At least point differential doesn't matter.

I suppose that's the positive you can put on this game. In the end, the Bulls went into Miami and did what every road team sets out do do in the playoffs. They brought the series back to their turf with home court advantage. That was the spin Joakim Noah had after a physical game two where the Bulls were completely outclassed.

The problem, of course, is that what we saw in game two is what our brains have been telling us this whole time but our hearts didn't want to believe. The Bulls, especially with the injuries, simply aren't good enough to compete when Miami plays at its best.

That doesn't mean they have no shot at winning another game, and ultimately, it's not impossible that they win the series. However, in order to do so, they will need Miami to play well beneath their best while they themselves play at their best. While not completely impossible, it certainly doesn't inspire much hope.

A fully healthy Derrick Rose led Bulls team would be underdogs against these Heat, but when that squad played at its best, it'd have a shot at taking out the Heat even when they played well. Not so with a team missing Rose, Hinrich, and Deng. Remember the group on the floor that won an epic game seven against the Nets also lost games five and six.

That was the best thing about winning game one, it allowed Bulls fans to wear the veil of belief for two more days.

Somewhat irrelevant, but the refs lost control of this one

The Bulls and Heat both came out with a chip on their shoulder. You can see how angry Miami was about getting pushed around in game one, and they came out with a concerted effort to play physical basketball against Chicago resulting in a game that featured more technicals than you'll typically see a full series.

At times they let the players nearly mug each other while calling ticky tack fouls to reign things in the next play. It didn't impact the game in any significant fashion. You don't drop a game by nearly 50 because the officiating wasn't balanced, but it will be interesting to see what tone this game will set for game three from an officiating standpoint.

The problem for Chicago, is that with things getting out of control, game three is likely to be a foul-a-thon which bodes well for Miami regardless of whether they call the game evenly. Chicago needs games where the refs let them go at it, but after Miami came in and beat Chicago at its own game last night, the refs will be mindful not to let game three turn into a brawl.

Thibodeau immediately shot down the Rose rumors

I wasn't even going to give it a passing mention, but I suppose it deserves at least that. There was a rumor started by hoopsworld that Derrick Rose would return for Friday's game against the Heat in Chicago. I'm tempted to go Charles Robinson and say I'll eat my laptop if that happens, but I'm not a fan of electronics.

I'm done criticizing Rose for his decision. Ultimately, I just hope he's really dialed in for next season. However, stories like this are the reason why it'd be better if he stopped leaving everyone hanging and just said "no, I'm not coming back". If by some miracle he changes his mind, then that's fine, he can always go back on it, but it'd at least kill the story.

I recently read the Derrick Rose thread on realgm (I've stayed out of it) and was surprised with how overwhelmingly negative the die hard fan base [at least on realgm] is over Rose not playing. I'm a big disappointed, but I'm ready to welcome him back with open arms when the 2013/14 season tips off.

Any hope for Hinrich/Deng?

The real question for Chicago might be whether or not they can get Deng/Hinrich back. The pair hasn't always played well in the playoffs, but as the fouls mount, the Bulls will need them for perimeter depth to get Cook and Teague off the floor at the very least.

I don't have much hope for either guy playing in the series. I don't know much about the side effects Deng is suffering from his spinal tap, but when you're in the hospital for nearly a week, it just doesn't seem like a group of doctors are going to clear you to go play NBA basketball a day after being released.

According to yesterday's report, Hinrich's leg at least isn't purpose anymore, but he still has no ability to move remotely like he needs to in order to play basketball, so his return doesn't seem so likely either.

The Bulls do catch an extra day off between games three and four, so there's a shot that one of them might be ready by game four or game five which is almost a week away. If the Bulls manage to pull out another win then they might have a shot of returning for the tail end of the season.

Spoelstra finally adjusted

The Heat started putting quality defenders on Nate Robinson and trapping the hell out of him. Why they didn't do that in game one at the end of the game after being torched all game long is beyond me, but it was the adjustment I wouldn't have had to make, because I would have started out the series that way.

Robinson's improved his decision making, but the Bulls are still fundamentally the same team that couldn't deal with a Derrick Rose trap two years ago, how are they going to deal with it now with even less offensive talent on the floor and a player far easier to trap controlling the ball? It just seems like a no brainer.

The problem for Chicago is that there really isn't a good answer for them to play out of the trap. Robinson's size makes it hard for him to pass out of the trap at times, and the Bulls don't have enough offensive skill to frequently take advantage of it when it comes. They will need Butler/Belinelli to knock down lots of open threes.

That's the one thing that can slow the trap down, but the Bulls need to hope they can get the ball to those guys in open spaces, and Miami closes out really well when they put the effort in. It's going to be a tough battle.

How far can the Bulls go on heart, hustle, and will? My guess is still 1-4, but I'll hope they can prove me wrong like they have so many times already.

Filed under: Game Threads

Tags: chicago bulls, miami heat, nba

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  • Well that was a ugly game. The Bulls played right into what the Heat wanted and that's not a good thing while playing on the Heats home floor. There was a lot of bad calls against the Bulls, a lot of obvious rough fouls going against the Bulls. They have to keep their composure especially while playing in Miami. Hopefully the Bulls can protect home court which will be a very hard task at hand. I still look for the Bulls to win another game in this series, i just hope if the team is to lose the series they go down swinging and wonthave another game like game 2.

  • No surprises here. This has been the Bull's MO all season...win a game, lose a game. They have been consistently inconsistent. I'm glad Taj called out the ref like he did...no dirty looks, no subtle post-game jabs; just a great big in-your-face FU. Nice.

    Bulls will no doubt bring the energy for game 3.

  • Game 2 was horrendous. What's worse is that I'm in Germany so I had to get up at 1:00 am to watch the game. Can you imagine how disappointed I was, yet it comes as no surprise. The Heat just have so many weapons combined with our injuries it almost seems impossible to beat these guys. If we are to have any shot at all, Noah, Taj, Nate, and Butler have to bring there A game. In my opinion the true X factor for the Bulls in this series is Belineli. If we can get him shooting the ball well it would open things up more. Also I'm no fan of Hamilton but this is one of those times where you need him on the floor. With Hinrich out he's our last best option at gaurd. not saying he should be running the point, but better him get minutes instead of Teague and Cook.

  • In reply to ajaychitown:

    I completely agree with running Hamilton out there over cook. Cook has been terrible, he almost had as many turnovers as minutes played (including three times stepping out of bounds on a catch and shoot, inexcusable). I must say though, I actually like Teague getting some burn before Hamilton. It is great experience for the rookie and has played pretty decent.

  • In reply to ajaychitown:

    Can someone please explain why, with the game out-of-reach in the 4th quarter, and both teams having long since emptied their benches, Thibs played Marco Belinelli nearly the entire 4th quarter, removing him only with 2:37 left in the game???

    At nearly 40 minutes, Marco played significantly more than any player on either team. Both Rip Hamilton and Malcolm Thomas were available to sub for Marco, and it was Malcolm Thomas who finally entered for Marco at the 2:37 mark of the 4th quarter.

  • In reply to Edward:

    I'm beginning to think that Hamilton might have had some kind of fallout within the team behind the scenes because it's suspect for him not to be playing in a game of this magnitude with all the injuries and nobody playing well. Throw in the fact he has a championship and has a history of defending Wade and it makes no sense to have him rotting on the bench. I'm not saying that he's the answer but right now the Bulls need all the help they can get.

  • When you're in the tough roster situation the Bulls are in right now you have to pick your battles. They did what they needed to do in game 1 and they got through game 2 without any new injuries - or suspensions if the league knows what's good for them. The officials didn't determine this game at all. But it looked to me like they were letting the Miami crowd referee the game. Everytime they oooh'ed out come the whistles. Even so, it's a bigger problem that the Bulls lost their composure. I think that's where they really missed Deng. But what we saw yesterday was basically a 48 minute forfeit which had to happen at some point.

    They'll battle in game 3, and it'll be a game again but they might not be able to bounce back completely right away. Game 4 is the one they want and then game 5 is the rubber match. Miami is not very good at making in-game adjustments but they're very good at breaking down tape and making adjustments between games. That's what the Bulls have to do now that they've seen Miami's best. They don't care what ESPN or Vegas oddsmakers think. The Bulls aren't going to hand Miami the series on reputation.

    I've been off the realgm boards lately too, it's depressing. I don't know how many of them were around in the late 80s when Jordan's Bulls lost 3 straight playoff series to the Pistons. Even Miami had to go through losing to Dallas. There's a growth process a team has to go through to become champions and you don't jump off the wagon right in the middle of it. They sound like batshit crazy Philly fans over there. We should've gotten rid of Deng! Trade Rose for Curry! We should be talking about Jimmy's effectiveness in the paint and how to get Boozer the ball near the rim. But that's the internet for you. We've got 3 (or I think 4) more Bulls games this season. Carpe diem Bulls fans.

  • In reply to Redwhitenblack:

    I don't think the Bulls actually gave up until Noah and Taj got ejected. Before half time we still had a shot. The biggest problem is we had no offense to speak of what so ever. That was the game right there I really missed Derrick Rose. The fact that they triple teamed Nate Robinson and even had Lebron guarding him in the beginning tells a lot about his value right now. With that said i think the Bulls should try and keep Nate and look to trade Deng this off season because Butler makes him expandable in my opinion. I been checking out Realgm too and honestly I don't even try to reason with them guys. I'm just as disappointed as the next that Rose aint played this year but it is what it is. Get over it and move on.

  • DaQuan Cook is terrible at everything he is soo bad I actually am hoping RIP comes in instead of him. I know he is a bottom of the roster guy but damn he kills us when he is out there.

    The refs kept getting praised by the TNT guys but I thought they were horribly inconsistent. Missed obvious fouls then call stupid touch fouls repeadidly only to follow that up with more blatant misses... The tech on Nate when he was walking with his teamates to the bench after a timeout was just laughable.

    Wasn't expecting a win but they beat us bad. Stopped watching after end of third as no way this team comes back from a 31 point deficit in one quarter. Hopefully we can take one in Chicago.

    Rose is the one that keeps fanning the flames here. It's his own fault for stringing people along for the past two months. With his constant talk of possibly coming back soon. So if he is taking heat its mostly all on him. By the way nice monster jam on a putback by Shumpert to help the Knicks win. Looks like his ACL and MCL fully healthy.

  • It is never a good sign when Miami's little 3 outscore its big 3.

    Partly because it was blowout, the big 3 only scored 47 points, as James may not have scored in the second half.

    However, Miami's role players really got off as Allen, Chalmers and Cole scored 50 points, with Allen living at the technical(free throw)line.

    To beat Miami, you have to make the big 3 work for their points and basically shut down everybody else.

    Easier said than done, but it should be easier to do at home where the other guys can't derive that confidence from their home crowd.

  • Whenever I used to play basketball on the playground, I always respected when all the best players insisted on playing together, hooted and hollered about how they were going to smear the team with the lesser players, showboated after every play, complained about every perceived foul, and then when they won talked about how they persevered through all the adversity. I respect the Heat the same way.

  • F.Y.I. just in case all the Bozophiles haven't noticed, he is now averaging 15 & 9 thru 9 playoff games, in other words exactly what he has averaged for his entire Bulls career. While getting physically, never mind mentally outplayed by Udonis Haslem and Shane Battier, neither of whom anyone would describe as either long or athletic.

    So I guess all that hyperventilating about the first few games of the Nets series were misguided as usual. Funny, how we don't hear from you guys when Bozo plays like Bozo. I had no doubt that he would regress to the mean, as he always does.

    Anybody think that those numbers are going to go up over the next 3 games.

    Check out the comments section of this ESPN link. I guess that the national audience can see from a million miles away what the homer audience can"t see right under their noses.

    http://espn.go.com/blog/chicago/bulls/post/_/id/13934/stacey-boozer-has-to-get-involved

  • In reply to BigWay:

    It's not about his 1 on 1 matchup. It's the Heat's perimeter defense. The Heat are doing a good job of denying the entry pass when he gets good position. The Bulls have to solve this. They need more vertical ball movement and to knock down jumpers without settling for them.

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    Who are these Boozer lovers you speak of, I doubt there are a lot of them. The world is not black and white, just because not everyone is in your extreme camp does it mean they are in the polar opposite camp. Why don't you put your energy into coming up with another infantile nickname for your obsession, instead of finding enemies that arent there. How about the metametastasizing matadorean bazooka bozo?

  • In reply to Ripper:

    You Boozer lover! I guess you think he's a Hall of Famer! ;-)

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