Category Archives: Chicago Bulls
The collective intake of breath that went around the arena when Derrick Rose collapsed clutching his knee was not without good reason. A knee injury is not an easy one to overcome for all players, let alone one who dodges and weaves through traffic in the manner that Rose does. Few players need stability in their legs like Rose does. There are also fears that his explosive leap would be adversely affected by the ACL tear. Whilst this has not been proven wrong, Rose appears to be taking all the right steps towards recovery as the start of the season draws near.
“My rehab is good, my leg is getting a lot stronger and I’m able to run a little bit more. My body is feeling good. I’m in a peaceful place right now.”
Whilst the injury is a huge obstacle for Rose himself to overcome, if he’s not ready to go at the start of the season, the Bulls face a big challenge in trying to remain in the race for upon Rose’s return. Without Rose the Bulls have essentially no offense whatsoever, as no other player has the ability to create plays like he can. There will be a dangerous limbo period for the Bulls if Rose is not able to return straight away.
It really was not going to be anyone else in the end. Luol Deng led from the front in a big victory for the Bulls as they forced another game as the series moved to 3-2. Deng had 24 points and was aptly backed up by a near triple double from power forward Carlos Boozer who had 19 points, 13 rebounds and handed out 6 assists.
“They were the No. 1 defensive and rebounding team in the regular season for a reason. We are getting good shots. We just didn’t hit our open shots.”
— Philadelphia forward Elton Brand talking about the Bulls.
Jrue Holiday added 16 points as he continued to emerge as a top flight point guard. Both Andre Iguodala and Spencer Hawes added 10 points each.
After yesterdays triumph, the Philadelphia 76ers only need one more win to become this years Memphis Grizzlies. For something that has not happened very often in history, we are looking at having the same thing occur two years in a row. Of course, injuries have played a major part in this series, with the absence of Derrick Rose the number one reason that many fall back to. But it’s hardly like the Sixers have been handed the series.
Luol Deng has had zero impact on this series so far and looks a shadow of the All Star that he is. Andre Iguodala has played some great defence on him, blocking him out of the game, basically out-Denging Deng. Luol also looks lost. The Sixers don’t really have a player for Deng to clamp down on. It is almost as if the absence of the a real superstar is detrimental to Deng’s play. He does seem to play best when he is playing off someone, when he is clamping down on the defensive end. His offense usually comes from his defence and that has been lacking. He is unfortunately carrying a wrist injury, which could not be helping him in the slightest.
However, the play of many Sixers have also helped fuel the wins. Jrue Holiday in particular has been playing out of his skin, turning in great performance after great performance. Most importantly, he’s not trying to do too much. Everything he does looks as if it is part of the offence, that it is natural. He rarely looks like he is forcing a play and is running Coach Doug Collin’s offense to perfection. Also, by getting out on the fast break, he brings the Sixer’s ridiculous athleticism into play, as shown by some of Iguodala’s and Thaddeus Young’s high flying dunks.
With the Bulls down 3-1, it looks like the Sixers will take this series. Even if the Bulls do get past the Sixers, they certainly are not slippng past the Celtics or the Heat. The Bulls championship hopes are most certainly shot this time around, especially without Noah, as well as Rose. The greatest measure of success is probably going to be how the rebound next year. Bulls players, staff and supporters are all desperately hoping that Rose’s knee injury will not stop him from playing at the same break neck speed that he usually does.
Because if he cannot, the Bulls could very well be facing a similar situation as the Portland Trailblazers and Brandon Roy. Promise cut short by injury.
One more win is all that is required for the lowly 76ers to topple the mighty Chicago Bulls as Spencer Hawes’ 22 points and clutch shooting powered them to a 82-89 win. Playing without not only Rose but also center Joakim Noah after he injured himself last game, the Bulls fought hard but could not stop the Sixers.
“When Spencer plays in a rhythm, he’s damn good.”
— Sixers head coach Doug Collins, on Hawes.
Carlos Boozer had another strong game, registering 23 points and 11 rebounds as the focus of the Bulls offense. Taj Gibson added 14 points and 12 rebounds as well as blocking four shots off the bench. Point guard Jrue Holiday poured in 20 and dished out 6 assists in another great performance. Could very well end up being a bit of a break out series for the young guard.
“We have to go back home and just play our game. We missed a number of open shots.”
— Chicago guard Kyle Korver.
The Philadephia 76ers took one step closer to emulating the Grizzlies feat of last year as they won their game three against top seed Chicago. Without Rose and now Joakim Noah likely out some time, this upset is looking more and more likely.
“Our defense clamped down. I thought fatigue was a big factor for them.”
— Sixers head coach Doug Collins, on Chicago’s injuries.
Center Spencer Hawes led the Sixers with 21 points and 9 rebounds whilst Jrue Holiday kept up his strong play with 17 points and 6 assists, as well as 6 rebounds. Carlos Boozer had 18 and 10 for the Bulls while All Star Luol Deng was restricted to just 5 points.
Note: I may continue doing the individual game format, just had no time today. Thanks
Boston vs Atlanta.
Needing a big win before heading back home, the Boston Celtics got the job done despite the absence of their starting backcourt. With Ray out trhough injury and Rondo through suspension, Paul Pierce was left to shoulder the load. And shoulder it he did, scoring 36 to help the Cs get the job done. In a big blow for the Hawks, superstar forward Josh Smith could be out for the rest of the series with a knee injury.
Chicago vs Philadelphia
Usually it’s the losing team that has to make all the adjustments coming in to Game Two. Yet it was the absence of Derrick Rose that meant thatt the Bull were grasping for answers. Without their superstar, the Bulls looked leaderless at times, with neither Boozer or Deng stepping it up. Noah did all he could to make up for the scoring, as he put in 21 points on 10-11 shooting. But it was Jrue Holiday and Lou Williams who won it with 26 and 20 respectively.
Los Angeles Lakers vs Denver
The Lakers ceratinly look like they’re clicking at the perfect time of the year as they took a two match lead in their series with the Nuggets. Kobe Bryant scored 38 in his best playoff performance since 2010 while Bynum had a career playoff high with 27. Lakers are certainly looking scary and the Nuggets are in serious danger of a sweep.
Final Score: 91-103 Chicago Win (Chicago leads 1-0)
Despite a strong fightback towards the end of the final quarter, the Chicago Bulls took the series lead with a win against the Sixers at home. However, the focus of this game turned out to be Derrick Rose’s knee injury in the dying minutes. With the Sixers surging somewhat, Rose was left on the floor to perhaps quell any thoughts of a Philly resurrection. Then the worst possible thing for Bull’s fans happened. As he was driving towards the ring Rose jumped and landed, falling to his feet grimacing. Despite no contact whatsoever, Rose collapsed and had to be helped off the court. Unfortunately for him, he ended up tearing his ACL, ruling him out for the rest of the playoffs and seriously hurting the Bulls championship chances. To put it simply, the Bulls cannot get past Miami without Derrick Rose in the lineup. Yet now they will have to face that reality for the rest of their playoff run.
“I do not work backwards like you guys. The score was going the other way. He’s got to play. We sat him to about the 7-minute mark of the fourth quarter. Derrick has to work on finishing, on closing. Our team did not handle that part great. That’s what I was thinking.”
Thibodeau explaining his decision to keep Rose in the game.
Rose led the Bulls with 23 points before he was felled by injury while Elton Brand had 19 to lead the Sixers. Veteran guard Richard Hamilton also turned in a good game, only missing one shot on his way to 19 points.
(All times American)
Game 1 – Sat. April 28, Philadelphia at Chicago, 1 p.m., TNT
Game 2 – Tue. May 1, Philadelphia at Chicago, 8 p.m., TNT
Game 3 – Fri. May 4, Chicago at Philadelphia, 8 p.m., ESPN
Game 4 – Sun. May 6, Chicago at Philadelphia, 1 p.m., ABC
Game 5 * Tue. May 8, Philadelphia at Chicago, TBD
Game 6 * Thu. May 10, Chicago at Philadelphia, TBD
Game 7 * Sat. May 12, Philadelphia at Chicago, TBD, TNT
Not to long ago, this playoff series didn’t really seem likely. The Sixers were much higher in the standings then their current 8th seed position and were looking to prove that a team could win without a true superstar in their lineup. This does not look likely to present much of a challenge to the Bulls, as there really is no “No Rose, no Bulls argument”. If Rose does start to prove a factor, as he surely will, Andre Iguodala may play some defence on him, much like LeBron James did at times. Perhaps one of the keys here will be that. Elton Brand against Carlos Boozer will be another key match up, with the two veteran forwards likely to have to score highly for their respective teams. Bulls will get the win here
Game 1 – Sat. April 28, New York at Miami, 3:30 p.m., ABC/R
Game 2 – Mon. April 30, New York at Miami, 7 p.m., TNT
Game 3 – Thu. May 3, Miami at New York, 7 p.m., TNT
Game 4 – Sun. May 6, Miami at New York, 3:30 p.m., ABC/R
Game 5 * Wed. May 9, New York at Miami, TBD
Game 6 * Fri. May 11, Miami at New York, TBD
Game 7 * Sun. May 13, New York at Miami, TBD
Possibly one of the more exciting match ups of the Eastern Conference. Great contests at multiple positions and superstars littered all over the place. The highlight will no doubt be the competition between LeBron James and Carmelo Anthony, the two 2003 alumni likely wanting the win over their compatriot. Both teams love to get out on the fast break, but its not secret that a big step towards stopping the Miami Heat is halting the run of Dwyane Wade and LeBron James. Amare Stoudemire’s play against Chris Bosh will be interesting to see, with Bosh having to deal with the physicality of Stoudemire, something he has shown in the past to dislike. Tyson Chandler’s shot blocking and ability to fill up the paint will also be essential in stopping the drives of Wade and James. Possible upset, but Miami likely to get the win.
Game 1 – Sat. April 28, Orlando at Indiana, 7 p.m., ESPN
Game 2 – Mon. April 30, Orlando at Indiana, 7:30 p.m., NBA TV
Game 3 – Wed. May 2, Indiana at Orlando, 7:30 p.m., NBA TV
Game 4 – Sat. May 5, Indiana at Orlando, 2 p.m., ESPN
Game 5 * Tue. May 8, Orlando at Indiana, TBD
Game 6 * Fri. May 11, Indiana at Orlando, TBD
Game 7 * Sun. May 13, Orlando at Indiana, TBD
Injuries will definitely be the determining factor in this series. The Pacers have quietly gone about having a good season as they secured the number three seed and Dwight Howard’s injury will make their playoff run much easier. David West, Danny Granger and co. will have a much easier time scoring in the paint without Dwight’s intimidating presence in the middle. Howard is really the only defensively minded player on the Magic team and they will struggle without him. Hedo will have to turn back to clock and Ryan Anderson will need to play out of his skin to force David West to play defence all the way out of to the three point line if the Magic are able to fit the series win here. Unlikely though.
Game 1 – Sun. April 29, Boston at Atlanta, 7 p.m., TNT
Game 2 – Tue. May 1, Boston at Atlanta, 7:30 p.m., NBA TV
Game 3 – Fri. May 4, Atlanta at Boston, 7:30 p.m., ESPN2
Game 4 – Sun May 6, Atlanta at Boston, 7 p.m., TNT
Game 5 * Tue. May 8, Boston at Atlanta, TBD
Game 6 * Thu. May 10, Atlanta at Boston, TBD
Game 7 * Sat. May 12, Boston at Atlanta, TBD, TNT
Boston’s charge at the end of the season has them well place in this years playoffs. They avoid Miami and Chicago in the first round but the Hawks are no small hurdle to overcome in the first round. The Hawk duo of Josh Smith and Joe Johnson have been playing some of the best basketball of their careers, especially Josh Smith. But the suffocating defence and the inability of the Hawks to match up with Rajon Rondo should allow the Celtics to get the win here. Ray Allen could play a key role as he comes back from extended injury, and if he’s playing off the bench will provide a huge spark. Celtics to get the win here
Western Conference previews up before too long!
How do the Bulls manage to keep winning without reigning MVP Derrick Rose? Almost any other team would not be able to win anywhere near the same amount of games if they lost their number one player for the amount of time that the Bulls have gone without Rose. Imagine if the Thunder lost Kevin Durant for that long? Sure they might win more then half their games, but could they really maintain that same dominance like the Bulls have? Doubtful. Westbrook would be double teamed and they would lose a great deal of scoring without Durant in the lineup, and they would struggle to make up for it.
Perhaps the main reason that the Bulls have been able to keep it up is their focus on defence. Thibodeau preaches defence like few other coaches, a true Doc Rivers acolyte. This is embodied by their recent win over the Hawks, holding the Atlantan team to just 77 points. They don’t miss Rose’s scoring because they are able to avoid having to score a great deal of points. Boozer and Deng can score enough points to win if they are able to keep the oppositions scoring down. Their loss against Denver shows this, as they weren’t able to keep up as the Nuggets scored over 100 points. That is where the Bulls truly miss Rose’s presence.
The strength of the Bulls bench also helps this, as they are able to keep up both their scoring and defensive presence when they go to the bench. This is especially relevant when you talk about their bench front court, with Taj Gibson and Omer Asik coming off the bench. This two players give up little on the defensive end, even being put on by Thibodeau when Boozer and Noah aren’t getting the job done. Defense appears to be the key to the Bulls’ ability to make up for Rose’s absence.
Injuries are ravaging this shortened season. With some discussing whether this shortened season had been a positive thing and should continue, injuries are the number one reason why this shouldn’t happen. Amare Stoudemire has fallen, the exciting Jeremy Lin also taken by injury. They Golden State Warriors have Andrew Bogut out with injury, Stephen Curry has barely seen any game time whatsoever. Recently Ray Allen has been sidelined. Derrick Rose has had absolutely no chance to defend his MVP title, his season ravaged by a horrible back injury. Al Horford has been knocked out for most of the season as well. With this hectic schedule, all the excitement has covered up the terrible and growing list of injuries to the games’ best players. The game is losing its superstars to injury and whilst every season there are injuries, this season more than most has seen many teams lining up with nowhere near their best team lining up.
One only has to think of a team to think of a name. Cavaliers? Anderson Varejao. Oklahoma City? Eric Maynor. Chicago Bulls? Not just Rose, but also Rip Hamilton. It’s not just the team’s success that is being compromised, but also players’ careers could very well be compromised. What if Rose has developed a chronic back injury that has been triggered by the fast paced schedule? Will we ever see his absolute true potential? Whilst this is speculation in many regards, this really has to be considered in great depth before we start thinking about any kind of shortened or compressed season.