Bulls vs 76ers Round 1 Game 2 7:00 on TNT/CSN - Take control

Bulls vs 76ers Round 1 Game 2 7:00 on TNT/CSN - Take control

The Chicago Bulls take their first step in moving on without Derrick Rose, and we'll get a good taste of what the team is made of tonight. Does the team fold under the pressure of knowing Rose is gone for the season or do they rise to the occasion and defeat the 76ers?

Chicago should still be the heavy favorite in round one. They should still have an excellent chance in round two. They should still have a punchers chance in the ECF. As I wrote yesterday, nothing's over yet. Do the players believe? We'll find out tonight.

No more margin for error

Joakim Noah may have said it best. The margin for error for winning is much smaller without Derrick Rose. Absolutely true. That's why this team needs to bring it. They need to bring it for 48 minutes every game. There can be no more lax periods where they can play poor defense for three or four straight possessions and allow big runs. They need to be up in the face of their opponents every second.

Energy level needs to be intense; "watching a video montage of 300, Braveheart, and Gladiator while doing shots of five hour energy chased by Red Bull" intense. They need to put their stamp on this series tonight. They need to send a message to Philly and the rest of the NBA that this team keeps coming at them terminator style and won't be denied.

Big men need to play big

The Bulls dominated the 76ers interior in the first game, and they'll need to do it here on out. While they won't get as many easy offensive rebounds with Rose breaking down the defense to force rotations, they should have plenty of space to work with as Lucas and Watson both shoot the ball better than Rose and can keep players from collapsing in the paint.

Joakim Noah needs to outwork all challengers at the center position and crush the 76ers on the offensive glass while Carlos Boozer will need to create a bit more rather than simply knocking down shots out of the pick and roll. When Taj and Omer come in the game I'm looking for relentless energy on defense and the glass and a few chest pounding, primal scream dunks to set the tone.

The Bulls may no longer be too fast, but they're still too big, too strong, and too good up front.

The extra day off benefits the 76ers

Let's face it, the Bulls aren't going to learn how to play without Derrick Rose any better than they already know how to. They've been battle tested without Rose for 40% of the NBA season, and they've passed the test. They don't have a litany of other injuries which will improve with greater rest either.

The 76ers will benefit from the additional time to breakdown game film of the Bulls minus Rose. In the playoffs, teams get a chance to do heavy film study on their opponents. They get to game plan. They get to find weaknesses. The Bulls were 18-9 without Rose, but they didn't have teams sizing them up looking at how they beat them. They got to take some teams by surprise. They won't take Philly by surprise.

Most affected by the extra film time is likely John Lucas. Teams will realize not to go under screens, not to give him any breathing room on the perimeter. Lucas has a limited ability to do much off the dribble and will likely get crowded far more than in the regular season.

The Bulls will need to find an adjustment of their own in order to beat traps which will inevitably occur on Lucas. They may need try and keep Hamilton in the game with Lucas more as a secondary ball handler and release point or look to get the ball to Noah quickly in the high/mid post.

From wannabe underdogs to true underdogs

True greatness comes from overcoming impossible odds. For doing what no one thought you could do. The Bulls have a chance to seize greatness in these playoffs. They have a chance to show the world what the rest of this team is made of. They're no longer the favorites.

No one believes they can get it done anymore. No one covering the NBA believes this team has a snowball's chance in hell anymore, but as long as the men left in that locker room still believe and as long as the mad genius Tom Thibodeau is calling out plays and defensive rotations, this team has a chance. They have a chance for true greatness. A chance to become perhaps the greatest NBA championship story of all time.

Odds to win it all? 1.7%. But we've beaten those odds before.

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  • WOw I'm hyped after reading that. Seriously I feel like I want to dunk on someone.

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    Wow..I'm pumped!!! Doug they need you tp give a pep talk in locker room! Well said! Go Bulls!!

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    In reply to nevergivup:

    to

  • thanks Doug!! I BELIEVE I BELIEVE

  • Can't wait to see how CJ Watson steps up. He didn't shoot the ball very well in the season(sub 37%) and has poor body control which can cause him to shoot off balance shots but that being said, his main focus should be ball security and getting the ball to Hamilton and Boozer who can interior pass. His spot up 3 point shooting should also help. Second is to play solid defense on Holiday who can get hot. If he does these things, he's done his job. The scoring load will have to fall on Boozer and Deng's shoulders, these guys get paid big bucks because they can score above 16 pts a game. This game will be decided on how well the Bulls take care of the ball and get good shots up, even if they miss. Taking off balance long 2s that can result in fast breaks will be disasterous for the Bulls.

  • I'll be honest, post rally the troops, circle the wagons etc. understandable with Derrick going down, I didn't think the Bulls looked all that impressive for major portions of Game 1 against Philly.

    The character of this team is awesome no doubt as has been the defense and rebounding. So we should cheer for them with all our hearts. But the reality is in regards to playoff basketball, team chemistry offensively with Hamilton and Derrick missing a huge portion of the season I just didn't see it. Not clicking offensively in a potent fashion the way championship teams do. How could they with no time or health to develop?

    And now minus D-Rose more so where does the scoring come from? That's the question. Might the history of key Bulls players provide the answers?

    Luol Deng, we need Miami Heat "Sweep Lu." Deng even with his gimpy left wrist somehow is going to have to put up 19ppg or more throughout the playoffs. He's in a good zone shooting threes, and is thee leader of this team right now IMO.

    Rip Hamilton now becomes an absolute must primary scorer. Minutes upped to 35 per game, and we need 44% with 15ppg plus relentless defense and major assists. Historically Rip is a 20ppg guy. We are going to have to have that Rip on many nights.

    C.J. has had games where he's shown he can score a ton of points. No he's not efficient inside the three, but career wise he can get to the line, and is shooting the three well over all. He's going to have to average 12ppg with 40% or higher from three and solid assists with reliable trips to the line every game. When he's not feeling it or fiercely agressive as no one can be all the time you bring in Psycho aka man without a conscience in JL3. When he's hot, he's hot. And when he's not you yank him.

    Taj, yes he does have post moves, but he does not have the body or mentality to score consistently preferring the easy way out with mid range jumpers. The Bulls are going to have to find a way to get more out of him. Give him all kinds of looks in the post inlcuding deceptive sudden weak side dishes off pretend screens the way the Mavs do with Dirk. I know Dirk is not primarily a post scorer but he does work down there especially in the playoffs spinning to the basket. Taj at SF has been bandied about, but now we may have no chioce as he can definitely devour most SF's in the post offensively if he has the fire too. Defensively, we need to pull a Miami(Riley), and use other teams isoing on Taj to our advantage. Rotate and swarm the single minded driver who thinks he will have a free path in a "mismatch." Use the black hole as a strength and not a weakness.

    Jo needs a pre Thibs package of lobs and curls taking advantage of teams neglecting him defensively. Harris, Bickerstaff whoever did a great job of utilizing this potential in Jo. Also, time for Joakim to over come his fear, and reacquire the baseline hooks. Not the Kareem away from the basket hoists, but the basline shots. And if he could find the driving off hand banks in transition now would be the time.

    Boozer scored well at times without the focus on D-Rose scoring. Not only his superb mid range game, but inside out energy needs to come from some successful attacks at the basket which he can do if he has a mind to. Carlos has put away the talk, and more walked the walk in my view. Now he needs to really up his offensive game to near past historic levels. He's only 29-30 after all.

    Of course it takes a supreme motivator to get all these things to happen, and a very adroit offensive schemer beyond excellent universal fundamentals which is what Thibs and his staff do have. But now we need personalized outside the box machinations.

    Could all these things occur post Derrick? In my view it would take a miracle. And sometimes amidst tremendous adveristy and extraordinaty character miracles do happen. The hard work and excellent character of this 2012 Bulls team are as good as I have ever seen. But now people are going to have to not just find the open man. They are going to have to be The Man.

    If this Miracle on Madison Street is to happen, we are going to see some signs in the next game of individul players stepping up with huge offensive games. Guys going all Jason Terry and Barea on us. In the end that is what makes playoff basketball so scintillating, and is the mark of a champion as in team of champions. Tonight will tell the tale IMO.

  • In reply to RoadWarrior:

    you are spot on about boozer, he needs to shut his big mouth, and actually play a big game, every game. I'm not particularly hopeful that he has the capacity to do so.

    and Deng needs to play like a real All-star from start to finish every single night. He needs to be aggressive on offense, he cannot simply jack up lazy jumpers, as he is wont to do.

    In the playoffs, every possession counts, for the Bulls without Rose this is infinitely more true.

  • I really hope the bulls can win this one tonight, I believe they can. Bulls need to get off to a great start, seems like when they can get off to a good start offensively they play a well for they majority of the game

  • Stats are not everything, but here is a quick breakdown on the Bulls with and without Rose from SSS column.

    "Playing without Rose, and extending that over an entire season, the Bulls at 18-9 would have had the second best record in the Eastern Conference. Their 7.5 per game differential would have been No. 1 in the NBA. The 86.4 points per game they gave up would have been No. 1. Their rebounding differential of 7.7 per game would have been No. 1. Their 56 rebounds per game would have been No. 1 by 10 per game. Their 22.6 assists per game would have been fifth"

    Without Rose the Bulls are obviously a different team, significantly worse on offense and noticeably better on defense and rebounding.
    The net result however, is not that different, they just get there by a different formula.

    the playoffs are obviously a different game, so who knows if the non Rose formula will work as well as it did in the regular season. Like most of us I think it should be enough against the 76's, and give it at least a 50/50 chance against either Boston or the ATL.

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    The bulls will be able to dominate this terrible team but once they play the big boys they will fall! i wrote more about this game tonight on my blog so come check it out! http://nbawagers.com/2012/05/the-fun-continues-for-nba-betting-fans-tuesday-evening/

  • bulls are at home tonight. with rose visiting the the team and scottie pippen's letter he posted on the teams website, the team should be pumped up for tonights game. i expect a easy victory tonight for the bulls but they need to keep their focus when they go to philly for games 3 and 4.

  • In 2005-06 Joakim Noah was in his second year of college and a member of the now legendary Florida Gators basketball team that has gone down in history as the first ever to repeat as NCAA champions with the same starting lineup. They also turned out to be the first college team since the Duke "Blue Devils" to win back-to-back NCAA titles.
    That season they had started off unranked and went on a 17-0 winning streak for the best start in school history. The Gators squad included Noah, Al Horford and Corey Brewer who were all taken among the top nine players in the first round of the 2007 NBA draft.

    People little remember who was responsible for the achieving of that college sports miracle. That man was their seven-footer Joakim Noah.
    It was Noah who called the team together after their first title in 2005-06 and persuaded them to take the chance of sacrificing the apparent once-in-lifetime financial opportunity for a chance at even bigger glory by repeating as champions.
    They believed him and defeated Greg Oden's Ohio State 84-75 in a rematch of a game they (Florida) had won 86-80 three months earlier for their second successive National title in 2006-07.

    Today, we're faced with another test of belief, and Noah is calling his Chicago Bulls to do what the basketball experts say they can't do. I say they can defy the odds and win their first NBA title since the Michael Jordan era.

  • In reply to SlamDunk:

    So far your on the money with noah, he's playing great tonight. also lucas is playing well, hope he gets more minutes in the second half.

  • Fantastic writing by Doug. The last paragraph should be pasted inside the Bulls locker room. Along with Korver's memorable missive.

  • In reply to BullsC4:

    Also read Pippin open letter to the team on the Bulls web site, very inspirational. Now the team has to BRING IT ON THE COURT.

  • Damn the sixers fast break is killing the bulls, holiday is making it look easy.

  • Noah the point-center with a nice drive and dish to boozer for the jump shot. love the elbow to turner's back by boozer lol

  • Not too shabby first half, especially with both Rose and Deng not playing.

    Can Lucas and Noah keep hitting every shot, especially down the stretch when it matters?

  • boozer, feet of stone, head of lead, heart of pussy, just nauseating.

  • In reply to BigWay:

    Too bad that describes the whole team besides noah.

  • y'all are crazy... this is not a good team... even the sixers have more talent

  • In reply to ixonflex69:

    Yes the sixers talent is killing chicago. Rip and deng have no answer for turner and iggy.

  • In reply to rob32:

    Also no answer for lou williams and holliday.

  • The main problem with the Bulls is the home fans. This is the quiestest playoff game I have ever heard. No energy

  • In reply to jclass62:

    the main problem is the bulls kinda suck and they just realized it now, the mental edge is gone

  • No way the bulls win this game or the series. You should never get man handled on your home court during the playoffs. The two main problems that have plagued the bulls For two seasons now: they Cannot play with teams that are athletic. Period. Second, they go in scoring droughts that last what seems to be forever. So if they go in scoring droughts WITH Derrick (being on the bench) but coming back In, how will they score when he's gone for good? Screw your 18-9 withouth him, that's regular season and this Is the playoffs where the big boys play. Also in the 36-14 third quarter Lucas and Korver sat basically the whole quarter, thibs rotations were god awful. Bulls lose in 6

  • In reply to insertclichehere:

    Thats the mistake alot of overly optimistic bulls fans make, they think too highly of winning regular season championships. the best regular season record means nothing when the playoffs start.

  • As a bulls fan for the last 20 years, this is probably the saddest thing i've had to witness...

  • In reply to ixonflex69:

    i mean this turn of events for the season

  • In reply to ixonflex69:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bDQwLaq5poU

  • In reply to Shakes:

    i get what you are saying, butt that wasnt sad cause you almost expected it, or most people probably weren't even watching.. i remember getting happy backthen about shit such as corey benjamin scores 20!
    This is sad cause your 2012 bulls just turned into the 2005 bulls... back then it was nice but now you wanna kill yourself.

  • The sad part is with deng and boozer overpaid for the next few years, how in the world is this team going to improve being capped out? Noah's a great role player to have, he's earning his contract. This summer, the Bulls have to have one eye on the present(getting Billups or a solid veteran pg that can take pressure of of Rose and fill in for him) and second eye on the future, cash in the Omer Asik check/charlotte pick and get Bradley Beal or Austin Rivers, two athletic versatile shooting guards in this year's draft. Thibodeau has to learn to trust and develop young talent because Rose and Deng playing 40 minutes a night will just run them into the ground.

  • In reply to Defense-Rebound13:

    It's kinda hard to tell if this series is gonna prove that the bulls dont have a playoff gear and are really not that good or this is just a fluke due to the Rose injury. My money is on the former and agree that they need to take a gamble and move some pieces... this group wont get it done

  • I think the saddest part of all this is that I don't think any of the past comments are overreactions. It's so obvious that the bulls aren't the same team without Derrick. I mean he's the MVP. His driving creates open looks for guys and his misses create second chance points. That's not a bad thing, that's what makes the bulls good, but when that's gone why do you do!? Who created shots for guys? Who draws doubles? I hate to say this and I'm sure I'll be replied to as a fake bills fan but whatever. I want the bulls to be eliminated this round. If for no other reason than to prevent false hope. If they play like this what's the point? If they get past Philly, past BOS (or whoever) they will get swept by MIA. What's that going to accomplish? A few atta boys? Who gives a shit about that. This will be a long offseason and who knows what will transpire with this team. Maybe this rant is Ill advised and the bulls will prove us all wrong... And maybe I'll marry Jennifer Lopez. Either way I won't keep my fingers crosse

  • In reply to insertclichehere:

    thonus needs to stop passing out the kool aid and getting people's hopes up

  • In reply to insertclichehere:

    Nothing wrong with being honet. i will always be a bulls fan but like i said yesterday on this blog, even with a healthy rose they get beat again by miami. the bulls just don't have enough talent around rose to win it all, and without rose it just gets worse. the bulls may still end up winning this series but they won't beat atl/bos or miami.

  • Give credit where it's due. Doug Collins made excellent adjustments both in personel and defensive scheme. The better it worked the more his team believed. The Bulls were unable to adjust and were forced to play the 76ers game.
    We never got the wing player we needed and that isearant with the Phila guard play.

  • Noah played well and Lucas did OK off the bench, other than that not much to like about the game.

    Really people are going to say no Rose, or not being a team for the playoffs, but what stands out for me is 25 fast break points when they only turned the ball over 8 times. That's just unacceptable, getting back on defense and forcing the opposition to play slow is supposed to be a strength of this team.

  • In reply to Shakes:

    the bulls are a fragile team, they just broke and can't be fixed... it's all manifestations of that fact

  • Nothing to say but this team needs more scorers...PERIOD!!!

  • In reply to Reese1:

    ROFL, the team gave up the 76er's best shooting percentage they've had all season, scoring wasn't the issue.

  • In reply to Shakes:

    U are delusional, yes the Bulls gave up a ton of points but they showed that their heart is not there, which is Rose. It's the playoffs man, u mean to tell me this team can't get motivated and play defense come playoff time?

    The effort just was not there in the second half and no one Bull could score to stop the Sizes run

  • In reply to Reese1:

    The Bulls need more scorers when no one else can score and if they have these scoring droughts in Philly they will be coming back to Chicago down 3 to 1. I mean what other excuse can there be for losing a playoff game like this at home? Bulls didn't get back on defense, allowed the Sixers to get out and run, and they didn't control the boards. This is a regular season team only, they havre no playoff gear especially with Rose being out.

  • In reply to Reese1:

    I don't see how I'm the delusional one when the Bulls just gave up their worst FG% in a game since Vinny was coach and the first thing you want to complain about is offense.

  • I think we're going to need a bigger dog.

  • It went basically the way I thought it would. What a way to go into Philly for two games. The team crumbled just as badly as DRose in game 1 :/.

    Boozer's got to be one of the softest players in the NBA. No passion or energy ever; commits lazy fouls; doesn't want to defend; repeat: doesn't want to defend; doesn't want to do anything when his 15ft fadeaway turnaround rainbow jumper isn't falling; doesn't want to post; just wants to pick up his paycheck.

  • I'm already looking at next season's starting line up in October...

    Watson
    Rip
    Korver
    Boozer (Please Amnesty)
    Noah

    Next season the only players that will be healthy by the time the playoffs come will be Rose and Deng.

    You know this could be a two year process of licking the wounds and really healing up. Next season looks like a scratch. Maybe we can get that Euro kid here.

    I think the Bulls should just Amnesty Boozer and keep Taj, Noah and Deng as their core.

  • In reply to SoulEater7:

    Good idea Souleater7 cause I've already started looking towards this off season as well. Either the Bulls will have a down year next year, or they will do something about it this off season. They definitely have to make some moves cause this team needs more talent in the worst way. I keep trying not to be down on this team, but I'm not a gomer fan and think this team is fine as is .

  • In reply to Reese1:

    And I meant to say I'm not a homer fan and think the team is fine as is. This is not a playoff team that can get to a championship.

  • In reply to SoulEater7:

    not sure that Deng is any more a part of the solution now then he was when he was part of the Hinrich, Gordon, Deng "core"

  • I hope thibodeau can make adjustments like collins did. I'm thinking of Jrue Holiday as a 6'5" shooting guard and would stick Jimmy Butler on him for a time. I also remember jimmy butler bothering evan turner when he guarded him. It's time to think outside the box. how does Boozer not man handle this smallish frontcourt??? does this dude have any fire and heart left in his comepetitive soul? Noah was the only one playing with passion tonight. The dukies have to show up, nearly half of the salary cap is tied into their contracts.

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