Atlanta trashes the Bulls #1 defense

Joe Johnson went five for five from the three point line, and the Hawks shot over 50% from both the three point line and the field.   Among other problems, the Bulls could not stop the Hawks early offense.   The bulls weren't turning the ball over like crazy, but the Hawks were running on misses and getting many shots in transition.


No ball movement early

The Bulls started with their similar trend of completely wretched play to start games.   There was no ball movement, and the Bulls settled for contested jumper after contested jumper.

Things improved in the second and third as the Bulls found plenty of points in the paint, but ultimately, but the early rough start and hole they had to build out of made things far more difficult than it would have been otherwise.

Atlanta made their shots

As noted above, they shot over 50% from both the field and the three point line.  I don't think it's likely they're able to repeat that shooting performance four times as the Hawks hit a ton of tough shots.

Of course Orlando fans are still waiting for the Hawks to cool off, so the Bulls can't count on the Hawks starting to miss their shots.   I do like the way the Bulls contested most of the jumpers, but Atlanta, particularly Crawford, made shuts under duress.

The Bulls have only played one good game in six so far

I still think the Bulls will get past Atlanta, much like I thought Orlando would get past Atlanta after a loss in the opener, but Bulls fans should be plenty nervous right now.

Ultimately, Chicago has played just one good game in the playoffs, and wwhile the pressure wasn't necessarily on them against Indy because they were winning while playing badly, they'll need to step it up a whole ton if they want to really make a run at this thing in the playoffs.

Even if they skate by Atlanta by playing less than their ideal game, Miami is set to crush the crap out of them playing at the level they've played so far.

Just to make matters worse, Rose sprains his ankle

In a meaningless play Derrick Rose is chasing Jamal Crawford with two seconds left on the clock and steps on the back of Crawford's foot to aggravate his ankle sprain.   It didn't look terribly bad, but never good to see your star player limping off the court especially after a loss.

Rose said the ankle was fine after the game, but he hasn't been attacking the same since the first ankle sprain, so we'll have to hope for the best.

Final thoughts

Not worried about the outcome of the series, but losing game one makes it almost automatically a tough series.  It's not impossible to come back from, but the Bulls are clearly behind the eight ball early.

Fortunately, they're still the better team and should improve for game two.

Comments

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  • Heres to hoping that they are the best team cause through 6 games they haven't played like it. This team needs to wake the hell up cause they have been stinking up the court even tho they have won 1 round. I said on the last thread that this Bulls team played better last year in the playoffs against the Cavs and Lebron, they need to get their crap together and if Bulls fans arent pissed about this loss after the Pacers series... you should be cause this team is playing like S--T and it's still the regular season. stop turning the blind eye to this Bulls team poor play Bulls fans cause this team needs some tough love and criticism.

  • In reply to Reese1:

    And I know you said you're not worried about the series doug, but you should be cause the Bulls offense stinks and teams are really keying in on Rose and making other guys try to score. I'm sure Orlando according to Jameer Nelson wasn't worried either but you see where that got them.

  • In reply to Reese1:

    Someone's probably going to hate me for making this comparison but:

    Iverson in 00-01
    * Finished top of the East
    * Was coached by the CotY
    * Team built on defense and rebounding with only a slightly above average offense
    * Won the MVP
    * Beat the Pacers in the first round while dropping 1 game
    * Dropped the first game at home in the second round to the 5th seed
    * Got to the line 10 times a game in the plaoffs
    * Shot sub-40% for the playoffs

    Rose in 10-11
    * Finished top of the East
    * Was coached by the CotY
    * Team built on defense and rebounding with only a slightly above average offense
    * Is going to win the MVP
    * Beat the Pacers in the first round while dropping 1 game
    * Dropped the first game at home in the second round to the 5th seed
    * Is getting to the line 10 times a game in the playoffs
    * Is shooting sub-40% for the playoffs

    (It's all just for fun, don't read too much into it, I don't believe in history repeating).

  • In reply to DontLetsStart:

    The truth hurts sometimes, hopefully the Bulls wont repeat this history and Rose will lead his team to the ultimate goal. Not looking good right now tho.

  • In reply to DontLetsStart:

    The big difference was Iverson was driving into the paint and getting beaten up big time which basically cut his career short. Rose has decided to play for 15 years by just chucking from the 3 pt line.
    And I am sure the SG on the 76ers was a much better shooter than Bogans. Heck, Mutombo for all his horrible shooting was probably a better shooter than Noah.

  • In reply to schaumburgfan:

    I guess I missed another one:

    Iverson, like Rose, averaged 7 threes a game for the playoffs in 00-01.

  • In reply to DontLetsStart:

    lol well i guess funny or not, its still kind of creepy.

  • In reply to DontLetsStart:

    Haven't watched the game yet, but maybe we are just not as good as our regular season record would suggest that we are, and certainly not nearly as good as we think we are going into the playoffs.

    Remember, everybody(except for Bozo the Boozer) tries as hard as they know how to in the playoffs.

  • In reply to BigWay:

    Enough with the boozer hate already, there are plenty of teammates that are playing as badly or worse. It's becoming a brainless mob-like phenomenon to just pile on to Boozer.

  • In reply to dreverts:

    +5

  • In reply to ChiRy:

    I actually thought Boozer looked much better yesterday than he has in over a month. He had a slow start, but looked better and better as the game went on.

    Lucky for him too, I was at the game and the crowd was about to really turn on him, then he hit his next 4 shots or so and had that great dunk over Smith.

  • In reply to dreverts:

    Its all about urgency. For whatever reason, when the Bulss haven't had to play with it, they haven't played with it, & this has happened all season. Game 2 you'd have to expect them to play with more, they always do after a loss.

    Nervous? No. I knew Atlanta would be tough, they practically dismantled Orlando. I'm more upset, because they are capable of a higher gear, and appear to be chosing not to use it. Step up the urgency Bulls, put this team away early, in each game, and in the series. Show me some killer instinct.

  • In reply to dreverts:

    What's interesting about Atlanta's last series with Orlando, they stole the 1st game on Orlando's home court, then never looked back. The hom team won every single game after that, which wasn't enough for Orlando as they lost in 6.

  • In reply to ChiRy:

    same with the grizzlies against the spurs. Its tough getting that game back on the road when the other team is confident.

  • In reply to ChiRy:

    Bulls might need to buy a dog at this rate...

  • In reply to dreverts:

    Yea, 14 & 8 changes everything.

  • In reply to BigWay:

    Bulls played horrible, and Atlanta played probably the best they will play. I'm not worried at all, Bulls need losses like this sometimes. I expect game 5 Bulls, from the Pacers series to show up Wednesday.

  • In reply to BigWay:

    Rose's play has tailed off as soon as the MVP vote seemed to become a reality. He has played well in spurts(brilliantly)against Indiana to change the game. But, in general he has been struggling in the first half of games.
    The Bulls are doing something wrong in their pre-game to come out with so less energy. That has to change for them to have a chance in this series.
    I agree that Rose has become very hesitant to go inside after the Foster/McRoberts fouls in the 2nd game. And obviously, his ankle is not helping him.

  • In reply to BigWay:

    it is possible that thibodeau had a skiles-type effect in the regular season and now in the playoffs the bulls are looking more like the 48-52 win team we all thought they would be based on their talent (Rose's improvement is balanced out by Boozer's suckiness and Noah's slight regression). We all thought they needed more talent yet understandably jumped on the homer train when they started winning a lot.

  • In reply to ixonflex69:

    They definitely over-achieved a little bit(maybe 5 to 8 games) in the regular season because of their preparation and effort. Is that wrong? Not sure about that. But beating Miami in a couple of games was for real because Miami was also prepared and anxious.
    The problem is if Rose is not playing well, the Bulls have zero offense from Center and SG positions most of the time and Boozer sucking consistently for a long time now. That is very tough to overcome. We can blame Rose all we want, but if SG/Center positions don't give us 10+ points every other game, it is a big problem which will not go away.

  • In reply to schaumburgfan:

    seeing the bulls play it seems ridiculously effective to just trap rose with 2 or 3 guys all the time, and you're right, teams do this because they know they can afford to play three on four with the rest of the lineup since deng (and very rarely boozer) seems like the only other real scoring threat in the lineup, and even he is not that good anyway. I dont know if coaching can fix this, or confidence, or whatever; but if your team can't score 4 on 3 or sometimes even 4 on 2 you are in deep shit and you clearly need more talent on your roster.

  • In reply to ixonflex69:

    I think GarPax/Thibs know this team is flawed and they cannot fix this in one year. They need a guy at the SG position who can be an average NBA player at the minimum. They have to wait until next year and hopefully Boozer/Rose/Deng/Noah/Asik/Taj stay healthy. This is the team core and Noah has to work on his jump-shot while Boozer and Rose have to develop some chemistry in the summer/training camp. I hope Boozer is having an adjustment year with his injuries derailing the adjustment.

  • In reply to schaumburgfan:

    Schaumburgfan, what was Noah's points total?

  • In reply to BigWay:

    Not good. Yes JJ and Crawford hit some tough shots but thats what you want from your best players in the playoffs.

    Derrick has definitely regressed in the playoffs. He is the League MVP (rightly so) but if he doesn't want all the critics to be able to say "I told you he wasn't MVP calibre and couldn't lead his team" he's gotta back back to doing what he did so well post christmas. Attack the defence, get to the line and dominate. AND STOP TAKING SO MANY 3s!!!

    Gluol disappearred in the 2nd half - Derrick's fault. He dictates the offence and if he's not getting Gluol involved then he will happily hide.

    JoNo had a solid game - just wish he had a jump shot. Booz played the best game for the playoffs so there's hope there. I thought Ronnie would defend Crawford well but tbh KK did as good a job and don't hang me here but Keith definitely defended JJ the best. Really up in his face stuff that JJ didn't like.

    Hawks are gonna live by the jumpshot or die by the jumpshot. Unfortunately for the Bulls they have not fared well against jumpshooting teams this year who are hitting their shots. The Bulls D is all about force into the teeth of the D and recovery to the outside shooters. Hawks are not playing the inside out game. They are setting simple guard s'n'r or iso's for Jamal or JJ. Thibs has to end his title here and adjust to force the Hawks out of their offensive plan. Great Defence only works if you dictate and not the offence of the opponents.

    I still think the Bulls have enough to win the series unless the Hawks shoot 50%+ from 3 in three more games. If Thibs allows them to do that then the Bulls will lose and the DRose MVP critics will be salivating.

    Thibs DRose don't let it happen its on you both!

  • In reply to DontLetsStart:

    This sucks. I was really hoping this wouldn't be a long, drawn out affair, and now we're all but guaranteed to go six games.

    Rose has to play better. For all the people that question the idea behind hard fouls, and physical play, just watch Derrick Rose since game 2. He's playing like a guy that wants nothing to do with contact. WAY too many jumpshots.

    It was nice to see him play more of a playmaker role at times (10 assists), but I'm still waiting to see him put it all together.

    I still don't think we'll lose this series, but this game was enough of a wake up call to make me really nervous, and depressed. If this great season somehow ends with this team losing to the Hawks, when a trip to the ECF should have been a formality, all the good will they've earned will be wiped away. That would be a truly terrible outcome, and probably crippling to the franchise in the immediate future.

  • In reply to Juiceboxjerry:

    Totally agree. Rose is starting to play like Russell "I'm in love with my jump shot!" Westbrook. Both guys need to take the rock to the hole! No FTs?? It wasn't bad reffing, it was simply Rose not being aggressive.

    Clearly, the bumps and bruises that Indiana dished out got inside Derrick's head, as having a bad ankle gives him one more reason to pull up from deep. But while his outside shot has improved dramatically, his game is getting into the lane.

    The bright spots? Boozer playing better, Noah was effective and Korver registered an insane +13 or something. If Brewer keeps getting torched, then sit his butt down and give him mins to Korver. Deng was decent on O but have up too many good looks on D.

    Game 2 I expect a very different story. Tight, aggressive D. Rose getting into the lane . . . and to the line. Hopefully more 2nd unit action. And JJ and Crawford coming back down to earth!

  • In reply to Juiceboxjerry:

    Can't let frontrunners get out front. The game was their for the taking in the late third and early fourth, but Watson and Gibson missed several shots in a row and Atlanta kept getting buckets. Really though Rose can't go through a game where he played 40+ and not get a single FT attempt. That just can't happen. He needs to put the pressure on Teague because he made Teague look like a cagey vet last night.

  • In reply to schaumburgfan:

    This team still has a lot to learn about playoff intensity and effort.
    Let's hope they are quick learners.

  • In reply to schaumburgfan:

    Hey schaumburgfan, YOU'RE ALIVE AND WELL, I GUESS!
    I was wondering what happened to you and your Noah bashing, but I should have known that you would come out of hiding now. I guess the problem was that you could not sing the praises of Al Horford, because Noah had a better line than him despite not having a spectacular game. But you couldn't help yourself by taking a dig at your favorite target. "MUTOMBO FOR ALL HIS HORRIBLE SHOOTING WAS PROBABLY A BETTER SHOOTER THAN NOAH?"
    Are you serious? Did Noah steal your girlfriend? But I find that not possible because she must be a sight like you.
    CONTINUE YOUR OBSESSION AND RIDICULOUS BASHING! YOU REALLY ARE A PUNK!

  • In reply to Normie:

    GTFO...you f..ing troll.

  • In reply to schaumburgfan:

    I, and the world, can see you're beginning to crack.

  • In reply to Normie:

    Don't troll this blog. It is usually a very decent blog and people don't attack others personally. You would have been kicked out of the blog if not for the tolerance on this blog. Don't misuse it by attacking others. Debate using stats, logic or criticize the players. Be a grown-up and don't be a troll. I never attack anyone personally.

  • In reply to DontLetsStart:

    Crazy similarities. But the biggest difference between Rose and Iverson...

    PRACTICE!

    Seriously though, Rose obviously shows he is one of the most dedicated to improving his game from hard work; not wanting to just rely on talent like Iverson

  • In reply to Reese1:

    aww man, shakes is skip bayless.

  • In reply to pinkizdead:

    Nah, just thought I'd throw out a bit of light entertainment, we need it after a loss. The only thing I believe about the Rose/Iverson comparison is that I've always said Rose should model his game as a better Iverson (and he's largely started to do that with how he gets to the line, tonight excluded).

  • In reply to DontLetsStart:

    Yeah, i was joking. Let's hope the bulls will be able to find their groove in the playoffs.

  • In reply to DontLetsStart:

    Espn just report rose had won mvp

  • In reply to Reese1:

    And I meant to say the Bulls team from last year played better against the Cavs in the playoffs.

  • In reply to Reese1:

    I Agree. We are seeing the Bulls weaknesses and shortcomings.

    We won't have to wait long. We'll know on Wednesday where we stand.
    Nobody's said it yet, but Wednesday has become do or die.
    GO BULLS!

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