On Tuesday night in Chicago, Derrick Rose did for the Bulls what he's done all year, and unfortunately for the Atlanta Hawks, he had some help from teammates like Taj Gibson this time.
Rose scored 33 points to carry Chicago, and it was his usual dizzying ensemble that left Atlanta searching for answers. But as impressive as Rose was, it was still a two-point game coming into the fourth quarter. Everything changed in that last quarter, though, when the Bulls used a 26-15 run to leave the Hawks in the dust, and bring themselves one step closer to a potential matchup with the Miami Heat (or Boston Celtics, technically) in the Conference Finals.
But after Rose carried Chicago throughout most of the first three quarters, it was Taj Gibson who came alive during that fourth quarter run. He scored 11 of his points in the final frame, while the combination of Gibson and Omar Asik next to Luol Deng and Ronnie Brewer turned into the Bulls' best defensive unit of the night.
For Chicago coach Tom Thibodeau, it was a risk to bench stars like Carlos Boozer and Joakim Noah in favor guys like Gibson and Asik, but it was a risk that paid off about as well as you could ever hope for. And for Derrick Rose it's another great game where he generates most of the offense. But this time he had some help on offense and defense, and it turns out, that could be enough for Chicago to go a long way this year.