Rose continues his torrid stretch as Bulls top 76ers

Rose continues his torrid stretch as Bulls top 76ers

Derrick mentioned he had a chip on his shoulder about this game after the Bulls beat Cleveland, he came out and played like it. Rose dominated the game early, hit the key basket late, and carried the Bulls to victory yet again.

Side note, do I need therapy for this?

You ever feel like Rose has to do too much for the Bulls to win games? I waffle between feeling that's legitimate and feeling that it's a shadow of insecurity leftover from when Ben Gordon clearly didn't have enough to consistently close out games for Chicago a few years ago.

Derrick's a legit superstar. He should close out games. I do think the Bulls need another shot creator, but at times for all the love and praise we heap on Rose, we also are scared to let him bare the full brunt of expectations that praise would demand.

Back to reality, Derrick dominates

All you need to know about how badly Rose carved up the Philly defense is that they went to a five minute stretch of a completely gimmick, overtrapping defense where they doubled Rose the instant he crossed the half court line to get the ball out of his hands [more on that later].

Rose sliced to the rim with ease, frequently taking on a triple team around the basket after beating two defenders from the perimeter. Yet despite the Philly defense overloading against him in a situation where Rose was ultimately beating all five defenders on a single play, he still shot over 50% from the field.

He also knocked down two big shots at the end of quarters with time expiring. Those shots are always momentum killers for the other team.

Derrick did his damage from inside and outside nailing four of seven three point shots to balance out his forays to the hoop. Any injury concerns with his back or toe should be wiped out after watching his post all-star play which has been as good as he's ever been in his career.

Back to the hard trap

Scary enough, when the 76ers threw two strong defenders at Rose 40 feet from the hoop, the Bulls struggled to make anything happen with a 4 on 3. Granted, you've only got about two seconds on the 4-3 before the defense recovers, but it still struck me as a problem that the Bulls couldn't execute out of this more efficiently.

Thibodeau should start running Brewer and Butler at Rose in a hard trap set with the starting unit to mimic this defense and see what the Bulls can do to stop it. They eventually settled into having Noah play up a little closer to Derrick to make the outlet easier and then use him as a decision maker.

Noah needs to be able to dribble into the free throw line jumper from that position and knock that shot down or make a hard drive to the basket and force someone to leave their man wide open.

I do like that the Bulls kept Watson on the floor in this scenario to give the Bulls a second ball handler, a move which paid off once as Watson knocked down a pull up jumper.

The final time the the 76ers attempted this defense Rose was smiling as he walked the ball up the court, immediately took both guys off the dribble to his left and then twisted in mid air to sink a tough righty floater while flying pass the backboard.

Speaking of going left..

Who entered the cliff note about about Derrick can't go left into the ESPN announcer's handbook? Maybe I watch the locals too much or simply watch without volume too much, but is there really still a belief that Rose can't drive to his left? Do people really believe it's so bad that you have to mention it on the telecast on nearly every drive he takes all game?

I mean yeah, given a choice I'd force Rose to go left rather than right, but he drives the ball extremely well from both sides. He finishes better with his dominant hand [like every other player in the league], but is more than capable with his off hand and can use his right the majority of the time when driving left anyway.

I don't know, just felt out of place, like the announcers felt Rose driving left was similar to Rondo shooting threes or some Achilles heal that would really have some impact on the game.

Loved the decision to go with Watson / Rose backcourt

I think it made plenty of sense to help bust the hard trap and when they let Watson bring the ball up and ran backscreens for Rose to get free it hurt their efforts of using the trap even more. It also gave the Bulls someone who could take his man off the dribble when the defense was outmanned due to the double team.

The Bulls could get away with it largely because Philadelphia was going with two small guards, so Watson was going to give the team the shooting without sacrificing defense or playing undersized.

Also nice that Watson was able to tough it out after spraining his ankle right before the close of the first half.

A lot went the 76ers way, and they still lost

The 76ers had a ton of second chance opportunities, frequently getting two or three on one play when they took shots in transition prior to the Bulls fully getting set on defense, but they didn't really turn their offensive rebounds into all that many points. I haven't seen a second chance points stat, but it wouldn't surprise me if Chicago had a similar number of second chance points on half as many offensive boards.

It didn't show up in the box score, but the 76ers had a ton of help from the refs down the stretch of this game. Noah got thrown out of bounds on a play he would have likely had a putback on, followed a couple players latter where Boozer got mauled in the paint with no foul call [though he hit the shot]. A couple of key moments where the Bulls could have put the game much further out of reach.

They also did a tremendous job forcing turnovers while limiting their own turnovers.

However, despite the entire hustle/intangible board pointing in the direction of Philadelphia, they simply couldn't overcome the Bulls talent base. Chicago shot 47.6% from the field while Philly managed a paltry 39.2%, and the Bulls knocked down 7 of 16 threes to Philly's 1 for 11.

It just goes to show that three point shooting can make up for a whole ton of other problems.

Luol Not-so-"Deng"erous in this game

I'll give Deng credit for scoring all eight of his points in a burst that broke open the game for Chicago. He knocked down all three of his jumpers [two of them threes] in perhaps a two to three minute span where the Chicago took over the game to go ahead for good.

He also moved the ball well feeding Asik perfectly for a drive even he couldn't fumble as well as a couple other assists on the night. However, against very good teams the Bulls will simply need more than eight points on 11 shots from Luol. They need him to be more of a threat, particularly once the hard trap came.

Where was Deng when the defense overloaded on Rose and the rest of the team had a 4-3? I don't know, but he wasn't getting the ball, and punishing the 76ers which is what he should be doing in that situation. Perhaps that's coaching rather than a criticism of Deng, but the Bulls simply need more.

Hamilton's still coming around

He shot four of six for eight points which is a nice efficient use of him in his 18 minutes, but he's still pretty clearly on a minute cap as the Bulls bring him around slowly, and he's still not quite finding his groove with the offense yet. \

I'm happy with his progression so far in that there have appeared to be no set backs physically, and I'll take 16 points per 36 minutes on 66% shooting any day. However, I think Rip's going to get much better as time goes on.

Joakim still playing BIG

Noah had 18 boards overall and two key offensive rebound put backs in the fourth. He's still filling up the stat sheet in a big way each night. As noted above, I'd like to see him play a bit more aggressively coming out of the hard trap as the ability to drive and dish/score is well within his skillset if the opposing team has two guys 40 feet away from the basket standing next to Rose.

He missed most of his little baby hooks by going about 2-3 inches long all night, but still had a monster impact on the game and continues to play at a high level.

Four games, four wins, two quality wins

That's the tale of the tape post all-star break, and it feels good. Rose looks like a legit MVP, and the Bulls beat two very good teams on the road in their first four games back from the all-star break. Things won't get much easier the rest of the season as Chicago will play mostly good teams the rest of the way out.

I like the fact the Bulls got the creampuffs out of the way early, when the playoffs roll around, they'll be used to playing tough teams night in and night out from the tough back end of the schedule.


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  • You're not alone on the going left thing that Doris Burke kept bringing up. I almost never watch the national feed- so maybe that's some nonsense they always spout. The first time I heard her say it I said to the tv, "what the hell are you talking about?" Then my wife walked in the room and asked who I was talking to. I explained and she just rolled her eyes and walked out. Doris drove me crazy with it the rest of the game.

  • In reply to Hoover:

    Yeah I don't think Doris Burke likes the Bulls all that much. She always has something negative to say about the team. And Doug you're right to feel the way that housing about Rose. Yes he a star and a go to type of player, but he has to do entirely too much. This is how the Bulls lost to the Heat in the ECF, the Sixers doubled him and the offense got stagnet. It is what if is, he needs help and I don't know how he's going to get it.

  • Personally, I felt based on the opposition who were rested and playing in their home court and a team which has a lot of athletes to go against Rose....this must have been one of the best games Rose has played in the regular season.
    Also, Thibs better have a back-up plan to break up the trap in the end of 4th quarters when the players are tired and are not ready to jump/run so much more faster. He is just depending on Rose's ability and it is not working because the other parts are not so talented. I don't know the solution but Thibs better have a plan with Rip

  • In reply to schaumburgfan:

    I too thought it was one of Rose's better games. The only thing I'd say against that is he had a rather lousy fourth quarter until the last shot.

  • In redponse to your question of whether it feels like Rose is doing too much, my answer is absolutely "yes". But I think that's more indicative of other guys not doing enough, as opposed to Rose being overworked. He's the MVP of the league, and a top 5 player, for the most part, this is how he should be playing.

    The problem is, it feels like many of his shot attempts are in large part due to him being a release valve for broken plays due to his teammates not being able to get something done themselves. We absolutely could use another scorer/shot creator. And frankly, I'm getting a bit sick of Luol Deng's erratic play offenisively.

    I know he's hit some big shots late in games recently, and I absolutely know how valuable his defense and rebounding are, but I'm not sure this team can afford to pay a guy what he's making, if he can't be a more consistent offensive player. We need to be able to count on him for at least a certain amount amount of points every night, and he has to have a few spots on the floor that he can reliably hit a jump shot, or else he'll really bog down the offense.

    At this point, I honest;y feel going into a game like he can score twenty, or he could score two, and that's just not what you want out of a guy making that kind of coin. It's tough to pick on him because he's such a great teammate, and consumate pro, but we really need more out of him.

    An other issue imo, is that they don't go to Boozer nearly as much as they should. Boozer has proven to be fairly reliable when constantly fed in the post. And even if he's not scoring, he draws a ton of attention, and is able to use his passing, shooting, or driving to really help us out. Unfortunately, for some reason, when Derrick is playing, they go away from Boozer a little too easily. It's almost like they want to push that "easy button" that is Rose, as opposed to working to get others involved.

    There's almost no point to having Boozer on the floor, if you're not going to use him, and I see no reason why he shouldn't at least touch the ball once every other play if he's in the game. Hen Rose was out, he proved that he can score the ball, let the man go to work.

    Other than all that, I'm really excited for tonight's game/ Admittedly a bit nervous, because the funny thing about the last game between the Pacers and the Bulls, is that I didn't feel like Indiana even played that well, yet they still won the game. Hopefully the Bulls pull this one out, it would really suck if they didn't.

  • Joakim Noah never had an offensive game. Occasional hook here or there, a jumper thrown in, but mostly put backs and tip ins. That's the consensus from what I've heard. November Jo was a fluke. A zone.

    It seems to be feast or famine with the acceptance of the Bulls as a contender on this blog. Which it would be on any sports blog that's just the nature of the beast.

    Recently I've seen so many posts that clearly express the Bulls do not have the offensive firepower or second All-Star(legitimately) to succeed to the Finals aka beat Miami or possibly even beyond the second round.

    You never want to react to just one game, but of course we do. Still, there is such a thing as a preponderance of evidence culminating in a judgment day.

    Joakim Noah, on the charge of regressing offensively to the point of being an on court liability at times: guilty!

    Jo has come back from the brink of "trade him!," to the energy guy who as a help defender, rebounder, and assist big is enjoyable to watch on many nights. But his baseline hooks, driving away hand lay-ins or hooks have dissapeared. Those grenades he lobbed in front of the basket were nothing like the style he was successful with.

    People want to say Jo never had an offense beyond put backs and lobs and they focus on his jump shot. In most games when he was a successful scorer he didn't even attempt a jump shot. It was the transition away hand lay-ins, and the baseline hooks left or right. Plus straight line dribbles when defenses saggged off of him.

    Since that November injury, Jo has regressed so much in his confidence and agression at even attemtping these shots. His numbers may be similar, but come playoff time there will be no 15ppg mini Bill Rusell playoff beast emerging.

    Right now, between his abysmal ineffectiveness down low and Taj's evaporation of his inside game on most nights, instead taking the easy way out with jump shots, I see both of them as offensive liabilities.

    Teams are going to be able to double team Derrick just as agressively as they did in last year's playoffs which is going to make him look bad again most likely when actually he is a top five player maybe top two especially for his size.

    Many posters have been begging for help or even a blockbuster, but Howard, Ellis, Iggy you name it, they're not coming. I wish the Bulls could snag Ray Allen, but they'd have to give up probably Asik, Mirotic, and the Charlotte first along with probably Korver or Watson. I know that would be way too much, at least for most Bulls fans.

    I was very dissapointed with Thib's over the top lambasting of his players last season. This year, he's done what excpetional people do, he's taken the more difficult path of change and growth. Not only is he exceptional for being capable of doing so, but that he willed himself to do it.

    But Thibs and staff, I believe you are missing the boat with Jo and Taj. You may lose home court advantage, but I think you have to risk losing some games, and start rebuilding Taj and Jo's attacking and inside game. If they get these guys producing the way they have in the past, I think it devestates the Rose utlra doubles, and hits Miami most where it hurts, giving the Bulls a chance to win that series(if they make it that far).

    If you disagree that Jo ever had anything offensively beyond what he's showing now fine. Likewise Taj. And Rip will help with his play making both for himself and his teammates. But personally, I don't see that as nearly enough if Jo and Taj bring no offense as major minutes guys other then put backs and jump shots which is mostly what they are doing now IMO.

  • In reply to RoadWarrior:

    Noah is a very critical piece for the Bulls to win/lose. Both his defense/offense are very important on an offensively challenged team. On offense, Noah stops taking that jumper in the 4th quarter because he is scared of missing. That shows he doesn't have confidence in his shot(whatever form it is). Thibs has to go through him in a close game and make him take some jumpers. If he makes it, it will improve his confidence for the playoffs or it is back to what it is now.
    Defensively, I think his helping has to be stopped. Hold Boozer accountable for his guy and let Noah play his guy one-on-one especially against Bosh/Young type shot making PFs.

  • In reply to schaumburgfan:

    Wrong on Noah as usual.

    Carlos Duran "feet of stone" boozer needs to be held responsible for covering his man, the power forward, allowing Noah to guard the opposing center, who is usually not an offensive threat, thus allowing Noah to be the premiere help defender that he is without getting killed by the guy he helps off of.

    Thibs being the geniuus that he is reputed to be should see this even with blinders on, but my bet is that justifying boozers contract is playing a very large role in his decision making

  • In reply to BigWay:

    We can scream all we want about Boozer's contract. Until Boozer is amnestied or gone in a deal, he is the best offensive big man the Bulls have and the worst defensive big man. If the Bulls are playing Miami, Boozer is guarding Anthony or Haslem. If Noah is guarding Bosh, he shouldn't be trying to help Boozer on Anthony or Haslem.

  • In reply to RoadWarrior:

    I definitely think they can use Joakim inside, and I think they've done that much more frequently, that's partially why Noah has had so many assists recently, he's getting the ball down low a lot more, he's just moving it rather than shooting it.

    It would be nice to tell Jo to force up a few more shots and get some practice in, but I think he generally does a nice job of making the smart play and taking shots that are in his wheelhouse and avoiding ones that aren't.

  • So how did everyone feel when CJ sprained his ankle knowing John Lucas was the next PG off the bench? Mike James is off the roster and we are not sure CJ will play against Indiana on Monday.

    imo, it was a mistake to guarantee John Lucas when Mike James was clearly the better player and one who could face playoff competition. Lucas cannot stay on the court with playoff teams.

    This exact situation (CJ injured, Mike James released, Lucas the 2nd PG) cost us the Miami loss in January. Lucas cost Bulls 10 points in just 3 minutes court time, and Rose had to play 45 minutes that game.

  • In reply to Edward:

    Mike James did struggle in his last game. That said, PG ability wise ...he is much better than JL3. I think there is a salary cap issue going on with Mike James(on when his salary makes it tough to acquire a salary). I think James comes back after the deadline if nothing changes.
    CJ is having a lot of freak injuries this season and I am not sure if he will play through it well in the future although he has the benefit of playing only 10/15 mins. I think Deng is still struggling to play with his injury.and perhaps his feel doesn't seem to come until the 4th quarter.

  • In reply to Edward:

    Actually, I was wondering if you could sign guys to 10 day contracts at half time

  • In reply to Edward:

    John Lucas is crap but lets not pretend Mike James is some sort of good player either ... in his last two complete seasons he shot 35 and 38%, and he hasn't had a full time NBA gig in 3 years. I really don't feel good about relying on either of them.

  • I was at the game - gutsy win by the Bulls, though I thought the refs made it closer than it should have been. Rose really bailed them out, Deng and Boozer didn't really bring it on offense. Still, quality win on the road. I'm looking forward to seeing Rose destroy the Pacers after that whole celebration thing!

  • maybe a small trade to address the scoring drought troubles, korver and a 2nd round pick for leandro barbosa. He scored 18 last night and would help take some pressure off of Rose as a combo guard and primary bench scorer. He's an expiring contract and unfortunately everything the Bulls do is based on the miser's fear of the luxury tax line so there probably won't be any trades. The problem I see is there is no legit secondary option, both Boozer and Deng are 3rd options. No other person to create their own shot and get to the FT line, its a recurring theme we will see against the elite teams.

  • In reply to Defense&Rebound13:

    We all know that the Bulls need more to take the title this year. "maybe a small trade to address the scoring drought troubles." Good idea if mgmt can swing it, but I seriously doubt that Korver and a 2nd buys you much. But mgmt knows they need to do something. I predict a significant trade.

    Deng was a strong 2nd option earlier this year, and he won a number of games for the Bulls. But something is wrong now, 2 games in a row with nada until the 4th qtr. It might be a year or longer before he regains his form - hard to say. Also, he's playing way too many minutes per game. As a number of you wrote, that is a recipe for disaster down the road.

    A 3-team trade that might work is Deng and Boozer for Gasol and Mayo. It would depend on the pieces.

  • In reply to Defense&Rebound13:

    I would try CJ/Butler/a 1st round pick ...some combination of these for Barbosa or Mayo based on who the front office thinks might be a better fit. Mike James can play the 10 mins of replacing CJ. Korver can be valuable in the playoffs and usually sucks only against Miami.

  • In reply to schaumburgfan:

    I like that trade too. I think if the Bulls had Mayo last year, they might have taken the ECF. Most of the games were close. Mayo might not add enough this year, but it would be fun to try it.

  • In reply to Defense&Rebound13:

    I've always thought that Barbosa would be a great guy off the bench for the Bulls, but he has always been a bit rich for the Bulls blood.

    Would Brewer be a better trade than Korver. Butler looks like he could fill Brewers role defensively, but Korver seems unable to get himself in a position to score against very good or great defense's thus entirely negating his value in the playoffs.

    I would trade either for Barbosa, but it would require Reiny to go into the tax, which I believe that the Bulls are trying to avoid at all costs this year, because of the new CBA rules on multiple tax year penalties.

    Also, Toronto is supposedly only interested in moving Barbosa or Calderon for cap relief.

  • In reply to Defense&Rebound13:

    Korver for Barbosa doesn't work salary wise. Bulls need to throw something else in.

  • I think we would all like "a small trade to address the scoring drought troubles"! Does such a trade exist? If so, Do it!

    I would like to see the Bulls trade Deng and Boozer for Pau Gasol and Mayo in a 3-team deal with LA and Memphis, provided the pieces worked.

    Here is a really wild one: Since both Deron Williams and Dwight Howard are going to walk at the end of the season, perhaps they could be had for a bit cheaper; and they want to play together, so why not both come to Chicago, sign extensions, and team with Rose? It could be doable. New Jersey and Orlando might prefer guys like Noah, Deng, Asik, Watson and picks over nothing.

    Deron and Derrick in the backcourt would be the end of double teams there! Well, it is kind of fun, isn't it?

  • Sorry, I thought my first post got lost, it took so long to post.

  • In reply to rustyw:

    Derrick Rose and Deron Williams in a backcourt would pressure every NBA defense and with different skillsets.

    Dwight is a lunatic who can make any team instantly better YET his mind never seems to settle on what is front of him.

  • Despite his mini burst in the early 4rth, Deng was somnambulant(sleep walking) & nearly invisible again.

    Maybe there is a rookie All Star game hazing ritual that we are unaware of that involves being roofied for the entire second half of the season.

  • Coming to theaters in Summer 2012, The Acquisition of Deron Williams or The Rose Williams Merger..

    I don't think there's any way the Bulls could or would go after a Derron Williams or Rondo this season, but to see so many posters embracing the idea of putting Derrick at the two so we can get another in essence All-Star penetrator and scorer is something I've talked about and thought about for a while.

    Since every "star" seems to want to avoid the Bulls like the plague maybe a contrarion like Deron Williams might just shock the NBA world, and come back to his alma matter or second home state. If you put Derrick at the two with another killer to punish teams for doubling him it would spell offensive success for the Bulls including against elite teams. If we can dump unwanted contracts or an amnesty, and get Deron's quality without decimating the team's talent we'd be in business.

    Derrick's defense to my eye has improved drastically this season. he is fighting through screens and harassing opposing guards maybe as good as second all defensive team level IMO. If he had to simply guard twos(admittedly bigger guys), but didn't have to fight through screens, and expend all that energy on constant pick aviodance of PG's, I think it makes him that much more lethal on the offensive end.

    Finally, with a second scoring All-Star, Derrick would be free on breakdowns to have enough space to actually power dunk the ball with regularity insetad of worrying about lurking big takeouts. His dominance and entertainment to fans would reach an NBA best player level, and would invite entre into accpetance of him as a franchise repeat champion acrosss the NBA landscape.

    If the notoriously conservative front office of the Bulls pulled something this crucial and smart off, I'd be an asskissing(figuratively) devotee for life. God, after world peace(not the Metta kind) could you please help nudge this along aka make it happen.

  • In reply to RoadWarrior:

    I am not so sure of plugging in another smaller guy(even if it is a superstar kind) alongside Rose especially if you have to lose a lot of existing role players to do that. If Rose was a bigger guy, yes would work or if Williams was a bigger guy...yes. It definitely is going to be a novelty act because I don't think we have ever seen a combo of 6-2/6-3 guards do well deep in the playoffs consistently. It still doesn't mean it will never work though..

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