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Posts Tagged ‘Atlanta Hawks’

Chicago Bulls Taught Valuable Lesson In Loss To Heat

Posted by sportsmaven on May 26, 2011

Following their Game 5 and the NBA Eastern Conference Finals series loss to the Miami Heat, the Chicago Bulls hopefully learned some valuable lessons. Like the Oklahoma City Thunder, the youth and inexperience of Bulls ended up being their undoing. Nobody thought the Bulls would get this far in the playoffs, never mind finishing the regular season with the NBA’s best record. But the Miami Heat did to the Bulls what the Indiana Pacers and Atlanta Hawks couldn’t do: capitalize on the flaws of this particular Chicago team. So what did the Bulls learn from this series?

1. More balanced scoring is needed from this team. A reliable two guard is an immediate need, inside scoring is a secondary need.

2. Young teams like the Bulls and Thunder won’t get the same calls as the Heat and the Dallas Mavericks. One look at the foul differentials is all you need to see. In Game 5 alone, the Bulls had 15 more FG attempts, 5 more FG made, 1 more made 3 pointers, 5 more offensive rebounds, 6 more assists, 1 more steal, and 5 fewer turnovers than the Heat. The only significant stat the Heat exceeded the Bulls was FT attempts (+12) and FT made (+10) and the Bulls were at home. In an 83-80 loss, this was significant and the officiating in this series was questionable at best.

3. Derrick Rose can’t do it alone. He needs some serious help. This team is so close but yet so far. Gar Forman and John Paxson have some work to do.

4. What are we to make of Carlos Boozer and Joakim Noah spending significant minutes on the bench in the 4th quarter of playoff games? That’s a about $30 million in talent sitting out crunch time. That’s a HUGE concern, Boozer in particular. On the NBA’s biggest stage, Boozer was a major disappointment, both offensively and defensively, and is now the biggest question mark for the Bulls going into the offseason.

5. Bulls head coach Tom Thibodeau is an outstanding coach, but he’s not a magician. He couldn’t make the adjustments needed to keep up with the Heat, mostly because the Bulls lacked the firepower of the Heat. The only questionable move was why Kurt Thomas didn’t get more playing time earlier in the series, but ultimately that debate is insignificant to the final outcome of this series.

While I don’t want to take anything away from the Miami Heat, they had to play on top of their game and play all out to beat the Bulls. And they did just that. Despite the Game 1 result, the remaining games were all close games. One more made shot, one more foul for or against was the difference between these two teams.

The Bulls are not far away from being a perennial contender for NBA championships for years to come, but this offseason may be as significant as last offseason in terms of advancing to the next level. Talent ultimately wins in the long run. The Heat had more talent than the Bulls this year and it showed. So where do the Bulls go from here? More to come on this question.

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The Chicago Bulls Have NO Chance Of Beating The Miami Heat

Posted by sportsmaven on May 22, 2011

You heard it here first if you already haven’t witnessed it firsthand tonight. The NBA’s Eastern Conference Finals are over. The Chicago Bulls have no chance of winning against this Miami Heat team. Not in a seven game series. Not when the Bulls vaunted defense is neutered by NBA referees when they decide to play defense. Not when the Bulls don’t follow their game plan. Not when the Bulls again can’t make a basket. Not when the Bulls are bullied, pushed around, out-muscled, out-hustled and out-classed. Not if they play defense like they did tonight.

Believe what you want about the Bulls, but know this: The Bulls are in the midst of learning a serious lesson and if they don’t get their act together soon, their season will be over. When you turn on your TV tomorrow, I can almost guarantee that you will hear ESPN’s Skip Bayless say the series is over and he won’t be the only one that holds that opinion.

ESPN, TNT and Comcast Sports Net, analysts have all talked about the benches being a factor, but they are absolutely wrong. What it comes down to is Lebron James, Dwayne Wade and Chris Bosh vs. Derrick Rose, and the level of defense each team plays and that’s it. The rest is all coffee house chatter. The problem with this Chicago Bulls team is that I don’t trust them. Not in these playoffs. They have played two good games in a lackluster first round matchup against an inferior Indiana Pacers team. They played two somewhat dominant games in the second round against a very beatable Atlanta Hawks team that played even less physical than the Pacers. The Bulls played their most dominant game of the post-season in Game 1 of the Conference Finals and haven’t shown up since.

For the last three days leading up to Game 3, I’ve heard the Bulls talk extensively about wanting to push the pace, attack before Miami sets up their half-court defense, be aggressive. What I saw tonight was the Bulls walking the ball up nearly every possession, settling for jump shots, no movement of the ball, and no drive, kick and shoot. Too many missed shots under the basket. As for the Bulls players, what happened to Joakim Noah and Luol Deng? Kyle Korver’s shot still MIA. Carlos Boozer offensive game appeared tonight, but as usual, his defense was atrocious.

On defense, the Bulls had too many breakdowns, bad or no rotations, little help defense and virtually no aggression. Nobody in a red jersey touched Chris Bosh tonight and it showed. Little intensity, passion and desire in the 4th quarter equals yet another winnable loss. Miami seemed to get to all the loose balls and seemed to have all the bounces go their way.

As for the Heat, give them credit, they executed their game plan. They let go of Game 1, made their adjustments and cranked it up a notch. They executed the Bulls game plan better than the Bulls did while they were at it. They played defense the way the Bulls have played defense the entire season, something the Bulls have seemed to forget to play at times throughout the playoffs.

Now that the Heat have figured the Bulls out, shut down Derrick Rose and wrestled home court advantage away from the Bulls, how will coach Tom Thibodeau and his young team respond? So far, the Bulls have had absolutely no answers for the Heat’s adjustments, nor have they matched the Heat’s intensity and hustle. Game 4 becomes critical, the most important game of the season. And by the way, all the pressure is squarely on the Bulls. I can guarantee you this, the Bulls will learn a lesson on Tuesday night. Only time will tell if they are mentally strong enough to learn the lesson now, next year or if they will ever learn it.

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Chicago Bulls Limp Into All-Star Break

Posted by sportsmaven on February 15, 2007

I wanted to write this post last night immediately after the Chicago Bulls game ended last night, but I decided to wait before expressing what I thought about the Bulls performance and the loss to the Charlotte Bobcats, 100-85. The Bobcats are one of the league’s worst teams, entering the game with an 18-33 record. Again, I note that this is a team that the Bulls should beat 9 times out of 10, but the problem is that when the Bulls plays these teams, they tend to play them on the 10th time, typically getting saddled with a loss.

Bulls Lose to Bobcats, 100-85
(AP Photo/Rick Havner)

The Chicago Bulls are not playing with a lot of confidence at this point and are limping into the all-star break on a low ebb. Even teams like the Charlotte Bobcats, on any given day when your confidence is low, can take the wood to you. Now, I know that the Bulls flight was delayed due to weather in Chicago and they didn’t get to their hotel until 3am, but that is how life in the NBA works. Life poses situations where it’s not always ideal and cozy. It’s called adversity and the Bulls are getting it in large doses. Yes, it would have been nice to get into town earlier, especially after coming off a the first night of a back to back situation. It would have been nice for the Bulls to get their rest, do their shoot around and be mentally and physically in peak performance for a game against a weak opponent like the Bobcats, but the Bulls again, came out sluggish and forgot how to play defense and gave less than maximum effort, from all appearances.

The margin of error for the Bulls is very small. They cannot afford to take nights off, even against weak teams. They are simply not that good that they can turn it on and off and cruise to victory after victory, yet this is how they approach key games in their season. The Bulls need to win as many games as they can against the weaker opponents in the league and yet they don’t. Their record against quality opponents is actually pretty good, as I outlined in an earlier post at the beginning of the week. It’s games like the Bobcats loss that could make or break a season, especially in a weak Eastern Conference. This is very reminiscent of the NFC vs. AFC in the NFL. The Bulls could emerge from the weak Eastern Conference and to face any number of stronger teams from the Western Conference and get swept out of the NBA Finals, like the Chicago Bears in the Super Bowl. (Although, unlike the Bears, the Bulls are not the class of the conference)

Another thing to note, the Bulls were snubbed once again when G Joe Johnson of the Atlanta Hawks was named as a replacement for injured G Jason Kidd of the New Jersey Nets for the 2007 All Star Game this Sunday in Las Vegas. Not to discount Joe Johnson’s production or resume (he is scoring 25.1 ppg this season, but for a team with a 21-31 record.) This should be a wake up call for the Bulls, who have some decent talent on their team, but no real breakout talent (although I believe Luol Deng is developing into breakout talent. He must develop more consistency, but he beginning to do that on a nightly basis now.) Whatever is ailing this team needs to be fixed immediately and the All-Star Break is a good place to start that deep reflecting.

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