Bulls' 'Bench Mob' getting it done
DETROIT -- Derrick Rose may be far and away the most popular and important Bull, but the seven guys who begin the game on the bench cheering for aren't lacking for love either. The Bulls' reserves -- specifically, Ronnie Brewer, Kyle Korver, C.J. Watson, Taj Gibson, Kurt Thomas and Omer Asik -- have developed a cult-like following over the past couple of months because of their solid play and unselfish attitude. And because of the fact that the aforementioned group is one of major reasons the Bulls come into Friday night's game against the Detroit Pistons with a two game lead for the top spot in the Eastern Conference.
"We call our bench our second wave and our second wave, it's a monster," Bulls forward Carlos Boozer said last week. "We've got a monster second wave." Well that is certainly true, considering the Bulls' second unit ranks among the tops in the NBA in several categories, the group's core members have a different moniker they like to go with ... one which has caught fire so rapidly that it has become a popular hashtag for Bulls fans to use on Twitter. The Bench Mob. How did that name come to be? The reigning "King of Bulls Twitter" Watson had a lot to do with it. "He was talking about it [with] us," Brewer said. "You know how people are. He's on Twitter and a lot of people give different names [about] what we should be called. Booz was saying it was the wave and [Watson] was saying we're not the wave, we're the bench mob. And I was like, "Yeah, the bench mob sounds good to me." And so it stuck and I guess people have been buying into it." Watson came up with the name, and it has stuck ever since. No matter what they're called though, their production is undeniable. As a group, the Bench Mob's confidence has gotten stronger as the season has progressed and it's clear that Boozer and the rest of the starters appreciate how much the group has improved as a whole. "Our second wave is phenomenal," Boozer said. "Those guys come in, they have a swag about them. They play great together on offense and defense. And it's fun to watch for us because we know how hard they work. We feel like we have the best bench in the [league]. We feel like our bench vs. your bench, our bench is going to win. That's how we feel." "They've been huge, giving us a lot of energy," Bulls point guard Derrick Rose said earlier in the month, when the group really started to hit its stride. "Taking the lead a majority of the time, just keeping us there. And we appreciate them. They've been playing hard, just ballin' out and they've been doing a great job." Just how good has the Bench Mob been over the last couple of months? Rose has repeatedly said that the Bulls' second unit routinely beats the team's starters. A claim that Brewer didn't shy away from. "The Bench Mob always wins," Brewers said. "We always win because we don't give up. We play hard every possession. Sometimes the starters get complacent and they look for fouls in practice. We haven't scrimmaged in a long time, but I'm pretty sure if we scrimmaged right now we'd probably beat them." That's the kind of mentality that the team's hard-nosed coach loves to hear. "They've put a lot into the season," Bulls head coach Tom Thibodeau said. "They've prepared themselves extremely well. And they've played very effectively together. They share the ball, they play great defense and they run the floor. And they've played very intelligently all year. I think they complement each other very well." Brewer couldn't agree more. He knows that the group has developed a special bond over the year, and that is evident each time they step out on the floor together. "We don't want to be the group that, when the starters get subbed out, we get subbed in, and we blow the lead or get blown out," Brewer said. "We want to go out there and if we're up, push the pedal down, and try to make a team give up. You can be up 10, 12 and you can extend it to 16, 18, sometimes teams give up. And that's what we try to do in the second unit. We really don't like our names in the paper, and a lot praise, we just want to go in and play hard night in and night out on both ends of the floor. So far it's been working out for us."
Rose: 'We all know the ultimate goal'
With the Bulls' 113-106 victory over the Raptors on Saturday night at United Center, Tom Thibodeau became the winningest first-year coach in franchise history, beating Phil Jackson's mark of 55 victories by one and counting.
Not that Thibodeau cares about such individual honors. Nor is he satisfied, especially when the Raptors shot 50.6 percent. His focus is on the next possession and his goal is to win a championship.
The Bulls moved three games ahead of the Heat and 3 1/2 ahead of the Celtics for the Eastern Conference's top seed and are within one game of the Spurs for the league's best record, which would mean homecourt advantage throughout the playoffs.
The Bulls, who were led by Derrick Rose's 36 points and 10 assists and Carlos Boozer's 18 points and 10 rebounds, also tied the Spurs for the league's best home mark at 33-5. But don't tell that to Thibodeau, who did his typical growling and perfection-seeking throughout.
"He's definitely hard on us," Rose said. "But we all know the ultimate goal. That's just to win, whatever it takes. Him yelling at you, we're used to it by now. So we just listen to him and do our job. I love hard coaching. He definitely yells at me a lot because he knows I can take it.
"He's tough every single game. He says limit mistakes. Those can't happen in the playoffs. You think about it, it's true. Turnovers, not getting back, not calling out the defense, that stuff can hurt you in the playoffs. He's just making sure he's holding everybody accountable."
Rose acquitted himself nicely during a spectacular stretch that snapped a 74-74 tie late in the third. He scored on a driving layup and a long jumper just inside the 3-point lane, then hustled back after his turnover to spectacularly block James Johnson's fast-break layup with his head just under the rim. That led to a 3-pointer from Luol Deng, who chipped in 17 points.
Still, the Raptors, whom Rose said the Bulls owed for a February road loss, hung around, trailing by four with less than two minutes left. That's when Taj Gibson — huge off the bench with 15 points and nine rebounds — tipped a Boozer miss to keep alive a possession that ended with Kyle Korver's huge 3-pointer with 1 minute, 40 seconds left. Korver added another jumper on the next possession, just beating the shot clock.
"I don't want to take away from a win because you have to win in different ways," Thibodeau said. "But at the start of the third our defense was abysmal. They're quick, very good off the dribble. We were low energy. That's where our bench helped."
For good measure, Rose blocked Leandro Barbosa's shot near the buzzer.
"The playoffs are so far away," Rose said. "When we get there, our focus has to be even stronger. We're going to have to sacrifice and dedicate ourselves. People have to put in the work."
Joakim Noah out 3rd straight game
CHICAGO -- Chicago Bulls center Joakim Noah missed his third consecutive game when the Bulls took on the Raptors on Saturday night.
He suffered the ankle injury Monday night against the Philadelphia 76ers. The Bulls came into the game 2-0 in Noah's absence. Kurt Thomas started in his place. The Eastern Conference-leading Bulls are taking a cautious approach with Noah, averaging 12.1 points and 11 rebounds. Their next game is Tuesday night against Phoenix. Coach Tom Thibodeau says Noah is "almost there." Meanwhile, All-Star guard Derrick Rose says he was feeling fine after hurting his left ankle in the second half Friday night in a win at Detroit. The Raptors also were short-handed, with leading scorer Andrea Bargnani missing the game because of a sore right ankle and guard Jose Calderon staying home with a sore left hamstring. Rookie Ed Davis started for Bargnani, who's averaging 21.8 points, with Jerryd Bayless filling in for Calderon.
Joakim Noah returns to practice
DEERFIELD, Ill. -- Chicago Bulls center Joakim Noah returned to practice Monday after being shelved for a week with an injured ankle. "It feels a lot better," Noah said. "Just going to get treatment. I was able to practice today and I'm excited for [Tuesday against the Phoenix Suns]. "I want to be out there all the time. Injuries are something that really suck. But it's a part of it. Knowing how to deal with it, knowing when I'm able to say, 'I can't go,' ... it's tough, but at the same time, this is a really exciting time period and I want to be out there." Noah missed three games since suffering the injury against the Philadelphia 76ers on March 28, but coach Tom Thibodeau is hopeful Noah will play Tuesday. "He moved well today, so hopefully he'll be ready to go," Thibodeau said. "The injury he had [with the] ankle, that happens. He did a good job with his rehab and hopefully he'll be ready to go." Carlos Boozer was sick and missed practice Monday.
That video was epic. Thanks for posting that Butka.
Originally Posted by Butka
Brewer out vs. Nets; Noah questionable
CHICAGO -- Chicago Bulls guard Ronnie Brewer will miss Wednesday's game against the New Jersey Nets because of a sprained thumb, and Joakim Noah is questionable with a sore right ankle.
Brewer sprained the thumb on Tuesday night during the second quarter of a game against the New York Knicks while diving for a loose ball. He had X-rays that came back negative. Brewer left Madison Square Garden wearing a brace around the thumb and admitted he was feeling pain. "It's just stiff," he said. "I've been icing it the whole game. We'll see how it feels [Wednesday] and try to give it a go." Brewer said Tuesday that he is determined to play in Game 1 of the playoffs against the Indiana Pacers on Saturday. "If it's still attached, I'm going to try to be out there," Brewer said. Noah tweaked his already sprained right ankle on Tuesday during the fourth quarter, but he said he felt fine. "I'm OK," Noah said. "I'm good. I'm fine. I just fell on my ankle a little funny, but I'm fine." The Bulls can secure homecourt advantage throughout the playoffs with a win over the Nets and a San Antonio Spurs loss to the Phoenix Suns. If the Bulls and Spurs are tied after Wednesday, the league will conduct a random drawing on Friday to decide the top seed.
Derrick ROSE YOU ARE RIDICULOUS!!!!! Are you kidding me; they should have been crushed by the Pacers of all teams!!! And he just willed that win.
Pacers head coach Frank Vogel on Derrick Rose: "He's got Iverson's speed, Kidd's vision, Billups shooting, & Jordan's athleticism. How do you guard that?"
He didn't mention Wade, LBJ and Kobe at all? ^^
Originally Posted by The Benjamin
I am glad they decided to finally show up in the last three minutes. Better pick it up or they wont beat the Heat in the Eastern Finals