Thursday, March 15, 2012

John Lucas III goes off, Bulls Beat the Heat 106-102

By Sean Mackey

With half the NBA world watching the Dwight Howard saga unfold last night, the Bulls were able to come off with a stunning Derrick Rose-less win over the Miami Heat at home last night, winning 106-102. Third string point guard, John Lucas III came off the bench to lead the Bulls with 24 points on 9-12 shooting. Joakim Noah continued his string of great games, chipping in 14 points, 6 rebounds and 4 blocks. Taj Gibson also came off with an impressive 8 points, 8 rebounds and 2 blocks. LeBron James and Dwayne Wade combined for 71 of the Miami Heat's 102 points.

This was easily the best game I've watched this season. After it was announced that Derrick Rose would not be playing due to a strained groin injury, I'll admit, I wasn't expecting much. Derrick Rose accounts for the Bulls entire offense so coming off with a convincing win against the world's most talented basketball team is a big deal.

John Lucas III was obviously the man of the night. After getting dunked on by LeBron James the last time these two teams met, Lucas came out with fierce intensity. For a guy who's generously listed at 5'11, to be able to come out and shoot 9-12 from the field is amazing. JL3 hit some of the biggest shots of the night including an array of 3 pointers, floaters and the shot every guy fantasises about taking; a fade away jumper right in the face of LeBron James.

The defense really kept the Bulls in this game the entire 48 minutes. Joakim Noah and Taj Gibson are getting to be so meticulous about how they block shots, that it's almost an art. The timing they have is just fantastic. Add that, along with a bunch of ridiculously good passers and back door cuts and you have the NBA's most team oriented basketball club.

The sad part about all this is that the Bulls were only able to win by 4. The Miami Heat effortlessly came back from a 15 point deficit in just a few minutes of play. Chicago has to play perfectly to just get a win against these guys. Could you imagine how good the Heat would be if the entire team put in the same kind of effort the Bulls do? They'd be unstoppable.

Nevertheless, the Bulls were able to get a quality win without their star player. The Bulls host the Portland Trail Blazers Friday night. Portland has just acquired Mehmet Okur & Shawne Williams from the New Jersey Nets for Gerald Wallace. They've also traded away Marcus Camby for a yet to be named expiring contract and draft picks. It'll be interesting to see who suits for the game. I have a feeling that Rose and Deng will probably both sit this one out.