Rose and Bosh sit as Bulls fall to Heat

Rose and Bosh sit as Bulls fall to Heat

The game was chippy early. James Jones was ejected after a pretty weak flagrant two against Joakim Noah. Dwyane Wade had a flagrant of his own as well. The Bulls played the Heat tough for most of the game, and then went in to one of those spurts.

You know the kind, the kind we see without Derrick. The kind where the Bulls play about five minutes straight without scoring. The Bulls had a couple spurts like that in the game, and it was too much to overcome.

In general, I felt the Chicago offense was getting easier looks than the Heat offense, but they shot just 35.7% from the field, outside of Noah and Gibson who combined for 9/11, the Bulls managed just 16 for 59 from the field. On top of the poor shooting, Chicago failed to secure offensive rebounds despite the absence of Chris Bosh and Ronnie Turiaf.

The performance on offense is about as bad as Chicago will ever play, even without Rose, but they were still sitting in this game until they went through a long scoring drought in the fourth quarter. A drought filled with makeable jumpers that the Bulls simply didn't make.

Seeding...

If you didn't see my 20+ tweets on the topic or read the corrections in either of my past two articles. I made a mistake previously in what the Bulls needed to do to clinch. I had incorrectly calculated conference record for the two teams a few weeks ago and never rechecked the work until yesterday. The Heat have all but clinched the tie breaker. The following scenarios would get Chicago the tiebreaker:

1: Chicago loss to Dallas + Miami loss to Washington or Boston
2: Milwaukee climbing into the eighth spot

Both are pretty unlikely to happen.

If Miami wins out, the Bulls also need to win out in order grab hold of the #1 seed.

The #2 seed may become a bit more appealing

If New York is able to fight its way up to #6, the #2 seed will play the Dwight Howardless Magic which is, by far, the easiest opponent in the playoffs. They'd also draw Indy/New York in round two. That route might be considerably easier than Philly + Boston, but as I've always said, the #1 seed is about home court in the ECF.

If Chicago or Miami gets knocked out before the ECF due to a tougher bracket then it wasn't their year anyway. The one benefit for Chicago to an easy first round matchup is the lingering health questions surrounding Derrick Rose.

What the hell is going on with Derrick Rose?

Rose has now missed 26 games on the season, and while no one is saying it, the foot injury is almost certainly the result of coming back too early from the ankle injury. Chicago has been reckless with what they've allowed Derrick to play through this season, and we're sitting here with just three games left wondering whether he'll be ready to suit up for the playoffs.

Like always, he's just day to day, but the fact remains he's played three times in the past five or six weeks, and he besides lacking rhythm, he also lacked the speed and explosiveness his game relies on. At this point, Chicago probably needs to count on winning the first round with Rose missing some action or playing well beneath his peak and simply hope that he rounds into form by round two and the ECF.

Did we learn much in four games against Miami?

I think we learned the following:

1: LeBron owns the Bulls. He just makes tons of ridiculous shots against Chicago.
2: The Heat haven't improved at all this year, they have the same problems as last year.
3: If Chicago brings its A game, they can beat them in a series.

I used to think that if the Heat and Bulls both played at their best that the Heat would win. Ignoring the fact that this is impossible because the losing team would never look like it played at is best since the best of both teams includes great defense, I no longer believe this is true.

If Chicago brings its best game, I think it's a toss up. They've shown that they can limit Miami's transition opportunities, and they've shown they can force Miami into really difficult shots for games at a time.

The best exmaple of this is when Shane Battier knocked down the open three which put the nail in the coffin for Chicago. As the ball left his hands, my brain had three thoughts at once: "How could you leave him open?" "We're screwed." and "Huh, that's the first open shot they've had in about 10 minutes".

Even after Miami won a big game without Bosh, my fear of the Heat dropped after this game. They struggled to put away a Chicago team that was without Rose and couldn't throw the ball in the ocean.

Big game on Saturday

With the Bulls needing to win out to chase the #1 seed, the Saturday game against the Mavericks is key. Derrick Rose will likely miss the game making it a difficult contest for Chicago. Dallas has clinched a playoff spot [updated, originally had this wrong] and can't move up. Given that, they are only playing to see whether they match up against San Antonio, L.A., or Oklahoma City in the first round.

After Dallas, Chicago has three days off before finishing the season on a back to back with @Indiana and Cleveland. If Rose isn't healthy at that point, the Bulls are likely in big trouble for their playoff run this season.

Filed under: Game Threads

Tags: chicago bulls, miami heat, nba

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  • I didn't catch the after game wrapup, did Craig Sager find out who crop dusted the Miami bench?

  • In reply to bullshooter:

    That was hilarious, and I wouldn't be sursprised at all if it was Craig Sager himself.

  • I'm not as worried about the Heat anymore either. The bulls are definitely in the heads of the Heat. How many cheap shots did they take? And other than Boozer who backed down from them? If the Miami game plan is to start sucker punching guys, the bulls have the upper hand.

  • Dallas has already clinched a playoff birth. Now they are playing for seeding but regardless they will not get home court in the first round.

  • In reply to soldier01:

    My bad, I made the correction. I'm not doing too good with my seedings advice lately ;)

  • I figured this might be a good time to log back on to the best Bulls Blog on the web. I felt like last night Miami was trying to send a message to a team that will not be intimidated by them. I don't feel like Chicago or the rest of the league for that matter fears the Heat as much as last year. As you stated Doug, I think if the Bulls play their A game with Rose in the lineup they have what it takes to beat the Heat in a seven game series.

    It's just hard to believe Chicago was even in the game last night considering how bad they looked offensively. I felt Boozer missed a couple of bunnies around the rim and our shooters, who were given the same looks a week ago in Chicago, didn't have the touch. It happens. In a halfcourt game, the advantage swings to Chicago because the shots we were taking were within the rhythm of an offense and makeable shots.

    Miami's halfcourt offense bogs down into Wade and LeBron taking tough fadeaway jumpers which for some reason they rountinely hit against the Bulls. Loul Deng defense against LeBron really doesn't get the credit it deserves because of LeBron unbelievable shot making. Deng consistently contest everyone of LeBron's jumpers.

    I still like our chances to secure home court advantage because I don't think the Heat will win out their remaining games. I'm looking at the Houston game or possibly the Boston road game for when they will pick up an L.

  • In reply to Bulls986:

    Maybe we should give Loul Deng a participation trophy for trying hard not to get torched. He gets lit up every time we play the heat. LeBron owns Loul Deng! LeBron scores like 30 points per and shoots over 50% everytime we play them. I guess Deng does deserve credit from keeping him under 50 points and 80% fg%.

    LeBron isn't even the only star SF that lights up Loul either. He is the most overrated defender in the entire NBA. I will give him that he tries hard.

  • In reply to Chad:

    I think this says more about the overall talent of LeBron James than Deng's defense. LeBron has the offensive skills to make Deng's defense look bad against him when that is not always the case. Overall, I think Deng does as good a job as any small forward in the league when it comes to one on one defense on Bron Bron.

    Deng is the best defender on one of the best team defenses in the NBA. He should garner a few Defensive Player of the Year votes and make the All-NBA Defensive team this year.

  • In reply to Chad:

    Yes you have to give credit to deng for trying but he just can't defend lebron. lebron owns deng everytime. wade took over in the 4th too. as long as the bulls have no answer for those 2 i don't see them beating the heat in a 7 game series. hopefully the bulls get the number 1 seed, philly/boston is a easier first 2rounds than ny/indy. ny and indy have a good shot at upsetting the bulls, they are both deep and talented which will cause matchup problems for the bulls. the bulls match up better with philly and boston.

  • In reply to Chad:

    I agree that LeBron lights Deng up, but what more can you ask of him?

    If he forces a tough shot and LeBron knocks it down then you have to live with that or force the ball out of his hands by double/triple teams and live with the results [the Bulls do plenty of that too].

  • In reply to DougThonus:

    Its not Dengs fault he does his best I just get annoyed by people saying he does a good job defending star players when he doesn't alter their scoring or FG%. In fact its not uncommon for the Melo, LeBron and Durants to have better than average nights when guarded by Deng. If people consistantly knock down shots on you how good a defender are you really?

  • In reply to Bulls986:

    Houston looks awful and will not beat the Heat. Boston could be a different story.

  • In reply to Bulls986:

    I agree with your view that Deng forces LeBron into lots of tough shots. That's all you can ask of Deng really. I saw LeBron have a terrible game against the Magic where Hedo defended him like crap, but he struggled to knock down shots. Sometimes that will happen, but you always want to force the tough shot and hope for the best.

  • I agree, at this point Rose's health is a bigger threat than the Heat. The Bulls shot terribly, didn't win their usual rebounds but stuck in the game. The Heat aren't the super team everyone imagines them to be. They're very beatable. Whether or not the Bulls can get the team on the court to get the 4 wins they need against them is very much the question.

    But Rose, I can't shake the nagging feeling that he's effectively done for the year. It's getting really hard to imagine he'll be 100% at any point now. Which begs the question: are the Bulls better off with a 50% Rose or no Rose at all? I don't know, I kind of feel like this team minus Rose is always a puncher's chance and will compete with anyone, where as if Rose comes back half baked then he might drag them down.

  • In reply to Shakes:

    Yeah, I have the same negative feelings about Rose. It's hard to see him coming back 100% healthy. It's been a long time now. Once a guy is basically out for six weeks and still isn't healthy you have to question how good he'll be when he's back too.

  • At this time of year, there are so many ancillary factors when watching these games. It’s not just winning and losing. While having homecourt in the ECF is important, it is also important to have the right matchups in the prior two rounds, and to be healthy/rested going into the playoffs. Heat should sit Wade until the playoffs. He looks worn down to me.

  • In reply to RichG:

    I think home court is more important to Chicago than Miami. I think Miami, after last year, has the confidence they can beat Chicago even if they have to do so on the road.

    I don't think Miami respects Chicago at all really. They don't say that in the press, but I feel they think they own Chicago regardless of the regular season results.

  • In reply to DougThonus:

    If I were them, I would feel exactly the same way.

  • In reply to DougThonus:

    Even if the Heat don't respect the Bulls (and that is a debatable subject), they do respect the Celtics. That's why if the Heat do get the #1 seed, it could be bittersweet, because they can avoid the Celtics in the 2nd round if the Heat get the #2 seed. While I think the Heat would still beat the Celtics, I think the Bulls match up better with them.

  • I think everyone is being way too optimistic... you say the bulls lost cause they shot horribly... well, that's the bulls, don't you know that by now? They have 5 min scoring droughts all the time, it's the team's main weakness, and it's not going away... and this seems to become more frequent in the playoffs when teams gameplan more specifically to their opponent. Remember last year's playoffs the bulls couldnt score against any opponent. The defense is always great, the effort, rebounding etc. But the offense can really go off the rails against a good defensivie gameplan. I dont believe this is Thibodeau's fault, since in a playoff series it's nearly impossible to surprise your opponent by the third game with your schemes (and you cant devise a new offensive gameplan every two days). This is the reason why these isolation guys seem to become more valuable in the playoffs.. you know what they will do but it doesnt mean you can actually stop it. With the guys on the bulls, if you know their gameplan you can shut them down completely. The bulls of course can't win at "superstar contest" basketball, so their only shot at this is crazy defense (which I believe they can play) coupled with enough good offensive performances from a VARIETY OF PLAYERS (a 25 point Deng game here, a 25 point rip game there, a killer bench game, etc.) cause they will not get it from one guy every night, maybe not even twice in 1 series. Of course this is assuming the presence of a half decent Derrick Rose sighting on a regular basis, certainly not a given.

  • In reply to ixonflex69:

    Yes everyone is being way too optimistic but thats just everyone preparing themselves for the "rose wasn't healthy excuse" if they get eliminated from the playoffs.

  • In reply to ixonflex69:

    The Bulls have the sixth highest offensive rating in the NBA, so no, I don't think the Bulls shooting that poorly is normal. It's more normal without Derrick Rose, but I don't think it's normal for the full healthy team.

  • Does Jimmy Butler get any meaningful playing time in the playoffs? His defense can certainly be valuable in specific matchups. These last few games of the season, I'd like to see him get a little more playing time.

  • Everyone can be optimistic if they want to be but the truth is trouble is brewing for the bulls. im with wilbon on this...
    http://espn.go.com/chicago/nba/story/_/id/7835089/trouble-brewing-chicago-bulls

  • In reply to rob32:

    Although you have now repeated the assertion, I don't really see too many optimistic people here. The fact is that Rose HAS been injured for a prolonged period of time and, no matter what, will be nowhere near 100% for the playoffs. That is a fact that we are all aware of. We all realise that without a healthy Rose there is no consistent offence. As Doug has said though, Miami have shown that they are no better than last year. The problem for the Bulls is that unless a miracle happens with Rose, they have essentially gone backwards from where they were this time last year. But Miami with its 2 superstars should have put the Bulls away by 20+ points given that they were playing a team with Charlotte Bobcats-class offence for the second half. Lucas was our main offensive weapon - versus Wade and Lebron. So while we all suspect trouble is brewing for the Bulls, it's also pretty clear that trouble is brewing for the Heat. If they make it to the Finals they will get beaten on current form, and probably fairly convincingly. And yes, we will be saying we didn't make it because Rose was injured - just because that would be a fact. We have one superstar compared to your three remember.

  • Ny wont move to 6. The bulls absolutely have to get the 1 seed because NY will beat the bulls. They have matchup problems that can bury the bulls. That in addition to Derrick clearly not being healthy this season will end in the first round. I think Derrick is done for the season, even if he returns what good will he be? They're better off losing in the first round and retool next season. It's crazy to have these thoughts before the playoffs have even started but I predict doom.

  • In reply to insertclichehere:

    We beat the Knicks handily without Rose once and lost by one on a complete choke job in the game he played but shot quite poorly. While I think the Knicks are the toughest of the low rung seeds, I think Chicago would still be the favorite even without Rose.

    That said, no one's goal is to get out of the first round and whether they can or can't do it without Rose, they clearly aren't going to go past the ECF without him.

  • Nothing to do with the Bulls or last nights game, but this story is scary and amazing. Hard to believe that one man can shatter another mans skull with nothing more than his elbow while playing a game.

    http://espn.go.com/nba/story/_/id/7833822/charlotte-bobcats-eduardo-najera-recovering-fractured-frontal-bone

  • I'm a delivery truck driver and I saw OMER coming out of a building in sweats getting into a very nice Porsche with a beautiful girl. It was pretty awesome, guys is freaking tall. This was just like 3 hours ago

  • I am far less upset by last nights loss than I am by any of the "blow jobs" of the last several weeks, it felt inevitable from the start.

    While I might like to talk myself into thinking that last night was forgivable and everything will be alright when Rose is back, the truth is still the same as it has been since the decision, and will be for some time.

    Too much top line talent for the Heat(even with Rose)and too many shrinking violets masquerading as All Stars for the Bulls, that would be Casper the disappearing Deng, and boozer going full metal Matapussy as usual. Apparently, the mere sight of Dexter Pitman scared the shot right out of him.

    My gut says the Bulls will not hold onto the #1 seed and won't even make it to the ECF, but if they do, they have to have everything go right in any given game in order to beat the Heat, and that is not going to happen 4 out of 7 nights in a playoff series.

  • In reply to BigWay:

    I really appreciate your constraint in not going to town on Boozer today because I thought he was terrible in this game. Seeing as Miami have decided to be tough guys with skinny veteran guards and back court midgets, I was hoping they might use Boozer to do the strong arm tactics that you normally designate to end of the bench players.

  • I have been saying for the longest that the Bulls chances against Miami are not good. And to top off what I have been saying for the longest, now the Heat have PUNKED the Bulls, they basically kicked the Bulls in their ass back to Chicago. Lebron still running over the Bulls as usual cause no one on the Bulls intimadates him. Major changes will have to be made once the Bulls get upset in rhis years playoffs. Oh!, and say goodbye to that number 1 seed especially having to play the Pacers in Inch next week.

  • In reply to Reese1:

    That PUNKING as you call it, was vintage Pat Riley.
    Think back to those physical Knicks teams. This was Pat Riley's influence, not Spoelstra. Riley knows playoff basketball.

  • In reply to Edward:

    Yep you're right Edward, and the Bulls have nothing or no one to stand up to the beating that they took literally and basketball play wise to stop the Heat or anyone else from doing it to them again. Bulls only have one gear, one level, and that's both regular season gear and level. Throw in all of the missed games this year by half of the team, and that will spell getting beat by the Heat for sure if they meet for the ECF crown and a good possibility of an upset in one of the first 2 rounds. Bulls got tossed around the Miami arena and until they stand up for themselves, I have lost respect for them. Remember, the Pacers who they have to play this week in Indy and one of the teams they have to beat in order to secure the number one seed, did the same thing to the Bulls last year in the playoffs in a physical series. The Bulls won but the Pacers were a young team then, now they have even better players on the team with more experience for their young players. Bulls will be in trouble if they end up having to play the Pacers and Knicks in this years playoffs. Too much physical play from the Pacers and match up problem against the Knicks.

  • Part of me was really disappoint after all the bs that Miami pulled that the only guy to stand up and get in someone's grill was the smallest player on the Bulls in JL3. Thats fucking pathetic really. Taj or Noah pussed the fuck out IMO. Rip gets shoved out of bounds and not one Bulls comes to his defense. Wade was going down the court and gets a easy layup while Noah just whiffs at him running past him? Should have fouled him at least. This team has no backbone at times. I grew up on the 80's and 90's style of NBA so maybe thats why I can't see no Bull stand up for themselves other than JL3. Kinda makes me pissed off. Call me a meat head.

  • What the hell is wrong with Derrick Rose? How the F is he still hurt after all this time?

  • In reply to souleater7:

    Bulls played him to soon at too long.

  • I think Mike Wilbon summed up the Bulls terrible play as of late the best in his column on ESPN Chicago. The Bulls are putting themselves in a deep hole as far as trying to lock up the number 1 seed. The Bulls blew games against Houston, Washington, and the Knicks over the past few weeks, games that they should've won. Rose or not, the Bulls players are not stepping up. Once again the Bulls roster is starting to show they do not have what it takes to win against quality and more talented players in the NBA. It Rose and a bunch of role players at best. I understand the Bulls have their fans cause I'm one as well, but some fans need to be more realistic and stop being homer fans and coming up with every excuse in the world for this team. The Bulls have only one gear and that's a regular season gear. This team doesn't have the talent to take their game to another level come playoff time, that's why I won't be surprised with all of their injuries and lack of chemistry with the starting line up, if the Bulls get upset in the first or second round in this years playoffs. I hate saying this but this is what the Bulls season has come to this year. They have had far too many missed games due to injuries this year to win a championship. I have said it far to many times in the past... this Bulls team doesn't have enough scoring or talent to win a championship, I do hope that I am wrong tho.

  • In reply to Reese1:

    And Rose is a f___in point guard, when's the last time a 6'3 point guard led a team to a NBA championship by his self and as the leading scorer for that team. Rose needs more offensive talent to take the load off of him. Bulls don't get to the finals this year, I say overhaul half of the team somehow. A few fan favorites may have to go to bring in the right group of players. They will have to give up good players in order to get good players in return.

  • I wouldn't be shocked if they loose in the second round to the Knicks.

  • In reply to souleater7:

    lose

  • I am not concerned about the Knicks. Bulls can beat them even without Rose. But Indiana scares me. They are bigger than Bulls, potentially more physical, they are playing very well going into the playoffs, and have a real chip on their shoulder against the Bulls.

    Also, Miami, more than any team in the league, can flip a switch and go up two gears for the playoffs.

    As Reese1 said, Bulls have achieved their regular season success the past two seasons by playing at playoff intensity during the regular season - leaving Bulls with no extra gear for the playoffs. Just like last year, Bulls will go into the playoffs fatigued from all the extra effort they exerted during the regular season, which other teams did not exert.

    Against Miami, Bulls were fatigued and Miami looked fresh and more energetic. Thibs philosophy of GRINDING all season long is a regular season strategy - it is not a successful playoff strategy. Bulls win with effort more than talent and while that works in the regular season it does not translate to the playoffs as every team is amped.

    To the fatigue, add the injuries to Deng and Rose, and I don't see how Bulls can win this year. Rose will not be healthy for the playoffs! Bulls handled Rip's injuries well, but allowed Rose to return too soon and with 40 minutes in a marquee game in Madison Square Garden. WTF?!? Should have waited a couple more weeks and played Rose 20 minutes a night just like Rip, until Rose 'showed on the court' that he was healthy.

    And Thibs has ground Deng into exhaustion, even with his bad wrist. Leading him in minutes for the NBA while Jimmy Butler could have given Deng 5-8 minutes extra rest every game is suicidal.

  • In reply to Edward:

    I don't think the Bulls really have played with playoff intensity in the regular season though. They've had a number of games where they've been accused of letting up.

    This has been less true with Rose out, but when Rose was in, the team seemed to play on cruise control all too frequently.

  • In reply to DougThonus:

    It is a well-known and accepted fact around the entire NBA that no team hustles and gives effort more consistently than Bulls. This is Thibs grind-out-every-possession philosophy. Yes, they have lapses, but no team works harder. Bulls win by out-working teams.

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