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2010-11 Chicago Bulls | 82 games

 

Game 82 | Bulls finish regular season No. 1


Sam Smith (04.13.11): You almost hate to see it end, arguably the greatest regular season in Bulls franchise history with Wednesday’s 97-92 win over the New Jersey Nets. Greatest because there never has been one as successful and unexpected, the Bulls regarded preseason as perhaps no better than the league’s 10th best team and looking up at no one at the end. This after a summer of celebration for the Miami Heat, assurances of destiny for the Lakers and Celtics, of potential surprises in Orlando, Atlanta, Dallas, San Antonio, New Orleans and Utah. Yet, Wednesday’s win gave the Bulls the best record in the NBA at 62-20 with the Spurs’ late loss to the Suns. That guarantees home court advantage in every playoff round the team plays. Read the full story.

BullsTV recap | Inside the Locker Room | Box Score: Bulls 97, Nets 92 | Sam Smith: Postgame analysis
Also: Thibodeau’s Bulls staying focused on task at hand
Game 1 for Bulls-Pacers on Saturday at noon

Game 81 | Bulls a hit again on Broadway


Sam Smith (04.12.11): I’m not making any comparisons with the championship Bulls of the '90s or making any predictions for this Bulls team, which beat the New York Knicks 103-90 and now at 61-20 is tied with the San Antonio Spurs for the best record in the NBA. “When guys play like we did in the second half, we are a hard team to beat,” said Derrick Rose, who led everyone with 26 points and several dazzling, crowd gasping dunks. “Everything working, guys taking charges, diving on the floor for loose balls. Things like that can change the game.” It was an impressive win over the only team the Bulls haven’t defeated this season, though without great meaning as Amar’e Stoudemire didn’t play and playoff matchups set. Read the full story.

BullsTV recap | Box Score: Bulls 103, Knicks 90 | Sam Smith: Postgame analysis
 

Game 80 | Bulls win 60th, but no one is dancing


Sam Smith (04.10.11): It wasn’t the most upbeat celebration of a 60-win season with the Bulls’ 102-99 victory over the Orlando Magic. Even though every time in franchise history the Bulls have won at least 60 games they have won an NBA championship. Of course, every time they did it was with Michael Jordan. Though Derrick Rose with 39 points, including 11 of the Bulls’ 22 in the fourth quarter, isn’t a bad 1A for now. “Derrick was Derrick,” said Bulls coach Tom Thibodeau. “You can’t ask for anything more of him.” But Thibodeau can ask for more from the team, and he made it clear he will even with their seventh straight win and 19th in the last 21. Read the full story.

BullsTV recap | Box Score: Bulls 102, Magic 99 | Sam Smith: Postgame analysis
 

Game 79 | Bulls No. 1 again after only 13 years

Sam Smith (04.08.11): Well, the Bulls officially are No. 1 with their 93-82 snoozer of a victory over the Cleveland Cavaliers to clinch the best record for the 2010-11 NBA season in the Eastern Conference. Everyone raise your foam fingers! Go figure. The Bulls zeroed in on the magical 60-win season going to 59-20 with their sixth straight win, 18th in the last 20, ninth in 10 on the road. And my favorite stat of all the ones we’ll be considering in upcoming days while anticipating the music of the basketball soul and the synthesis of art and achievement is the 11-0 since early December against every team in the NBA with a winning percentage better than 70 percent. Read the full story.

BullsTV recap | Box Score: Bulls 93, Cavaliers 82 | Sam Smith: Postgame analysis
 

Game 78 | Bulls make the Celtic green see red

Sam Smith (04.07.11): You have to be politically correct in sports, too, so no one was about to bury the Boston Celtics. Other than on the scoreboard, as the Bulls pretty much wrapped up the No. 1 playoff seed in the Eastern Conference with a convincing 97-81 win over the defending Eastern Conference champions. You’ve got to beat the champion. Everyone has to go through the defending champion. You cannot underestimate a team with three future Hall of Famers, four if Shaquille O’Neal were playing. Never underestimate the heart of a champion and all that. But, sorry, it’s just difficult to see anymore with this Celtics team, especially the way the Bulls methodically put them away behind 30 points and eight assists from Derrick Rose, 23 points, with 18 in the second half, from Luol Deng and 14 points and 12 rebounds from Carlos Boozer with Joakim Noah still slowed some with a sprained ankle. Read the full story.

BullsTV recap | Inside the Locker Room | Box Score: Bulls 97, Celtics 81 | Photo Gallery
Sam Smith: Postgame analysis
Also: Bust unveiling a humbling experience for Pippen
Pippen bust adds new jewel to the United Center
 

Game 77 | Bulls try to stay sunny in beating Phoenix

Sam Smith (04.05.11): The goal is to win the game, and the Bulls did against the Phoenix Suns, though just barely, 97-94, after having a 22-point third quarter lead. “You’re not going to win by 30 every night,” offered Joakim Noah. “That’s the way it is.” And he’s right. Just win, baby. The Bulls did in pushing their record to 57-20 in this idyllic season. “Playoff atmosphere,” said Derrick Rose, who led the Bulls with 19 points and the last two field goals after the Suns closed within 91-89 with 4:21 left. Read the full story.

BullsTV recap | Inside the Locker Room | Box Score: Bulls 97, Suns 94 | Photo Gallery
Sam Smith: Postgame analysis
Also: Suns’ Gentry calls Rose the ‘runaway MVP of the league’
 

Game 76 | Bulls extend lead by beating Raptors

Associated Press (04.02.11): Derrick Rose remembered the celebration the last time the Chicago Bulls met Toronto. He wasn't about to let the Raptors yuck it up this time. Rose had 36 points and 10 assists, and Chicago took another step toward the top seed in the Eastern Conference with its 15th victory in 17 games, hanging on to beat the short-handed Raptors 113-106. Rose scored at least 30 for the third time in five games and got a measure of revenge for a perceived slight in a loss at Toronto in late February. "I just remember them celebrating after they won back in Toronto," he said.

BullsTV recap | Inside the Locker Room | Recap | Box Score: Bulls 113, Raptors 106 | Photo Gallery
Also: Former Bulls Rodman and Winter reportedly get Hall call
 

Game 75 | Bulls worm their way to win over Pistons

Sam Smith (04.01.11): It sounds like one of those April Fool’s jokes. You know, telling people there are two weeks left in the NBA season and with Joakim Noah out yet again, this time missing his 33rd game with a sprained ankle, with Carlos Boozer having a pair of such sprains himself and missing eight games to add to the 15 in missing the first month of the season with a broken hand, with Keith Bogans, yes, still starting at shooting guard, the Bulls with a 101-96 win over the Detroit Pistons pretty much wrapped up the best record in the Eastern Conference and suddenly have a chance for the best record in the NBA. Read the full story.

BullsTV recap | Box Score: Bulls 101, Pistons 96 | Sam Smith: Postgame analysis
 

Game 74 | Bulls turn hot in Minnesota

Sam Smith (03.31.11): It was an impressive comeback domination for the Bulls after a loss to the 76ers, a one sided 108-91 victory over the Minnesota Timberwolves during which the Bulls (54-20) led by double figures for all but 33 seconds of the last 41 minutes and never trailed. Of course, this didn’t stop Bulls coach Tom Thibodeau from upbraiding the team with a timeout a minute into the fourth quarter after a breakaway dunk cut the Bulls lead to 20. “The ball was hopping from the start of the game,” said Thibodeau of the Bulls 30-19 first quarter with eight assists on 11 field goals (31 of 41 for the game). “I thought the extra pass made a big difference. I thought our rebounding was terrific, and overall our defense was pretty good until the fourth.” Read the full story.

BullsTV recap | Box Score: Bulls 108, Timberwolves 91 | Sam Smith: Postgame analysis
 

Game 73 | Bulls lack spirit against 76ers


Sam Smith (03.28.11): Coaches love a loss. No, I’m not saying Bulls coach Tom Thibodeau likes to lose, as the Bulls did 97-85 at the United Center to the Philadelphia 76ers. And Thibodeau seemed a bit more yelled out than usual croaking through his post game remarks. “Again, the last couple of games, the first half we haven’t played defense,” said Thibodeau, noting big early deficits during comeback wins over Memphis and Milwaukee. “We did the same thing tonight. This game was lost early when we were down 27-13 in the first quarter. We have to take a look at how we approach the game, how we practice and make the necessary corrections real fast. Things can change fast in this league.” I’m fairly sure the Bulls still will make the playoffs, though they fell to 53-20 with their first home loss since Jan. 18, 14 games. But losses give a coach more reason to practice and demand attention as Thibodeau admitted the practices have been a bit casual lately and not fully attended with some players resting injuries. Read the full story.

BullsTV recap | Inside the Locker Room | Box Score: 76ers 97, Bulls 85 | Photo Gallery
Sam Smith: Postgame analysis
Also: Sixers’ Collins doing what he does best—teach
 

Game 72 | Rose leads Bulls to season sweep over Bucks


Sam Smith (03.26.11): After another Derrick Rose inspired win, carrying the Bulls down the stretch once again, this time to 95-87 win in Milwaukee, I’m no longer ignoring his comment from last week of the Bulls running the table to win the East. Rose finished with 30 points and a career high 17 assists while making 12 free throws for the second straight game. His 30 and 17, according to Elias Sports, enabled him to join Michael Jordan and Guy Rodgers as the only Bulls ever to get at least 30 points and 15 rebounds in a game. It wasn’t until his slashing drive as he changed direction in the air to avoid a charge with 1:53 left that the Bulls led for the first time in the game, 89-87. Rose then completed the Bulls’ 8-0 run to close the game with a teardrop runner from the free throw line, a short jumper from about 15 feet and a pass to Ronnie Brewer on a fast break after the suddenly lock down Bulls defense stripped Andrew Bogut and left the Bucks without a field goal for the last five minutes of the game. Read the full story.

BullsTV recap | Box Score: Bulls 95, Bucks 87 | Sam Smith: Postgame analysis
 

Game 71 | Bulls tame Grizzlies for 14th straight win at home


Sam Smith (03.25.11): It was a playoff type game for the Bulls at the United Center with their 99-96 victory over the Memphis Grizzlies. Not necessarily because of the physical, defensive struggle, the half dozen technical fouls and the veteran officiating crew led by Joey Crawford. Sure, the Bulls will see all that as they try to move deeper into the playoffs. But they’ll also begin to see the simple strategy the Grizzlies dropped on the Bulls that necessitated Derrick Rose’s driving three-point play with 10.8 seconds remaining to hold off the Grizzlies and move the Bulls two games ahead of Boston for best record in the Eastern Conference at 52-19. That strategy is: Let’s see if your other guys can beat us. Read the full story.

BullsTV recap | Inside the Locker Room | Box Score: Bulls 99, Grizzlies 96 | Photo Gallery
Sam Smith: Postgame analysis
Also: Bulls’ challenge remains the same as postseason nears
 

Game 70 | Bulls shoot down Hawks in another romp


Sam Smith (03.22.11): Let’s get this straight. Wasn’t Thibodeau supposed to be the defensive guru? But there the high scoring Bulls go again, this time with a 114-81 thumping of the Atlanta Hawks. On the road in the second of a back to back no less against a fifth seeded, a playoff team. It was the Bulls second straight win by more than 30 points, a franchise record two game margin of 73 points, and yet another offensive tour de force with 55.4 percent shooting, 10 of 18 threes and 30 assists on 43 baskets as all the starters but Luol Deng, of course, played fewer than 30 minutes. “Guys were making shots tonight, and that’s what we need each night,” noted Derrick Rose, who led with 30 points and 10 assists while making six of eight threes. Read the full story.

BullsTV recap | Box Score: Bulls 114, Hawks 81 | Sam Smith: Postgame analysis
 

Game 69 | Bulls depose the Kings for 50th win

Sam Smith (03.21.11): It was late in the Bulls' 132-92 dismantling of the Sacramento Kings when Beno Udrih came up to Kyle Korver during a dead ball. “You guys,” said Udrih admiringly, “play great basketball.” And Udrih, the Kings point guard, knows something about great basketball, having watched it as a reserve on two Spurs championship teams pretty much as he and his teammates watched the Bulls play as near perfect basketball as you can play. Shooting 61.3 percent and 70.6 percent on threes, 34 assists on 49 baskets, 36 fast break points, a 56-22 edge inside, forcing 22 turnover and blocking 10 shots. “That you hear something like that… a guy coming from the Spurs,” said Korver, one of eight Bulls scoring in double figures with a team high 18 to match Derrick Rose. “That’s the kind of basketball they play.” Yes, the Bulls could do worse than the Spurs as a model, and it was an efficient, effective, electric championship type effort Monday that gave the Bulls their first 50 win season at 50-19 since 1997-98. Read the full story.

BullsTV recap | Inside the Locker Room | Box Score: Bulls 132, Kings 92 | Photo Gallery
Sam Smith: Postgame analysis
Also: Boozer back in the mix as Bulls set sights on 50 wins
 

Game 68 | Rose’s 42 not enough in loss to Pacers

Sam Smith (03.18.11): So maybe it might be a challenging first round playoff matchup if the current positioning holds, as the Indiana Pacers withstood a furious Derrick Rose 42-point assault and hung on to defeat the Bulls in overtime 115-108. “That’s a team we could possibly see in the playoffs,” said Rose, who scored 19 fourth quarter points and hit three free throws to tie the game with 1.2 seconds left in regulation. “I can’t wait to play them again.” Read the full story.

BullsTV recap | Box Score: Bulls 108, Pacers 115 | Sam Smith: Postgame analysis
 

Game 67 | Bulls get a rare win in New Jersey

Sam Smith (03.17.11): So here was a game the No. 2 seeded Bulls were about to give away to the No. 12 seeded New Jersey. You know those 2-12 matchups can always be… Oh, right. Not the NCAA tournament. These were players with skill, though not always on this night. Though among the most skilled this season, the Bulls had just allowed those troublesome Nets to tie the game down the stretch in the fourth quarter and now were coming out of a timeout leading 71-69 with 3:57 left. Perhaps the Bulls were blinded by the light. Time for Derrick Rose to do some dancing in the dark. Read the full story.

BullsTV recap | Box Score: Bulls 84, Nets 73 | Sam Smith: Postgame analysis
 

Game 66 | Bulls make Wizards disappear

Sam Smith (03.15.11): This Bulls season, in some respects, is a referendum or perhaps laboratory experiment on how to construct a team, whether to populate it with superstar talents or whether to combine pieces that mesh even if they don’t sparkle. And while the final verdict won’t be in for several months, thus far the conventional wisdom that you need more stars is losing. Because with the Bulls' 98-79 victory over the Washington (not so much) Wizards, the Bulls took over first place in the Eastern Conference with a 48-18 record. The Bulls’ 12th consecutive home win and seventh straight overall also gave them the second best record in the league behind only the Spurs and at 22-9 the only team in the league winning more than 70 percent of its games against teams with winning records. Read the full story.

BullsTV recap | Inside the Locker Room | Box Score: Bulls 98, Wizards 79 | Photo Gallery
Sam Smith: Postgame analysis
Also: Deng excited about 2012 Olympics in London | Noah out vs. Wizards with flu-like symptoms
 

Game 65 | Bulls put on a show for 1991 champions

Sam Smith (03.12.11): It was the 20th anniversary celebration at the United Center of the Bulls’ first championship, and 2011 looked a lot like the 1990s with a 68-point first half in which the Bulls led by 30 points and equaled an all-time NBA record with thirteen first half three pointers made on the way to a wire to wire 118-100 victory over the Utah Jazz. So, of course, Bulls coach Tom Thibodeau was depressed and morose. “Fools gold,” Thibodeau complained about all the first half threes attempted. “The defense in the second half was poor, to be honest. The first half we did a lot of great things to build that lead. I was concerned at halftime (ahead 68-41). We were making a lot of threes. I thought we started with the three instead of establishing inside/out. What that led to was transition, so they were able to make up ground.” Yes, the Jazz eventually did get as close as trailing 102-89 with 5:44 left. And then Kyle Korver made a three, another of a team record 18 (of 32) the Bulls (47-18) converted in a night that paid tribute to the 1991 Bulls as much as did a thrilled and enthusiastic sellout crowd. Read the full story.

BullsTV recap | Inside the Locker Room | Box Score: Bulls 118, Jazz 100 | Photo Gallery
Sam Smith: Postgame analysis | Bulls prepare for celebrations and Jazz
Michael Jordan: Another six titles possible for Bulls | Real man Horace Grant still wearing red
 

Game 64 | Bulls get payback vs. Hawks

Sam Smith (03.11.11): One night before the Bulls celebrated the 20th anniversary of their first NBA championship with a reunion ceremony for the players from that team, the 2011 Bulls took a page out of the book of their champion ancestors in a 94-76 rout of the Atlanta Hawks. “We tried to take their confidence five minutes into the third quarter,” said Derrick Rose, who led the Bulls with 34 points, including 18 of the Bulls’ 24 in the third. “That’s what we always say (at halftime). We’ve got to take control of the game. They’re a great team with great athleticism. They were a team that thought they could play with us, especially at the beginning. So we wanted to let them know we’re a tough team.” The Bulls sent the message with the basketball version of a shutout, 10 Hawks third quarter points and holding Atlanta to 26 in the second half. This just a week after the Bulls blew a lead and lost 83-80 in Atlanta. Read the full story.

BullsTV recap | Inside the Locker Room | Box Score: Bulls 94, Hawks 76 | Photo Gallery
Sam Smith: Postgame analysis

 

Game 63 | Bulls win title for first time since 1998

Sam Smith (03.09.11): It should have been a night of celebration with the Bulls beating the Charlotte Bobcats 101-84. With Indiana’s loss to Minnesota, the Bulls won the Central Division for the first time since 1998. Raise the banner. Did they give out those locker room hats and t-shirts? Yes, the Bulls became the first team to clinch its division and also officially clinched a playoff spot. But it all was tempered by a late game sprained ankle suffered by Carlos Boozer when Kwame Brown committed a flagrant foul against him coming over to help. Boozer was going to dunk or lay up the ball with 4:24 left and the Bulls ahead by 17. Read the full story.

BullsTV recap | Box Score: Bulls 101, Bobcats 84
Sam Smith: Postgame analysis | Also: Boozer listed day-to-day as injury not serious
 

Game 62 | Bulls beat Hornets to claim 9th straight win at home

Sam Smith (03.07.11): The Bulls played a very good game in beating the New Orleans Hornets 85-77. Unless, of course, you saw the game. It was a brutal, slow, plodding type game—like the old line about watching laws and sausages being made—between one team coming off a five-game road trip and another, the Hornets, finishing up a five-game road trip and without two starters, Chris Paul and Trevor Ariza. But, in the end, the Bulls raised their record to 44-18, the fourth best record in the NBA, with their 10th win in the last 12. Read the full story.

BullsTV recap | Inside the Locker Room | Box Score: Bulls 85, Hornets 77 | Photo Gallery
Sam Smith: Postgame analysis

 

Game 61 | Bulls sweep season series with Heat

Sam Smith (03.06.11): Who knew the Big Three would turn out to mean an 0-3 record against the Bulls this season? And so it was in Miami as the Bulls completed a season sweep of the Heat with a thrilling 87-86 victory clinched on a brilliant last defensive sequence with Joakim Noah playing textbook perfect defense against LeBron James and Dwyane Wade symbolically coming up short after a scramble for the final loose ball. The win gave the Bulls a 43-18 record and a one game edge on Miami for second place in the Eastern Conference after sweeping through Florida on this 4-1 road trip while the Heat, 43-20, have lost four straight. Miami dropped to 1-9 on the season against San Antonio, Boston, Dallas, Chicago and the L.A. Lakers.

BullsTV recap | Box Score: Bulls 87, Heat 86
Sam Smith: Postgame analysis | Also: Bulls take their talents to South Beach
 

Game 60 | Bulls moving through Florida like a hurricane

Sam Smith (03.04.11): Forget trading Joakim Noah for Dwight Howard. You might not even want to trade Omer Asik for Howard. OK, let’s not get carried away. But the Bulls backup center from Turkey stood tall and stared down the game’s elite tough guy center on the way to a career-high 13 rebounds and a pair of blocks as the Bulls (42-18) beat the Magic 89-81. “I just try to do my job,” Asik said in a brief stop before leaving the locker room. Read the full story.

BullsTV recap | Box Score: Bulls 89, Magic 81
Sam Smith: Postgame analysis | Butler comes as Bulls ready to go
 

Game 59 | Bulls not so hot in Atlanta

Sam Smith (03.02.11): It was for the Bulls in an 83-80 loss to the Atlanta Hawks a tale of two halves. Nah, trite. It was a night when the Bulls with a 17-point halftime lead let their guard down. Their forwards and center were down as well. Bad joke. It was a game the Bulls played Rhett Butler (predictable Gone with the Wind reference) and frankly didn’t give a damn. That’s right, this game was so bad that it is taking the writing down with it. “We missed some shots at the end of the game,” offered Derrick Rose with an uncharacteristically poor game with five of 21 shooting and six turnovers. “I made some careless passes that led to fast breaks for them. This game was definitely on me." Read the full story.

BullsTV recap | Box Score: Hawks 83, Bulls 80
Sam Smith: Postgame analysis | Bulls hope Rasual Butler is lucky 13
 

Game 58 | Bulls dominate Wizards for easy win

Sam Smith (02.28.11): I don’t get many questions anymore about John Wall vs. Derrick Rose, and there’ll likely be even fewer after the Bulls' 105-77 win over the Washington Wizards with Rose dominating a mostly invisible Wall. “Derrick was terrific, 21 and nine, complete control of the game,” Bulls coach Tom Thibodeau agreed. “He’s got great vision, he’s so unselfish. He got us great shots all night long." Thibodeau explained it beautifully after the rout over the Wizards in which Rose orchestrated an easy win as the new X-factor, Luol Deng, had another strong game with 21 points, while Joakim Noah had 19 points and 11 rebounds. Read the full story.

BullsTV recap | Box Score: Bulls 105, Wizards 77 | Sam Smith: Postgame analysis
 

Game 57 | Bulls shoot past the Bucks

Sam Smith (02.26.11): Bulls coach Tom Thibodeau didn’t win the game against the Bucks, which the Bulls did, 83-75. Coaches don’t get anything in the box score. But it was one wonderful sequence late in the fourth quarter that guaranteed the game for the Bulls and gave a look at one big reason this Bulls team has responded so positively and performed above everyone’s expectations. They are now 40-17, on pace for 57 or 58 wins with 12 wins in their last 15 games. And at 12-0, they are on pace to become the first NBA team ever to sweep its division with four Central Division games left, all on the road. Read the full story.

BullsTV recap | Box Score: Bulls 83, Bucks 75 | Sam Smith: Postgame analysis
 

Game 56 | Bulls cool off the Heat

Sam Smith (02.24.11): On the day the Bulls didn’t do anything, they did something special and impressive. The Bulls in defeating the Miami Heat 93-89 outplayed the Heat, especially down the stretch, muscled them and made them back off, LeBron James closing the game with a wild three that missed and Chris Bosh retreating to a one-of-18 shooting night as he inched farther and farther from contact. The Bulls moved to 39-17 and within two games of both Miami and Boston in the East with the season tiebreaker over the Heat. And the Bulls did it not only with another superb game from Derrick Rose, who outdueled James down the stretch in the battle likely for this season’s MVP award, but the Bulls got big shots from Luol Deng and Kyle Korver in the closing minutes and a dominant, hustling performance from the team’s reserves. It was the last day of the regular season to make trades in the NBA, and the Bulls decided they might be just good enough as comprised. Read the full story.

BullsTV recap | Inside the Locker Room | Box Score: Bulls 93, Heat 89 | Photo Gallery
Sam Smith: Postgame analysis | Also: Deal or no deal? No for the Bulls
Also: Derrick Rose has Chris Bosh’s vote for MVP
LeBron and Wade looked forward Bulls re-match
 

Game 55 | Bulls go cold in Canada and lose to Raptors

Sam Smith (02.24.11): Maybe the Miami Heat players had extra large cuts at Gibsons after watching the game in their Chicago hotel and that will slow them down when they play the Bulls in the United Center. Because the way the Bulls lost 118-113 to the Toronto Raptors, the Bulls couldn’t slow down Michael Sweetney at Old Country Buffet. “I think the guys… we really wanted this,” said Derrick Rose, whose rally with 19 of his 32 points in the fourth quarter fell short. “If anything, we wanted this so we could go into that (Miami) game with a lot of confidence. Now we have to go into it very aggressively where we have to prove a point that we can play defense.” Read the full story.

BullsTV recap | Box Score: Raptors 118, Bulls 113
Sam Smith: Postgame analysis | Preparing for Toronto with Miami looming
 

Game 54 | Bulls take out league-leading Spurs

Sam Smith (02.17.11): It was a big game for the Bulls, as they defeated the league-leading San Antonio Spurs on national TV, 109-99. How big a game was it? So big that even Bulls coach Tom Thibodeau thought it was a big game. We know this because for the first time this season, Thibodeau called Derrick Rose into his office before the game and delivered a ranting, fiery motivational speech. Rose then set a career-high with 42 points against the 46-10 Spurs, who had been tearing through the NBA. Rose added eight assists and five rebound and shooting 18 of 28 with just one turnover against the usual traps and triple teams. Read the full story.

BullsTV recap | Inside the Locker Room | Box Score: Bulls 109, Spurs 66
Photo Gallery | Sam Smith: Postgame analysis
Also: Spurs’ Popovich the new model in coaching longevity
 

Game 53 | Bulls air it out against Bobcats

Sam Smith (02.15.11): What a perfect scene at the Bulls/Bobcats game at the United Center. The Bobcats were one of four teams in the NBA this season the Bulls had not defeated, and sitting just off his team’s bench was Charlotte owner Michael Jordan, the master of basketball vengeance. So what better occasion to deliver some, and to paraphrase the Talmud, which I rarely do and promise not to again, "Playing well is the greatest revenge." And so the Bulls did just long enough against a tiring team to beat the Bobcats 106-94 to move to 37-16 on the season. Read the full story.

BullsTV recap | Inside the Locker Room | Box Score: Bulls 106, Bobcats 94
Photo Gallery | Sam Smith: Postgame analysis
Also: Jordan claims usual spot next to Bobcats bench
 

Game 52 | Bulls beat Hornets; finish 3-2 on road trip

Sam Smith (02.12.11): It wasn’t Easy, but it was Big. The Bulls came back from a 12-point second half deficit to defeat the fading New Orleans Hornets 97-88 to finish their almost two week Western Conference trip 3-2 and return to 20 games above .500 at 36-16. The Bulls now have just one more Western Conference road game—in Minneapolis—and are a remarkable 19-8 with Joakim Noah out with a broken finger. Read the full story.

BullsTV recap | Box Score: Bulls 97, Hornets 88 | Sam Smith: Postgame analysis
 

Game 51 | Rose quiets the Jazz and boos for Booz

Sam Smith (02.09.11): The Bulls stole one against the Utah Jazz, literally, figuratively and not so convincingly, in a 91-86 victory. Still, it was enough to break a two game losing streak and some bitter hearts in Utah and leave the Bulls 2-2 on their road trip, 35-16 overall and one of four teams in the NBA without a three-game losing streak. “We’re still not playing well defensively,” noted Bulls coach Tom Thibodeau of the Jazz shooting 47.4 percent and with more open shots that missed. “But we did what we had to at the end of the game to come up with the win.” Read the full story.

BullsTV recap | Box Score: Bulls 91, Jazz 86 | Sam Smith: Postgame analysis
Boozer ready for the noise and all that Jazz | Korver snubbed for three-point shootout
 

Game 50 | Bulls don’t find promise in a Rose Garden

Sam Smith (02.07.11): The I-was-snubbed-and-I’ll-show-you tour continued in Portland, and once again the Bulls were victims of the injustice as well. After being lit up by Monta Ellis’ 33 points in a 101-90 loss, Portland’s LaMarcus Aldridge scored a career high 42 points, including 13 in the fourth quarter, to lead the Trail Blazers to a 109-103 victory. Portland scored a season high 34 points in the fourth quarter with just three players scoring--Aldridge, Andre Miller and Rudy Fernandez. The loss dropped the Bulls to 34-16 and 1-2 on their road trip. Read the full story.

BullsTV recap | Box Score: Trail Blazers 109, Bulls 103 | Sam Smith: Postgame analysis
 

 

Game 49 | Warriors beat Bulls with a plan

Sam Smith (02.05.11): Time to panic? Certainly not just because the Bulls lost 101-90 to the Golden State Warriors in the Oakland House of Horrors for the Bulls franchise. That’s right. It was here in 1985 when Michael Jordan suffered the only serious injury of his Bulls career, a broken foot, and where Jordan compiled his lowest scoring average. So the Bulls lost for the 10th time in the last 12 games here against traditionally poor Warriors teams, this one now 22-27. The Bulls fell to 34-15 with just their second loss in the last nine in ending a six game winning streak. No big deal, right? Road trip. Tough night. Motivated home team with guards Monta Ellis and Stephen Curry getting hot and combining for 56 points. It happens, right? Read the full story.

NBATV recap | Box Score: Warriors 101, Bulls 90 | Sam Smith: Postgame analysis
 

 

Game 48 | Bulls and Rose get some payback against Clippers

Sam Smith (02.02.11): That was like Michael Jordan for Derrick Rose in the Bulls' 106-88 victory over the Los Angeles Clippers. I know, I know. No one is supposed to do that. No comparisons to Jordan. Not fair. And, anyway, Jordan never missed a shot in his career and showed every fan to their seat and popped the corn before every game he ever played, so there cannot be any comparisons. But in Rose’s Hall of Fame induction speech, I assume he’s going to credit the Clippers and Dec. 18, 2010 for motivating him. “They beat us last time and I wanted revenge,” said Rose of the game when he missed a free throw with under a second that could have sent the game into overtime. To be accurate, Rose scored 34 points in that game and without him the Bulls (34-14) probably lose by 40. Read the full story.

BullsTV recap | Box Score: Bulls 106, Clippers 88
Sam Smith: Postgame analysis | Also: Bulls ready for five-game western trip
 

 

Game 47 | Bulls outshoot the Hoosiers

Sam Smith (01.29.11): You don’t usually have long conversations with Derrick Rose. So Bulls coach Tom Thibodeau wasn’t expecting much when he cornered Rose before Chicago's 110-89 victory over the Indiana Pacers. Rose had been diagnosed earlier this week with ulcers, and the pain hadn’t quite subsided. So Thibodeau just wanted to make sure. Yes, Thibodeau does live life one game at a time. He claimed after the game he still doesn’t know the Bulls record. Shhh, don’t let him hear. It’s now 33-14 with their eighth win in the last nine and 17 of 22. Read the full story.

BullsTV recap | Inside the Locker Room | Photo Gallery | Box Score: Bulls 110, Pacers 89
Sam Smith: Postgame analysis
Also: Johnson’s D-League stint off to a good start
 

 

Game 46 | Bulls make the Magic go poof, goodbye

Sam Smith (01.28.11): The big thing for the Bulls was defeating and outworking the Orlando Magic in a convincing 99-90 victory. “It was big,” agreed Luol Deng, who led the Bulls with 26 points, 24 in the second half. “This is one of the teams everyone in the NBA has as a contender. We want to beat those teams. We want to send a message (about our team).” So, indeed, the Bulls are beginning to in moving to 32-14 with wins over the Magic, Celtics and Heat, albeit at home, in the last month. The Bulls did so with Joakim Noah injured, and with Derrick Rose suffering through ulcers. Read the full story.

BullsTV recap | Inside the Locker Room | Photo Gallery | Box Score: Bulls 99, Magic 90
Sam Smith: Postgame analysis
Also: Mind over matter for Bulls’ Rose
 

 

Game 45 | Bulls beat their Wisconsin rival

Sam Smith (01.24.11): This kind of season for the Bulls, somewhat unexpected at 31-14 given the injuries to Carlos Boozer and Joakim Noah, makes basketball fun. And the Bulls were enjoying themselves after a 92-83 home win over the Milwaukee Bucks. Derrick Rose, who had 21 points and 10 assists, was laughing that he knew people older than teammate Kurt Thomas, but “definitely not (who are) playing. My brothers are younger than him and they’re retired already,” Rose said of the 38-year-old veteran who led the Bulls with 22 points. “I’m mad he’s not a little younger so I can play with him more. So I’ll cherish the times playing with him.” Read the full story.

BullsTV recap | Inside the Locker Room | Photo Gallery | Box Score: Bulls 92, Bucks 83
Sam Smith: Postgame analysis
Also: Don’t expect complacency from Bulls’ defense
 

 

Game 44 | Bulls, ho hum, win again, over Cavs

Sam Smith (01.22.11): It was still another game you wondered about the Bulls, even as they defeated the Cleveland Cavaliers (again Cadavers) 92-79. The Cavs, sort of walking dead with their 21st consecutive road loss, outrebounded the Bulls 51-48, including a brutal 18-7 on the offensive boards and 15-5 in second chance points. Make that a loss on the hustle board. Two of the Bulls starters combined for seven points in about 40 combined minutes, and back on the bench for the returning Carlos Boozer, Taj Gibson had just two points and two rebounds as the Cavs got within two with just over four minutes left. Read the full story.

BullsTV recap | Inside the Locker Room | Photo Gallery | Box Score: Bulls 92, Cavaliers 79
Sam Smith: Postgame analysis
Also: Boozer returns; Thibodeau calls Deng “invaluable”
 

 

Game 43 | Derrick does in Dallas

Sam Smith (01.20.11): Derrick Rose has this dream. Just to be a point guard, to run the team, make the pass and watch his teammates swish shot after shot. Oh, would that be sweet. So it was halftime of the Bulls’ eventual 82-77 victory over the Dallas Mavericks, and Rose wasn’t feeling too badly. The Bulls (29-14) had just finished a strong 16-5 close over the last 4:31 on a Rose three. Kurt Thomas had a follow basket, Kyle Korver a jumper, Omer Asik a pair of free throws, Ronnie Brewer a jumper and Korver another. It would be the Bulls’ biggest lead of the game, 44-35, but coach Tom Thibodeau wasn’t happy. Read the full story.

BullsTV recap | Inside the Locker Room | Photo Gallery | Box Score: Bulls 82, Mavericks 77
Sam Smith: Postgame analysis
Also: Boozer misses third straight game, but close to return
 

 

Game 42 | Bobcats beat Bulls for second time in a week

Sam Smith (01.18.11): It’s a simple game, basketball is, really, to paraphrase Bull Durham. You shoot, you dribble, you pass. Sometimes you win, sometimes you lose, sometimes the season catches up with you. Think about that for a while. That’s sort of what occurred at the United Center when the Bulls (28-14) had all the breaks they could ask for in the closing seconds, but could not make a last shot and lost to the Charlotte Bobcats 83-82. “We had plenty of time to win the game,” said Derrick Rose, who had 33 points, while the rest of the starters combined for 28. Read the full story.

BullsTV recap | Inside the Locker Room | Photo Gallery | Box Score: Bobcats 83, Bulls 82
Sam Smith: Postgame analysis
Also: Kyle Korver’s persistence paying off from the perimeter
 

 

Game 41 | Rose's triple-double powers Bulls' victory

Sam Smith (01.17.11): That was a very big win for the Bulls, 96-84 in Memphis. Not necessarily because it was Martin Luther King Day, though it’s an honor to win at the site of the primary celebration. And, really, it’s not a particularly good Grizzlies team, just 19-22 and riddled with selfishness that’s likely to lead to the team’s breakup after the season. And it wasn’t really significant, though a nice milestone, that Derrick Rose back where he played college basketball had 22 points, 12 assists and 10 rebounds for his first career triple-double. Read the full story.

BullsTV recap | Box Score: Bulls 96, Grizzlies 84 | Sam Smith: Postgame analysis
 

 

Game 40 | Bulls beat Heat in Rose and Wade Show

Sam Smith (01.15.11): That 99-96 Bulls victory over the Miami Heat in the United Center was fun. But it didn’t mean that much with LeBron James not playing and Chris Bosh hurt in the third quarter, though it may mean something for the Bulls (27-13) ahead as Carlos Boozer sprained his left ankle as Kyle Korver hit the game winning three pointer with 25.5 seconds remaining. Read the full story.

BullsTV recap | Inside the Locker Room | Photo Gallery | Box Score: Bulls 99, Heat 96
Sam Smith: Postgame analysis | Also: LeBron out and the Heat likely not upset
LeBron James inactive vs. Bulls | Also: Heat’s Wade: Bulls have what you need to contend
 

 

Game 39 | Bulls set the pace in Indiana

Sam Smith (01.14.11): It was one of those rare, meaningful regular season games, as the Bulls disposed of the Indiana Pacers, 99-86. The victory, propelled by Derrick Rose’s 29 points and 10 rebounds and an aggressive and active team defense against a relatively disinterested opponent, raised the Bulls record to 26-13, just three games behind the Heat. And now with a comfortable nine-game Central Division lead over the second place Pacers. It’s quite the remarkable run for the Bulls, on a pace for 54 wins even without Carlos Boozer and the still injured Joakim Noah effectively playing together this season given Boozer’s early season broken hand. Read the full story.

BullsTV recap | Box Score: Bulls 99, Pacers 86 | Sam Smith: Postgame analysis
 

 

Game 38 | Road gets Bulls again in Charlotte

Sam Smith (01.12.11): Bulls coach Tom Thibodeau has often explained the elements of a basketball game to be the first and last five minutes of each half, and once again the Bulls were missing those first five minutes, and the result was their fourth road loss in the last five away games, 96-91 to the Charlotte Bobcats. The loss, which dropped the Bulls to 25-13, also was the third consecutive road loss to a team at least seven games under .500. And once again, for the seventh consecutive game—every game this month—the Bulls trailed midway through the first quarter, this time 20-9 on the way to falling behind 36-22 after one quarter. Read the full story.

BullsTV recap | Box Score: Bobcats 96, Bulls 91 | Sam Smith: Postgame analysis
 

 

Game 37 | Bulls and Rose dunk Pistons

Sam Smith (01.10.11): It’s difficult to explain Derrick Rose. Which is a good thing, because there’s really never been a basketball player like him. And it was manifest in the United Center during the Bulls 95-82 victory over the Detroit Pistons. “I just went up and got it,” Rose said of the spectacular fourth quarter dunk that preceded an 11-3 Bulls run that finished the Pistons for the night. “Ronny threw it up. Simple one hand dunk. I don’t know how I caught it. I was just in the moment.” That moment frozen in time for anyone who witnessed it was the final impetus to take the Bulls to 25-12 as Rose finished with 29 points and seven assists. Carlos Boozer added 27 points and 11 rebounds, and the Bulls recovered from an inefficient first half defensive effort when they trailed 55-43 at halftime to pitch the NBA version of a shutout, holding the Pistons to 27 second half points. Read the full story.

BullsTV recap | Inside the Locker Room | Photo Gallery | Box Score: Bulls 95, Pistons 82
Sam Smith: Postgame analysis | Also: A shooting guard is back in the UC
Rose keeps attacking, finally gets to the line
 

 

Game 36 | Bulls enjoy some Chicago baked Celtics

Sam Smith (01.08.11): That was the defense Bulls coach Tom Thibodeau has been talking about. And, frankly, it continues to be remarkable that the Bulls (24-12), without any elite level individual defender, can shut down a top team as they did in defeating the Eastern Conference leading Boston Celtics 90-79. “We lost two games back to back,” noted Derrick Rose who, oh by the way, was magnificent with 36 points and career highs of 15 of 19 free throws. “It hurts. Our defense was kind of iffy (in New Jersey and Philadelphia). But tonight I think we played well especially on the help side and making sure all their shots were contested.” Read the full story.

BullsTV recap | Inside the Locker Room | Photo Gallery | Box Score: Bulls 90, Celtics 79
Sam Smith: Postgame analysis
Also: Rivers believes Thibodeau will merit Coach of the Year consideration
 

 

Game 35 | Bulls offensive mostly to their coach

Sam Smith (01.07.11): Here’s the worrisome part for the Bulls (23-12) about losing their second straight, 105-99 to the Philadelphia 76ers. Their best players, Derrick Rose, Carlos Boozer and Luol Deng, played their best. Yes, yes, I know. Coach Tom Thibodeau and about everyone else said the lack of aggressive defense was the problem as the 76ers, whom the Bulls beat by 45 points last month, shot an opponent best 56.3 percent, but more than 65 percent through the first three quarters. “I’m confused,” said Rose, who had 27 points and nine assists. “We’ve just got to find a way, get everybody on the same page. We’re not stopping people. They’re scoring at will now. We’ve got to get back to ourselves.” Read the full story.

BullsTV recap | Box Score: 76ers 105, Bulls 99 | Sam Smith: Postgame analysis
 

 

Game 34 | Bulls unable to counter Nyet threat

Sam Smith (01.05.11): You know how it is when rivals like the Bulls and Nets get together. You can throw away the record books. Or in the Bulls' case in Newark, you can just throw away the game. A shaky all around effort, Carlos Boozer benched the fourth quarter for apparent defensive inefficiency, the Bulls left to scramble late without a timeout after giving up the winning layup on an offensive rebound, Derrick Rose pulling up for an off balance three when he maybe could have driven for a tying two, a pair of Luol Deng free throw misses with 34.8 seconds left and trailing by two, out run by the 10-25 Nets, also outrebounded, out shot from the field and three point line and with a paltry 17 assists, barely above the season low. All that the Bulls still only lost 96-94 when Sasha Vujacic picked up a deflected pass to Brook Lopez with 5.3 seconds and laid it in. Read the full story.

BullsTV recap | Box Score: Nets 94, Bulls 96 | Sam Smith: Postgame analysis
 

 

Game 33 | Bulls have plenty in reserve to beat Raptors

Sam Smith (01.04.11): The Bulls reserves basically took over the game against a lame Toronto Raptors team, which pretty much looked like owl bait much of the game, and defeated the Raptors 111-91 to improve to 23-10 on the season. “Top to bottom, everybody played great,” said Carlos Boozer with a quiet 12 points and 13 rebounds in less than 25 minutes as the starters other than Luol Deng sat out the fourth quarter. “Everybody contributed. After the first quarter, we started playing great defense and got a big lead (59-41 at half)." Read the full story.

BullsTV recap | Inside the Locker Room | Photo Gallery | Box Score: Bulls 111, Raptors 91
Sam Smith: Postgame analysis | Also: Noah working to maintain his conditioning while sidelined
 

 

Game 32 | Bulls keep it going against reeling Cavs

Sam Smith (01.01.11): The Bulls won their 13th game in the last 15, 100-91 over the depleted Cleveland Cavaliers, 8-25 and missing three starters and with 14 consecutive road losses. Although the Bulls are running away with the Central Division at 22-10 and are on pace for the best record for a Bulls team since 1997-98, the Bulls are just 8-7 against teams with winning records and the same mark on the road. They are a comfortable date now, a warm feeling and nice company, but no one really is taking a second look quite yet. Read the full story.

BullsTV recap | Inside the Locker Room | Photo Gallery | Box Score: Bulls 100, Cavaliers 91
Sam Smith: Postgame analysis
 

 

Game 31 | Bulls welcome New Year disposing of Nets

Sam Smith (12.31.10): The Bulls' 90-81 victory on New Year’s Eve over the New Jersey Nets hardly disturbed anyone, still another torpid affair of poor shooting—neither team above 40 percent—and leisurely pace. “A win is a win,” said Derrick Rose, who had 19 points and nine assists. It’s OK, really, because the Bulls raised their record to 21-10, a 55-win pace playing basically all season without either Carlos Boozer, who led the team with 20 points and 15 rebounds, or Joakim Noah, who took a break from cheering from the bench to spend a quarter with the broadcasting team of Neil Funk and Bill Wennington. Read the full story.

BullsTV recap | Inside the Locker Room | Photo Gallery | Box Score: Bulls 90, Nets 81
Sam Smith: Postgame analysis | Also: Nets’ Johnson likes Bulls’ 1-2 punch of Rose and Boozer
 

 

Game 30 | Bulls buck up and beat Milwaukee

Sam Smith (12.28.10): The Bulls defeated the Milwaukee Bucks 90-77. That was good. The Bulls did so with still another relatively prosaic effort, mostly grind-it-out half court basketball with way too many jump shots and limited movement for most of the game that was bailed out by some very good defense. That was not so good. So the Bulls moved to 20-10, the third best record in the Eastern Conference with their 11th win in the last 13 games. That is very good. But once again they strained for ways to score and were fortunate Carlos Boozer and Luol Deng, who led with 24 points each, were making shots as the Bucks were another team that shrunk the court and dared the Bulls to make jump shots to beat them. Read the full story.

BullsTV recap | Inside the Locker Room | Photo Gallery | Box Score: Bulls 90, Bucks 77
Sam Smith: Postgame analysis | Also: As he did for the Bucks, Kurt Thomas answering the call
 

 

Game 29 | Misfiring Bulls beat Pistons in overtime

Sam Smith (12.26.10): It was just like old times in Detroit as the Bulls battled the Pistons to overtime, finally hanging on for a bruising 95-92 victory. Except it wasn’t exactly Jordan and Isiah and Scottie and Rodman, but Mark Landsberger and Ollie Johnson and Leon Douglas and Ben Poquette. This one was badly played, badly coached, probably badly written, watched by few and admired by none. “Sometimes you have to win ugly,” said Carlos Boozer, who saved the Bulls with another big game, 31 points and 11 rebounds, Boozer averaging 29 points and 13.3 rebounds on the 2-1 road trip. Read the full story.

Sam Smith: Postgame analysis | BullsTV recap | Box Score: Bulls 95, Pistons 92


 

Game 28 | Bulls prove a kind holiday guest for Knicks

Sam Smith (12.25.10): There was some good news for the Bulls (18-10) in their 103-95 Christmas Day loss in New York. The way they played, they just might get next Christmas Day off. “It’s too bad we didn’t get the win,” said Derrick Rose, who did all he could in working on the rarest of games, a quintuple-double with 25 points, eight assists, seven rebounds, seven turnovers and six steals. Read the full story.

BullsTV recap | Box Score: Knicks 103, Bulls 95
Sam Smith: Postgame analysis | Bulls and Knicks one rivalry that knows Christmas
 

 

Game 27 | Bulls bring a strong defense to Washington

Sam Smith (12.22.10): You hear all the time about the ugliness in the nation’s capital, the recalcitrant Congress, the political attacks on the White House, the Bulls/Wizards game. “A win is a win no matter what,” said Derrick Rose. “They are a good team and we still came here and got a win.” The Wizards are not a good team, now 7-20, though Derrick is too polite to say so. And the Bulls did get a win, 87-80, to raise their record to 18-9 behind a near triple double from Carlos Boozer with 30 points, 10 rebounds and seven assists and 25 points and 10 trips to the free throw line from Rose. Read the full story.

BullsTV recap | Box Score: Bulls 87, Wizards 80
Sam Smith: Postgame analysis
 

 

Game 26 | Bulls hold 76ers to 76 and win by 45

Sam Smith (12.21.10): Yes, the Bulls against the Philadelphia 76ers blew a 51-point lead, but ended up winning 121-76. “We penetrated on offense, played good defense,” said Derrick Rose, who along with Luol Deng led the Bulls (17-9) with 22 points while adding 12 assists and zero turnovers. “Our help side defense was really there tonight. We made sure that everybody jumped their shots and then we got out and ran.” And left the 76ers, who had won eight of 11, pretty much run out of the building. Read the full story.

BullsTV recap | Inside the Locker Room | Photo Gallery | Box Score: Bulls 121, 76ers 76
Sam Smith: Postgame analysis
Also: Doug Collins’ emphasis on defense paying off for Sixers
 

 

Game 25 | Bulls clipped by Vinny and his cast

Sam Smith (12.18.10): Well, that didn’t go so well. No, not Derrick Rose missing the second of two free throws with 0.8 left that enabled the Los Angeles Clippers in Vinny Del Negro’s return to escape with a 100-99 win over the Bulls (16-9) and end Chicago's seven-game winning streak. This was the Bulls’ first game without Joakim Noah, who will be out about two months after thumb surgery. Read the full story.

BullsTV recap | Inside the Locker Room | Photo Gallery | Box Score: Clippers 100, Bulls 99
Sam Smith: Postgame analysis
Also: Vinny Del Negro returns to Chicago
 

 

Game 24 | Bulls win, but Noah to have surgery

Sam Smith (12.15.10): The Bulls left the United States for a game with the Toronto Raptors with a winning streak and a potential All-Star center. They come back after defeating the Raptors Wednesday 110-93 with a seventh straight victory, but no starting center. Customs may have gotten tougher. That’s because the Bulls (16-8) announced as soon as the game ended that Joakim Noah will have surgery to repair a torn ligament in his thumb and should miss eight to 10 weeks, keeping him out into mid-March. Read the full story.

BullsTV recap | Box Score: Bulls 110, Raptors 93
Sam Smith: Postgame analysis
Also: Noah has successful surgery on his right thumb
 

 

Game 23 | Rose and Bulls pick selves up to beat Pacers

Sam Smith (12.13.10): Joakim Noah paused and went silent after talking to reporters as Derrick Rose stepped from the shower into the locker room late after the Bulls had defeated the Indiana Pacers 92-73. Rose shuffled toward his locker stall, moving cautiously, his right arm hanging limp. Rose, seemingly the fastest man alive, certainly with a basketball in his hand, would fold himself into his chair and begin trying to pull his socks on using only his left hand. Noah would quickly, though, try to lighten the mood because he’s been having a ball ballin’, as it were. That was six straight wins for the Bulls (15-8), playing their best basketball in four years, five straight opponents scoring 90 points or fewer and four of the last five shooting below 40 percent. Read the full story.

BullsTV recap | Inside the Locker Room | Photo Gallery | Box Score: Bulls 92, Pacers 73
Sam Smith: Postgame analysis
Also: Pacers’ Granger out vs. Bulls with sprained left ankle
 

 

Game 22 | Bulls hit a high note against Timberwolves

Sam Smith (12.11.10): The Bulls’ runaway 113-82 victory over the Minnesota Timberwolves at the United Center was the kind of game the team might like to sing about. Perhaps some combination of “Takin’ Care of Business,” that being the firing on all cylinders win, to “This Could be the Start of Something Big,” the upcoming schedule has the Bulls (14-8) playing just one team with a winning record, the Knicks on Christmas Day, in the next 13 games. Read the full story.

BullsTV recap | Inside the Locker Room | Photo Gallery | Box Score: Bulls 113, Timberwolves 82
Sam Smith: Postgame analysis
Also: Thibodeau wants Bulls to ‘fight from the start’
 

 

Game 21 | Rose puts on a show for the Lake Show

Sam Smith (12.10.10): This time it was the United Center crowd late in the Bulls 88-84 victory over the Los Angeles Lakers chanting “MVP, MVP.” The chants when the Lakers play are routinely reserved for Kobe Bryant. Though in the Bulls’ impressive comeback victory, it was a rising tide of acclaim surfacing for Derrick Rose, who led the Bulls (13-8) with 29 points and nine assists and was the best player in the building. “We beat the champions,” said Rose. Read the full story.

BullsTV recap | Inside the Locker Room | Photo Gallery | Box Score: Bulls 88, Lakers 84
Sam Smith: Postgame analysis
Also: Phil Jackson: Bulls are ‘serious about winning’
Kobe Bryant: Rose’s ‘killer instinct’ gives him an edge
 

 

Game 20 | Rose rocks and rolls in Cleveland

Sam Smith (12.09.10): On a snowing and miserable night in Cleveland, in a game that will be little noted nor long remembered, Derrick Rose may finally have won the battle over whether he can be that closer, that MVP guy for the Bulls. “He’s a blur,” lamented Cavs coach Byron Scott on the short end of his team’s best game in weeks, an 88-83 come from ahead loss to the Bulls (12-8). Rose finished with 29 points, eight assists and four rebounds, but it was how he finished that showed who he has become in his third season. Read the full story.

BullsTV recap | Box Score: Bulls 88, Cavaliers 83
Sam Smith: Postgame analysis | Say it ain’t so, Jo
 

 

Game 19 | Boozer arrives and Bulls thrive vs. Thunder

Sam Smith (12.06.10): Carlos Boozer showed up as advertised and the Bulls (11-8) secured a solid win over the Oklahoma City Thunder at the United Center, 99-90. Boozer, in just his fourth game since breaking his hand in training camp, had 29 points and 12 rebounds, his little fadeaway jumper going and Boozer finding plenty of open space diving for the rim and making sweet string music working in concert with Derrick Rose. Read the full story.

BullsTV recap | Inside the Locker Room | Photo Gallery | Box Score: Bulls 99, Thunder 90
Sam Smith: Postgame analysis
Also: Thunder’s Durant calls Rose a ‘phenomenal worker’
 

 

Game 18 | Rose’s dramatic tying three saves the day

Sam Smith (12.04.10): Derrick Rose continued to add pages to his scrapbook of thrills with a straight away 25-footer as the regulation buzzer was sounding to save the Bulls from a third consecutive defeat. The Bulls (10-8), led by Rose’s 30 points and Carlos Boozer’s 25, went on to survive the Houston Rockets, 119-116 in overtime in the United Center. “I think that was the first time I’ve celebrated this whole year after I shot a shot,” a determined Rose said after utterly willing the Bulls to this shaky come from ahead victory. “It felt good knowing that I’m capable of knocking down shots like that.” Read the full story.

BullsTV recap | Inside the Locker Room | Photo Gallery | Box Score: Bulls 119, Rockets 116 (OT)
Sam Smith: Postgame analysis
Also: Thibodeau: Bulls missing their edge defensively
 

 

Game 17 | Bulls looked good in Boston--until opening tip

Sam Smith (12.03.10): Well, I wouldn’t say the Bulls’ 104-92 loss to the Boston Celtics went too badly. The only real problems I saw were the Bulls' offense, defense, rebounding, toughness, starters and the team's response. The spirit and resolve from that impressive November road trip seems long gone as Kevin Garnett battered Joakim Noah and Carlos Boozer inside for 20 points, 17 rebounds and six assists, and Rajon Rondo constantly blew by Derrick Rose for a dozen points and 19 assists, many that left you just gasping with envy. Read the full story.

BullsTV recap | Box Score: Celtics 104, Bulls 92 | Sam Smith: Postgame analysis
 

 

Game 16 | Bulls need to rebound after loss to Magic

Sam Smith (12.01.10): It was a bad night for the Bulls (9-7) against the Orlando Magic in the United Center. So how bad was it? It was so bad that it was Joakim Noah bobblehead night. And Noah’s bobblehead got the same number of rebounds that Noah got. Zero. “They beat us in every facet of the game,” offered a restrained coach Tom Thibodeau of the Magic’s 107-78 destruction of the Bulls, which included a Bulls franchise-low 21 rebounds from the second leading rebounding team in the NBA (before Wednesday). “Our lack of rebounding was giving them second shots, a lot came from their dribble penetration. We were not good in the low post defense, pick and roll defense, and rebounding.” Read the full story.

BullsTV recap | Inside the Locker Room | Photo Gallery | Box Score: Magic 107, Bulls 78
Sam Smith: Postgame analysis
Also: Boozer makes Bulls debut vs. Magic
 

 

Game 15 | Bulls come home from road trip as winners

Sam Smith (11.27.10): The Bulls (9-6) finished perhaps the franchise’s best month since the Michael Jordan championship years, not necessarily in record, but in commitment and promise with still another rugged and unlikely comeback victory, 96-85 over the Sacramento Kings. With Derrick Rose scoring 30 points coming off a missed game with a sore neck, Luol Deng fighting for 22 points with 14 trips to the free throw line and a fourth quarter defensive effort that was the basketball version of a goal line stand, the Bulls came from 16 down to close the feared and fabled November road trip with a 4-3 record. Read the full story.

BullsTV recap | Box Score: Bulls 96, Kings 85 | Sam Smith: Postgame analysis
 

 

Game 14 | Carmelo downs Bulls in dramatic finish

Sam Smith (11.26.10): Tom Thibodeau coached a heck of a good game in Denver with Derrick Rose out with a stiff neck, Carlos Boozer yet to play and Taj Gibson struggling on a bad ankle and ineffective. Thibodeau roused the Bulls (8-6) from a disastrous start when they fell behind 24-7 and again 56-38 to open the third quarter. He refused to believe the Bulls weren’t the better team and it seemed to inspire his players. But then came the last 24 seconds of the game with the Bulls with the ball and inexplicably leading 97-96, though on the way to a dispiriting 98-97 defeat. Read the full story.

BullsTV recap | Box Score: Nuggets 98, Bulls 97
Sam Smith: Postgame analysis | Also: Bulls sign Lucas as Rose suffers stiff neck 

 

Game 13 | Bulls score improbable and inspired victory in Phoenix

Sam Smith (11.24.10): The Bulls (8-5) came up with an improbable and inspired victory, going to double overtime—not taking their first lead in the game until the first overtime—and defeating the Phoenix Suns 123-115 behind 35 points, 12 rebounds and seven assists from Rose; 17 points, 15 rebounds and five assists from Noah; 26 points and 10 assists from Luol Deng; and a season high 24 points off the bench from Kyle Korver. Read the full story.

BullsTV recap | Box Score: Bulls 123, Suns 115 (2OT) | Sam Smith: Postgame analysis
 

 

Game 12 | Lakers have plenty in reserve for Bulls

Sam Smith (11.23.10): The Bulls (7-5) had it going for a long time against the defending champion Los Angeles Lakers. Joakim Noah was dominating Pau Gasol, often bullying the Lakers center under the basket and out of bounds as tougher guys once did to Noah. Derrick Rose was making a seen-it-all Hollywood crowd stand and gasp at his dramatic movements to the basket. Taj Gibson, playing through a foot injury, was grinding away and filling in the gaps. But, in the end, there wasn’t enough in reserve for the Bulls or on the wings but a miss and a prayer, fading in the last eight minutes after taking a lead and losing 98-91. Read the full story.

BullsTV recap | Box Score: Lakers 98, Bulls 91
Sam Smith: Postgame analysis
Also: Can’t anyone here make a free shot? | C.J. Watson making the adjustment
 

 

Game 11 |Bulls pick selves up and take down Dallas

Sam Smith (11.19.10): Derrick Rose was bloodied, but Taj Gibson would not be bowed. So in the end, it was the Dallas Mavericks who were beaten 88-83, clearly the Bulls’ (7-4) best win of the young season and a rare winning trip through the feared NBA Texas Triangle. “What was exciting was we’re playing good basketball against an elite team like Dallas,” said Joakim Noah, who inspired a comeback from a 12-point third quarter deficit and finished with 10 points, 17 rebounds and five assists. “To come here without one of our monsters (Carlos Boozer), our potential is pretty scary." Read the full story.

BullsTV recap | Box Score: Bulls 88, Mavericks 83
Sam Smith: Postgame analysis
Also: Boozer close to practicing, not yet playing
 

 

Game 10 |Bulls blow 17-point lead and lose to Spurs

Sam Smith (11.17.10): Coaches have these little markers in games they use as indicators of how their team is playing and what they can expect. The Bulls (6-4) were in those segments average to horrific, which, at least to Coach Tom Thibodeau, went a long way toward explaining a 103-94 loss to the San Antonio Spurs in a game that seemed there for the taking with the Bulls with a 17-point lead late in the second quarter. “We had it going,” said Derrick Rose, who tried in vain to rally the Bulls back with 13 fourth quarter points in his game high 33. “But they are too good a team and they stopped it. We had them.” Read the full story.

BullsTV recap | Box Score: Spurs 103, Bulls 94
Sam Smith: Postgame analysis
Also: Rose’s free throw–to make or not to make
 

 

Game 9 |Houston, you had a Rose problem

Sam Smith (11.16.10): It’s now official. Derrick Rose is unguardable. We kind of thought so before. But when Rose also makes the three-pointer, as he did three times in the fourth quarter when he scored 17 of his 33 points in the Bulls' 95-92 win over the Houston Rockets, it’s time to git along little doggies. How 'bout them Bullies, now 6-3 on the season? Read the full story.

BullsTV recap | Box Score: Bulls 95, Rockets 92
Sam Smith: Postgame analysis
Also: Bulls get ready to begin road trip
 

 

Game 8 | Bulls ready for road after beating Wizards

Sam Smith (11.13.10): Let’s get this out of the way first so we can get on with the games. Derrick Rose is better than John Wall, way better. No, not because Rose had 24 points and eight assists while Wall had 16 points and six assists in the first regular season matchup of the two No. 1 overall draft picks as the Bulls (5-3) defeated the Washington Wizards 103-96... read the full story.

BullsTV recap | Inside the Locker Room | Photo Gallery | Box Score: Bulls 103, Wizards 96
Sam Smith: Postgame analysis
Also: First chapter of Rose-Wall matchup ensues
 

 

Game 7 | Bulls enjoy a laugher over Warriors

Sam Smith (11.11.10): The Bulls absolutely destroyed the Warriors, 120-90, in a game the Bulls never led by fewer than 20 points after early in the second quarter. Yes, it was a big time laugher at the United Center as Luol Deng had 26 points, 11 rebounds, six assists and two of the Bulls’ 10 blocks (quick, trade him!), Derrick Rose had 22 points and 13 assists, the Bulls (4-3) established a franchise record with just seven personal fouls... read the full story.

BullsTV recap | Inside the Locker Room | Photo Gallery | Box Score: Bulls 120, Warriors 90
Sam Smith: Postgame analysis
Also: All in the family: Yannick gives Joakim a boost
Golden State’s Lee excited to be with the Warriors
 

 

Game 6 | Carmelo can’t beat Bulls or join them

Sam Smith (11.08.10): The Bulls with Joakim Noah and Taj Gibson, but without Carlos Boozer, defeated the Denver Nuggets at the United Center 94-92. So let’s consider a hypothetical or three. Say the Bulls (3-3) traded Joakim Noah, as the Nuggets most prefer, for Anthony, who led Denver with 32 points, though just six in the fourth quarter? Read the full story.

BullsTV recap | Inside the Locker Room | Photo Gallery | Box Score: Bulls 94, Nuggets 92
Sam Smith: Postgame analysis
Also: Nuggets’ Karl expects Boozer to help Bulls take next step
 

 

Game 5 | Bulls defiant despite loss in Boston

Sam Smith (11.05.10): These Bulls (2-3) players are trying really hard, trying so hard they seem consumed with anger and defiance after losses, like this tough 110-105 overtime defeat against the Boston Celtics... read the full story.

BullsTV recap | Box Score: Celtics 110, Bulls 105 (OT)
Sam Smith: Postgame analysis
 

 

Game 4 | Bulls lose as Rose and Noah watch, too

Sam Smith (11.04.10): Madison Square Garden caved in the other day, but it turns out it was the Bulls (2-2) having the roof fall in on them. It was in the form of an astounding display of three point shooting by the New York Knicks, who were 16 of 24 on threes (they shot 42 percent on twos) and led from the middle of the first quarter on and defeated the Bulls 120-112... read the full story.

BullsTV recap | Inside the Locker Room | Photo Gallery | Box Score: Knicks 120, Bulls 112
Sam Smith: Postgame analysis
More at Blogs.Bulls.com: Back in broadcasting, TNT's Kerr high on Bulls’ future
 

 

Game 3 | Bulls have Deng good time in beating Blazers

Sam Smith (11.01.10): It wasn’t a great start to the season for Luol Deng, averaging just 11 points and two rebounds, shooting 30.4 percent after a promising preseason which seemed a harbinger of better things to come. But he hardly missed any shots as Deng set a career high with 40 points on 14 of 19 shooting in the Bulls’ (2-1) relatively one sided 110-98 victory over the previously undefeated Portland Trail Blazers... read the full story.

BullsTV recap | Inside the Locker Room | Photo Gallery | Box Score: Bulls 110, Trail Blazers 98
Sam Smith: Postgame analysis | Also: Maurice Lucas should have led Bulls to ’75 title
Also: Containing Blazers’ Roy takes a team effort
 

 

Game 2 | Bulls come from 21 down to beat Pistons

Sam Smith (10.30.10): It was the home opener for the Bulls (1-1) in the United Center, and it was the beginning of a season long celebration of the 20th anniversary of the franchise’s first NBA title. So Derrick Rose played his part perfectly in the Bulls’ thrilling 101-91 comeback victory from 21 down and 15 behind in the fourth quarter... read the full story.

BullsTV recap | Inside the Locker Room | Photo Gallery | Box Score: Bulls 101, Pistons 91
Sam Smith: Postgame analysis | Also: Bulls continue dominance over Pistons at home
 

 

Game 1 | Bulls not so OK against Thunder in opener

Sam Smith (10.27.10): And so the Bulls’ 2010-11 season began with a loss, not so surprisingly against a tough Oklahoma City Thunder team, 106-95. It would have been something of an upset to win given the road circumstances and playing without Carlos Boozer, though the Bulls (0-1) were right there, trailing just 93-91 with just over three minutes remaining... read the full story.

BullsTV recap | Box Score: Thunder 106, Bulls 95
Sam Smith: Postgame analysis | Boozer says Rose is going to be the league’s best