Is it do or die already?

The Chicago Bulls were humiliated in game one of the playoffs against a Nets team that suddenly didn't look so helpless as they had the past few times the teams squared off. Playoff basketball and all. Chicago's also been one of the worst home teams in the playoffs, so counting on coming back from 0-2 just because the Bulls get two home games is a stretch

That makes tonight's game a must win for Chicago if they want a realistic shot at coming back in this series. What needs to change between the past two games? Virtually everything.

Chicago needs to own the glass

They didn't do a bad job last game, they were outrebounded by four, but most of that was due to Brooklyn simply having more defensive rebound opportunities. That said, Chicago's nine offensive boards are probably not enough to get the job done. The Bulls likely need to push that number up to 12-15 and generate significantly more shots than the Nets.

When you can't score as efficiently per shot, you can make up the gap by taking 10% more shots due to turnovers and offensive rebounds. In the same vein, the Bulls need to generate turnovers and easy opportunities for themselves. They're likely always going to struggle in the half court without Derrick Rose, so the key is to create shots that aren't coming out of half court sets.

Defend the paint

For as great as Brook Lopez was at times in the Nets game, he was basically giving them an 0-fer once he was out of the paint. That likely won't continue, but his efficiency is certainly going to drag down once he's 17 feet away and shooting jumpers. It's a tall task with a banged up Noah, but the Bulls might want to consider using the big bodied Mohammed on him a bit more rather than going small so much.

It's a tough cover for Nazr, and there's a good chance that it doesn't help much, but they at least need to try to push Lopez away from the basket.

Luol Deng needs to step up

That was pathetic.

You let a guy who was playing horrible, horrible basketball score 14 points on seven shots and put up six on 11.

The Bulls simply have no shot in this series if Deng can't dominate his matchup, and it sure as heck isn't off to a good start. Deng needs to take more shots and shot 40%+ from the field, and if he's not up near 50% then two of those makes better be threes.

Can Nate Robinson and Carlos Boozer keep it up?

Those were the two guys you figured could give the Bulls some offense. They combined for 42 points on 20 of 32 from the field which is excellent production and exactly what Chicago needed from the pair. The problem, of course, is they did so in a loss where the team was destroyed.

Chicago needs to not only improve on all of the things that went wrong, but they need to hope the things that went right can repeat themselves. Nate Robinson's probably not shooting 66% from the field for the series, but he likely can give the Bulls similar efficiency if he gets his three point shot going which wasn't a big factor in this game.

Butler wasn't bad, but needs to deliver more

It may be completely unfair in terms of expectations, but Butler needs to win his matchup.

He needs to force Joe Johnson into taking poor shots and then beat him up on the offensive glass, in the post, and use his athleticism to outwork him. Johnson obviously has an advantage in terms of ball skills, but Butler's playing on springs and needs to push his athletic advantage at every opportunity.

Jimmy played a decent game one, but he didn't get any offensive rebounds and that's one area that should be a key for this team to attack with Butler being one of the guys who can make a difference.

It was just one game

There's no such thing as point differential in the playoffs.

Chicago may have been annihilated in game one. They may be far more over matched than we wanted to believe. However, it only takes one win tonight to recast this series even if that win is by a single point.

Comments

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  • The Bulls just need to learn how to play playoff basketball period. Game one looked as if the Bulls were still playing regular season ball. At least Rose was on the bench to watch the beat down up close.

  • This is a must win. We can't get down 2 games and win the series with our non existent offense. We win this game we get our confidence back and take this series in 6!!!

    So disappointed in rose. I really thought he would make debut in this series. Joakim Noah is really making him look bad. I know injuries are different but rose is healthy!! Really can't believe he can sit and watch his team fight with all the injuries they have and he is healthy. Smh well that's my last rose rant...

  • In reply to bullzfan:

    I agree. If he comes back next year and is 100% I will have lost respect for him as a competitor. I get that he may want to look like the Rose of old when he returns but I really don't get how he can sit out on his teamates when he is healthy enough to play. I am with Doug on this either his knee is screwed or he is just being a velvety soft puss.

    It just seems really wierd in an age where all top level athletes return in 6-9 months from ACL surgery he is at the one year mark and still not playing. I get the arguement that it is pointless as they have no title shot this year but if you are healthy and can play why would you sit? That says a lot about someone to me says he is not the person I thought he was. Iman Shumpert tore his ACL the exact same day and he has been playing since mid January and has been looking good the past month. His game also relies on athletisicm.

  • In reply to Chad:

    Also worth noting that Iman Shumpert tore his MCL and miniscus as well whereas Rose just had an ACL tear, so Shumpert's injury was worse.

  • No player personifies these Bulls like Luol Deng. A heady, fundamentally sound, try-hard guy who just isn't a great athlete. A 2-time regular season all-star and playoff wallflower who gets pwned by Gerald Wallace. He brings it every night and you win a lot of regular season games with Deng, but come playoffs, he can't keep up with the big boys. I'm totally aligned to the "fake all-star" description, though there aren't exactly a lot of better SF's in the East.

  • In reply to Roman F:

    Deng will have bounce back game tonight. Besides the obvious James, Durant, Melo who's a better sf than deng? Please don't say Rudy gay!

  • In reply to bullzfan:

    Come playoff time, I'd rather have Paul Pierce or Paul George, now that George plays SF. Or Danny Granger if he's healthy.

  • In reply to Roman F:

    Paul pierce won't make bulls better. Pretty much at end of his career. Danny granger are u kidding me? All he do is shoot threes. Even though he can create his on shoot he settles for jumpers. Not good rebounder or defensive player and his ball iq is not all that good either. Smh Paul George ok...but everyone is complaining about deng there is no one really u can say bulls will be better. For that matter boozer too. Bulls need scoring. Who is it I don't know. I like Montana Ellis but he is short and don't defend.

  • In reply to bullzfan:

    Very little serperates him from the rest of top 15 or so wings. I would throw out Ersan Illyasova. Someone likely not considered a top ten SF but he averaged 13 and 7 to Lou's 16 and 6 all while playing 10 mins a game less and shooting higher percentages. Just an example of his sub elite numbers and those are without Rose on a team where some might consider him the man this year.

    I like Lou he is a good player but he is soo overated by the media especially all that crap last season about him being a contender for Defensive POY. He can't gaurd plus athletes. If you can't do that how can you be the best defender in the league? He gives you 100% of his ability and that is probably what I like most about Deng but he isn't allstar material.

  • In reply to Chad:

    with limited resources with the new cap system, the debate over Deng has to start. The resources will either go to the shooting guard spot or small forward, you can't really load up on both with Rose's contract. So if you think you have offense problems, they could trade Deng for Eric Gordon and move Butler to his more natural 3 position. With Thibodeau's Boganesque man-love for Deng, I can't imagine the Bulls trading him but I could imagine them waffling around and letting him walk for nothing. Where did we see this movie before?

  • In reply to Defense-Rebound13:

    Trading for Eric Gordon would be really ballsy as he has been constantly injured with his bad knees. Throwing him into the meat grinder that is the Bulls seems like a bad idea but if he could stay healthy and regain his explosion would be a nice move.

    I would prefer they go the younger route maybe packaging their pick (18 I think) and Deng to move into the top 5 to land Ben McLemore / Shabazz Muhammad or offer similar deals for Bradley Beal / Damian Lillard. We can't have all are scoring coming from a vet minimum guy on a non gauranteed contract. Paxson and Foremen should be ashamed that is happening. Major failure on their part it is amazing that Thibs has pushed 45 wins out of this team.

  • Interesting to see that todays comments reflect what I have always said about both Rose and Deng.

    Rose is a bit of a Mama's boy(actually more than a bit) and his reaction to this injury is in line with that.

    and Deng is not now nor ever has been all that. He has always been overrated by Bulls fans and I have called him a fake allstar from day one the past 2 seasons. He is a nice player at best, but not a difference maker on a championship team. I contend that he is no more than the 4rth best player on a championship team. Toni Kukoc was the 4rth best player on the Bulls second 3 peat team, who was the better player, who would you rather have, especially in the playoffs.

    As long as Deng and Bozo are our starting forwards we are going nowhere.

    Did anyone even notice the complete lack of intensity or effort that the Bamboozler played with in game one. He looked like he was playing in a preseason scrimmage not a playoff game, he didn't even break a sweat. Thats why he can score 25 points and your team will lose by 25. Van Gundy pointed this out in the last Miami game, one guy is sprinting, the other guy is out for a Sunday stroll in the park.

    With Rose out and Noah hurt just like last year against Philly, might as well just get this season over with and start thinking about next year. At least Rose should have permission from his Mama to play by then.

  • In reply to BigWay:

    Boozer's energy might have been better than most on the Bulls. He made a few lame defensive moves but that is kinda to be expected. Offensively he was taking it to the Nets. They should have iso'd and gone to him more IMO. Got to give him props for being one of the few Bulls that came to play in game 1. I expect more to do so tonight after a good ol Thibs chewing out.

  • I believe the Bulls can still win this series, but truthfully there not a team built for the playoffs. Just too many holes and missing pieces and injuries don't help either. The playoffs is where you really need go to guys to take pressure off the rest of the team and have a threat in the game. With Rose still out Chicago is seriously lacking in the most important area.

  • Pleasantly surprised with the Bulls' response this game. They've got to be one of the mentally toughest teams in the league. It makes you wonder what Thibs would do with a more talented group of guys on the roster. I still expect the Nets to pull out the series, but it would be exciting if it went seven. The win did feel like a little bit of fool's gold, like the Nets partied hard figuring this round would be a piece of cake after their success in game 1. Also, Williams was atrocious. I doubt we can count on that continuing.

  • In reply to Hunter:

    I predict 2 more bad games from Williams. Don't think he will be able to do whatever he wants like he did in game 1.

  • The Bulls split on the road. Who asked for anything more before the series began? The blowout is now a distant memory.

  • In reply to Edward:

    Unfortunately for most fans, also a distant memory is Rose giving his blood, sweat, & tears for this team. How quickly some people forget. He's got to look out for his future, & every single vet that's been through a serious injury is advising him to be patient. You're doing the right thing Rose! Go Bulls!

  • In reply to ChiRy:

    It's amazing how so called fans who many have never played a sport in their life on any level or ever been seriously injured questions Rose's heart and integrity after all he has done for the Bulls in his career. Absolutely ridiculous.

  • In reply to ChuckB34:

    There is nothing ridiculous about questioning the heart and integrity of a player who doctors have medically cleared to play 2 months ago. I do think it's unfair to draw conclusions about his toughness without more information, and a lot of fans seem downright angry at him, which I don't understand either.

  • In reply to ChiRy:

    I agree with you completely! It's not just about the ACL, its about last season's multiple injuries, which he played with, causing the ACL. So many have forgotten Rose playing hurt most of last season - and the price he paid for doing so. He's a year older and WISER.

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