Buy a dog Bulls fans

The Chicago Bulls have lost Derrick Rose for the season. It's been a crushing blow for the city of Chicago. I've had tweets from people saying they were vomiting, crying, breaking down. We've had our day to sulk. We've had our day to be depressed. Now it's time to sit back and look at this team and remember that these guys still have a chance.

It's always begun with defense and rebounding

If you can defend and hit the glass hard on both ends then you're going to be in every single game you play. Those are the Bulls two biggest strengths with or without Rose. When looking at the Bulls prospective opponents, they'll have a big advantage in the paint at least up until the finals.

They should continue to dominate Philly on the interior. Neither Boston or Atlanta have strong front courts, and the Bulls easily win a size and toughness battle in the paint against the Heat. The Chicago Bulls can fall back on their defense and rebounding and still play at an elite level.

18-9 without Rose

The Bulls beat every playoff team in the East outside of the Pacers [whom they didn't play without him] without Derrick Rose this year. They effectively were 2-1 against the Heat without Rose this year given how he played in one of the games.

The Bulls are more prepared to play on without their superstar than virtually any other team in this situation. They've already been doing it for the past couple months with Rose only playing in a small smattering of games and not playing well in those.

They've shown they can beat the good teams in the NBA without Rose, and they've done it after they had already experienced plenty of success in his absence, so they weren't sneaking up on anyone.

Their pro-rated win total of 43-44 wins would have put them second behind Miami and fourth overall behind Miami, San Antonio, and OKC in terms of overall seeding. When was the last time you thought the team with the fourth best record didn't even have a shot?

Most importantly, the players themselves still believe. They know they can win because they've done it already.

Rip is playing well

Richard Hamilton is playoff ready right now. Many of the Bulls wins this season have come without Rose and Hamilton, but they've at least got Rip Hamilton back now. After taking a considerable amount of time to find his groove and slowly having his minutes incremented, Hamilton is ready for real action now.

He's been playing at a very high level and is giving the Bulls a secondary option to penetrate and create a shot when C.J. or Lucas are struggling with defensive attention. The Bulls can move the ball much better and create shots from more places on the floor now than they could at any other point in the Rose era even without Derrick.

Chicago will obviously miss Derrick's ability to penetrate, create in isolation, and draw the defense to open up the offensive rebounding opportunities, but the Bulls can make up some of that with improved three point shooting, more ball movement, and more diversity in their offense due to Hamilton's return.

Plenty of guys can step up

The Bulls starting lineup of Watson, Hamilton, Deng, Boozer, Noah still features three borderline all-stars and two guys who can play at a star level on any given night. With Rose out, the Bulls probably lack one player who will consistently dominate, but they have a committee of players who can get the job done.

On top of the starters, the Bulls will still bring in an incredible bench. Asik/Gibson could both start for many teams in the NBA. Brewer and Korver bring elite specialized skills to the table. John Lucas has waited his whole life for the chance to have a real shot at making his NBA dream come true and plays like his life depends on the outcome of the games.

Even Jimmy Butler has been given tough assignments in his limited minutes to prepare him for whatever the Bulls may need.

Crying time is over

Injuries suck, and we all feel bad for Derrick, but it's time to pick ourselves off the mat as a city and get this thing done. Go out and support this Bulls team. They've earned it. They deserve it. That "underdog" feeling the Bulls tried to play up while being the #1 seed now has a real feel to it.

Everyone else will have forgotten about Chicago. Magic Johnson gave them no chance to get past Boston in the second round [we'll see if Boston gets there], but these guys still have a chance. They've got defense, rebounding, talent, depth, and the best tactical coach in the NBA driving them.

Yes, the Bulls odds of winning the title dropped considerably with the Rose's injury, but I guarantee you the team still believes. It's time to believe with them and enjoy this playoff run for as long as it lasts which could easily be longer than we think.

Filed under: Miscellaneous

Tags: chicago bulls, nba, playoffs

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  • I agree with you. Its not so much that I think highly of this bulls team without rose but rather I don't think any team in the playoffs is a world beater either. This playoff run for me has become enjoyable now since I don't have any lofty expectations. That's not to say that I am happy that derrick is hurt, far from it. Just that with derrick anything less then a championship would have been sorta a disappointment. Now if they make it far into the playoffs or win a title it will be insane and one of the biggest sports stories around. I would only be disappointed if they lost to philly somehow.

    Can't wait to see how this all plays out.

  • I don't think the Philly series is a lock. It's probably closer to 50/50. They went 18-9 in the regular season while playing with absolute effort to not disappoint Derrick, now teams in the playoffs are playing with that absolute effort. It's a different animal.

    I don't think the Bulls have a shot in hell of winning a championship without DRose but boy would that be something. Unfortunately people like Skip Bayless would have a field day explaining how much better the Bulls are without him.

    It's something you talked about in your podcast, but Derrick is the soul of the team, if they won a title after losing their soul, it wouldn't even feel right.

  • Joakim Noah, finals MVP has a nice ring to it.

    (And if it does happen I'm claiming this post was 100% serious and taking all credit)

  • In reply to Shakes:

    In all seriousness though I think the Bulls should still beat Philly and Boston or Atlanta. Maybe it doesn't happen but I'd still rather bet for it than against it.

    I doubt they'll get past Miami, but even if they do, beating the odds twice and also winning the finals seems a step too far. But it's at least a slim possibility ... and then the Knicks fans have to hear about how they traded the finals MVP for Eddy Curry. I can dream. ;)

  • Doug we will be in mourning for months following This Nightmare after Nightmare Season . No matter if we win or fall short. Let's say we win it all - Things were accomplished without our Mvp . There will be a turning of sentiment ,Trade him!! They will cry. If they fall short , management goes into self justified cocoon waiting for ... E

  • In reply to mummuhwalde:

    Waiting for Mirotic waiting for this to heal, waiting for some free agent , waiting for player development . I wished we didn't have to depend on one individual so much because it definitely exhibits a lack of planning . When you fail to plan you plan to fail. I just wish things hadn't become so tragic before this time.

    Sorry for my rant .

  • I don't know why anybody questions whether the bulls can still make the ECF's. The bulls are still head and shoulders better than Philly and I'd be shocked if it goes more than 5 games. I still expect them to sweep. And with a compressed second round, I don't see Boston or Atlanta beating the bulls either. Rondo isn't going to exploit the bulls guards, and the rest of the C's are too old to beat the bulls on short rest. And Atlanta doesn't have the basketball IQ to beat the bulls. So the bulls are still going to the ECF. The only question is how the ECF's are reffed. If they don't give LBJ and Wade extra points for showmanship, whining and flopping, the bulls can still beat the heat, although I think it would certainly be an upset.

  • Doug is right.

    The Bulls with and without Derrick Rose most of the season were a pleasure to watch. The chest thumping, head shakity shake by Derrick after the Milwaukee fade away dagger, JL3(which he deserves the notable nickname after some of his game winning stretches) pulling off a revenge okie doke on LeBron on national TV.

    This will have been a great year in my book, not in spite of the injuries but if anything because of them. Sure it sucks that they happened, but the way C.J. Lu, Taj, Jo, Omer, J.B., now Rip, and even Booz responded made me personally proud as a Bulls fan.

    Derrick hopefully(and more then likely) will live to fight another day. In the mean time his teammates need to have his back - as in being one nasty ass out in hese playoffs.

    That type of fight and performance is no guarantee. They could go into a shell after an offensive struggle or a blow out loss. Or, they could utilize their momentum from two straight domainating NBA season's of excellence to take it to whoever their opponent happens to be along the way.

    The Chicago Bulls could go down in flames at the hands of a non ECF deserving team such as Philly, Atlanta, or Boston. Or, they could fight, scratch, and claw their way to the ECF. If they somehow manage to make it that far, I doubt Miami thumps them. The Bulls bigs give Miami a lot of trouble. If they can score decently as a team then the refs will let them play D. That will mean a rebounding pantsing of Miami will be possible.

    Every Bulls fan has the right to question the training staff, Thibs, Jerry Reinsdorf, god(kidding) etc. Vent the grief, but then get back to living life. And soon. Because the time is now. The playoffs are now.

    "This (team) has a rendevous.. with destinty." Or at least we have to believe they will fight like hell to achieve that dream however far that spirit takes them. I don't think they will let us down in that respect, win or lose. Go Bulls.

  • In reply to RoadWarrior:

    BRAVO!
    Couldn't say it better.

  • Crying time IS over. Rose is out of the picture for the foreseeable future, and it’s up to everyone else to pick up the slack. This Bulls team has already proven they can compete against any team without Rose. Maybe they won’t be steam-rolling anyone, but beating the 76rs or Boston/Atlanta in a best-of-7 series is not only doable, but likely. A team like the Heat will be a much bigger challenge. As Noah said, the margin for error will be a lot smaller. The Bulls will need to bring it every night.

    In a 7 game series against the Heat, the Bulls probably have 2 games where they either come out completely flat, or can’t throw the ball in the ocean, and get blown out. They can probably pull together 2 games where everything is clicking, and they can easily handle the Heat. It’s those other three games that will be the question. The games where overall they play well, but maybe have one bad quarter. It’s those close games that not having Rose can be the difference between losing by 2, or winning by 2.

    Getting to the ECF is still a realistic expectation for the Bulls at this point. Losing to the Heat, although not guaranteed, is probably a more likely scenario than beating them. I can live with that. Even if they can steal 2 games from Miami, technically it would be an improvement over last year. If they don’t win any against Miami, then they only lost 1 less game than they did with their MVP playing the year before.

    In either case, there is still a lot of good basketball to be played by the Bulls this year, and at least we can enjoy it without the huge expectation of a championship looming. What’s more, now all the pressure to perform falls completely on the Heat, where the Bulls have really nothing to lose, and can just play. LeBron doesn’t do well under pressure. Maybe the fear of losing to a Rose-less Bulls team will amp up the choke factor for Miami.

  • In reply to BullsMan:

    I could see the Bulls stealing a couple games especially if the Heat don't take them as a serious threat. They really struggle with the Bulls athletic and defensive second group. Taj, Asik and Brewer don't allow any easy drives to the hole which the heat thrive on in their Iso offense.

    Heat would be heavy favorites to win in a matchup against the Bulls now though. Although the Bulls heart and hustle could give them a run for their money.

  • The Bulls excel in rebounding, defense, 3 point shooting and sharing the ball(high assists). If they can continue to do these things, they will reach the ECF. The greatest concern would be high turnovers which the Bulls are prone to and which can give running athletic teams like philly confidence. They have to control the turnovers, try to contain them to 12 or below. Was watching Boston last night, not impressed. In fact I think the Hawks would give us more problems in the second round.

  • Hard for me to see the bulls beating ATL which is most likely their opponent is Rondo is suspended for a game. If ATL goes up 2 it's hard for me to see BOS winning 4 straight. Supposedly Horford will return if ATL goes to the second round. If that happens the bills rebounding advantage atleast the stating front court will be neutralized. Also ATL's bench isn't terrible. The bulls would obviously have a great chance of winning the series but it would be tough

  • In reply to insertclichehere:

    But if the bulls face off against Boston the bulls win. Bos has no bench or rebounding, and we might steal a game against MIA but that would be all. Side note: now the talk is that MIA has flipped their switch to "on" that's bull. NY had like 25 turnovers in like the 3rd quarter. If you turn it over against MIA you lose. Melo had a terrible game but was getting good looks. LBJ played out his mind so they still would've won but The talk that they've flipped their switch is ridiculous. IMO anyway

  • In reply to insertclichehere:

    If Atlanta wins the first 2 games, Boston does not have to win 4 straight. They have to win 4 of the next 5, clearly. Atlanta is streaky. That means they're vulnerable to Boston, as well as to a Rose-less Bulls squad.

    To Bullsman (above): Sure, the Bulls will probably have two games where they're out of sync, but if those games happen to open the series--or even if they just happen back-to-back later in the series--that could well be demoralizing enough to keep us from taking the series to 7 games, if we even make it that far. It's pretty strange to me when people use logic like, "Well, JL3 will have one game where he goes nuts, one game we'll totally shut down Wade and Lebron, and one game will come down to 3-pointers..." It's like we just pick the types of games that could, theoretically, happen and then pretend that those types will distribute themselves evenly. That's not how life works.

    To frozentear (above): I agree that this will be an interesting playoffs without Rose, and it might take some pressure off the team (and stress off the fans!) to have lowered expectations. Go Bulls. Get well, Derrick.

  • In reply to bzoooty:

    Huh? "win the next 4 out of 5" not going to debate with you but the winner of the first game of the series wins over 70% of the time. So I can only imagine what the percentage is after a team goes up 2-0. ATL is streaky but they wouldn't lose 4 of 5.

  • In reply to insertclichehere:

    All I meant is that you wrote "If ATL goes up 2 it's hard for me to see BOS winning 4 straight," which is not the issue. Clearly, going down 0-2 is tough, but Boston wouldn't need to win "4 straight" to come back. They'd "only" need to win 4 of the last 5.

    I agree with you completely that Atlanta will likely win this series if they go up 2-zip. (Not saying much!)

  • They can still beat the sixers an probably will. bos/atl in the next round will be a tough 7 game series, it's a toss up. if the bulls get past the second round and into the e.c.f. they will lose there. they would most likely lose to the heat again if rose was healthy. sorry but i don't believe in being optimistic(i'm a realist), it only sets you up for taking failure badly(like bulls fans vomiting and crying when rose got hurt.) i love sports and i love the bulls but its just basketball at the end of the day. until i see the bulls beat the heat and make it to the finals with my own eyes, it wasn't gonna happen this year. when the bulls get a second star player to team up with rose, maybe i'll start being optimistic.

  • In reply to rob32:

    For all your big talk and optimism about the Miami Heat I'm sure you wouldn't lay money on the line in favor of the Heat against the Bulls. You're just a faker, a Miami fan disguised as a rational thinking person or a Bulls fan.

    I'm going to look ahead to next year after we've won the NBA title. I want Bulls management to get Steve Nash under contract so as to ensure Derek Rose gets a normal, pressure-proof transition back into Bulls basketball.

  • In reply to SlamDunk:

    Not to add insult to injury, but there's a much greater chance Steve Nash goes to Miami than Chicago. In leiu of Rose's injury, why do think rob32 wouldn't put money down on Miami versus Chicago? If you take your emotions out of it for 5 minutes, you would too.

  • In reply to RichG:

    Unless Nash is willing to play for the mini mid level($3+ million) he isn't going to Miami or Chicago.

    I don't see the suns trading him, unless Miami sends Bosh or Wade in return, which would be ludicrous.

  • In reply to BigWay:

    I believe Nash would strongly consider taking the mini mid level to play with Lebron and DWade. He wants to win a championship. I'm not saying it's going to happen, but it realistically very well could.

  • I think Magic is crazy Bulls should be heavy favorites to wipe the mats with the Celts. Highly over rated at this point in all their careers. Outside of Rondo they don't scare anyone. Unless Rondo plays out of his mind all series long which is highly unlikely Bulls should cruise to easy victory. Atlanta is a tougher matchup but still Bulls should beat them. That said Heat will probably kick our ass in the ECF unless bulls bring their A+ game every night.

  • i think the bulls can go pretty far, but i also think the 18-9 record is an illusion to some extent. the bulls rode hot 3 point shooting, absolutely incredible bench play and very low TOs to a very fine record without derrick, but in the last month they were 4-4 without him. bad luck, or regression?

    so while i do think they should beat philly given that they have HCA and already a game up, and i think they would have an excellent chance to beat BOS/ATL, neither of whom are particularly good, their chances of going much further than that are ambiguous at best.

  • What has made the Bulls amazing to watch this year was never just D-Rose. It was watching one of the deepest teams of all time wear down other great teams with energy, fundamentals and a system that every player bought into. This is a group of players that trust their coach as much as their coach trusts them. These are professionals playing with the discipline and fanaticism of a college team. This NBA Playoffs will be a battle between everything thats right with basketball and everything thats wrong with this league. I will look forward to watching the Bulls shatter expectations this post season.

  • In reply to Villageworker2:

    Great post, this team reminds me a lot of the 2004 Pistons that won the title.

    Great defense and rebounding, and playing a true TEAM game on offense.

  • Miami looks beatable.

  • Doc Rivers (to ESPN): "If Ray is not ready, he's not ready. One thing I don't do -- I'll never do it, and maybe I'm wrong in it -- I don't ever put a guy out if he isn't ready. I just won't put him on the floor. If Ray told me he could play and [team trainer] Eddie [Lacerte] said he didn't think he could play, Ray would not play. That's just the way it is. [Allen] said he felt a little better, but I don't see it right now."

    Hm.

  • In reply to bzoooty:

    Obviously, Doc Rivers didn't teach Tom Thibodeau everything he knows!

    In the same situation, Thibs would play Ray Allen 40 minutes. Then Ray Allen would miss the next game(s) with injury.

  • I'm sure Thibs is going to play Derrick 40 minutes tonight, torn ACL or not.

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