I can say a lot about this game, but there is really only one stat that you need to know: the Rockets were 3-5 from the free throw line, and the Bulls were 27-30. I don’t have the numbers in front of me as far as how often you win when you have 22 more free throws than your opponent, but it has to be in the neighborhood of 104%. The Bulls only fouled 13 times this game, and they were fouled 27 times (Rockets starters had 20 fouls between them).
Derrick Rose is becoming a very high-volume, low-efficiency scorer. He looked better this game than he had previously, passing the ball around better and not taking every open look from downtown, but he still ended up with 19 on 6-for-17 shooting, 1 for 4 from behind the arc. He’s clearly the 3rd best offensive option in the starting lineup now, which is equal parts his diminution as a player and the rejuvenation/explosion of Gasol and Butler on this team.
Pau Gasol single-handedly kept the Bulls in this game in the first quarter, scoring 18 points. He dumped in 9 more by game’s end, and ended with a very efficient 27 points to go with his 14 rebounds and 2 blocks.
Speaking of blocks, Joakim Noah was a menace down low. He had 6 blocks and held Dwight Howard to a pedestrian 6-13 for 12, though Noah gave up the rebounding edge (partially due to Gasol stealing his defensive rebounds!).
Two last takeaways; Josh Smith is awful and Nikola Mirotic will start for this team next year at the latest. Thibs loves 3-guard lineups, and Mirotic and Gasol are both 4s (and Noah isn’t getting off the court so Gasol can move to the 5), but a Rose/Butler/Mirotic (for Dunleavy)/Gasol/Noah starting 5 is going to give opposing teams nightmares.