Bulls Offense Needs More Balance, Better Drive-and-Kick Game

derrick rose bulls

Knowing that the primary strength in NBA MVP Derrick Rose’s game is penetrating the lane, you the Bulls fan may watch game five yelling at the tv, telling Rose to echo Rihanna’s famous 2007 hit song:  “Shut up and Drive.

You might point to the fact that his three point game has only really
been on once (game three Friday night) in the entire playoffs so far as
further proof he should just play “fast don’t lie” to the hole as much
as possible.

But that’s not the answer. The key is for Rose is to lead the
drive-and-kick came whenever he can, and be the greatest distributor

“I want him to read the defense, so if they’re sagging into the paint, and he’s open I want him to shoot,” Bulls Coach Tom Thibodeau said.

“We want to attack better in transition, play with more pace, and in
those situations, when the floor’s open he has the opportunity to drive
more. He has to score a number of different ways and run the team,”
Coach Thibs continued.

Much has been made of the Bulls struggles in game three on the
defensive end. And for good reason, Al Horford’s 9-11 from the floor,
Josh Smith nearly having a triple double, Jeff Teague again looking like
a All-Star, the Atlanta Hawks +16 points in the paint. But that’s
another article for another time.

Thibs will figure out the defensive end and the boards naturally,
because I can’t see Larry Drew beating him in the chess match and
strategic planning aspect here. Thibs made basketball his entire life,
and he won the NBA Coach of the Year for a reason.

It’s really up to the non-Derrick Rose Bulls, not Rose himself. They
need to put it through the hoop when #1 gives up the rock. It’s the
“pace” Thibs might be talking about. The best news of game four came in
the form of Carlos Boozer, who went 7-10 for 18 points and was the team’s second leading scorer. Finally, an answer for his critics.

This was by far his best game of the postseason, and his fellow fourman Taj Gibson
has quietly produced very well in the last two games. This gives Rose
some legit options to look for right away when the inevitable Hawks
double (and sometimes triple teams when he’s in the lane) come down upon

“I think if you go in and do the things you’re supposed to do, it all
starts with your defense and rebounding, you gotta take care of the
ball, you got to to establish yourself in the paint, and share the ball.
If we do those things we’ll be fine,” Thibs said.

Counteracting Atlanta’s double and triple teams in the paint by
somehow opening up better, more consistent and efficient passing lanes
for the drive-and-kick game is Thibs’ first major adjustment. The second
tactical resolve is  counter-acting the Hawks move to a bigger lineup.
Chicago dominated the boards in the two previous games, so ATL went back
to a bigger lineup, which worked well against Dwight Howard and
Orlando in the opening round.

Seven-footer Jason Collins started at center between Al Horford and
Smith, putting Marvin Williams on the bench. Collins played only minor
minutes, but the larger presence set the tone early for the Hawks, and
they seemed to get inside Chicago’s head.

The Bulls can answer this issue by not backing down and establishing that territory down low.

“We want to be aggressive, penetration is leading to second shots,
it’s one thing we have done well, we’re scoring 96 a game so that’s a
good enough number,” Thibodeau said Thursday before games three and

In each of his first four playoff series, Derrick Rose has seen his
series scoring average increase, what’s to make you believe that won’t
continue for the rest of this series and possibly the next one? I said
before the playoffs started that the Bulls would probably make it to the
conference finals, but likely lose to the Miami Heat once they reached
that round. Nothing has happened up to this point to make me rethink
that prediction.

Chicago, not Atlanta, was their own worst enemy in game four. These problems are easily fixable.

Paul M. Banks is CEO of The Sports Bank.net. He’s also a regular contributor to Chicago Now, Walter Football.com, Yardbarker, and Fox Sports

He does a regular guest spot each week for Chicagoland Sports Radio.com You can follow him on Twitter @thesportsbank and Facebook

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