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NBA Playoffs: Whole lotta Rose for Bulls, but they need more

May 24, 2011, 4:01 PM EDT

Chicago Bulls v Miami Heat - Game Three Getty Images

Derrick Rose is going to try and make Tuesday night his signature game. He has said he plans to come out and be much more aggressive attacking the Heat’s double team.

It’s not that simple, and it will not be enough for the Bulls — they need more complete team effort on both ends of the floor if they want to even this series at 2-2.

Rose’s attacks will get most of the attention, so we’ll start there. The Heat double team that Rose talks about will not be that simple to break because it’s not a classic hard double. Well, it was for most of Game 1, the Heat trapped Rose off the high pick-and-roll, but he passed out of that and the Bulls knocked down their jumpers (and were 10-21 from three) and won the game.

In Game 2 the Heat started playing back, some, with more of a soft double. For example, Chris Bosh will slide along under the pick and cut off the driving lane and wait for Dwyane Wade or Mike Bibby to recover. Because of the length and athleticism of the Heat, passing lanes get taken away, driving lanes close up quickly. There will be no easy route for Rose to attack. But attack he will. When he does pass out of the double, the Bulls need to consider getting it back and resetting him quickly so he can attack more, maybe in some isolation plays.

The Bulls need to both knock down their threes and they need to finish better at the rim. The athleticism of the Heat players has caused the Bulls to miss too many layups and chip shots. That has to change. The Bulls simply need to start shooting better. They need to knock down shots to get better spacing.

The biggest thing for the Bulls will be on the other end of the floor — they have to do a better job shutting down the Heat. Miami seem to have adjusted to what the Bulls do, they have Chris Bosh making shots and LeBron as facilitator and they hit better than 50 percent of their shots the last three quarters of Game 3. And that is without Rose going off. As it has been all season, the Bulls win with defense first and so it must be in this series.

But this highlights Tom Thibodeau’s personnel dilemma. Carlos Boozer scored 26 points and grabbed 17 boards last game. But when Boozer is on the floor in this series the Heat score 111.7 points per 100 possessions, when he sits that falls to 88.9. A 22.8 points per 100 swing. But when Boozer plays the Bulls offense is 106.3 points per 100 possessions, when he sits it falls to 92.2. A 14.1 swing. So what does he do, play better defensive lineups that struggle to score, or score more and have defensive issues? The same issue repeats with Ronnie Brewer and Kyle Korver at the two.

The Bulls need to defend the best they have this series and someone — a superhuman Rose, a red-hot Luol Deng, but they will take anyone — has to pour in the points.

The Bulls know if they go down 3-1 to the Heat it’s all over but the Charles Barkley taunting. This is as close to most win as it gets. The Bulls will need the best of Rose, but they will need more, too.

  1. chicago240 - May 24, 2011 at 4:21 PM

    Well if the first 3 games are any indication, it seems that whoever can step up and make their shots in the fourth quarter will prevail. Somehow in game 2 and 3, despite being outplayed, the Bulls were still in it…until no one can make a shot in the 4th. So unless you want to get “Nowitzskied” tonight and lose even if you are leading after 3, it would be a good idea to hang in there and make the shots when they count. (see Korver, Deng, Rose, etc…).

  2. trueballs - May 24, 2011 at 6:49 PM

    prediction for tonight: Rose still gets less than 30, Kyle Korver awakens going 6-8 from 3…..Heat win by 2

  3. andrejohnsonforpresident - May 24, 2011 at 8:20 PM

    I really just can’t see the bulls winning this game. That 1at game was a little fluky from 3 and my personal opinion is this.

    I think several of the bulls players simply cant handle the star power the heat bring to the table. What I mean by that has nothing to do with their overall physical skill but their mental toughness. Basically their psychological state just goes way down when they play the big 3 and I can understand that as I have some knowledge of the background. Imagine playing 3 people on the other team two of which are superstars, no matter what you do they’re going to get points, ALWAYS. That takes out a lot more mentally than just saying they’re going to get their points just keep playing. It makes it harder to hit that open 3 if you miss the first one, having that thought in the back of your head. Like damn I missed and they have the ball then they score and it gets worse. Then your only superstar cant do anything and he’s passing it to you, more and more pressure builds.. That sort of mental wearing can bring down a lot of players I imagine, especially ones who are not veterans and are not used to that sort of situation.

    Thats what playing the heat will be like for all teams in a 7 game series with them. I can only imagine how much harder it can get as the series goes on.

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