Bulls face up hill battle without Deng, Hinrich

Deng is finally out of the hospital, but he's lost 15lbs and is still far too weak to play. Hinrich had a second MRI on his bruised calf that showed the muscle damage he sustained hasn't improved any. In short, don't expect either player to suit up in this series though they're both listed as day to day and doubtful for tonight.

Of the two, it'd be less surprising if Deng eventually comes back, but even if so, what he'll be able to give the Bulls is up in the air. Deng noted when describing the injury that he played through a fractured thumb earlier this season which hadn't been disclosed previously.

How do the Bulls get up off the mat after a complete and total beat down tonight?

The most likely answer is they can't. Not because they're mentally beaten. I expect Chicago to come into this game with a ton of fire, passion, and will.

However, the simple fact remains, the Heat likely have too much talent for a fully healthy Bulls squad, and they certainly have too much talent for this team missing two of its top three players and one of their best defenders.

On top of the talent disparity, the refs are likely going to go nuts calling fouls which will put the Bulls thin depth in even more trouble as they simply don't have the reserves to bring in and help once key players go to the bench, and that's if the game is whistled evenly which I don't think many Bulls fans expect.

No, tonight, it will take one of the all time epic efforts for Chicago to pull this game out. It will likely take a little help on top of that in terms of Miami's role players not playing well. It's an uphill fight, but if the Bulls are to win, they'd better do the following...

Control the boards

It's the one place the Bulls (and many others) have consistently been able to beat the Heat. Chicago can't compete with Miami's offensive efficiency, but they can potentially put up 10 more shots than the Heat. If they do, they no longer need to shoot 50% from the field to balance this thing out.

The Bulls are in a tough boat with crashing the glass though because Miami's such a great fast break team that sending players after the offensive rebound may leave them even more vulnerable in transition as guys will be running toward the basket instead of back on defense.

Limit turnovers and dismantle the trap

The Heat thrive on turnovers and once they get in the open court they're nearly unstoppable. The Bulls have struggled with the trap at times, and when they give Miami easy points, things have a habit of going bad really fast.

Chicago also needs to find a scheme to be effective out of the double team on the ball. I'd suggest the Bulls will need to look to make three quick passes as soon as the double team comes in order to take advantage of a scrambling Heat defense trying to recover, and they'll need to scheme how those passes should look with various options.

The Heat recover much too fast, the majority of the time, for a single pass on the double team to get the open shot, but if the Bulls are patient enough to move the ball multiple times, precise with their passing, and swing the ball quickly then they should find ways to get quality looks when the double team comes.

It's a tall order though, as the Bulls never really succeeded in doing so with Derrick Rose running the point, and Nate Robinson's a bit more limited in what he can do.

Slow down the corner threes

Anyone defending Miami is in for a tough battle in terms of which shots it gives up to the Heat. The Bulls probably can't limit open three point attempts completely, but what they do need to do is limit the chip shot threes from the corner while still trying to make life difficult for LeBron/Wade.

If I'm Chicago then I'm looking at making Chris Bosh beat me on mid range jumpers or Battier / Chalmers / Cole beat me with threes from the wing. It's not to say that if you do that you'll win. Those guys are all capable of hitting those shots, but if it's the lesser of the evils of the Heat's offense compared to giving up drives at the rim or corner threes to Ray Allen.

Bring the emotion, bring everything

Chicago can't afford to leave anything on the floor. Not for a second. They need to bring it from start to finish. 48 minutes of hell. 48 minutes of emotional and physical intensity. 48 minutes of irrational confidence.


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  • The Bulls have drawn the most talented team in the league, and are simply not equiped to overcome this obstacle. They will definitely need to rebound well, limit LeBron's scoring in the paint, close out on three point shooters, and hope Miami as a whole doesn't have a great shooting night. They have not been able to figure a way out of the trap to this point, and I don't see that changing much tonight. The Bulls have proven you can't count them out, but winning game 3 is gonna be tough.

    In any case, I wish the Bulls the best of luck tonight, and hope they can keep this remarkable playoff run going.

  • In reply to BullsMan:

    Finding a way to make Boozer somewhat relevant would be helpful too.

  • In reply to BullsMan:

    Boozer's generally struggled pretty badly against Miami. I have a hard time seeing that change.

  • The Bulls are remarkably resilient and should be respected, but this really is not a fair fight. The Heat are relatively healthy (except for Wade’s bone bruises on his right knee) and have a loaded roster. As Doug implied, this might not even be a fair fight if the Bulls were healthy (including Rose). In the Bulls current state, the Heat’s 12th man (James Jones) would probably be playing significant minutes if he were on the Bulls.

  • I think at this point all we can do is hope that the beatings aren't too ugly. It would be humiliating for every game the rest of this series to be like game 2. I don't expect the Bulls to win this series but all I'm asking is to at least leave with some dignity. Unless Rose makes a grand entrance we are completely out classed and have no real answer on the offensive end unless Nate can give us another amazing game. But if we get blown out for the rest of the series maybe that will make the owners take notice and spend some money on this team. Perhaps being blown away could be a good thing.

  • My view of these 2 home games is similar to my view in advance of the 2 road games in Miami. It will be interesting to see how the Bulls compete. Everyone is now saying Bulls can't stay on the court with Miami, but perceptions change from game to game.

    The officiating is key. Because if Bulls pile up fouls early it effects their defensive effort and takes them out of their game/style. I do not think Bulls will get blown out at home, but reserve that possibility if the refs are pro-Miami like in Game 2. We'll see how much home court enters into that equation.

    I think the Bulls have a legitimate shot at winning one of these home games taking the series to 2-2.

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    In reply to Edward:

    Miami has good strategy. Bringing Birdman in as a hit man was very smart. Bulls are so shallow that losing anybody in the starting lineup to foul trouble is devastating.

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    I can't even believe Chicago has made it to the second round. Look at the bench of this Bulls team. There is no depth, and some of these guys playing have no business seeing more than 2 or 3 minutes in a playoff series. Goes to show how shitty the ownership and general management is in Chicago, and how amazing the coaching staff is. Tibs has shown once again what a fine coach and leader he is. No Hinrich, no Deng, no D.Rose and they still beat Miami. I don't think they'll win another game in this series unless at least 2 of those 3 make it back. The Bulls rotation is a who's who of bench warmers. At some point skill and talent will overtake heart and team basketball and this powerhouse Miami team will start smashing like in game 2. Too bad, because this would be the perfect year to have all the starters. Bulls on a budget.

  • There's only 1 thing that can get the Bulls a win tonight - complete and total domination from Joakim Noah. We still haven't seen his best in this series. It's going to take a monster effort from him for us to get game 3 or 4.

  • Bulls start the game competing strongly and holding their own, even with a small early lead. But the refs give LeCon ticky-tack calls, saddling Jimmy Butler with 2 fouls in the first quarter.

    Are we watching Bulls vs. Heat - James vs. Butler or the REFS deciding the game?

    Thibs leaves Butler in the game with 2 fouls, but guarding Battier not Lebron. GoonBird Anderson mugs Nate, but Noah gets a T. I guess it pays to employ goon tactics.

  • The Bulls aren't winning any games against Miami if Battier, Chalmers, Cole and Allen score 56 points in a game, they've scored 28 in the first half tonight.

    Bozo is scoring a point per minute played, probably only giving up 2-3 points per minute played, but hey 14 points at half, if he gets to 28 for the game, I am sure that he will not only have played a great game but be nominated for immediate induction into the hall of fame.

    I am sick and tired of the behavior of the players on both teams. The Heat are a bunch of crybaby jackasses, but we are responding like a bunch of baby punk ass bitches. The behavior of both teams has been an complete embarassment to the league. This is not a playground game or street fight in the ghetto it is the NBA playoffs, the professional game at its highest level.

    If I were Thibs I would tell my guys to shut the fuck up and start playing basketball, not streetball. The next guy who says a word or even looks at a ref or a heat player for that matter gets immediately benched for the game, and if it happens a second time for the entire series.

  • In reply to BigWay:

    Actually, I'mk most pissed at Nazi who is a veteran and should not have got so unglued. His abscence is big because of tghe rotation that Thibs wants to play with his bigs. Now all of those minutes pile up on Boozer, Noah and Taj.

  • It's TIED going into the 4th quarter.
    Where are all the blowout predictors now?
    Bulls have a legitimate shot at this game and are competing admirably.

  • I'm most pissed at Nazi because his ejection screws up Thibs rotation with his bigs. Now Boozer, Tag and Noah has to play really big minutes. I hope it doesn't come and bite them in the ass in the fourth quarter.

  • In reply to AlgernonHPenn:

    Nazr played all of 6 minutes in Game1. He played more in Game 2 only because of the Noah ejection and blowout emptying the benches.

    Nazr wouldn't have played any minutes in the second half in this tight game.

    I'm concerned about Marco's 5 fouls!

  • One moronic foul after another, absolutely inexcusable, especially when the refs aren't giving us a break even on the semi legitimate calls. The only thing as bad a playing lazy is playing stupid.

  • The difference in this game is a few missed FTs.
    17-19 for Heat
    14-21 for Bulls

  • In reply to Edward:

    The difference is one team has played realatively smart and disciplined and the other has been outfoxed.

  • The fouls are reaching assinine proportions.

    Thank you JVG for continuing to berate Bozo for his complete lack of effort on defense and in transition. "you need his offense, but you cannot tolerate his defense" thus the only logical solution is to bench his ass.

    and why the fuck is Noah guarding Allen, leaving bozo to defend the lane and the rim.

  • Too much talent on Miami, Bulls played well but nothing can be done when Heat players hitting threes and making 3 point continuations. The Bulls missing free throws and the refs missing fouls as usual didn't help either

  • In reply to Reese1:

    Both teams finished with 35 FGs.
    3pt shots nearly identical.
    Nine point difference at FT line:
    Heat 26-30
    Bulls 17-25
    Also, 30 fouls called on Bulls, only 20 fouls called on Heat.

    Bulls competed admirably, but could not get stops near the end. Game 4 will be another battle. Bulls need the extra rest day.

  • In reply to Edward:

    Yeah that's what I'm saying, the Heat bench guys coming up big namely Cole hitting big shots and the 3 with a minute and some seconds left. And Lebron waited til the end to put the dagger in the Bulls.

  • In reply to Reese1:

    This series is probably over but if the Bulls don't win game 4 it really will be over going back to Miami.

  • Realistically, this series was over last April 28th.

    If not then, then it ended game 4 of the Nets series, when Hinrich played 60 minutes and exploded his calve, followed by the Bulls crack medical staff trying to kill Deng in order to cure the flu.

    It has been a valient effort so far, we really have no business even being in games given the talent discrepancy which is leading to a large foul/free throw discrepancy.

    Lasts nights game seemed winable had the Bulls maintained their composure and played smart instead of losing it and making dumb mistake after dumb mistake. The Bulls have to play technically perfect to make up for the huge talent disparity. Maybe they can do that one more time in the series, but it certainly isn't happening 3 more times.

    Starting with Taj and Noah they just need to shut the fuck up and play their asses off, that will piss Miami off even more than the physical play and maybe just maybe they will become unhinged in the face of the Bulls stoicism.

  • In reply to BigWay:

    I'd choose Rip Hamilton if he'd gotten the minutes this year, but I think Boozer leads the league in soul-crushing, spirit-destroying, excitement-ending turnovers. Of course they're going to make dumb mistakes when he's on the floor. Preaching to the choir, right?

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