Bulls 95, Bobcats 64
Derrick Rose can afford to take a night or two off with the way
the Chicago Bulls are playing – especially when the opponent is the
worst team in the NBA.
Joakim Noah had 17 points and 14 rebounds, Carlos Boozer scored
16 points and the Bulls throttled the Charlotte Bobcats 95-64
Friday night despite the absence of their leading scorer and
reigning league MVP.
The Bulls (23-6) won their fifth straight overall and improved
to 5-1 this season without Rose, who sat out because of a lower
”Our depth is our greatest strength right now,” Noah said.
”Obviously we know that we need everybody healthy (come playoffs).
This is definitely not a sprint, it’s a marathon.”
C.J. Watson started in Rose’s place and played a near flawless
game with seven points, five assists, four steals and no
Bulls coach Tom Thibodeau said he likes what Watson brings to
”C.J. was terrific in the playoffs and he had a very difficult
job last year,” Thibodeau said. ”He was deserving of more minutes
than he got but he handled short minutes great. He’s done a great
job with the second unit but he’s shown that he can play with the
first unit. He gives us multiple pick-and-rolls and also adds to
our shooting, which I thought was a big concern. He gives us
another 3-point shooter on the floor so we need to take advantage
And he’s quickly earned the respect of his teammates.
”He’s stepped up every time we needed him to,” Boozer said of
Watson. ”He’s played great. C.J. could start for almost every
other team in the NBA that doesn’t have a starting point guard.
We’re very lucky to have him, to say the least.”
Rose injured his back earlier in the week and was limited in a
90-67 win over New Orleans on Wednesday. Thibodeau said Rose would
be a game-time decision against the Bobcats and decided to hold him
out after watching him in warm-ups.
Clearly the Bulls didn’t need him.
All-Star selection Luol Deng scored 10 of his 12 points in the
first quarter, including a pair of key 3-pointers as the Bulls
jumped out to a 30-16 lead. They were never challenged after
The Bulls extended the lead to 22 at halftime before pouring it
on in the third quarter, pounding the ball inside to Noah and
Boozer, who seemingly scored at will against a Bobcats frontcourt
lacking in size and experience. That’s been a persistent problem
all season for the Bobcats since they allowed center Kwame Brown to
leave via free agency.
Noah was dominant inside, hitting 7 of 9 shots as the Bulls’
lead hovered around 30 for most of the second half.
Noah said the key for the Bulls has been playing fast and not
giving defenses enough time to react and rotate.
”We’re playing very well,” Noah said. ”We play off Booze(r) a
lot and he demands a lot of attention. He either scores or kicks it
out and that creates a lot of opportunities for everyone
John Lucas III added 11 points and Omer Asik had 12 rebounds for
”We do a great job of sharing the ball,” Boozer said. ”We
still want to go inside out. We do a great job of making the extra
pass on offense. Defensively we’re still very sharp and getting
better at our defensive scheme and still doing a great job of
helping each other. We’re a help-side defensive team and I think
we’re getting better and better at our system.”
Charlotte posed no threat while dropping its 13th straight
Derrick Brown scored 10 points to lead the NBA-worst Bobcats,
who shot 33 percent from the field and hit only 1 of 8 from 3-point
range to fall to 3-23. Brown was the only Bobcats player to finish
in double figures.
Corey Maggette returned to action after missing the last 19
games with a strained hamstring and had four points on 2-of-7
shooting in 14 minutes.
Prior to the game, Bobcats coach Paul Silas called the Bulls the
most talented team in the league and they certainly left no doubt
about this one early on.
The Bobcats even struggled from the free throw line with both
Gana Diop and Bismack Biyombo shooting air balls from the stripe,
drawing a mixture of chuckles and head-shaking disgust from the
”It’s just embarrassing,” guard Kemba Walker said of the
”We didn’t have the aggressiveness rebounding the ball,” Silas
said. ”We weren’t really doing much at all. You have to give them
credit. Defensively they really keep you on one side if they can.
You’ve got to move the basketball. We held it too long. We got to
move the basketball.”
The Bobcats turned the ball over 16 times resulting in 27 points
for the Bulls.
”We just threw the ball away with no real focus, you know, no
concentration,” Silas said. ”It’s really hard to explain. I
really can’t explain why because we go through our offense
NOTES: The road only gets tougher for the Bobcats, who’ll face
two more division leaders in the Los Angeles Clippers and
Philadelphia 76ers in their next two games at home. … The Bulls
have now won four straight road games – without a stop at home – by
more than 20 points, an NBA record. … Bobcats owner Michael
Jordan was sitting courtside for Friday night’s game but did not
return for the second half.