San Antonio Spurs 103, Chicago Bulls 94
AT&T CENTER — Upon first glance, Derrick Rose scoring 33 points on 15-27 shooting, including 2-4 from the 3-point line is a scary proposition for the San Antonio Spurs.
But to simply look at the box score would sell short the defensive gameplan the Spurs implemented in their 103-94 win over the Chicago Bulls on Wednesday night.
Rose attacked the rim on a number of occasions and he fired from deep on others. But that wasn’t what could’ve hurt the Spurs. Where the Spurs were vulnerable was when Rose involved his teammates and the San Antonio defense was stretched thin. Luckily, that didn’t happen often.
“We went over the top of screens with him and we tried to get him off that 3-point line,” Tim Duncan said. “He shot the ball really well last night. Â We tried to get him inside the range and contest every shot he got.”
San Antonio got the ball out of Rose’s hands and, when it left, it didn’t return. In a third quarter that saw the Spurs outscore the Bulls 37-12, Tony Parker forced Rose to the corner of the floor off of Chicago’s pick-and-rolls, where Parker and Matt Bonner double-teamed Rose. Most often, Rose had to pass to Luol Deng or Ronnie Brewer on the wing, where they clanged jumper after jumper. In the quarter, the Bulls shot just 26.1% from the floor.
“[Rose is] a handful for any individual and for a team, and he showed why he’s such a great player,” Spurs Head Coach Gregg Popovich said after the game. “I think overall our team play in the second half got it done for us.”
Parker spent most of the first three quarters matched up on Rose defensively. When picks were set for Rose, the Spurs went under the screens to encourage Rose to shoot from deep, as opposed to attacking the basket and possibly setting up teammates.
And through three quarters, it worked. On the occasions where Rose got to the basket, he scored. But when he was forced away from the basket he was ineffective.
“I was little bit too far back in the lane in the first half and he got some of that mid-range stuff going, so we tried to tighten up a little in the second half,” Duncan said. “Itâ€™s better if he gets some of those shots in the middle contested as opposed to giving up layups.”
In the fourth quarter, with the Spurs holding an 83-67 lead, Rose turned it up a notch. Tony Parker was on the bench for his customary early fourth quarter breather, and George Hill was defending Rose. The Bulls point guard scored a quick nine points on Hill.
In total, Rose scored 13 points on 5-7 from the floor and hit two 3-pointers in the final frame to keep the Bulls in the game. But whenever Chicago ran pick-and-rolls with Rose anywhere but the middle of the floor, San Antonio was able to trap and force the ball out of Rose’s hands. Outside of Rose, the Bulls shot 24-65 (37%) from the field. Luol Deng struggled the most, putting up 18 points on 17 shots (6-17).
Rose got his, but the Spurs got the win. Eight straight for San Antonio heading into Salt Lake City on Friday night for a matchup with the Jazz.