Bulls vs Heat 7pm on TNT - Rose gametime decision

Bulls vs Heat 7pm on TNT - Rose gametime decision

The Chicago Bulls enter the most critical game left on the schedule with the cloud of Derrick Rose's injury over their head. The team had performed admirably in his absence, but the last game against an elite team without Rose reminded Chicago how much they need him to stay on top of the mountain.

The Oklahoma City Thunder ran out to a 30 point lead against the Bulls without Rose before the teams emptied the benches and the Bulls brought it down to 14 with a few token threes in the final minute by John Lucas.

Miami, having already been victimized by the Roseless Bulls, will not take this team lightly while missing its star player again. The Heat are also coming off a loss to the Celtics and will be about as motivated as you can be to get the win tonight and turn around their late season struggles.

The Bulls have been struggling themselves, losing three of their last five games. They're struggling against teams they simply can't outwork to get the victory and have had issues finding their offense.

Will he or won't he? What will we get if he does?

Derrick Rose is a gametime decision for tonight, and unlikely many other GTD situations, I wouldn't rule him out immediately. K.C. Johnson actually lists him as likely to play on his pregame blurb here, and he was well enough to warm up on his ankle against Boston before declaring it a no go.

With another two days of rest, I'd imagine there's a pretty good shot Rose is ready to go tonight.

However, even assuming he's ready to go, what can we realistically expect from Rose in this game?

Derrick struggled mightily at New York and clearly had not regained the explosiveness he typically plays with. Now we're going to add an ankle that isn't 100% into the mix with a player who's already still looking to find his rhythm and deal with a groin injury which may not be 100% yet either.

Quite frankly, I expect Derrick Rose to have one of those 7/23 for 20 points with five or six turnovers kind of nights. The Heat play tremendous perimeter defense anyway, and Rose is unlikely to be near his best. Derrick could certainly fair better than that if he plays, but my expectation is that there will be some struggles, and there's no reason to panic if there are or predict playoff failure based on anything that happens tonight.

Stop Chris Bosh, stop the Heat

There's a common thread to when the Heat lose games. Chris Bosh plays poorly.

Bosh isn't their best player, but he's their most important player. He's the guy who plays a two man game with both LeBron and Wade in the pick and roll to make it deadly. The Bulls can defend either LeBron or Wade fairly well in isolation. LeBron and Wade lack much of a two man game themselves, so if Bosh struggles, then the Heat are typically running a lot of isolations which can typically be defended reasonably well.

The problem, of course, is that stopping Chris Bosh isn't easy. There are more parameters than simply limiting his output. You need to stop him without double teaming, and without giving up your ability to double team or strong hedge the ball handler on a pick and roll. This means the Bulls need to slow Chris Bosh while still giving Wade/LeBron the majority of their attention. It means crisp and correct defensive rotations and the team playing as a unit. It also probably requires Bosh stopping himself a bit.

For this reason, the Bulls should go heavy on Gibson and light on Boozer in the game. Gibson will give the Bulls the quick athletic rotations Chicago needs and the length and athleticism to block or heavily contest shots that Boozer won't. Carlos has generally struggled to get much done against Chris Bosh on offense anyway, so the Bulls would be well served to use a heavy dose of Gibson.

Own the glass or slow the Heat in transition?

The one area the Bulls should have a big advantage on the Heat is on the inside. If Chicago can dominate the glass then they can play through their shooting struggles and offensive woes by overwhelming the Heat with second chance opportunities. The Bulls should have a nice advantage inside the paint if they work hard.

Unfortunately one problem with attacking the offensive glass with reckless abandon is that it opens up a hole in the transition defense. If Joakim Noah is hustling at the rim trying to grab an offensive rebound and fails the incredibly athletic Heat will already be halfway down the court before he turns around.

The Bulls need to attack the glass. They need to get those offensive rebounds, however, they also need to quickly discern when there is a reasonable chance at an offensive board and when they simply need to get back on defense immediately to stop Miami's deadly transition game.

Can Luol Deng ever slow LeBron?

Watching Deng guard LeBron, I typically think "there's not much more you could ask him to do". Last game he forced LeBron into turnaround, fadeaway, mid-range jumpers all night long. LeBron then calmly sank them all night long on his way to a huge night. I want LeBron taking that shot, because quite frankly, it's probably the least efficient shot you can force him into.

It stops him from pumping up the team with thunderous dunks while also limiting how much he's creating for teammates. He's also unlikely to draw tons of fouls, and that shot is hard as hell to hit. When LeBron is confident, there's little that can be done to slow him though. I agree with pundits that sometimes the game gets into his head, but it never gets in his head against the Bulls.

I think LeBron feels supremely confident in his ability against this team, and it makes it infinitely more difficult to slow him down because of that. I expect Deng to play great defense again, but I also expect LeBron to have a huge night in spite of that fact.

What will Chicago get from Hamilton?

I was psyched to see Rip throw up a monster game for Chicago. However, his monster game was somewhat do to a few touchy foul calls in the ref crack down on both teams that will go uncalled tonight and a bunch of open shots that he'll be unlikely to see against the Heat.

I don't trust that he has enough athleticism to create off the bounce against Wade or LeBron, one of which will likely be guarding him for most of the night. That said, if Rip can keep the ball moving and knock down the open shots he gets, then it will force Miami to rotate quicker, double team less, and put a bunch of pressure on their defense.

I expect Hamilton to make the right basketball play and work hard. Though coming off a high quality game, I'm not ready to jump on the bandwagon just yet. I think it will still take time for him to really get in sync with his teammates and build his timing. It's also worth noting that Hamilton's best as a Bull is still likely to be marred with inconsistency given his age and play over the past few years.

Hopefully Hamilton is playing at a level that adds significant pressure to Wade and the Heat defense, even if he's not knocking down all the shots, if he can get them moving it will create rebounding lanes and opportunities for everyone else.

One seed up for grabs?

If the Bulls win this game, the one seed is all but theirs. If they lose, they'll be in a dog fight for the rest of the year. This is it. This is the game you've been waiting for all season. This is the show down. This is the one that counts. This is the game the Bulls have to go grab.

Filed under: Game Threads

Tags: chicago bulls, miami heat, nba

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  • Doug, having watched almost every Heat game this year, you are right about one thing. Chris Bosh is our most important player. However, you’re paying him way too much respect. This is not the same player you saw in the playoffs last year. In the pre-season, he proclaimed he would average 10 rebounds per game, yet barely averages 7. If you watch him closely, he floats around the top-of-the-key, trying to set pick and rolls for Lebron and DWade, most of which they blow off and don’t even wait for Bosh. When Bosh tries to establish position in the low post, he is easily pushed outside the paint and never tries to re-post. I don’t know whether to blame Bosh or Spoelstra, but if this continues into the playoffs, I’d like to see both of them gone. I even have a proposed trade. Bosh and Chalmers to Houston for Lowry, Scola and Dalembert. The salaries match and Houston has been trying to acquire a number 1 option for years. Bosh would thrive in that role. Daryl Morey wanted Bosh badly in 2010 free agency, and they won’t miss Dalembert because they already play Camby way more. Trade allows Heat to upgrade at point guard, add toughness, and fill void at center.

  • In reply to RichG:

    The Heat would be deadly with that trade, as it fixes their major weaknesses and provides some depth. I do think that Bosh will be moved if they don't win it all this year, or else he will opt out when the option kicks in. He has got to be tired of all the "two and a half men" type comments.

    That said, I'm not writing those guys off until they lose the fourth game of a playoff series.

  • In reply to Tyler Soze:

    Bosh's option kicks in in 2 years, and he won't opt out because at that time, no one's offering him 19M per season.

  • Re: Stopping Bosh.

    Doug said to go heavy on Gibson and light on Boozer - a sentiment I agree with for tonight. But, in terms of starters, does it make sense to have Boozer guard Joel Anthony (or Turiaf if he starts) and have Noah guard Bosh? Noah, being more versatile, agile and skilled on the defensive end, matches up to Bosh much better than Boozer, and Boozer should be right at home on whatever stiff they've got at the 5.

    Just a thought.

  • In reply to kozzer:

    That's what they do... Unfortunately with all teams.

    We speak of Boozer not being as bad on D this year, but it's because Thibs does his best to mask it.

    The real problem becomes the guys who have to match up differently because Boozer guards the slowest (or least offensively dynamic) guy on the floor.

    Against NY, when Melo played the 4 - Boozer guarded Chandler, and Deng stuck to Melo. What did that leave? Jo guarding a SF (the Stanford guy). It's just ridiculous.

    I like what Boozer can do on offense, but if his defensive liabilities put other good defenders in shitty position it's no good.

    He WILL guard their 5, and Jo will guard Bosh.

  • In reply to Who is Willie Gault:

    Right on Willie.

    When it comes to bad D, boozer isn't just normal everyday NBA bad, he is Hitler, Stalin, Mao bad, i.e. the worst in the history of all humanity.

  • In reply to BigWay:

    Right On , BigWay and Willie! I think you guys are twins, really exhilarating reading you guys point out the facts.
    And I will be waiting to see if Thibs is insane and in a suicidal mood in his handling of Noah, a player the Heat wished they had. Thibs behaves as if he helped invent the game, but he'd better win it all this year!
    When a team can win with its best player (Derek Rose) out it's a team that can win it all, but if you're dealing with a coach who, when he feels like, believes he's Greg Popovich then you're dealing with an idiot who could ruin a good thing!
    But Bulls management will not allow him to destroy Noah's confidence and as a result this team's future.
    Instead of benching Noah, Thibs should tell Boozer to stop focusing on cheap rebounds. Were it not for Boozer's whorism Noah would have had many 20-rebound games.

  • In reply to SlamDunk:

    Not sure, Willie, are we being mocked?

  • In reply to BigWay:

    Be assured that there is no intent but to express that I like the contributions of both you (BigWay) and Willie.

  • Derriick, coming off multiple injuries, with legit rust, has to come into perhaps the biggest game of the season cold. Being basically idle for some time, missing 23 games overall, including a scant pre-season. And in the wake of his lone 'warm up,' an anti-clutch, brick of an effort in a Nationally televised game against the hyped New York Knicks.

    Right now with media and even some fan grumblings about injuries and gagging, D-Rose, with Miami 2011 waiting to be avenged in the back drop, IMO it's fair to say, has something to prove.

    Meanwhile the cavalry aka RIP has only recently been freed to play; out most of the year himself with shackling injuries. You could see the emotion on Hamilton's face as he broke out with a hilight third quarter Vs New York. Now if Thibs will only free him with legit starter's minutes say 30 or so.

    As unfair as this setting may be, it's the type of challenge that champions more times then not rise to. More so I'd hope that would be the case with Rose. Hamilton at his age, even as a former champion, may not be completely ready until he plays a week or two of steady basketball.

    I just hope Derrick's ankle and groin feel pretty good. You hate to see a competitor like D-Rose muzzled by injuries. Lu also fell on his wrist again against the bitch swiping Knicks. Rooting for the Bulls in an arguably huge game tonight.

    Side Note: If you watched toward the end of the Boston Miami game, LeBron chucked up three after three while Wade just sat and watched. Walking off the court he just looked disgusted. You wonder if they will take out their frustrations tonight at the U.C. or if the chemistry problems will continue? Bosh is due after sucking eggs against Boston. How the Bulls use Joakim and Omer defensively will be key as will the Taj Vs Boozer minutes. Booz, has to step up as a scoring stud, or grab some pine for this one.

  • Because this is such a huge game with playoff seeding implications, I am concerned that playing a rusty Rose may hurt the Bulls chance of winning.

    Obviously in the long-term, the Bulls are much better with Rose on the floor. But is this really the type of game where Rose should be working on timing/conditioning/rhythm? Maybe you hold him out, or be willing to bench him if the team is playing out of sync. Maybe you let the Rose-less Bulls take their chances; and if they lose anyway, then Rose has 3 more games against crap teams to work the rust out, before a Miami rematch next week.

    The first New York game last Sunday was a mess, and the Rose-less Bulls have proven themselves consistently against good teams. I'm not saying Rose shouldn't play, but I think the idea should be given reasonable consideration, based on the present situation.

  • In reply to BullsMan:

    Great caution BullsMan!
    Got nothing against Rose playing in this one, but it's not a must win. Rose is not in perfect shape and he can use the time.

  • Forget all this rust and timing crap, if he can play then he should. as long as he gets deng, boozer and hamilton involved offensivley instead of trying to do it all himself, he will be fine.

  • You have to follow the Dwight Howard strategy in beating the Heat. You let Lebrony get his(no double coverage) while slowing down Bosh/wade and shuting out their 3 point spot shooters that lebron loves to feed for open corner and wing 3s. Last game Wade was given too much air space, Brewer/Hamilton has to close that gap and contest that shot better. I would like to see some jimmy B. on lebron to give deng some rest.

  • Depth is this team's greatest strength.
    We cannot know in advance who will step up and be the difference maker(s) tonight. That is the beauty of this Bulls team.

    Play everybody. And ride who is matching up and playing well. It may be an unexpected player(s).

    GO BULLS!

  • In reply to Edward:

    Noah always steps up. It's in his genes! Worry about your coach who gets brain cramps and tries to signal to Noah that he's the big boss or genius. We know he's in charge, we also know that he has a special group who's coachable. He's damn lucky and should thank God!

  • My prediction on record:
    if Rose plays, Bulls lose big. if he sits, Bulls win. Rose needs to sit and learn from Lucas.

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    In reply to liztan:

    Lucas has a couple of good games,so he is better than Rose now!!!!!Lucas is 3rd string for a reason!!!!!!!

  • Rose is a loser,face it. Imagine if we trade him for Rondo or CP, we win multiple titles. Just look at the Bulls record without him. Rose is the worst ball handler among all PGs, don't know how to make a good assist, never ever do a lob for easy dunk, like Lucas. Can't finish around the rim...enough said. get rid of the loser. BTW, he is not worth 19M/yr. take this money and get 4 great players.

  • fb_avatar
    In reply to liztan:

    u must be on crack,your telling me lucas is better than rose,who was mvp last year,losers dont win mvp in the nba,bulls win nothing without Rose

  • I know Rose is trying to play through pain and help the team, but it's having the opposite effect right now. Sometimes doing what's best for the team means having to sit until you get healthy, whether that's the next game, the playoffs, or even a later round of the playoffs.

    (This has nothing to do with the rubbish about Rose being a loser posted above, and everything to do with an injured player not being able to do what he does when healthy)

  • Halftime, boozer may have played as well as he will ever look for a half, especially against the heat, including his best single play ever as a bull(the pass to Noah).

    Yet, the bulls were down 18-11 when he left in the first. When he came back in the second the bull were up 32-26, the Heat outscored us 15 -10 the rest of the half.

    This supports my contention that boozer's supposed offensive premium has absolutely zero impact on the bulls winning, while his defensive deficiencies contribute sginificantly to our losing.

    Hopefully, for the bulls he proves me wrong in the second half, and actually wins a game for us, I am not holding my breath.

    Finally, if Rose isn't breaking down the defense with penetration what difference does having him back make. Hopefully, he doesn't play this passively in the second half, and by aggressive I don't mean jacking up 3's.

  • In reply to BigWay:

    Oops, obviously, that should have been 15-4, not 15 -10.

  • Korver is really proving me wrong, after the playoffs last year and how Miami were able to abuse him on switches defensively while not letting him get anything offensively I thought the Bulls just couldn't play him against Miami, but he's absolutely destroying them tonight.

  • rose is a f)"$" embarrasment

  • the gag squad

  • COACHING BY CLICHES.
    Got to go with your star, Rose.

    He obviously is not himself and Watson and the team was playing GREAT.

    THIBS BLEW IT WITH SUBBING ROSE WITH 3:30 LEFT.

    I'm surprised he admitted his mistake and reinserted Watson, but too late to repair the damage. This game is on Thibs for his moronic substitution. I was screaming at the TV, NO! NO! Not Rose!

  • In reply to Edward:

    Agreed, should have been a half time adjustment not to go back to Rose at all.

    Luckily CJ Watson was put back in and hit the big shot.

  • Well, Watson and the team may have saved Thibs ass with that tying 3 - that is if Bulls prevail in OT. But keep Rose glued to the bench, HE IS NOT READY YET.

  • Just call him 3-J Whaatson.

  • Don't Miami realise you still need to guard Korver 10 feet behind the three point line? LOL.

  • This is Amazing, we just beat the Heat for the second time in a row without DRose.

  • In reply to BigWay:

    Whats also amazing is how well your boy mataboozer played.

  • In reply to rob32:

    Boozer was awesome, as evidenced by his -15 while he was on the floor, I guess playing well is in the eye of the beholder.

    Rose, Boozer, Noah, combined minus 62
    Luol Deng, plus/minus 0
    Watson, Asik, Gibson and Korver combined plus 114

    Boozer's contribution to this win, absolutely zero, as usual.

    If boozer had played in OT, we lose the game, at least the Thibaboozer stopped channeling his inner Vinnie Del Bimbo before he cost us this game.

    The very existence of boozer is ruining Noah's career, just like Ben Wallace and Drew Gooden before him.

    Never the less, great observation boxscore/sportscenter Rob, you really showed me your prowess as an astute analyst of the game.

  • In reply to BigWay:

    Does anyone even pay attention to what this guy says anymore?

  • In reply to BigWay:

    This is just ridiculous. You chastise Rob for being a 'boxscore observer/analyst', after trying to make a point by using only +/- ignoring the fact that Boozer spent most of his on court time paired with Rose, who was absolutely dreadful and easily accounted for a large percentage of Boozers -15 rating. Many times when they were paired Boozer was the only Bull on court who was hitting his shots consistently.

    Yes Boozer sucks at defense, yes his power game has all but disappeared... we ALL KNOW THIS... but he is still a great facilitator, gets his fair share of ball strips and knocks down the rainbow jumper at a high percentage.

    Oh, by the way, who exactly had the assist on Watson's game tying three ball? Thats right, BOOZER. You need to back off on your obsession... or at least shut your trap here on Bulls Confidential.

  • I think this shows that when the bulls play miami in the playoffs they need to go 10 deep as always and confuse the hell out of them by getting everyone involved. Rose dominating the ball (even healthy) is a horrible game plan.

  • In reply to ixonflex69:

    and kind of off the radar... noah's minute total for the last 3 games 27,23 and 20... looks like thibodeau is not feeling his game too much

  • In reply to ixonflex69:

    Agreed 100% ixonflex69. I have been advocating the same for many weeks now. Stop coaching by cliches and watch what is happening on the court. We never know which player will step up on any given night. So play 10 deep, carefully watch the matchups, adjust quickly, and go with whomever is playing well that night.

    I hear many well-known reporters and media pundits espousing the same tired cliches about shortening the rotation for the playoffs, and you win in NBA with stars. It's all Bullshit as it doesn't fit this Bulls roster. Tonight was a playoff-type game and Bulls played everyone, in the end went with who was playing well, and that was the winning strategy!

  • In reply to Edward:

    Agree with both of you, but the Thibaboozer still force fed us too much boozer(and too little Asik), as the game was won in both the first half, the second half and overtime, with the Matapussy on the bench.

  • Tonight I saw in Tom Thibodeau, a small man who, even if he goes on to win an NBA title, a man with an unhealty attitude!
    He confirmed what I suspected long ago, that it's personal where he and Joakim Noah are concerned. He proved that tonight. And he's so low as a human being, he won't come out and bare the truth about why he virtually benched the Bulls' $12M -a-year-player.
    He did the same thing in the much ballyhooed game the Bulls had against the New York Knicks in New York, the place of Noah's birth.
    This Psycho who's nicknamed Thibs, allowed Noah less than 27 minutes in front of eager family and friends in a packed Madison Square Garden on Sunday, April 8. Noah had 10 points and five rebounds in that game. The "genius" Thibs' reason for allowing a player who was superb in games leading up to the clash in New York was the lame..."When you're an energy player, you have to bring it every game. Has Noah ever not bring energy to any game he played in leading up to that game? This guy (Thibs) should be arrested for uttering a cheap lie.

    In tonight's game, the same pattern followed and he did the same thing like in the game in Manhattan before Noah's friends and family.
    Noah, the starting center, was humiliated by being banished to the bench where he was a member for most of the night, with no apparent reason by the all-powerful Thibs. He ended up playing a total of 22 minutes during which he grabbed four rebounds and scored five points.
    Omar Asik who replaced him played the same amount of time, grabbed eight rebounds and didn't score a point. Seems Thibs if I can remember correctly, Thibs used this same guy as an excuse for leaving Noah on the Bench during that 1-4 losing series against the Miami Heat in last year's Eastern Conference Final.
    I'm sure that Noah is pissed over this second successive humiliation and I'm sure that Bulls owner Jerry Reinsdorf and John Paxson, the man who drafted him, noticed Tom Thibodeau's spiteful behavior.
    Thibs had better come up with a good excuse for letting the Bulls' $12M-a-year man be banished to the bench in successive big games.
    I know there are a lot of haters on this blog and I don't care to hear from them. They are what they are, only death can eliminate them!

  • In reply to SlamDunk:

    No point in making any specific commentary on this post other than the whole thing is a load of crap.

  • In reply to untitledreality:

    untitledreality, you're not qualified to respond to my post, because it's not a "load of crap." as you labeled it.. The truth is that you're brain dead!

  • The Bulls' starters are brought in to spell the bench. You hope they don't create too much of a deficit each time that the bench can't dig them out of.

    Derrick seems either hobbled by injury or creatures from Outer Space stole his basketball skills. How can that just be rust. It makes me think that the Bulls may have won the battle tonight in a losing war. They need the MVP healthy and hungry.

    Boozer got his points and rebounds tonight, but he's still a defensive liability and never makes hustle plays. When will national announcers understand that's the reason Bulls fans don't appreciate him?

  • In reply to Hunter:

    It's clearly not just rust, look at him out there, no explosiveness at all. Whether it's his groin or his ankle who knows, but he's not moving right.

  • There is a guy who runs a rival Bulls blog and claims he saw the game "live" last night yet he spilled trash penning emphatically to his readers about "Joakim Noah with his 2nd no-show in 3 games."
    This is a guy with absolutely no credibility whatsoever. He's a clown who thought Tyrus Thomas was the best thing on the Bulls and now he acts as a truthteller. Thank God for television!

  • Lots to squabble about if you want to do that but I DON'T CARE! Home Court Advantage - brought to you by Kyle Korver and CJ Watson. Enjoy the playoffs Bulls fans!

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