Bulls need to close

Bulls need to close

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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  • If coach stubborn-ass leave Noah in the game too long and doesn't make the right adjustments then there will be a game 7.

  • I do not remember the Bulls faking a pass this year. Faking a pass across the lane and then passing it when the defender jumps usually takes the edge off the defense jumping the lane. The jackpot would be Rose faking the pass then reciver cutting to the basket. Rose and Pau have been too careless passing the ball and dribbling too much when they get crowded. Still, they win tonight. The extra games working it out will pay off in Cleveland.

  • Are the Bucks really worse than the Nets?

  • In reply to Roman F:

    Well, the Nets have taken 2 games from the #1 seeded Hawks, a 60 win team. The nets clearly have better brand name talent than the Bucks, talent that has for the most part underperformed all season. You could also say the exact same things about the Bulls visa vi the Bucks, we have the better brand name talent, but for the most part it has underperformed.

  • There is an infinite number of ways to analyze a 48 minute basketball game with ten players on the court constantly moving. Sort of like the ancient parable of the blind men touching the elephant. All of them were right depending on what part of the elephant they were touching.

    Recall that earlier in the series it was apparent that what separated the two teams was the Bulls three point shooting. When your perimeter players start shooting blanks that separation disappears. If Brooks, Dunleavy, Rose, Snell, Butler, and Mirotic start hitting threes then much of the discussion regarding big men pairings, putting a bigger player on MCW, etc. becomes background noise.

    And no, I don't "expect a beat down" tonight. Sure, it could happen. But I believe that prediction is predicated on a bias that the Bulls are a far superior team with that fabled "extra gear." I don't subscribe to that theory.

    I predicted the Bulls would win the series in a competitive six game series. I hope I'm right.

  • In reply to hgarbell:

    I hope you're wrong and the Bulls blow them out.

  • In reply to Roman F:

    Me too. But I'm not expecting it. Even so, this series has been competitive contrary to what many have believed.

  • Every team at the pro level should know how to close. Closing is mental and its not done by thinking about it. Its reacting within set plays and not allowing the other team to do anything. Its maintaining an physical edge in a sport. All good athletes know how to simply out play another guy and great teams do it together all the time. Maybe the Bulls needed an extra 3 games to function closing as a team and not as individuals.

  • 1. Bulls need to push the ball up the court. Score before the Bucks (a great defensive team) sets up. Get easier baskets. There is no urgency. Rose just walks the ball up. Half their possessions come down to the last 5-10 seconds of the shot clock. PLAY LIKE THE SPURS - FAST. DON'T LET THE OTHER TEAM RELAX AS THE BALL IS WALKED UP THE COURT!

    2. I'm sorry, but I've had enough of Noah. He is rebounding and he's the heart of this team and I've always been a big fan, but it's time for him to take a back seat. Taj and Mirotic need to be in there more to space the floor. The Bucks are clogging the lane and we need to space them out with better shooters. It's 5-on-4 with Noah in the game. Nobody guards him!

  • In reply to Granby:

    Well, for what it's worth, Sam Smith totally agrees with me about their slow play offensively:

    They want to play in the half court?

    I think part of the issue is Thibodeau calling too many plays; it’s not always necessarily a bad thing, but not great for this series with a team that double teams and traps and moves into so much help on defense. It’s a philosophical issue for me. I feel most coaches call too many plays and strangle the game. It’s often the coaches who haven’t been pro players. Thibodeau probably calls more than any coach in the NBA. Phil Jackson rarely called plays because of the triple post offense. Steve Kerr with the Warriors, who have probably the best ball movement in the league, sits and doesn’t call many plays. Bucks coach Jason Kidd, also a former point guard, calls few plays. Spurs coach Gregg Popovich has obviously been successful and calls a lot of plays. So you certainly can win that way. And Thibodeau generally does well with calls out of time outs.

    But it hasn’t worked well in this series.

    ****
    Thibs, stop calling so many damn plays and let the players play their game!

  • In reply to Granby:

    Smith also talks about Dunleavy playing more because he hardly played in the 2nd half and moves the ball well and is their best shooter.

    Plus, he suggested starting Gibson over Noah.

  • Credit needs to be given to Milwaukee, particularly the coaching staff, regarding the terrific job they have done of making adjustments, and focusing in on the Bulls weaknesses. Bucks may not be a great team, but have become well-versed in all aspects of their opponent. The Bulls need to stop being reactive to Milwaukee's schemes, and start exploiting their weaknesses.

    I agree completely with Butler's recent comments about a need for him to focus more on defense, and stop worrying about scoring. This makes sense to me. If the Bucks greatest strength is defense, it's going to be an uphill battle relying on your offense to consistently out-perform their defense. The Bucks are not very good offensively, so put your energy there, and force a poor shooting team to become even worse. You can't win a game if you can't score. The Bulls have the tools necessary to carry this out. Put the clamps down on these friggin' guys, and be done with it once and for all!

  • In reply to BullsMan:

    Maybe Kidd's just a better(much) coach than Thibs, I know that Mort didn't think so going into this series.

  • I couldn't disagree with Doug more about tonight's game. It might make sense if the Bulls had a coach who was capable of making an adjustment. But they don't. Thibodope has proven to be just an awful playoff coach. You can see the snicker on Jason Kidd's face, the look of a coach who has his opponent figured out. And Kidd also has the confidence in knowing that his counterpart is unable and unwilling to come up with something new to defeat him. I do not expect to see one thing different from the Bulls tonight.

  • In reply to Vic Nardozza:

    Sadly, I think a lot of us agree... probably Doug, too, in the back of his mind.

    I would love a coach that calls less plays and lets the players just play a motion offense like Golden State. Play freer, a bit faster... stop walking and slowly jogging the ball up the court.

    Unless Thibs gets past Milwaukee and makes a good showing against Cleveland, I think he's gone this summer. Maybe Bulls can get a 1st round pick for him.

  • In reply to Granby:

    If Thibs becomes the first head coach to blow a 3-0 series in NBA history the Bulls would be lucky to get a bag of used whistle peas.

  • In reply to Granby:

    I agree that Thibs will certainly be gone if the Bulls don't get past Milwaukee. And there is certainly a good chance he could be gone if the Bulls make a poor showing against the
    Cavs.

    Assuming it's true that the Bulls badmouthed Thibs around the league I doubt if anyone would give them a first round pick like Ainge got for Rivers. The smart move would have been to praise Thibs for the job he is doing and then see if any team wants permission to talk with him in the offseason. Then bargain for a pick. If no team offered anything valuable for him you could still fire him in the same way the Bulls fired Collins citing that Thibs was a good coach but you want to get a coach to get them from "point B to point C." (Which is what the Bulls did with Collins.)

    Or, you could keep Thibs for part of another season and see how he does. Why the Bulls presumingly gave up their leverage is a little strange to me.

  • In reply to Vic Nardozza:

    I do not believe you can see any of those things on Jason Kidd's face.

  • In reply to Roman F:

    He looked pretty smug to me last game.

  • Rose and Gasol have to show up on defense, MCW is playing like an allstar against them. Thibodeau doesn't believe in adjustments. put a better defender on MCW, force them to shoot long twos. Get their top players in foul trouble because they don't have depth......come on thibideau THINK, use strategy. This is not the regular season championship which of course you are always the king but suck at playoff basketball. You want 50 wins and a first or second round exit, Thibideau is your man.

  • I guess that we have moved on from the debate that losing a game or two to the Bucks would somehow be good for the Bulls, which shockingly most people seemed to buy about a week ago.

    Clearly, the only thing that losing a game or two has done is give the Bucks a true belief that they can beat the Bulls with energy and effort alone and perhaps become the first team in NBA history to win a series after being down 3-0.

    I sure hope that we find a way to close it out tonight, as I don't think we have the type of players who will respond well to the pressures of what a game 7 in this series would mean.

    By the way, is the Bulls only shot at winning hoisting up more than 30 3 pointers and making close to 40% of them? Thats what they did in the first 3 games, while getting nowhere close to that the last 2.

  • Where are ajay, reese, Joe Cowley and Jeff Van Gundy to defend Thibs and blame everything on the Bulls FO? This is all the FO's fault, they undermined Thibs until the players tuned him out.

  • this is a great step forward for this team. this is the ball movement that we had all hoped for from the start of the season, with rose pushing the pace but not dominating the ball. they looked like the spurs on offense for the first half of the game. and the defense was solid. hard to tell against this limited bucks team. bring on the cavs. rose and kyrie. jimmy and king james. will be a fun series.

  • In reply to piggy7:

    Oh my. Great to watch. The most interesting to me was the drama with mike d.

  • In reply to Seattle Bulls Fan:

    After looking at the shoot to mcw again I could see that being a two game suspension so they start 'consistent' with Jr smiths suspension...

  • Well, Doug did call a beat down...

  • In reply to Roman F:

    Yep, I can't recall seeing a bigger beat down in a playoff game. When Dunleavy gets it going he is really tough. I wish he would shoot more threes and Rose less. But Rose was hitting his shots today. You could see the better lift in his legs.

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