The Chicago Bulls have been winning with their half-court defense. The Bulls entered Friday’s game allowing 0.78 points per play in the half court, which ranked second-best in the NBA.
This time, it established itself a little earlier than usual.
In its first 12 games Chicago’s half-court defense was holding opponents to 41 percent shooting in the first half and 38 percent in the second half.
Those numbers basically flipped around in a Friday win as the Bulls set the tone by holding the Celtics to just 33 first-half points (all but two in the half court), their third-best defensive effort in a half this season. The Boston Celtics shot just 35 percent in half-court sets in the first half in dropping their third straight game.
Bulls guard Derrick Rose scored 12 of his 25 points in the fourth quarter, including two big three-pointers in the final 7:30 of the game, completely turning around what was a below-average performance in the first three periods.
Entering Friday’s game Rose was shooting 44 percent in the half court and was most successful as the pick-and-roll ball handler, shooting 47 percent.
Rose turned it on in the half court in the final 12 minutes, making as many shots in half-court sets (four) as he did in the first 36.
Rose was just 1-for-6 on pick-and-roll plays in the first three quarters, but made a pair-of-baskets on three attempts off pick-and-rolls in the fourth quarter.
Celtics Last 7 Games
Boston has struggled offensively during the three-game slide, shooting 42 percent from the field while getting just under 20 points per game off the bench.
It’s the seventh time in his career that Bryant has had a streak this long, the first time since doing so for five straight games during the 2006-07 season.
Bryant’s longest streak of 40-point games was a nine-game run in which he averaged 44 points per game in the 2002-03 season.
30/10 for Williams, 30/15 for Love
Deron Williams had 35 points and 14 assists in the New Jersey Nets win over the Phoenix Suns. That is Williams' 13th 30-point, 10-assist game since the 2008-09 season. The only players with more in that span are LeBron James (17) and Dwyane Wade (15).
Kevin Love scored 34 points and pulled down 15 rebounds for the Minnesota Timberwolves. It was his 10th career game with at least 30 points and 15 rebounds, which moves him into a tie for 9th most among active players, despite only being in the league for four seasons.
Plus-Minus Note of the Night
GreenIn the 30 minutes that third-year swingman Danny Green was on the floor, the Spurs outscored the Trail Blazers by 29 points.
It was the best plus-minus of Green’s career by far, surpassing a plus-15 as a member of the Cleveland Cavaliers against the Milwaukee Bucks on March 6, 2010.