The Bulls have been rolling with many of the traditional strengths that translate to great playoff success. While people have complained about the way the Bulls are built, defense, rebounding, and isolation scoring are traits that almost always translate to winning playoff basketball while fast pace offense frequently falls apart.
Chicago has been the best in two of those three categories with Derrick Rose a dynamic isolation scorer in the third. However, watching the Miami Heat lose last year to the Mavericks and game one this year to the Thunder, it shows what many Bulls fans have felt obvious for quite some time.
The Bulls simply don't have enough scoring.
Teams aren't beating Miami because they lock them down at the end of games. Teams beat Miami because Miami can't stop them at the other end either. In the long run, trying to shut down LeBron and Wade might be a losing proposition regardless of how good your team defense is. Those players are simply too good to be stopped consistently at the end of games.
However, if your team has players who Miami can't stop either and can roll out better depth than you have a pretty good chance. The Bulls have many of those pieces in place now. They're missing that secondary scorer. The one who can step up, create his shot, and stop Miami from double or triple teaming Rose every play.
Not only are the missing that player, but they have no clear path towards getting him. There might be 20 players in the NBA that could provide the type of shot creation the Bulls need, and teams aren't likely to give them up.
Last night was a beautiful basketball game to watch. The Heat went on a nice offensive run to attempt to narrow the lead scoring on virtually every possession for a stretch near the end of the game. Unfortunately for them, the Thunder also scored on virtually every possession. Then the Miami run ended first.
The bad news for Bulls fans is that we've been so focused on defeating the Heat that we haven't paid much attention to a Thunder team that looks like it would crush Chicago in a finals match up. The Bulls would run into the same problem as Miami in that while they can defend, the Thunder can score through great defenses, and the Bulls don't have the personnel to consistently score with them.
The old adage might be that defense wins championships, but the truth is two way players win championships. You need greatness on both ends of the floor, and Chicago is only great on one end of the floor while looking to shed salary rather than add pieces. It's going to take quite a bit of luck on top of great management to get the players to go from where Chicago is now to holding the trophy.