Rose brilliant until the end as Bulls fall to Heat

Rose brilliant until the end as Bulls fall to Heat

Derrick Rose muffed two free throws with under a minute to play that could have given Chicago their first lead of the game and put all the pressure on Miami. LeBron James followed by missing two of his own, unfortunately the Bulls failed to get the defensive rebound.

After Chalmers split a pair and the Bulls barely escaped with the defensive rebound, Rose had a turn around eight foot push shot to tie the game that hit the front of the rim. Rose will likely take the end of game failure personally after a spectacular game.

No moral victories

The short handed Bulls hung with the Heat, and if you could remove the three minute stretch where they played John Lucas and promptly gave up eight points on the lead because they couldn't even get the ball inside the three point line on offense, the Bulls played well.

Unfortunately, you can discount that period, because if C.J. Watson is healthy there's no guarantee things are any better. Luol Deng may have helped Chicago, but Brewer played well overall, so maybe not.

While there's no reason to panic over a road game that goes down to the wire against Miami while Chicago was missing a couple of rotation players, there's no reason to be pleased by playing them close either. The Bulls are in it to win it, not hang around.

Derrick Rose showed MVP stuff

He missed the two free throws which was terrible, and the final shot he missed simply wasn't a very good look. The Bulls didn't run a good play at the end, and he had to throw something up. He was also 0-4 from the three point line.

That about eliminates the flaws on Derrick for the day. His slashing through the lane and tough finishes were simply masterful, many of his misses weren't even so bad because the Bulls were able to clean up the glass frequently on them as he drew so much defensive attention.

Derrick had played passively in many games, but this afternoon he came out and reminded the NBA of what he can do when the Bulls need him to.

Brilliant move by Tom Thibodeau that most coaches don't make

He pulled Derrick Rose just under five minutes in the game after he picked up his second ticky tack foul. The Heat went on a run, and he promptly put Rose back in the game and rode him the rest of the game. Rose finished with three fouls.

This may seem stupid, but this is the kind of thing most coaches refuse to buck conventional wisdom on. Contrary to popular belief you can lose a game by letting things go. The Atlanta Hawks proved that in the playoffs last season when they sat Horford for an entire half because he picked up two early fouls.

Noah shows his worth

Joakim Noah continued his torrid play. Another double double with 4 assists for Noah. He fouled out due to an intentional foul at the end and was the victim of a couple dicey calls, especially the one where LeBron barreled into him while his back was turned.

Joakim's ability to help proved crucial in helping the Bulls defend the Heat, he did a nice job pulling down contested boards, and blocking shots at the rim. Complain about Joakim against big bodied centers all you want, the Bulls need to get through Miami. A healthy Noah is probably the best non-all-star center you could have against them.

Richard Hamilton scaring me again

Another kind of flub game for Hamilton. He scored 11, but none in the second half and missed a bunch of bunnies on the night. He also threw the ball around and had five turnovers on the night.

Quite simply, the Bulls need Richard Hamilton to play much better than that to beat Miami. Even two of his free throws were a complete BS call on LeBron James to gift him a couple of FTs before the half ended.

Speaking of the refs...

I mentioned them a few times, so just so that there aren't any misconceptions, I don't believe the refs hurt the Bulls in this game. I do believe they reffed the game in waves though. There were stretches where each team was the beneficiary of multiple poor calls.

The Bulls were particularly lucky at the end of the game where the inadvertent whistle gave them a jump ball instead of a Miami possession with a good shot to score. That said, LeBron appeared to have illegally tapped the jump, so maybe they made up for it.

All in all, it was a fairly shoddy performance by the refs IMO, but it wasn't shoddy in any one direction.

What did you think of LeBron?

The Bulls have somehow managed to consistently stop Dwyane Wade, but they seem to have no hope against James. James just tears them apart. I think LeBron frequently thinks to much. I think when he feels pressure that he lets it get to him.

The thing is, he rarely feels pressure because he's better than everyone else. He doesn't feel any pressure against Chicago, but he felt it in the finals last year.

Unless the Bulls find a way to make LeBron feel pressure and tighten up his game it's going to be tough to defeat Miami.

The Bulls allowed LeBron to get a ton of easy points in the paint through poor transition defense and not paying attention to back door cuts. However, when they were focused on stopping him in isolation they did a reasonable job at times. They forced plenty of turnovers and some poor shots.

Chicago really needs to work on making sure people get back in transition, and a big function of that is the offensive set they were frequently using had two players baseline, Noah crashing the glass for a rebound, and Rose driving to the basket. Four of the five players would then basically be even with the basket when the ball came off the glass.

When Miami rebounded and ran, it was simply too easy.

Better luck next game

There will be three more chances to take down Miami and despite the Bulls playing short handed, I feel they wasted one today. This was a game they could have easily won at the end if Rose knocks down his free throws [his only misses on the night from the free throw line], and it's disappointing they weren't able to find a way to pull it out.

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  • I am very proud of our Bulls team and the way they competed against the Heat despite being short-handed, missing 2 of their top 7 players.
    If Bulls are healthy, I feel they can beat this Heat team.

    However, I am not blind to Bulls; weaknesses. And, imo, they are:

    Rip Hamilton is not enough at SG. I like him as a player. He is an upgrade, but he has lost some athleticism and cannot excel against the elite teams (Indiana, Miami).

    I’ve said this in the past, and I repeat it here. No team will win an NBA Championship with Carlos Boozer as starting PF. I am not hating on Carlos, he simply has limitations that are severely exposed against elite competition. Sam Smith’s column of last week said it best, Boozer is who he is. He is not playing much different than he did at Utah. The problem is Bulls need a PF with different abilities. Bulls drew the short stick in 2010 free agency.

    Both Rip and Booz can post good stats against the ordinary teams, but they are lacking in the physical talent to do so against the best teams.

    Until Bulls address these two weaknesses they will fail to win an NBA Championship, imo.

    ***********
    WTF were Bulls thinking releasing Mike James and keeping John Lucas XXVIII ?!? MORONIC PATRONAGE. Bulls/Thibs cut the better player over favoritism. Lucas looked like a child playing against men.
    So Rose has to play 45 min, because the MVP has no backup PG.

    Just like several of the ECF games, Rose played all 24 minutes of the 2nd half and was fatigued at the end – too fatigued to be Superman. The smallest guy on the court, carrying the biggest burden of anyone on the court, competing like a true warrior, but with little help from management because they released his backup PG (Mike James) the day before.

  • In reply to Edward:

    I think Rip is perfect at SG, we just need him to get healthy. He was playing on one leg after the first quarter. When he's in the game you rarely see our offense sputter because no one is open, he knows how to move and where to move. But he NEEDS to be healthy for the playoffs. I'd be fine with sacrificing a win or two to assure that happens.

  • In reply to Chicagosportsguru:

    Rip Hamilton appears frail.
    Even if he begins the playoffs healthy, I question he can stay healthy through the entire playoffs.

  • In reply to Edward:

    Agree. Rip seems to be a better playmaker than I thought. That said, he needs to be healthy throughout the playoffs.
    Our big men don't give any offense and that's the big catch. Even the bad teams have one big who can shoot and our best shooter Boozer disappears for more games than showing up. That puts a lot of pressure on Rose and Rip. I think Rip played pretty well on defense and facilitated pretty well on offense sometimes. I would say he looked the best we have had at PG other than Rose for the last 2 seasons...sorry CJ.

  • Edward, I totally agree on the Mike James part. This was a tough loss, but I liked the way the Bulls fought back at the end of the game. The beginning of the contest however was a different story. WTF?

  • noah played well.

    hamilton is the black kyle korver, nothing but a shooter.(not as good as the white korver)the bulls ain't ever gona beat the heat with the black and white korver combo unless they make EVERY(and I mean EVERY) shot they take.

    Rose played great but choked at the end.

    bad coaching by thibs not giving rose a break in the 3rd and 4th quarters. lebron and wade always get their breaks.

  • In reply to rob32:

    Black Kyle Korver? This comparison is baseless.

  • I don't think the Bulls can slow down LBJ, they have no one at his position strong or quick enough to stay in front of him on defense. The Heat will surely beat the Bulls in the playoffs because of this reason and they're just not athletic enough. The Heat

  • Hamilton:

    Yes he had a terrible offensive showing, but on the bright side he looked extremely well matched at defending Wade in isolation. His length and refused to fall for head fakes really seemed to give Wade fits. I would assume that at least Rip's passing will improve as many of his turnovers just seemed lackadaisical.

    James:

    Even though he had a monster game at least we got a look at how Ronnie could defend him for a solid 40minutes. Granted he got rocked, but how much can be put to bad help defense and just Ronnie getting worn out? Because it seemed for stretches that his work on James was adequate. With Deng back it would be interesting to rotate the two of them [Deng/Brewer] on James to give each other breaks before ramping up the intensity when guarding James.

  • Yes, James is a physical beast who is very difficult to deal with.
    But I think the larger issue for Bulls is, Who will step up and help Derrick Rose?. Who will shoulder some of the scoring burden? Who will spell Rose so he can get a breather in the 2nd half so he will be fresh enough to close against the Heat. This issue is shared equally by:
    1) Management - Get the right pieces around Rose.
    2) Thibs - Give Rose a breather so he can close. Keep a backup PG on roster at all times. I suspect it was Thibs who chose Lucas over Mike James.
    3) Teammates - Step up and produce

    Bulls cut the MVP's backup PG and made him play 45 minutes, WTF? More often than not, that scenario will fail.

  • The first missed free throw was short and so was his supposed to be game-tying floater. He may be tired. However, if Boozer only passed to the cutting Hamilton like Noah would've done...

  • For the second game in a row without deng, playing against playoff contenders. The bulls went away from rose's penetrating game to letting the offense flow thru rip down the stretch with 5 to 6 mins to go. And for the second time the bulls lost taking the ball out of rose's hand. Its not that lebron shut rose down, cuz he didnt. But rose never attacked lebron nor did the bulls set screens for rose. its fustrating to know we could have beat indiana and the heat if not for thibs and the bulls experimenting with rip closing games out. I think it upsets derrick flow of the game and makes our mvp pretty useless and that isnt a winning formula for the bulls. What i do know even with the miss free throws and missed shit at the end, rose is a killer. At this point i dont think we need anybody. All we need to do is get healthy and this years title will be ours. The bulls are actually losing games while experimenting with different strategies at the end of games they can actually win.

  • I don't think the game told us much we didn't already know from last year: the teams are pretty evenly matched and it's going to come down to who has the better game on the day.

    Last year the regular season meant something because we didn't know how good the team was and every win proved it. Now we know how good they are, winning against Heat because a basket went in instead of out wouldn't have really changed that, it's just down to whether they have the luck of being good on the right times in the playoffs and win a title or not. We're flipping coins here, and whether that coin is fair, or somewhat biased in the Heat's favour or even the Bulls favour I don't really know and sure as hell aren't any closer to being able to tell just because Rose did or didn't make some free throws.

    I'm also starting to get into the mind frame that I don't see any point in getting too caught up in the highs and lows of whether guys like Rip or Boozer sucked on a particular day ... they'll have their good days and bad days and end up the season being pretty mediocre overall. If they have good days in the playoffs against the Heat then the Bulls will probably win, if not they'll probably lose. All we can do is sit back, enjoy the ride and hope luck smiles on the Bulls and the good version of those guys happens to show up at the right time.

  • In reply to Shakes:

    Dead on, Shakes! Good analysis. Obviously we would like to see Bulls up the odds by adding another good piece, but that is a lot easier said than done.

    Management was correct in predicting that several of the players would get better this year, and Brewer and CJ have. Noah finally seems to be stepping it up. And Rip was an excellent pickup. Unfortunately, many of the players are injury prone, which we saw last year.

    Both teams wanted this game. Under Bulls basket, Bulls had 5 shots in a row, Boozer finally put it in. Tremendous effort. At the Heat end, Noah blocks Wade twice, then Wade finally puts it in. Again, high energy. 2 elite teams going for it, great entertainment. Great rivalry.

    Both had some good and bad things happen. Lebron blocks a shot, but right to Korver, who nails a 3. Lebron shoots an off balance 3 as shot clock expires, hits it. Just like real life.

    BTW, did anyone think that the hard foul on Brewer was not a flagrant?

  • In reply to Shakes:

    That about sums it up perfectly.

    Of course I'm not happy losing but in a way it might be good to lose some of the regular season games against the Miami's and even Indiana to a lessor extent to keep that hate and hunger in them.....Rose is going to be fuming to beat these teams come playoff time.

  • I'm really encouraged by the lack of "meatball" comments I've seen here and on other Bulls sites (no I haven't read the ESPN boards). The majority of fans seem to have this loss in perspective and aren't freaking out calling to blow up the team. Sucks that DRose missed those FTs, because the media is going to start pushing that narrative. I'm also worried about the pressure he'll put on himself next time.

    March is going to be Bulls Revenge Month: Pacers on the 5th, Heat on the 14th.

  • In reply to Tyler Soze:

    I think that is the kind of pressure that makes superstars tho...

  • A healthy Deng today would have most likely won the game for us!
    Even a healthy CJ to give Rose some rest would have probably won it for us!
    RIP is a big upgrade for us from last year with Bogans and I can't bear to think of us not having Gibson, Brewer, Asik in seasons coming up but we have a good team and I like that Thibs isn't afraid to pull Boozer or Noah when they don't give what he needs and then go to Gibson and Asik even to close out a game!
    Lebron is the best player in the World and like Kobe you can defend him all you want, and he can and will still make his baskets, you just hope to slow him down and earn them!

    With all this said we really could use a more NBA compitent PG then Lucas III even as a 3rd stringer and I'd love if we got JR Smith even if we needed to trade Korver and our draft picks to get him.

    Deng is our true #2 Robin behind Rose but I also love how RIP passes well, is constantly in motion and make things happen, he also played good D on Wade! I'd love to have 1 more slasher and 3 pt shooter but slight character risk player like we would get in Mayo or JR Smith....come on Reinsdorf use some of that $ you made on the Bulls throughout the years and give us Bulls fans the championship(s) we deserve!!!

  • Hahaha "This may seem stupid, but this is the kind of thing most coaches refuse to buck conventional wisdom on." I think you took that one straight from Van Gundy's mouth, Doug :P I think you made a good point about our transistion D. Brewer and Hamilton both got caught up crashing the offensive glass at times, allowing Lebron and DWade to get two on ones on the break. Its an easy fix as long as Thibodeau points it out in film though.

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    That look Dwayne Wade had while standing next to Lebron at end of game reminded me of Apollo looking at Rocky as he motioned for him to ”come on!”. Mia knows Chicago isnt going away.

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