Tune in to the CSN feed if you can, because the TNT feed is likely to still be covering the Miami Heat game at the tip off today, so you’ll probably only catch the beginning on CSN. Of course, the way the Bulls start games, maybe we’re better off watching TNT and just tuning in starting the last first quarter.
There’s not all that much to say about this series, as I noted in my last recap, I think the Bulls just took the Pacers best shot and won anyway. Maybe I’m wrong, maybe I’m disrespecting the Pacers, but seriously, the Pacers stink. They’re the worst team in the playoffs and while they play hard, play with energy, and have a lot of fight they lack talent.
Even Pacers fans seem to realize this. Ryen Russillo (NBA Today podcast which is awesome) said he was going to make the dumbest prediction every in regards to this series and said it would go six. That’s how much a lock this series is. Picking the Pacers to go to six games qualifies as one of the dumbest predictions ever.
Even the Pacers know it’s over before it started. Here’s Roy Hibbert:
”We’re going to shock people,” said Hibbert. “There’s no way they’re going to sweep us.”
The Bulls winning in five rather than four is, apparently, shocking. That’s the Pacers aim to win a game on the Bulls. They almost pulled it off in game one, and I’m sure they’ll do their best in game two. It wouldn’t surprise me if they take a game, but unless Rose is hurt, I’d bet my house on the Bulls winning the series.
What to do against Tyler Hansbrough?
He’s been balling against the Bulls. He’s been the difference maker in the last two outings against Chicago, and while we all want to kill Boozer, it’s worth noting that Boozer didn’t play in the other game Hansbrough went off.
In the end, Hansbrough is nailing jumpers. The only adjustment I’d make here is to make sure to get a hand in his face, but really the defense on the last two jumpers he hit was acceptable to me relative to his ability. I’m not concerned about Hansbrough killing the Bulls with his jumper over a seven game series.
In short, let’s simply not overreact here. Get a hand in his face, but we’re not sending a double team or overplaying the jumper and giving him the lane to drive.
How to get more offense from this team?
Plain and simple, the Bulls need to get Boozer going better than they have recently. Derrick Rose has been simply amazing, but it’s unlikely the Bulls can win a title with Rose having to be the only option on offense. Carlos Boozer needs to convert some looks in isolation or make some nice passes to cutters in order to establish that as a secondary threat on offense.
Keith Bogans needs to knock down his open looks a decent clip as well, and Luol Deng needs to find a way to make a bit more of an impact. Joakim Noah should use his energy and quickness to get around Hibbert and attack the offensive glass for second shot opportunities (though mission accomplished in game one there already).
I don’t know if the Bulls will sweep the Pacers, but it’s impossible to look at any game and predict a Pacers win. The Bulls are simply a vastly superior team, and the Pacers seem to know it. Even when the series shifts to Indianapolis, the Bulls will likely have a considerable amount of fan support nullifying any thought of homecourt advantage for Indiana in games three and four.