Bulls delivered their best shot; fell short

The Bulls lost to the Cavs again, a result which isn't likely to surprise many.   The series wasn't one the Bulls realistically ever had a chance to win, and down two games to none, they'd need to beat the Cavs in four of the next five games to advance.   If LeBron James tore his ACL on the way to the United Center, the Bulls still probably couldn't accomplish that task, so for all intents and purposes, this series is over.

Can the Bulls even get a game or is it destined to be a sweep?   Let's look back at this game.

The Bulls only had four turnovers on the night.   They limited Cleveland to five offensive rebounds.   Joakim Noah gave them 25 points.   Luol Deng had a better night than he's likely to have in the rest of this series scoring 20 on only 15 shots.   

Yes, Derrick Rose needed 24 shots to get his 23 points, and Kirk Hinrich was the incredible disappearing man, but Derrick needing a ton of volume to get his points and Kirk disappearing are nothing new. 

In order for the Bulls to win, they need everyone to hit on all cylinders.   They need everyone to play well at one time.   Guys who typically only play well every other game or every third game need to all step up at once.   It's just incredibly unlikely.  

Sure, Kirk and Rose can play a bit better, maybe Flip Murray won't go completely cold in the second half, but will the Bulls get another four TO performance?   Will they hold the Cavs off the glass so well again?   Will Noah give you 25 points again?   Can Deng give you another good game?    The odds of improving in more areas while maintaining above typical performance is appealing but unrealistic.  

On top of that, the Cavs, again, didn't play that great of a game.  They're not anywhere near their peak yet, and we still might see that in the next couple games.

Much like I, and the rest of the world, predicted, if the Bulls played better then LeBron would step up and make sure the Cavs won.  When it came down to the end of the game, it was all LeBron, and the Bulls couldn't stop him or keep up with him.  

Home court advantage isn't likely to change that. 

CHICAGO TRIBUNE VIDEO

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  • The Bulls look like they're competing and not intimidated. That's all you can ask for. Go out there and compete, believe, and do the best you can.

    If it doesn't work out... screw it. At least you didn't rollover.

    Also, Doug, you discount Moon and LBJ having everything that they threw up go in down the stretch. If Moon is hitting all those 3's...

    Anyhoo... keep the faith. The Bulls just need to win one game in Noah's new favorite city while winning their home games. They still have 2 more chances to win in Cleveland.

  • I also agree they need to win the next 4. Luckily, 3 out of the next 4 are at home.

    Bulls got them right where they want them!

  • The Bulls tried to dare him and play some mind games but it didn't work out and backfired on them. But that said, a decent shooting guard would have made a big difference.
    J. Moon and LeBron shooting at such a high percentage probably is not going to happen but that said Jamison, Mo Williams will not shoot so badly either.
    The Bulls need to win Game 3 by hook or crook to make it interesting..

  • Stop Moon from hitting all those 3s and its a different outcome, I dont get why Warrick didnt get in the last game, he posted Lebron up a couple of times and got some shots in the 1st game, dont we want Lebron to be forced to play both ends of the court? But the glaring problem that has been the achilles is the lack of size up front and the lack of shooters. The same problems the bulls have had all season. Hopefully next year Amir Osik and whatever shooter and other pieces the bulls bring in will rectify those problems.

  • We shouldn't worry about Asik or fringe players like Warrick, Flip in the future. We need Bosh, Boozer or Amare or somebody who is established. You can see that even Derrick Rose doesn't get foul calls so easily. If the Bulls need to improve, they need established players who can get calls and also play.
    Off course, for this series Vinny has to use Warrick/Flip a little more especially when Hinrich is giving nothing. I hope Hinrich bounces back a little bit at home...

  • Let me see now? Bulls lose by what 13 and then 10. Hmmm.

    Let's see. Anyone who has watched NBA playoffs for years; what does it usually spell when both road games have relatively close scores? Is it a good sign when you outrebound a team on their home floor?

    For me, this game showed me the Bulls despite their many flaws are no eighth seed. Before the injuries, particualrly to Noah, they had the No.1 rebounding team, the No. 1 shot blocking team, and had risen to what sixth in defensive field goal percentage.

    I predict the Bulls will win this next game. They know they outplayed Cleveland last night. Does M.J., uh I mean the other 23 LeBron have a Scottie Pippen? Doesn't look like it to me.

    Of course the Bulls have a snowballs chance in Cancun of winning the series. But does that really make this playoffs worthless or a negative? Not in my book.

    If the D can ratchett it up just a little more at home(Cav's 56% is on LeBron and Jamario Moon playing out of his mind) it will lead to more easy/fastbreak baskets. Derrick and Joakim will represent on another level in my estimation on their home floor after showing pretty well on the road.

    This next game is a must win for the real goal. Being a competitive team with the prospective champs. If Derrick, Joakim, and Deng play like they are capable of they'll win. I liked the team D keeping LeBron more inclined to the perimeter. Sure he can get inside, but you make the effort of one of the top defenses which the Bulls are, and he has shown he will resort to jumpers.

    If the Bulls don't bring it in this next game then forget it. But to me it looks like they will bring it, and win this next game. And I'll bet unless the refs get Joakim out of the game on Sunday they'll win that one as well. Then they will have done their job. Representing for the fans and prospective free agent studs this summer.

    But the X-Factor will be if D-Rose can now get his true freak on with at least 30 ppg or high 20's with double digit assists(minus turnovers).

    Bulls fans come on. Root for a win on Thursday. There is yet some fun to be had this season/in this series.

  • Let me see now? Bulls lose by what 13 and then 10. Hmmm.

    Let's see. Anyone who has watched NBA playoffs for years; what does it usually spell when both road games have relatively close scores? Is it a good sign when you outrebound a team on their home floor?

    For me, this game showed me the Bulls despite their many flaws are no eighth seed. Before the injuries, particualrly to Noah, they had the No.1 rebounding team, the No. 1 shot blocking team, and had risen to what sixth in defensive field goal percentage.

    I predict the Bulls will win this next game. They know they outplayed Cleveland last night. Does M.J., uh I mean the other 23 LeBron have a Scottie Pippen? Doesn't look like it to me.

    Of course the Bulls have a snowballs chance in Cancun of winning the series. But does that really make this playoffs worthless or a negative? Not in my book.

    If the D can ratchett it up just a little more at home(Cav's 56% is on LeBron and Jamario Moon playing out of his mind) it will lead to more easy/fastbreak baskets. Derrick and Joakim will represent on another level in my estimation on their home floor after showing pretty well on the road.

    This next game is a must win for the real goal. Being a competitive team with the prospective champs. If Derrick, Joakim, and Deng play like they are capable of they'll win. I liked the team D keeping LeBron more inclined to the perimeter. Sure he can get inside, but you make the effort of one of the top defenses which the Bulls are, and he has shown he will resort to jumpers.

    If the Bulls don't bring it in this next game then forget it. But to me it looks like they will bring it, and win this next game. And I'll bet unless the refs get Joakim out of the game on Sunday they'll win that one as well. Then they will have done their job. Representing for the fans and prospective free agent studs this summer.

    But the X-Factor will be if D-Rose can now get his true freak on with at least 30 ppg or high 20's with double digit assists(minus turnovers).

    Bulls fans come on. Root for a win on Thursday. There is yet some fun to be had this season/in this series.

  • D. Rose needed to keep the ball in his hand the last 3 minutes and he didn't do that. Instead, Flip Murray is taking ill advised threes and Noah is missing 15 footers. I don't know if he shied away from the spotlight or they thought they had mismatches elsewhere. D. Rose needed to be option 1,2, and 3 and he wasn't.

  • I hate it when this thing double posts. But one other thing. Bulls D steers drivers to the middle to drive down the lane. They failed a couple of times to read lane intent(LeBron driving on JJ), and should have/have to have somebody respond and step in front of the circle to stop drives/get charges.

  • How are some of you so damn optimistic? The only good that comes out of this series is that we impress a prospective free agent into considering signing with the team this offseason. There never was any chance of Chicago winning this series, even if Lebron was injured for all seven games. The Bulls are a totally unbalanced team that lacks two of the most important components of a successful team (efficient inside scoring and efficient outside shooting).

    The Cavs without Lebron are a well assembled squad. They have inside scoring, outside shooting, and multiple players that can create their own offense (Williams, Jamison, West). Even if Lebron leaves this summer, the Cavs are in better shape than the as-constituted Bulls.

  • In reply to jt563905:

    That being said, I was encouraged by the defense Johnson played on Lebron. Though he ended up with a bunch of fouls, it was a nice change of pace from Deng's defense. And Johnson's strength was noticeable, as he didn't let Lebron back him down, followed by his trademark elbow-to-kidney hook that NEVER gets called as an offensive foul.

    Johnson also looks slimmer and more like he has a place in the league...if he ever gets to play that is.

  • In reply to jt563905:

    I agree JJ played decently even though there were a couple of highlight dunks/shots by LeBron. I hope he hasn't lost any confidence and plays a little slower. He does shoot decently and should be trying some 3 pointers. I don't know why Vinny doesn't try a lineup of Noah, Gibson or Brad(when Shaq is there), Deng, JJ, Rose ...

  • I think other guys are capable when playing off of Rose, but D is the only one that can create for himself and others consistently. Fact is, he should have taken the ball from his teammates hands in the last several minutes. He's shown before he can take over late when it counts. He needs to have the ball in those situations and continue to learn from them, especially in the playoffs. You can't teach playoff experience.

  • In reply to crowntheirass:

    And that is why some people are intrigued by adding Joe Johnson to the team this offseason.

  • The question being, is it enough to draw a top free agent to play with Rose and Noah?

  • FYI:

    As I stated, this series is and always will be about the BIGS and BENCHES.

    Game 1: Shaq, Jamison and Varejao outscored Noah, Gibson and Miller by 13 points.

    Cavs won 96-83.

    Game 2: The Cavs' bench (led by Jamario Moon) outscored the Bulls' bench 29-18.

    Cavs won 112-102.

    The Bulls have 3 out of the next 4 games at HOME in this series. They can get right back into it, if they FOCUS on winning the BATTLE of the BIGS and BENCHES.

    LBJ can score 40, 50 or 60 points and it doesn't matter, because ONE MAN CAN'T WIN A SERIES. Case in point, Ray Allen put up 51 last year in Game 6, but the Bulls still won. MJ put up 63 in Boston back in '86, yet the Celtics still won that Game 2.

    The UPSET can still happen, but the Bulls BIGS and BENCH need to STEP-UP.

    Can they? We'll find out on Thursday night.

  • In reply to MrHappy:

    I think the format for the playoffs , except for the finals, is 2-2-1-1-1. And for the finals it is, 2-3-2. So we only have two home games before going back to cleveland

  • i'm just glad the bulls showed that they belonged in the playoffs. I mean the embarrassing losses this year really tarnished our image in the league. We're rebounding(pardon the pun) from that rep. We're proving that we're a good team. We just need a few extra pieces.

    No one thinks we can get a title this year, so this season has been about the off season. we're proving that we're in the same position as the 76'rs when they got elton brand. They were a playoff team that played well and needed just a couple extra pieces. hopefully that's the only similarities. Luckily there aren't too many elton brandons the bulls raydar.

    2-3 more games like this, and hopefully bosh is watching.

  • I liked JJs defense on Lebron. He didn't let the arguably the best Basketball player in the world intimidate him. I lik JJs size and athletism! I just don't know why he didn't get any help D, nobody can guard Lebron 1 on 1 even Mr. Ron Artest.
    This series if the Bulls keep it up should draw 1 or 2 good free agents, hopefully eventhough our front office is a joke!

  • I liked JJs defense on Lebron. He didn't let the arguably the best Basketball player in the world intimidate him. I lik JJs size and athletism! I just don't know why he didn't get any help D, nobody can guard Lebron 1 on 1 even Mr. Ron Artest.
    This series if the Bulls keep it up should draw 1 or 2 good free agents, hopefully eventhough our management is a joke!

  • I liked JJs defense on Lebron. He didn't let the arguably the best Basketball player in the world intimidate him. I lik JJs size and athletism! I just don't know why he didn't get any help D, nobody can guard Lebron 1 on 1 even Mr. Ron Artest.
    This series if the Bulls keep it up should draw 1 or 2 good free agents, hopefully eventhough our managment is a joke!

  • I liked JJs defense on Lebron. He didn't let the arguably the best Basketball player in the world intimidate him. I lik JJs size and athletism! I just don't know why he didn't get any help D, nobody can guard Lebron 1 on 1 even Mr. Ron Artest.
    This series if the Bulls keep it up should draw 1 or 2 good free agents, hopefully eventhough our management is a joke!

  • I liked JJs defense on Lebron. He didn't let the arguably the best Basketball player in the world intimidate him. I lik JJs size and athletism! I just don't know why he didn't get any help D, nobody can guard Lebron 1 on 1 even Mr. Ron Artest.
    This series if the Bulls keep it up should draw 1 or 2 good free agents, hopefully eventhough our management is a joke!

  • James Johnson doesn't deserve a nickname. His basketball IQ could be lower than Tyrus Thomas's. I don't see this guy harnassing his so-called freakish athleticism (which I have only seen maybe twice this year on dunks). The Taj 2nd round pick-up sort of made up for him in my mind. On the two plays where Johnson was on LeBron, he got tomahawk dunked over and on the other he flailed himself like a spaz and drew the foul. When Johnson came in is when LeBron took the game. I think Taj would have done a better job on him.

  • Of course he won't do that again Doug! I mean c'mon!! He shot something ridiculous like 16-23, that's pretty much 70%! I highly doubt he'll shoot lights out back to back.. If anything, he'll hurt us more with his passing and defense... (touch wood x a million) LOL

  • I might be wrong but LeBron doesn't have 70% shooting nights often. He was like Kobe at his best. I agree he is good going into the paint and a lot of other things but shooting 70% is little extreme. He will probably come back to his normal self and that can help the Bulls

  • The Bulls wont win the series but if they take care of their home court, they could scare the hell out of this team. The cavs do not impress me cause the only thing that they are doing is out scoring the Bulls. This is why the Bulls must address their scoring disability. If they had one more player whether it be a shooting guard or low post player that could put up a definite 20 to 30 points, they would beat Cleveland or at least push them to a 7 game series. Cleveland will not win the championship cause there are too many flaws to their game.

  • Get hooked on reading comprehension. That's not why he is a bum, but he certainly shouldn't be gaurding him, let alone getting time in this series. "JJ" is an out-of-shape mental midget. Wasted mid-first rounder.

  • I'd go bigger and put Taj on him. Have Miller and Noah on their bigs. I'd also try Warrick before Johnson with his length and athletism. But, what do I know. Fair enough about not judging him after his first year, I just don't see it, especially regarding his basketball IQ. He also seems pretty out of shape.

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