joakim Noah played terribly in the first quarter and was benched for most of the game. Derrick Rose and Tom Thibodeau each took turns screaming at Noah early. Strange.
  • Taj Gibson hit a three loooong two. Actually happened.
  • The Magic still needed that player everyone says they need, who can create perimeter penetration to open up lanes. Turkoglu did some, but wasn’t fast enough and the drives wound up bogging down.
  1. thestudiokida - Apr 10, 2011 at 6:44 PM

    I knew that Jameer Nelson shot was late before it traveled 1 foot in the air. Why does everybody get so excited when shots are late? Are we drinking so much beer at the games that our reaction time is suffering?

  2. goldkj - Apr 10, 2011 at 6:59 PM

    Taj Gibson didn’t hit a 3. That was a long two. He’s got decent range so it’s not surprising.

  3. liltmac2003 - Apr 11, 2011 at 1:36 AM

    Mr. Helin, you really don’t give credit to D-Rose even after an amazing performance. Sure you mention that he had a brilliant game, but somehow get Dwight Howard’s name into the topic and include his deserving of MVP.

    But look at it vice-versa. Say D-Rose was not playing in todays game either. Do you believe that the Bulls would of won?

    Yes, I think Howard is the best center in the NBA. But do I think he deserves MVP? Not as long as D-Rose keeps on doing his thing.

    • philtration - Apr 11, 2011 at 9:46 AM

      This is what PBT does. Especially Helin.
      He rips the Bulls and Derrick Rose in every thread while doing a really poor job of concealing his man crush for Dwight Howard.
      Why was Howard not playing in this game again?
      Let me see…. Was he injured?
      Did his mom die or something?
      He was missing because the league has had enough of his drama queen act and he will never be the MVP as long as he continues to behave like a spoiled child and clang his free throws.

      The Bulls played a sloppy game and still won.
      Ryan Anderson played out of his face and the Magic still lost.
      Shots taken after time expires do not count… even against the Bulls.
      Deal with it.

      • gmsingh - Apr 11, 2011 at 10:10 AM

        The Bulls also have the distinction of being the only team in the NBA to beat Orlando twice on their home court. When these accolades start piling up accusations of “luck” go out the window.

    • nelson8403 - Apr 11, 2011 at 10:10 AM

      I think your comment would be valid if Mr. Helin wrote this story.. but Matt Moore wrote this.

  4. chargerdillon - Apr 11, 2011 at 12:16 PM

    In a 7 game series, i’ll take the team with the dominant big man.

    One question i have for the Derrick Rose supporters. Who’s the better overal player, Lebron James or Derrick Rose. If you just said Derrick Rose in your head, now would be the time for you to sit down and be quiet.

    The most valuable player in the NBA is Lebron James. This is the case not just because of what he does on the court. To the entire NBA Lebron James is the biggest name and the biggest face. If you think the amount of commercials you see on TV doesnt have anything to do with how MVP awards get handed out, check out how many commercials Peyton Manning has in relation to MVP trophies.

    Derrick is a great player and on the level of the MVP’s, but the NBA has built their product around James and if it’s a race between these two, im betting on the one I see in a commercial between every break in a basketball game.

    • philtration - Apr 11, 2011 at 1:02 PM

      Yeah, James is so good that he had to work out his little behind the scenes move to play with Wade and Bosh in Miami.
      He was scared to death to play in Jordan’s shadow here in Chicago and he knows it.
      What he does not know is that we would not have compared him to Michael Jordan at all but just hoped that he was as good as Scottie Pippen.

      Yes LeBron was the MVP when he played for the Cavs but he took his talents to South beach to play Dewayne Wade’s sidekick instead.
      All the TV hype and attempts to market the Heat cannot change that.
      Let Miami have their little fashion show celebration before the season starts if they believe that this is how you win a championship.

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