So, once again, the Chicago Bulls emerge victorious in overtime in a game they were really lucky to win.
This game, like the entire season, made no sense. Kirk Hinrich hit a jumper to tie the game with two seconds remaining in regulation, but only after Chicago very nearly turned the ball over, but they only had the ball in the first place because they got a somewhat questionable jump ball called. And that's before we even get into overtime.
In overtime, Rajon Rondo fouled out, Jimmy Butler stepped up, and Marco Belinelli had two of the weirdest possessions in history. Leading by one, he dribbled behind the three point line for about 15 seconds, then drove directly into Butler, who was minding his own business in the corner, then threw up a three as he was falling out of bounds, hitting nothing but the top of the backboard. Then, after the Boston Celtics took the lead, he received a pass in the lane from Carlos Boozer, bobbled it and made the game-winner as he fell to the floor. Seriously, this game made no sense.
So, the good news is the Bulls won. Carlos Boozer slapped up a 19 point, 20 rebound, 4 assist performance. Joakim Noah added 14/13/4 of his own. Rip Hamilton put up 20 points. Jimmy Butler scored 13 points in 25 minutes off the bench.
Now, for the bad news. Luol Deng, who was a game-time decision with a hamstring injury, further injured said hamstring during the game and is unlikely to play against the Memphis Grizzlies. It's currently unclear how severe the injury is, but it was good to see Butler step into Deng's place and hold his own down the stretch. Especially since it's entirely possible he will play all 48 minutes tomorrow. That is what happened when Deng missed one of the preseason games, after all. Seriously.
Look, a win's a win and all, but this was a generally poor performance. The Bulls did lead for the first three and a half quarters, even as they were in the process of turning the ball over 21 times, but the lead never quite felt safe. Rondo torched the Bulls once again — Kirk Hinrich defense! — springing for a season-high 30 points and adding 7 assists. The Bulls also got an assist from the refs on that aforementioned jump ball call; Jimmy appeared to foul Paul Pierce along the sideline, but it wasn't called and Joakim Noah forced a tie-up. I'm all for positivity, but let's not go overboard here.
Anyway, now we get to see the Grizzlies, who held the Bulls to 71 points last time they saw each other. And that was with Deng in the lineup. This won't end well.
Player o' the Game: Carlos Boozer (19 points, 20 rebounds and 4 assists)
I'm refusing to give this to Belinelli just on principle. If you take a shot like the one he took right before he redeemed himself with the game-winner, you don't get to be player of the game. It's really that simple. Also, Boozer was the one who got the assist on the game-winner anyway, so whatever.
Anyway, Boozer had another excellent game. He didn't shoot as well as he could have, but he didn't shoot poorly either. And his work on the boards was excellent. I wish he would get the ball more down the stretch, but still. Solid effort.
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