Bulletin board material doesn't come by often in the Chicago Bulls locker room. So when Indiana Pacers forward Danny Granger decided to hand over some page 2 material, he pretty much put himself at the mercy of the best defensive team in the NBA. Not very smart. Seems like throughout the season when pundits, players, coaches, or fans have raised doubt in this team, they have responded with vengeful vigor.
After the Bulls 104-99 win over the Indiana Pacers yesterday however, Danny-boy was singing a different tune. When asked if he ever thought his Pacers had the game won, while never trailing until the .48 second mark in the 4th, Granger responded:
"With Chicago, no," he said. "With Derrick Rose on their team, no," then he added
"It's like a crazy, stalker ex-girlfriend. Every time you tell her you
don't want to talk to her, she shows up at your door again. We kept
making runs one after another and they kept coming back."
Story of the Bulls season. Never giving up, never giving the opponent the benefit of defeat. More to the fact, Derrick Rose just wont let them lose. Not during the regular season, and now it looks like the not in the postseason.
The Bulls started the game off sluggish, looking like the toll of the 82 game season might just have taken a toll on them. But never letting the Pacers lead by more than 11 points. Carlos Boozer, in his first playoff game as a Bull, didn't exactly earn his $14.4 million dollars for this season.
Boozer went 4 for 11 from the field with 12 points, six rebounds, and four turnovers. But what was most embarrassing was how rookie Tyler Hansbrough mistreated Boozer all night in the paint. Hansbrough had 22 points and 4 rebounds, but more seminal he made Boozer look ridiculous on multiple occasions. At one point in the game, Hansbrough stole the ball from Boozer, took off down court and dunked the ball despite Boozers attempt to catch up and deliver the weakest hard foul made in years.
MVP front runner Derrick Rose also did not have the best night in his MVP season. Although he had his career playoff high scoring night with 39 points, he went 0-9 from behind the arc, was relentlessly beat up going to the hoop, and came out with 21 free throws making 19. When asked about a hard foul by Foster that resulted in a Rose confrontation and a Loul Deng technical foul.
"If anything, you're not going to get punked," Rose said. "I know I'm
quiet, but that doesn't mean anything. When you're out there, if you
think it's a dirty play you gotta say something. If you don't, they're
going to continue to do it."
And he knows this isn't the first he will see from the physical play of Indiana, or any team in these playoffs for that matter.
"It was pretty physical, but from my working out and lifting weights,
I'm feeling fine," Rose said. "Tomorrow it may be a little different. I
knew they would be that way when I went to the basket. I knew they
would be physical, but I still tried to get to the basket."
And that is exactly what he did, and will continue to do throughout this series and the playoffs. But with the Bulls narrowly escaping with the win, despite Rose's heroics. It leaves alot to be desired.
So "As I See It," these are a couple points that I take from yesterday's win over the Indiana Pacers:
- Close-out D Is Key: The Pacers outshot the Bulls the entire game. Going 39-84 (46.4%,) and 10-18 from the 3-pt line. Danny Granger shot 50% from the field, despite having a rather quiet night in comparison to Tyler Hansbrough and Darren Collison. Tyler Hansbrough also lit up Carlos Boozer from the 17ft range, the Pacers will look to use
Hansbrough even more in the upcoming games to try and exploit the rare weak spot in the Bulls defense scheme. Look for Thibodeau to go with a Asik/Noah, Gibson/Thomas matchup to get more physical with the Pacer bigs in the upcoming games. Coach Thibodeau put it best after the game.
"When they raise up to shoot you have to challenge, and then you have to finish your defense."
- Rose needs help: Derrick Rose is amazing. That is a matter of fact. It also seems at times during games that his awe-inspiring play is so infectious that it catches his opponents and teammates alike just standing and watching him perform. Kyle Korver came up big for the Bulls. Korver hit the biggest shot for the Bulls giving them their first lead of the game off of a Derrick Rose drive and kick with .48sec left in the 4th. Korver went 4-4 from the 3-pt line including "the shot." Even though he had a satisfactory game from the behind the arc, he knows it is going to take more to advance.
"We've got to do a better job giving him more help," he noted of Rose.
"We can't just go iso the whole game. It just makes it really tough.
He's going to wear down eventually. We want to keep playing for a
while. But at the same time, he's so good, it's just like, 'Keep giving
him the ball, keep giving him the ball.' There's definitely a fine line
in that and it's something we're going to have to find in the
Loul Deng played his usual versatile basketball going for 18 points and 10 rebounds, but his aggression was not as consistent. Although he showed quite a bit of aggression coming to the aid of teammate Derrick Rose. Rose fouled flagrantly (which wasn't called by showstopper referee Joe Crawford) by Jeff Foster and took exception, so Deng stepped in as to keep his leader safe and took the technical. Toughest play I have watched Deng make his entire career. Bogans absolutely has to make a shot. Going 0-3 in 17 minutes is forgettable and is a slap in the face. This Bulls team is more deserving of support from the position that requires it the most. and the "bech mob" cannot look like the "benchwarmers."
"As I See It" Stats of the night:
Chicago's "Bench Mob" scored only 25 of the Bulls 104 points, but shot 50% from the field.
Luol Deng logged the most minutes for the Bulls as usual at 41. He has been remarkably durable this season.
An underscore to his 39 point, 6 assist, 6 rebound game. Derrick Rose also had 3 blocks, all pivotal defensive stops, one a prelude to a highlight and-one on the other end.
All season long the Bulls have won by "any means neccesary." But none was more clear than this first round battle to the final seconds. And Derrick Rose has it down to a science.
"I was just trying to win a game," he said of what it took to win. "[Today,] it
was me making shots and making plays. Whatever it takes to win, I'm
going to do."