By David Schuster-
(WSCR) If you hadn’t seen the Bulls over the last season-plus and just watched them the first three quarters Tuesday night, you would have thought this was the worst team in the NBA.
Through three quarters they looked like the Washington Generals as they couldn’t throw the ball into the ocean from a boat. But then the light went on in the fourth quarter as they rallied back from a 19-point deficit to beat Atlanta, 76-74.
Derrick Rose (who else) led the comeback with 30 points, including 17 in that final quarter. Just about every time the Bulls needed a big shot, Rose was there to deliver it except one time and that one time was the ultimate deception.
With the game tied at 74, Tom Thibideau called for Joakim Noah to get the ball on the inbounds pass with only seven seconds left. Everyone in attendence must have been wondering what was going on. Why didn’t Rose get it? Atlanta thought the same thing and doubled Rose. Noah did the smart thing by finding a cutting Luol Deng going back door. Noah hit Deng in stride and Deng easily layed it in for the game-winning basket.
The win certainly wasn’t pretty but it showed the character of this Bulls team which always fights to the end. It also, again, showed how important the Bulls bench is as Omer Asik, Kyle Korver and Taj Gibson were all on the floor in the fourth quarter replacing Carlos Boozer, Ronnie Brewer and Joakim Noah for the bulk of the comeback.
In this abbreviated crazy season, the depth of a team will pay extra dividends and the deepest teams will prevail in the long run. The Bulls may be the deepest team in the league, and on Tuesday night that depth paid off with a huge win.