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Game 1: Bulls 88, Lakers 87

26 Dec 2011

Three Stars
1. Derrick Rose: 22 points (.846 TS%), 5 assists, go-ahead basket
2. Luol Deng: 21 points (.485 TS%), 7 rebounds, 3 assists, 4 steals, clinching block
3. Omer Asik: 8 rebounds (game-high 23.7 rebounding percentage)

I figured it wouldn’t be that close, but I had failed to factor in the general disarray most teams, including the title-hopeful Bulls, are in as they begin the season with nearly no preparation.

Three-plus quarters of spirited if sloppy play gave way to a closing flourish that reminded us what we missed in the weeks of NBA basketball lost to the lockout:

Down 10 points with 4 1/2 minutes left, down six in the final minute, the Bulls scored the game’s final seven points with a burst of their trademark defensive intensity and a running hook shot by Derrick Rose over the 7-foot Pau Gasol with four seconds left.

Kobe had one final chance, but as we know, he misses as many last-second shots as he makes. Luol Deng and Joakim Noah smothered his drive to the baseline, and Deng blocked his pull-up jumper just before the horn to seal the comeback win.

Again, it’s hard to draw too many conclusions from a season opener played after few practices and only two preseason games, but if nothing else, we saw the value that Chicago’s depth, youthful energy and steely resolve will have in a compressed season that promises many more ragged efforts like this one.

Box Score

Record: 1-0
Next: Monday 12/26 at Golden State, 9:30 CT

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