courtesy of Dictionary.com
a losing by defeat; failure to win
failure to preserve or maintain
destruction or ruin
There are many ways to look at the Chicago Bulls Game 4 loss to the Indiana Pacers. The Pacers won at home. Although, with a prodominantly away crowd, Bulls fans took over Conseco Fieldhouse to make it a homecourt atmosphere for their beloved Bulls but unfortunately it wasn't enough. You could also consider the fact that the Pacers have hung in with the Bulls throughout the entire series, never losing by more than 6 points and leading 8 out of 16 quarters. Throw in the fact that they play top to bottom team defense, and eliminated the Bulls primary (and sometimes only) scoring option Derrick Rose and the non-fear of the No. 1 seeded team in the East. Loss
Depending on who you ask, answers will vary on what this exactly means for the Bulls. Some might say doom is iminent, that there is a glaring flaw in the otherwise perfect team chemistry with the Bulls. That flaw being Carlos Boozer, and it has now been on showcase for an entire regular season and is being exploited now in the postseason. Others might say with the Bulls came into this game on a 12 game winning streak and a loss was looming. The most noticeable is the lack of support for Derrick Rose when he his having an off night
To truly dissect a loss, you must put all of your cards on the table, big or small.
The Anatomy Of The Bulls Loss:
Mind: If it hasn't been said bluntly, then let it be spoken now. The Chicago Bulls depend on Derrick Rose. He accounts for the most of every statistical catagory excluding rebounds, blocks, and fouls. That means he takes the most shots, goes to the line the most, and is accountable for the over 60 percent of the Bulls possesions. These are all great qualities in an MVP campaign, even enough for the top seat at the playoff table. But having Derrick take on such a hefty load is not the recipe for an NBA Championship team. If Derrick is off, the rest of the Bulls struggle to find consistency. Luol Deng has made appearances as the No. 2 scorer throughout the series. But in the loss
Body: Every team that has won the NBA Championship has had a star. An MVP caliber player that can carry a team whenever neccesary, someone who at any point in time can change a game within minutes. There was Jordan, Bird, Magic, Russel, Kobe, Isiah, and Hakeem. Competition in both life and sports requires a heirarchy of talent and skill.
One thing all those championship teams had in common, is that Jordan had his Pippen, Paxson, Rodman, and Kerr. Bird had McHale, Parrish, and Dennis Johnson. Kobe had Shaq, Magic had Kareem and so on and so forth. For every superstar there was a supporting cast of near equally talented teammates, most of whom would become Hall of Fame inductees.
As of right now, the Bulls don't have that player. At least not on a consistent basis. To look at this series in reality, the Bulls have only played like a No. 1 seed with the best record in the NBA for a total of 4 minutes in a total of 4 games combined.
Here is a statistical breakdown of the Game 4 for the Bulls:
Chicago was outshot once again by the Indiana Pacers 37-39%
Indiana's benched outplayed Chicago's, scoring 30pts to the Bulls 17
The Chicago Bulls lost the turnover battle 13-11, something coach Thibideau directly relates to the teams struggles throughout this series.
The Chicago Bulls barely won the rebounding battle, snagging 46 to the Pacers 45. Both Chicago and Indiana pulled 15 offensive rebounds. Chicago usually outrebounds opponents by 10 or more.
"As I See It," this is how the Bulls lost against the Indiana Pacers in Game 4 of the First Round Eastern Conference Playoffs:
Derrick Rose has to rest, therefore C.J. Watson must pick up the slack.
C.J. Watson has been more than average as a backup this season. Averaging 4.3 points per game behind Derrick Rose, he only plays about 14 minutes a game. In his only start of the season C.J. scored 33 points, shooting 50 percent, with only three turnovers. But throughout the first round he has been non-existent. Averaging under two points a game, when Derrick Rose went down C.J. failed to relieve him, scoring 2 points on 1-4 shooting with 2 assists.
Derrick Rose also only went to the free throw line four times, mostly due to his injured ankle. But also a credit to Indiana's defensive changes off the screen and role. Mainly focusing on not helping on Boozer to focus on the Rose double team. Effectively taking Derrick out of the game physically and mentally.
Loul Deng must play more aggressive throughout the playoffs.
I could make a strong case for Luol Deng this season as Comeback Player of the Year (if there were such categories.) His consistent play and durability this season has made him worth every penny most Bulls fans despised him earning after only 3 years of at most mediocre play in Chicago (six years for close to $80 million.) But as irony would have it, Deng seems to be wearing down from playing an average of almost 40 minutes a game. He is settling for more of the mid-range jumpers and 3-pointers. Shooting 39% from the field and 35% from the 3-pt line. In the Game 4 loss, Deng only converted 3 field goals from inside of 25ft, and his next closest goal was one 3 pointer from 25ft.
Rediculously awful Luol Deng stat of the game: Deng was 1-8 from 2ft and beyond for the game.
Deng has to pick up the slack for a now hobbled Derrick Rose. He has shown signs throughout the season that he can be a primary scorer when needed. He's needed now.
Kyle Korver was wrong, you can just whack somebody in the NBA:
Derrick Rose has undoubtedly got the snot kicked out of him throughout the series. Some were borderline flagrant, and they were reversed later to be just that. So with that stated, the Bulls have yet to establish any physical dominance throughout this series with the Indiana Pacers. They have been pushed around and dominated in on the boards due to the Pacer's big being more physical and fighting for more second chance opportunities (13.0 offensive rebounds compared to 10.0 in regular season.) The Bulls are making Jeff Foster look like
Charles Oakley and frankly it's getting quite sickening. If the Bulls are to win Game 5 in Chicago, they will have to be the more dominant team and have to take Indiana's confidence away early and keep them down the entire game. Derrick Rose said it best:
"At the end of the game, when we got things going, things seemed pretty easy. But what we have to do is do at the beginning of the game what we did at the end of the game. Today we got into too deep a hole. But if we do things at the beginning like at the end, we should be able to put this team away and take away their confidence"
The Bulls look to finish the series against the Indiana in Game 5 at the United Center, on Tue, Apr 26 at 8:00 PM ET on Comcast Sporstnet Chicago and all subsidiaries nationwide who cover Chicago sports.