Welcome to the 2011 NBA Playoffs! Here's your 62 win Chicago Bulls the hottest team in the NBA finishing on a 21-2 burn. Here we go!
Forward to a post Game 1 world with a brick of an effort for 44 minutes and change. Let the recriminations and indictments begin! But first, go back to win No. 62, win No. 61, or even No.60. Realize the Bulls fell behind in every one of these games. Derrick Rose put up 26 and 39 as fourth quarter savior in two of the three. Give the other W to the Bench Mob. Still, far short of a dominant looking team entering the post season. Yet we do have home court throughout.. this series? My question: where have the stars gone? Carlos Boozer, our big 2010 FA signing has seen his scoring, rebounding and field goal percentages all plummett since January. Question: In the finale against New Jersey which of these did Carlos do to 'effect winning.' A) watched stupified while the Nets Johan Petro grabbed and put back a key offensive board. B) Charged clumsily into the lane for an offensive foul. C) Shoved a shooter in the chest to play lazy defense, and gift a three point play opp? The answer: D, all of thee above.
Then There's This Guy
We coud really use this guy right now. Because in the playoff grind you advance with stars. Then the bench mobs of the world can plug into tthe excellence, and fill their roles. Sure Boozer could bounce back offensively and score 18 with 14 boards. But his overall downward spiraling play isn't likely to miraculously change. Carlos may be dinged up. But that doesn't excuse the mental and physical laziness to me. Might he respond with better star play around him? Yes, he might.
Deng once again was a semi-star in yet another second half winning time outburst. What'd he have 4 points in the first half, and finishes with 18 points and ten boards. Yes, Luol is in it to win it. But he's still more of an eruption guy then a steady all game, every game force. So who else is their?
I give you Joakim the Dream. Injuries aside, Jo looks pretty mobile to me right now. Now is not the time for excuses. He had the summer for beach parties and topless 'girlfriends.' Then there was November Jo. 15 points and around 13 rebounds per game. With strikingly active last line team defense and block party action. We saw flashes of that guy in Game 1. But similar to Boozer he's been awol, granted much due to injury, for most of the season. However the difference between Joakim is the fire is there. Always has been. He's got the charisma, presence, and record that says winner. Unless he's been bored with down time, and gotten overly indulgent with negative forces/over indulgence in drink etc., there's simply no reason to think he can't come back. I only make that negative reference because Jo has looked down to me. Just overly negative. The vibe with both he and Derrick lately around Thibs and each other has not looked good. Derrick got on Jo recently during the Orlando game I believe it was. Since then Jo has seemed to kind of disregard him when Derrick approaches him.
Even if Jo does emerge from said funk that doesn't guarantee anything. But it gives us hope. Sure the Bulls team momentum will cause them to rebound form the Game 1 debacle. But they won't go far(beyond the second round) if Jo doesn't bring the Omega to D-Rose's alpha.
A nice start would be outplaying/leaving the comparisons behind between himself and a game, but not close to being a star Tyler Hansbrough. It's either the return of November Jo/ Jo of past post seasons with the added offensive game/agressiveness, or bye bye Bulls. And speaking of November Jo check the box scores. When he was excelling/in that groove he was also playing huge minutes usually 38-39 and up. Personally, like Derrick, I think Jo gets much more into a groove when he stays on the court/plays a lot. Hopefully Thibs will look back at this. Then he, Jo, and D-Rose can patch it up if my observations are correct, and bring back the fire to this team. And start to soar aagin.