One can argue the Bulls simply let their guard down in game four after getting a 3-0 series lead. Perhaps they were distracted and looking ahead at Cleveland when the Love/Smith news broke. There should be no such confusion tonight.
The Bulls are placing a Bucks team that is going to mug up the game and go all out regardless of what anyone thinks of their chances. A couple wins under their belts, and their confidence is probably soaring as well.
Milwaukee is probably the worst team to make the playoffs. It's embarrassing the Bulls let it go to six, and if they have to stave off history in a game seven that will be even worse. If they lose that game seven then the team would have to do some serious rethinking.
Personally, I don't see it happening. Game four was one on sort of a fluke ending. Rose turns the ball over with less than a second then the bucks score on a time out play.
Game five, the Bulls had Rose and Butler combine for about 25% shooting, and Chicago was still in the game down the stretch.
The Bulls haven't played their best basketball. Not even close. In some ways it's good that they've had a couple extra games to warm up to the playoff task. However, I expect them to come out hard and close this game out.
I don't expect a close game. I expect a beat down. With the Bulls? Who knows though. It's hard for me to see Milwaukee continuing to make this a game given that they're so reliant on the Bulls playing like dumb asses.
It just seems that eventually the Bulls will figure out how to feed Pau Gasol without causing a turnover, some players on the perimeter will move around a bit to take advantage of Milwaukee continually jumping passing lanes, and that Derrick Rose will stop throwing the ball straight into the Bucks hands.
This next game, I expect the Bulls to match Milwaukee's intensity. That's been missing so far, and it hasn't been pretty. The intensity issue is likely a byproduct of Taj Gibson not well enough to play minutes, Joakim Noah not well enough to play well, Nikola Mirotic slumping, and Aaron Brooks riding the bench.
Many of the spark plugs simply aren't out there or aren't providing the spark they typically could. Too many minutes for Mike Dunleavy, but who else can Thibs go to given that Tony Snell and Kirk Hinrich have been awful?
I like the idea of using more Aaron Brooks in a three guard set, but I don't expect the Bulls to explore that path given they didn't use it much (if at all) in the regular season and Aaron's play so far has been just as uneven as everyone else.
Either way, I expect the Bulls to pull it together for one game and get it done in Milwaukee tonight. Next series? Even without Love? I'm skeptical.
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