Bulls should be better in Game 4

"The Pacers are a much better team then their record/people think." Repeat.

Sure it's debatable that Indiana is playing better then say Philly, New York, Atlanta..? Still I mean you're talking about a team  with a novice, post firing replacement coach, and only one all-star at best in Granger. Stars are always subjective, but many have said Celtics have two at minimum in Pierce and Rondo. Miami has three. Atlanta Horford and Johnson. And the Bulls? We can rationalize Horford's not an an all-star or Rondo etc. But many people would support these guys as viable. Lakers with two though Gasol has slumped lately. OKC Westbrook and Durant. Again the Bulls? Right now Noah is coming back to solid starter status, but offensively not yet back to all-star November Jo. Yet maybe he gets there. Boozer? Hahahahaha(continue). Though I'm sorry I called the guy the P word which is bush..? I'd really only bag on a guy for dirty play or phony behavior/actions detrimental to the team. But never for poor play or simply folding. Sucks, choked, worthless, but not swearing about one of your own. He pisses some fans off wherever he's played with some of the lame crap he pulls, but still if the team's play rises, I think he could follow/do his part. Deng? He's played close to that level at times. And needs to remain there, and skip the 3-13's.

Quit Baggin'

I agree the last thing I want as a Bulls fan is someone disrespecting the team or being overly negative in a playoff setting where everybody is vulnerable. Upsets do happen, and a new group of Korver, Rose, Boozer, Noah have all been put together in their first playoff test. Racking up 62 wins deserves respect, and likewise the coach who's defense and also basic offensive principles and plays is largely responsible. Yet he is in his first post season brawl himself as the handler of player's psyche's, egos, minutes, roles/instructions(offensively) as well. And you also have had Derrick Rose at your disposal.

Honestly, I just don't want denial and abject homerism. The Bulls IMO just did not look like a well run/coached offense in Game 3. I've had problems with the defense at times as have many national NBA columnists, former players etc. noting the Pacers elevated assist totals in Games 1 and 2 etc. But beyond arguement should be the Bulls offense has largely been ineffective and often downright ugly.  And really if Thibs would just look a little more calm and collected at times responding to adversity or blown calls I'm not completely rejecting his take no prisoners Vince Lombardi style. Though i do think he should embrace(perhaps not literally) Derrick and Jo at times more with respectful or even encouraging interactions.

Pip said it best

You can take your pot shots at Scottie Pippen for the "1.5 seconds" he refused to play, or how he's handled his finances, hopscotch paternity etc. My view is biased of course as a huge Bulls fan of the Michael and Scottie years. And karma has a way of punishing transgressions as far as I'm concerned. Beyond the moralisms and his poor showing on ESPN as a short lived NBA commentator, voices from Phil Jackson, Pax, Steve Kerr and on have stated Scottie knows the game. Of course knowledge, and being able to implement that knowhow in the pressure of the playoffs with diverse personalities is a different matter.

But in Game 3  Pippen pointed to the pick and rolls setting Derrick up for an easy double team/vice rather then enabling him to drive. How many times did Derrick get chased all the way to the half court line, and have to heave the ball ahead like he was falling off the deck of a ship? I agrree with Doug that Noah being the double buster on the drive would be huge, but with his only recently upped minutes and lack of fundamental integration into the offense as he used to handle the ball a ton on high post/cutter distributorship it would be asking a lot for him to bust those doubles with any consistency. Still, if Thibs purposely puts Joakim in that roll, and Jo gets 38 minutes and up he may find his groove, and get it done. Or at least be a factor i.e 15-16 points with 4 or more assists.

Another adjustment should be Boozer; as in adjust his as* to the bench. I'm kidding. Seriously the atavistic, cro-magnon Jeff Foster or "the scowling Neanderthal" god does he look like a post lobotomy zombie, is just crawling all over Carlos on post ups. Carlos needs to take advantage of this overcomittment(and cheap ass play), by slipping that resistance/turning it against Uncle Goony by sealing him off and spinning to get an open lane to the basket. And appropriate Bulls players Bogans, Korver, Derrick etc. should hopefully have practiced the best angles to feed him the ball once past his defender/deep in the paint.

Hopefully Thibs has made the adjustments, and maybe without saying it embraced the players with a little more encouragement and a little less scolding i.e some of the fault lies with his lack of/poor adjustments. If Thibs had them practice some of these adjustments then the Bulls might take the first half to get the momentum rolling, and then wipe the floor with the Pacers in the second half. This in some ways humbling series could be a blessing in dsiguise to give the Bulls the keys to addressing/correcting their weaknesses without losing a series over it/being against a lesser opponent. Maybe this series becomes, "The Scrum With the Bums" aka  that changed everything towards a strong run at Miami(and beyond).

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  • One other thing. If the Bulls do get on a roll in that second half what better way to cap it off then a Kurt Thomas knockdown of the designated goon Foster going down court. Then when he gets up, just scowl at him and say, "Yeah, f-k you mother f-ker. F-k you!" Not only would it defend Derrick and Luol and the cheapshots they endured, but it would send a message to the league/other teams in the series/wars to come.

  • The league has embarrassed the referees with upgrading the fouls. Look for the refs to be extra vigilant today to punish the Pacers thuggery. That will throw them off their game plan for sure. No need to retaliate.

  • In reply to adocarbog:

    I think you're going to get less abuse of Derrick in future series if you stand up to it but that's just me.

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    In reply to adocarbog:

    The league was sending a pretty clear message that they don't want the league MVP injured out of spite by a team that has no chance to advance. So good on them for upgrading the fouls. I imagine game 4 will be called pretty tight.

    That said, I also think the Pacers have done a good job walking the fine line between protecting the basket physically and just outright thuggery. The line, I think is that it's pretty clear the Pacers have been out there trying to win games, not focusing on injuring or intimidating opponents on their way home. When Rose drives they're playing 5 guys in the paint - no layups allowed. Probably a good idea. It's up to officials to draw the line on fouls and Indiana's only doing what the refs let them do.

    The Bulls have done an even better job taking the high road mostly. It's good that they don't retaliate, but they shouldn't be giving up so many layups either. That's a defensive issue more than anything though.

    IF the Magic make it out of their series against atlanta that attitude is going to have to change though. Dwight has a bad habit of putting our Unicorn out of commission and if he gets the tiniest bit out of line I think the Bulls need to put a hard foul on him, and then put Nelson on his ass too. It's a different situation with Indiana though and I just hope they end this series of f'ugly basketball today.

  • One thing I worry about Noah is his how much he is "coachable" and going to improve on his offense? He definitely wants to win and has been a winner/high-level performer in clutch moments. But, he has had issues early in his career with Adams and we have heard some whispers of him speaking up against Thibs and being fined for being late. Will he go with the coach when things are totally against his ideas? Will he continue to have that determination to improve his offense even if he keeps failing in that part of his game?

  • In reply to schaumburgfan:

    To me the tenor has been to unconditionally accept Thibs end of the treatment/relationship with players. Which is usually what company guys like K.C. Johnson will do. But I get that his defense and 62 wins are a huge point of respect. As to Joakim he sure was coachable in college as his two championships attest to. Florida coach Billy Donovan praised him again and again. I have faith in Jo. But he definitely was not completely on the right page with his maturity when he came to the Bulls/league. If he was not injured, and performing at that high level I don't think there would be these personal questions about him right now. I do worry about Joakim to, but from a partying/keeping in shape aspect. If he was performing better then I don't think anyone would be worying about past run ins with Adams etc. But I can understand those concerns. I'm just in the minority that Thibs doesn't bear some responsibility of forging a relationship with players that is not entirely based on critiques and confrontation. But if he(Jo) has been unprofessional/late to team functions even ocassionally then yeah that would definitely be a problem. If he's on the right page we will know it because eventually his game will flourish once again.

  • In reply to schaumburgfan:

    I can't read this guy anymore.

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