Four words describe this victory. Hard. Hat. Lunch. Pail. It was a game of grit and the Bulls just played hard all game long and gradually left the Jazz in their dust before it was all over.
Most notable was the performance of the three former Jazz players that are on the Chicago roster, each of whom stepped up big tonight to help the Bulls. Carlos Boozer had 27 points and eight assists.
Kyle Korver was passing out some serious hot sauce, hitting on six of his 11 three-point attempts, scoring 26 points and adding seven boards and six assists. That's his highest scoring output as a Bull.
Ronnie Brewer added 11 points, five rebounds and three assists.
Derrick Rose had his typical MVP-caliber performance, scoring 24 points and adding 13 assists.
The Bulls were without Richard Hamilton, who has been out with a shoulder contusion. They were without Luol Deng who was out with a torn ligament in his wrist. They were without Joakim Noah who had a stomach flu. Finally, they were without C.J. Watson who has a sprained left ankle.
The Bulls have been absolutely plagued by injuries this year. They have missed 47 starts due to injury and a total of 68 games from their 10 key rotation players (69 if you count John Lucas who has received considerable playing time as a result of the injuries to C.J. Watson and Derrick Rose).
Yet in spite of the injuries the Bulls just keep winning. Tom Thibodeau frequently says that when someone is out it's the next man's job to just step in. Tonight it was more apparent than ever that everyone on the team is capable of key contributions.
Omer Asik, starting in place of Joakim Noah, was not magnificent in terms of numbers but his defense was sensational as he contained Jazz center Al Jefferson to just 16 points on 8-of-19 shooting.
It's unclear on who will be playing on Monday, but previous reports said that Deng would miss one or two games. Joakim Noah should be back on Monday. There is no word on when Hamilton or Watson will return.
Hamilton could apparently be out for as much as a month, though he expects to be out less than that.
I expect Watson should be back on Monday, or at the latest Wednesday for the game against the Heat, but that's just a guess based on the nature of the injury.
Right now the top priority for the Bulls has to be getting healthy and staying healthy. They can take the first or second seed without being at full strength but they can't take a series from the Heat unless they're 100 percent.