Rose returns as Bulls defeat Dallas

Derrick Rose returned to action against the Mavericks playing a shade under 32 minutes of carefully controlled basketball while Dallas went the other way, resting Jason Terry and Jason Kidd for the night. Meanwhile, the Miami Heat decided to rest LeBron and Bosh for the night and Wade dislocated a finger in the first two minutes of the game. The result is they played the rest of the night without the big three and lost to the Wizards on a last second layup by Nene Hilario dropping the Bulls magic number for the East to one.

Magic number update / Probable matchup update

Magic Numbers:
Miami Heat - 1 (Bulls should easily take the top seed with a home game against the Cavs remaining)
Oklahoma City Thunder / San Antonio Spurs - 2

Probable seedings:
#1 Chicago vs #8 New York - The Knicks are tied with the 76ers, but there's a widespread belief that they will tank to face Chicago in the first round. Even if they don't take they have @Atlanta and LAC on their schedule. The 76ers have @NJ, @Mil, and @Det. If they win @NJ they'll eliminate Milwaukee making the @Mil game meaningless for the Bucks. Unlikely NY, they 76ers have to win at least one game to clinch a playoff birth, so if NY wants to tank for the final spot they can.

Kind of a bummer for Chicago as New York is the only bottom three opponent that doesn't completely stink. The Magic are playing without Howard and the 76ers are playing far worse basketball.

#2 Miami vs Philly - Should pose little challenge to the Heat.

#3 Indiana vs Orlando - Indiana wins a free pass to the second round.

#4 Boston vs #5 Atlanta - Atlanta likely wins home court due to better record despite officially being the five seed.

Round 2:
Chicago vs Boston - I like the matchup for Chicago and think the Bulls will defeat Boston more easily than they'd defeat the Pacers. Boston has a ton of shot making but is terrible on the glass. The Bulls are dominant on the glass, and I just don't think a very poor rebounding team can beat the Bulls in four of seven games.

Miami vs Indiana - I think the Heat's star power overwhelms Indiana, but I'd much rather play Boston. Indiana has a ton of size and athleticism and will physically beat the hell out of Miami. They don't have enough shotmaking to beat the Heat IMO, but they'll bloody them up a bit.

Chicago vs Miami - I think this series is a push right now. We've talked about it so much now that there's little point to predicting what will happen right now as how healthy both teams are when they finally meet will make a big difference in the confidence level of the matchup.

At least he was out there

Derrick Rose was obviously considerably limited by his injuries still. He didn't look explosive at all and couldn't break down the Dallas defense. However, he looked to find a rhythm and did a nice job with it. He controlled his turnovers [one] and moved the ball around the court well [eight assists] while picking his spots to score [11 points on five of nine shooting].

Derrick will need to play a hell of a lot better than this for the Bulls to go anywhere, but it was nice to see him back in action at all. Chicago has three days off before their next game [in Indiana], so hopefully Rose will look more like himself by then.

Rip Hamilton looked almost dominant

So Rip Hamilton put up another great performance. He was easily the most explosive Bulls player on the court. A quick gauge into Derrick Rose's health is that Rip Hamilton is faster and more explosive on the court.

Hamilton did a nice job of initiating the attack off the dribble and made his way to the hoop at times, posted up, pulled up, and showed off the full repertoire. There are just two things that annoy me in regards to Hamilton:

1: I'm not convinced he can play like this against the Heat [or other good defensive teams]
2: The Bulls have decided to limit his minutes to play Korver even when Rip is drastically outplaying him.

Time will tell in the playoffs if Rip can perform at a high level in meaningful games against good competition, and we can only sit and hope the answer is yes.

The second question is a bit more puzzling. Perhaps Thibodeau wants to make sure everyone plays and doesn't want to remove one of Brewer/Korver from the rotation. However, the Bulls brought Hamilton in to be the SG not to share the responsibilities three ways. The Bulls could also generate quite a few more minutes by limiting Deng's role some which would keep him fresher.

From way downtown... BANG!

Chicago's three point shooting pulled them out of this game. Luol Deng was four of seven while Kyle Korver was three of five. Deng drilled two threes down the stretch of the game to effectively put the game out of reach. When Chicago is knocking down their threes at this clip, their offense becomes far more deadly.

The Bulls did a nice job of moving the ball around to compensate their lack of explosive dribble penetration.

Roddy Beaubois did his Derrick Rose

Roddy Beaubois was by far the most explosive player on the court and almost single handedly willed the Mavericks to victory before the Bulls closed the door with an offensive run at the end. Beaubois, who dislocated a finger early in the game, was completely unstoppable and got into the paint any time he wanted.

His play highlighted how much the Bulls are missing with Derrick Rose playing at his present level of ability. Hopefully, Rose will get back that athleticism soon.

Where were the offensive rebounds?

Joakim Noah had five and Taj Gibson had three, but that did it for the Bulls, no one else had another offensive board. Part of it is poor bounces, but you expect the guards to get a few boards just on long rebounds if nothing else. I'd expect the Bulls to typically perform much better on the offensive glass and turn this game into a route, but it didn't happen that way.

Focus on health and rhythm

At this point, the Bulls should be able to get the one remaining win they desperately need. Besides simply getting wins, the team will likely focus on getting everyone on the same page and developing a rhythm as well as keeping everyone healthy the rest of the way.

I have to say I loved the shortened season as a fan, the compressed schedule gave us a quality basketball game on virtually every night. However, I'll be happy to go back to the 82 game schedule that provides the players with a bit more rest every game.


Leave a comment
  • I liked how Derrick played under control. He obviously learned from the last time he came back and tried to go super hard. These three days off will def do him some justice. It would be so awesome if MIA lost to HOU tonight. Then Derrick can rest Until the playoffs start, I know they need the rhythm but If he can get FULLY healthy going into the playoffs i love our chances. Either way Im super Hyped for the playoffs, the bulls are a very good team and it should be fun

  • This playoff run won't be easy for the Bulls. On top of the injuries and the team not playing well, looks like they will face the Knicks in the first round which in my opinion is a bad match up for the Bulls. The Knicks have players that can go to another level which will mean trouble for the Bulls. And the Heat are being very cocky by not playing their players as if to say the number 1 seed in the east means nothing to them, but rightfully so for them cause of the big 3. Again the Bulls will have home court in the east anyway but that hasn't meant anything this season. Should be an interesting playoffs with all of the story lines and drama.

  • The Hamilton situation is interesting. You'd think that if Thibs had plans to go to Rip in the 4th quarter, he would've given Rip some burn last night considering it was probably his best game as a Bull. I love KK, but I'm not convinced that he'll be of much use against the Heat in the 4th other than being a floor spacer (which does have value).

    I don't think Hamilton gets enough credit for being a shot creator. When people think of Hamilton, they think of him mostly as a spot up shooter, which isn't entirely correct. You don't score as much as he did in his career by being solely a spot up guy. He has several ways to create his own shot, and is a better ball handler than given credit for.

    The reason why Hamilton needs to play more against the Heat is not because I believe he'll be very efficient, like he kinda was yesterday, but because this team needs more guys that can hit shots under pressure. I don't think efficiency is as important in the playoffs as having that ability to perform under pressure. Which Hamilton has proven he can do.

    Finally, I think Ronnie Brewer might need to get the boot from the playoff rotation. At this point, when he's out there there's three guys I'd rather see on the floor in Deng, Korver and Rip. Ronnie's a very good defender, but it's almost entirely offset by his complete lack of offensive game. Maybe use him a bit on guys like Wade here and there, but other than that, he's more hurt than help.

  • I'm hoping Miami loses another one of their next two games - Houston and Washington (again). This would clinch the #1 seed for Bulls before the Indiana game. That way Bulls could simply rest their key guys all week - Rose and Deng, most importantly.

    Rose looked like an old man against Dallas, and its not his fault.
    Rose is clearly very far from full recovery from his multiple injuries.
    The dude is seriously injured. With toe, back, ankle, foot, problems and a groin TEAR(not pull) Rose won't be healthy until September. Playing in the Olympics should be out-of-the-question.

    I hope Rose gets to rest this entire week before the playoffs. And in the first round Bulls should protect Rose by limiting his minutes or possibly even resting him until the second round. Yes, Rose is that badly injured. Don't believe the PR from Bulls, trust your eyes.

    If Bulls play Knicks, Iman Schumpert will physically challenge Rose and I don’t want Rose expending himself against Schumpert. Bulls can beat Knicks without Rose, imo.

  • @Juiceboxjerry: I don't agree that Brewer should sit for the playoffs. The Bulls have enough offensive firepower to beat the Knicks/76ers and Celtics/Pacers with Brewer playing 20-25 minutes a game. And against Miami, my feeling is that you need him to guard Wade, who he has proven capable of shutting down for stretches. Sit him and I'm afraid Rip gets burned by Wade.

  • Just a random thought. Would you rather have Steve Novak or Korver? Is it just a toss up?

  • Knicks just beat Atlanta 113-112 in a hotly contested game, so rumors of Knicks tanking to drop to the #8 seed are apparently false.

  • One thing that no one has even mentioned is how bad Rose has looked on defense since the injuries started.

    Point guards are blowing by him and penetrating at will. He is running so far behind screens that it totally destroys our defensive schemes. A guy with his laid back attitude and injuries is a bad combination for a team that makes its bones on defense.

    I don't mind him pacing himself on offense if he isn't 100%, but that is not an option on defense. This is where toughness comes in, if you are going to play hurt you still have to go 100%, especially on defense. If you can't do it, then don't play.

    Rose has a week to get himself together, mentally and physically.

  • Knicks have the same problem as the Celtics, outside of Chandler they've got nobody to keep the Bulls off the boards, so I'd expect the Bulls to have at least a couple of games where they go off for 20-30 second chance points and just make the Knicks look silly. If they had Lin with the way Rose is moving on defense then it might get a bit scary though. Baron Davis and Mike Bibby makes it a pretty comfortable Bulls win.

    I think Bulls #1 and Heat #2 gets both teams what they want in the 2nd round. Heat want to avoid Boston, Bulls want to play them. If anything the Heat seem more concerned with avoiding Boston than getting home court. They fear the Celtics more than the Bulls. If the expected Bulls-Heat matchup happens then the Bulls really need to make sure they get out and play from the front. The Heat think they have the Bulls number, the Bulls need to sow that seed of doubt.

  • It seems the Knicks are gunning for the 6th seed

  • In reply to boogernights:

    Unfortunately for the Knicks, the Orlando plays the Bobcats next (Charlotte has lost 20 games in a row), so that's pretty much an automatic victory.

Leave a comment