Derrick Rose Stars, But Chicago Bulls' Bench Is Difference Vs. Hawks

Tuesday's Game 5 between the Chicago Bulls and Atlanta Hawks was a classic Derrick Rose 2011 MVP game, in that Rose piled up great numbers (33 points, nine assists), but got a huge assist from unknown forces that made a big difference in the game's outcome. Those unknown forces change every night, because the Bulls are deep, well-coached and tremendous defensively.

On this night, those forces were Ronnie Brewer, Taj Gibson and Omer Asik. Those three players were in with Rose and Luol Deng, and together, they won the game in the fourth quarter. 

Gibson checked in to create the lineup with just over one minute in the third quarter and the Bulls trailing by one. The lineup was broken up with just over one minute left in the fourth quarter and the Bulls leading by 14. During that stretch, the Bulls outscored the Hawks 32-17. Rose and Deng combined for 17 of those 32 points, but what was more difficult to notice to the naked eye was the degree to which Gibson, Brewer and Asik contributed defensively. They jumped in passing lanes, were always in position to help and held the Hawks' frontcourt of Josh Smith and Al Horford to just six points in the final 13 minutes.

Rose was Rose down the stretch, sure, but Rose was pretty good before that lineup change too and the Bulls weren't winning. It was only once Tom Thibodeau decided to trust his bench (and keep them in instead of going back to the starters) that the Bulls pulled away for the big Game 5 win.

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