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Baseline to Baseline recaps: The Bulls are beating everybody

Mar 20, 2012, 9:08 AM EDT

Dwight Howard, Joakim Noah AP

What you missed while getting emails from your dead friend….

Bulls 85, Magic 59: Chicago is now 10-4 this season when Derrick Rose sits and now have beaten the Heat and Magic without him in the last week. Credit where credit is due — they have been playing the best basketball in the NBA for some time now. They play hard and smart and when Rose is in the lineup (with Richard Hamilton) they are serious title contenders.

Chicago single-covered Dwight Howard (18 points on 8-of-12 shooting) and stop everyone else. As usually happens against the Magic, it worked. Orlando players not named Howard shot 16-of-56, or 28.6 percent. Jason Richardson was 1-of-7, Ryan Anderson 4-of-13. It was ugly.

Meanwhile on the other end Carlos Boozer stepped up 24 points and John Lucas III had 20. And then there was this from Joakim Noah.

Celtics 79, Hawks 76: What a wild fourth quarter — Boston went on a 17-2 run to open a 15-point lead, but Atlanta went on a late 16-2 run to make it a nail biter at the end. That made it entertaining — it was not pretty. Boston won shooting 39.2 percent, Atlanta shot 38.7 percent. Ray Allen had 19 points on n nine shots, and Kevin Garnett had another impressive game, but mostly this game was about shots clanging of the rim. Joe Johnson did have 25 for the Hawks.

Sixers 105, Bobcats 80: Nothing can get a sick offense feeling better like playing Charlotte. You knew the Bobcats were in trouble when they shot a ridiculous 57 percent over the first 18 minutes and were still down by 2. Philadelphia owned the second half and both Jrue Holiday and Thaddeus Young had 20 for the Sixers. We’ll see if all this carries over to a real game.

Cavaliers 105, Nets 100: He may be a rookie but Kyrie Irving is a closer. He had 14 fourth quarter points and helped spark a late 10-2 run that gave the Cavaliers a hard-fought win. Deron Williams couldn’t stop Irving, so the Nets tried newcomer Gerald Wallace but that didn’t help either. Tristan Thompson had an impressive 27 for the Cavaliers as well.

Timberwolves 97, Warriors 93: It wasn’t all booing the owner, they played a game, too. Minnesota appeared in control until a Klay Thompson and David Lee inspired 22-7 third-quarter run made this a game. Kevin Love had 12 of his 36 in the fourth quarter — and Anthony Tolliver pitched in 10 in the final frame — as the Timberwolves made a late run to secure the win.

Odd fact of the week: Minnesota is the opponent it two jersey retirements this week, Chris Mullin’s Monday at Golden State and Bruce Bowen’s Wednesday in San Antonio.

Mavericks 112, Nuggets 95: Kenneth Faried has been making a splash lately, but asking him to try and hang with Dirk Nowitzki defensively proved to be a mistake. Nowitzki had 33 and was key to Dallas controlling this game most of the way. Denver went without JaVale McGee in this one, but if Nuggets fans think he makes a difference they haven’t seen him play. Wilson Chandler did look good getting his 13 points. Arron Afflalo led Denver with 24.

  1. philtration - Mar 20, 2012 at 9:58 AM

    The Bulls defense and passing were great last night.
    Too bad they played that god awful 2nd half against Portland the other day.

    Letting Rose sit is the right thing to do and they are playing really well as a team right now.
    They need Boozer to play like this all the time.

  2. berbes - Mar 20, 2012 at 10:46 AM

    at 10-4 without rose, they are STILL serious title contenders. jeepers, kurt, i realize they’re no LABOOB and the Boob-ettes, but for being merely human…not bad, eh?

  3. stayhigh_247 - Mar 20, 2012 at 10:58 AM

    if Rose and RIP hadn’t been hurting, the Bulls would be 7-8 games up in the standings, if not more. come playoff time that doesn’t mean much but, you should have given them their credit way before now….just saying though

  4. md23rewlz - Mar 20, 2012 at 3:29 PM

    Monster game from Dirk, but Dallas was doing everything right. It wasn’t just him going off. Probably the best game they’ve played in a month, and the closest I’ve seen them this season to their championship form. Lots of nice passing, Dirk dropping jumpers from all over the floor, and a nice defensive effort as well (though certainly, Denver’s roster uncertainty played into that). Wins against San Antonio and Denver are a good start to what is an absolutely brutal stretch of games the next few weeks. Next up: The Lakers.

  5. glink123 - Mar 20, 2012 at 8:38 PM

    At this point, I actually prefer Brewer over Hamilton in the starting lineup. This starting-5 is starting to gel, and Hamilton won’t be healthy in time for him to get any meaningful minutes with the team before the playoffs. If I had my choice between John Lucas or Torn Hamilton, there’s no way I leave Lucas off the playoff roster. Your playoff Guards will be Rose, Watson, Brewer, and Lucas. Bulls won’t carry 5 guards. Hamilton was a bust. He got $15 million to play 15 games.

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