Someone asked me how my blog and newspaper column came to be titled "Bleachers Brew". It's like this, it's an amalgam of sorts of two things: The bleachers area in the stadium/arena where I used to sit when I would watch baseball, football, and basketball games and Miles Davis' great jazz album Bitches Brew. That's how it got culled together. I originally planned on calling it "The View from the Big Chair" that is a nod to Tears For Fear's second album, Songs from the Big Chair. So there.

Monday, December 26, 2011

NBA Notes: Chicago beats LA Lakers

NBA Notes: Chicago at Los Angeles by Rick Olivares with pic by Noah Graham/Getty

At the end of the first half of the game between the Los Angeles Lakers and the Chicago Bulls, Luol Deng hit a shot from the left corner off a dish by Derrick Rose. On the next set, Deng bothered Kobe Bryant’s baseline jumper as the Bulls took a 56-49 halftime lead.

The Lakers ratcheted up their D in the third quarter to take the lead with the crowd getting into it. That was a nifty pick and roll between Steve Blake and Josh McRoberts, 69-68. But the Bulls came back in the fourth after being down by 11 points behind Deng and of course, Rose.

Rose scored the marginal shot on a floater and in LA’s final possession that was somewhat eerily reminiscent of the Lakers’ final play at the half, Bryant drew a crowd on the baseline but Deng this time blocked his shot. I think Deng twice rejected Kobe’s shot -- one in the late third period and the game saving block. Not like Horace Grant’s swat of Kevin Johnson’s last gasp to save the 1993 NBA championship. But it was good enough to give Chicago its first win of the new NBA season. And Deng also stole Bryant’s pass that set up Rose’s game winner. But what a fade by Kobe with 54 seconds left to give LA a 87-81 lead with Deng all over him. Who would have thought that the Bulls would come back from that? Apparently, Derrick Rose did!

Rip Hamilton had a forgettable Bulls debut as he compiled six points, two rebounds, three assists, and two steals in 23 minutes. Not bad except that he’s in the starting unit.

I guess Hamilton’s joining the Bulls means that Kyle Korver is in Tom Thibodeau’s doghouse what with Ronnie Brewer also slugging it out for the two-spot.

For the Lakers, Troy Murphy had a good first game with his new team with seven points, eight rebounds, and one shot block.

The Lakers overall had better stats than the Bulls so how did the Central Division champions pick up the win? Well, the stats are not going to show you that final 3:44 when the Bulls rallied for an 88-87 win -- they played great defense.

Deng and Rose (what superb dribbling skills) carried this team with ample support from Carlos Boozer (15 points).

It’s only the first match of the season so it’s hard to gauge both squads. But I can say that the Lakers saw some sets from their old triangle offense being run. Mike Brown ran some sets designed to turn other Lakers into weapons. If Steve Blake (who was an energizer of sorts) had hit some of those shots then who knows? But LA should be better when Andrew Bynum returns. Hats off to Pau Gasol for being the consummate pro. He was nearly traded away by LA but here he was playing his heart out – 14 points, 8 rebounds, 3 assists, and 3 blocks.

Metta World Peace made his Lakers debut. He did not incur any technical fouls nor cause an international incident.

If the Bulls want to hurdle the Miami Heat, the onus is not on Rose or Deng to carry this team but for Boozer and Joakim Noah to raise their level of play. Yes, it’s only the first game of the season but the way they played reminded me of last season’s Eastern Conference Finals loss to the Heat. 

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