The Chicago Bulls looked tired and worn in their game against the Pacers Friday night—but not so much tonight. The Bulls obliterated the Sacramento Kings, 132-92, in a game in which they dominated virtually every facet and destroyed their opponent, ensuring there would be no 35-point comebacks.
It was a game in which the Bulls really seemed to come together with their offense and defense and their whole team healthy all at one time. Eight different Bulls reached double-digits in scoring and Chicago shot 61.3 percent from the field, as well as 71.2 percent from three-point range on the night.
For Derrick Rose, it was virtually a game off, as he played only 28 minutes and attempted only 11 shots, but he still scored 18 on the night to go with eight assists. Kyle Korver matched him for the team lead with 18 of his own.
This was particularly encouraging because after the loss to the Pacers, Rose apparently approached Korver and told him the team needs him to "take those shots." Korver went 7-for-11 from the field and 4-for-5 from downtown.
Luol Deng had 17 and Carlos Boozer added 16 in his first game back after missing five games with a sprained ankle. Keith Bogans had 15, Joakim Noah had 14, Omer Asik had 14 and C.J. Watson had 11. There were no worries about where the other offense was going to come from tonight.
The defense was also very active in forcing 22 turnovers and converting those into 35 points. In all, the Bulls had 36 fast break points while yielding only seven. They had 10 blocks to the Kings' one. They had 16 steals to the Kings' seven. Additionally, they out-rebounded the Kings, 38 to 34.
Apart from that, there's not much to recap on this game. It was an "R" rated game in the sense that Kings fans under 17 should not have watched it without adult supervision. It was, objectively speaking, an old-fashioned beat down.
Since there's not much else to say about the game, I'll point to something about how the Bulls have been performing since the All-Star break. The improvement from the Bulls offense has actually been a gradual thing which hasn't gotten much attention in the national media, but it's been evident.
After tonight's game, the team has averaged 98.4 points per game since the All-Star break, with an offensive rating of 112.8 over that span. Putting that in perspective, the NBA's best offense on the season belongs to the Denver Nuggets, who average 112.2 points per 100 possessions. This is certainly an indication of how far the Bulls offense has been coming lately.
What's even more impressive is that this comes with a slight improvement in the defense as well, as their defensive rating since the break is 99.7, down from their 99.8 season average.
In terms of actual scores, the Bulls have beaten their opponents by an average score of 98.4 to 87.0. That's an average margin of victory of 11.4.
Right now, the Bulls are rolling, and they are starting to peak right as the playoffs approach.
The only bad news for Bulls fans is that the Celtics came back from a 10-point deficit to beat the Knicks and keep pace with Chicago. It could be that the Eastern Conference regular season title will come down to the game between the teams on April 7th at the United Center.