The United Center was the right place for fans of defense on Tuesday night, as the Chicago Bulls and Charlotte Bobcats combined to shoot 39.6 percent in a '90s throwback game. The Bobcats came away with the 83-82 victory on account of not having the ball last.
The bad shooting seen here makes the jokes necessary; all told, this was a huge test for the Bobcats, and a loss would have been understood but disappointing. The loss is disappointing for Chicago, who again played without either of its big money big men, as Carlos Boozer mended while Joakim Noah remains on the shelf. But the Bulls beat the Grizzlies without Boozer on Monday, and they were at home for this contest. It didn't matter. Chicago got shockingly little offense from any of the three true big men (Kurt Thomas, Taj Gibson and Omer Asik) who played, Luol Deng had an off night (2-11 shooting) and Derrick Rose, wonderful as he was, couldn't squeeze enough out.
Rose scored 33, more than double that of the highest-scoring Bobcat (D.J. Augustin, with 15). What Charlotte lacked in star power on offense was made up for with a lack of disastrous shooting by any one (or five) players. The Bobcats were just sort of generally inefficient. That was enough to keep them in this game, and that was enough to allow Tyrus Thomas to be a champion in his old stomping grounds.
T-Time, the former maligned Bull who is now a maligned Bobcat, blocked a Kyle Korver lay-up with just seconds left to preserve Charlotte's one-point lead; a desperate heave by Rose after the inbounds wouldn't fall, granting the Bobcats a victory. Defense!
Rufus On Fire relishes the improbable and satisfying victory. Blog-a-Bull lays some of the blame on exhaustion for the busy Bulls.