The Bulls returned home to the United Center after 15 days away, and gave the home sellout crowd a great coming home-present with a 107-102 victory over the Sacramento Kings. Hey, 100 points means free Big Macs!
In the first half, the Bulls looked like the high-powered offense instead of the Kings. On their way to 53 points and a 9 point halftime lead, the Bulls spread the offense around to all, while the Kings (and especially Chris Webber) were ice cold from the field. Tyson Chandler wasn't available (personal reasons), yet the Bulls didn't lose a beat defensively, or perhaps the Kings were just having a cold half, since all that changed in the 2nd.
After the half opened up with a 11-0 run by the Kings, Skiles tried a variety of combinations with varying results, while always staying within a few points with the Kings, finishing the quarter down by 1.
In the fourth, Eddy Curry and Ben Gordon turned in big-time performances. Eddy finished with 25 points (15 from the line) and 12 rebounds. He was catching everything that was thrown to him, his hands are so good it was forcing the Kings to send him to the line. I have said this a few times this year, but when Eddy Curry looks unstoppable like that, you just get crazy thoughts about him being a max-contract player for the Bulls through the decade. Gordon did what he does, hitting clutch shots and showing no fear.
Ben Gordon's play is pretty hard to figure out. If there was some way to track difficult shots per point, Gordon would have to be up there. He still doesn't get to the line often(although he did have 9 attempts tonight), and his size means that he rarely takes a shot without a hands in his face. Even his jump shots are after breaking his man down the dribble and quickly rising up too quick for his opponent to react. In the lane he uses a series of high arching floaters, possibly the most difficult shot in basketball. So its amazing that a rookie taking these shots is still shooting a respectable if not spectacular 43% from the field.
I'm assuming that most players find that making the more difficult shots comes after everything else. Yet Gordon seems to excel at these shots exclusively, and is evidenced by his performances at the end of games like tonight when a defense knows he's going to get the ball. Does this mean that Gordon has the hard part figured out and will be quick to pick up 'easier' ways to get points like being able to get more open off of screens and drawing fouls? Or is his charmed ability to make tough shots mask the fact that he is too small to get baskets any other way?
Tommorow the Bulls will be at Toronto, with Tyson and Antonio Davis hopefully back in the lineup. Remember to head over to the Raptorblog.com forum to fan the the flames.