Rose Sizzles, Scores 23 points in Post Season Return

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Rose came out ready. Ready to lead his team in the huddle. Ready to drive the ball into the paint and finish. Ready to dish the ball to teammates. Ready to shut the haters and doubters up… It was a perfect scenario for him and long time fans of Derrick couldn’t be happier for the former league MVP.

My stomach was in knots as this contest began. I wanted the Bulls to come out aggressive, but they fell into an early hole and had to dig out. Didn’t take them long to gain control of this contest though and they played with an intensity worthy of a playoff series opener. The Bucks would end up with three starters in foul trouble (Giannis, Middleton and Zaza), however they fought hard.

FT Attempts Edge: 26-22 Bucks
Rebounding Edge: 52-41 Bulls
Defensive stats: 7 blocks, 8 steals, 13 pts off (13) Bucks turnovers, Bucks 39.3% shooting

Game Synopsis: The game started with Milwaukee grabbing an early lead in the 1st quarter but the Bulls quickly caught up. Their ball movement was stellar… 30 assists on 38 made field goals. Rose would come out of the game at the 6:11 mark for Tony Snell. He would later say he was just winded. He’d re-enter the game at the 8:06 mark of the 2nd quarter and that’s when he went to work. Connecting on 2 drives and a floating jump shot. Butler was also great with a mix of threes, drives and 7-8 FT attempts. Just the right amount of aggression. Pau struggled a bit under the Bucks defensive attention/schemes, but that just meant more opportunities for the guards. Brooks also had 13pts on 4-9 shooting.

Game Changer: From the 7:00 mark in the 3rd quarter to the 4:34 mark, Rose curiously, after missing his first two 3pt attempts, drained three 3 pointers. Two of them from pretty deep. The first one occurred with Milwaukee only down 7 pts. This kind of took the wind out of their sails as they would not be able to bring the deficit back to single digits after this.

Peak Performer(s): J. Butler CHI (25pts 2rebs 6asts 1stls 0blk) 35min. Very strong outing from Butler. Rose followed with 23 pts and 7 assists. Pau went for 10pts (5-17 shooting) and 13rebs… Taj had 8pts and 11rebs (SEVEN offensive). Great effort from Taj, who left with a knee issue. EVERYONE seemed to be assisting too. Each starter had at least 4. It was amazing to watch.

Weak Performer: Tough to crucify anyone after yesterday’s victory. Bulls turnovers kept this from being a blowout victory. 25 Bucks points off of 19 Bulls turnovers. Many were unforced.

Main Hashtag: #MILvsCHI

In Game Tweets

Sideline Skinny

  • This was Derrick’s first post season game in 1,085 days.
  • Derrick left the game at the :51 mark to a standing ovation.
  • Taj was spotted in the tunnel riding the stationery bike. Strained knee, however he has already said that he’ll be all good for game 2.

Video Highlights


What’s Next?
Game 2… Adjustments, adjustments, adjustments. I’m predicting that Pau will NOT go 5-17 again. The Bucks overcompensated double teaming Gasol, which is why the guards were able to go to work. Many say Rose is begging for a double team with his post game comments, however a player of his caliber is used to defenses like that and I’ve been saying for a while now that two on the ball should be EASY OFFENSE for us. Someone is open. Period. We’ll see what happens.

Game is on TNT tomorrow so we’ll get to listen to the NBAonTNT panel weigh in on Rose’s latest return. 7PM CST. Stacey will also be holding court on CSN if you’d like the local call. I’ll be in-game tweeting from @ChiTwnBullsBlog! Follow us for the latest…

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Previewing Bucks Bulls First Round Playoffs Matchup

Its here! The Bulls face the Bucks tonight at the UC. Will the team come out aggressively? Or will they plod along and allow an athletic, young Milwaukee team dictate the pace and grab an early lead? We’ll see.

I put together a cheat sheet for you guys to check out while we wait for the Bulls tonight! 6:00PM CST on ESPN. I’ll be live tweeting from @ChiTwnBullsBlog! #SeeRed!

bucksbullspreview

Thanks to David L. Johnson for contributing to this preview!

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Wrapping Up Bulls Regular Season (2014-2015)

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Well, Bulls fans, it was a long journey, but we made it to the playoffs, with the Bulls roster somewhat healthy for a change. 50-32 on the season was a real testament to the heart of this team and the belief, (even though as fans we’ve all said its been wavering) in head coach Tom Thibodeau. I plan to keep you updated on all things Bulls as we go into the first round, and start what I hope to be, a nice long playoff run.

Derrick Rose
Rose has been resilient through the last injury I updated you about. It threw Chicago into a real panic, but then it turned out to only have a 4-6 week window. He came back and played the last 5 games of the season and no exaggeration, looks better than he did to start the season. He sat out the second half of the season finale against the Hawks, but he says he just had some minor soreness in his left knee. Nothing serious.

He also reports that he is pain free. This is by far the best news inside Bulls nation… Rose is healthy, and playing in the playoffs for the first time since tearing his ACL in 2012.  So happy for him.

Bucks instead of Wizards?

There has been much discussion about desiring the 4th seed vs. the 3rd seed that the Bulls eventually settled into.

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The 2015 NBA Playoffs seeding has been settled

Quite obviously, the bracket that the Bulls fell into will have them on a likely collision course with the Lebron led Cleveland Cavaliers in the second round. Some see this as a negative. The 4th seed would have placed the Bulls where Toronto is. Facing the Wizards, and then going on to the winner of Hawks/Nets. The Wiz really seemed to stink it up to end the season, however, they finished with 2 more wins than last season (46-36). Will they be tougher in the playoffs than they were in the regular season? Who knows? I DO know that rather than attempting to exact revenge on the Wiz for unceremoniously dismissing the Bulls in 5 games last postseason, I’d rather Rose come along more slowly and gain some momentum.

Still Not 100%

Joakim Noah
Jo sat out the last couple of games of the regular season with a hamstring issue. Looks like its precautionary. Hoping Jo can give us just some of what he gave us two years ago in that 7-game Brooklyn series.

Kirk Hinrich
Obviously, he came back too early from a hyperextended knee. Kirk’s offense has fallen off, but I still think the Bulls need 10-15 minutes from him. He plays tough, can be effective defensively depending on the matchup and has decent foot speed. He also, when he is not shooting too much, can really set the table.

Taj Gibson
Left the season finale game vs. Atlanta with a shoulder strain. Probably shouldn’t have played, but he obviously hears Mirotic’s footsteps and has been playing through injury consistently this year.

I’ll be back (hopefully), with a playoff preview. In the meantime, check out the schedule. I’d love to make it to the Bradley Center for one of these (not so) road games!

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Chicago In Crisis as Rose Faces Another Setback

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I know I haven’t been around. I was going to make another writing push before the Playoffs. DEVASTATING news Bulls fans. Rose needs to have surgery… Again. Its the same medial meniscus in his right knee that was repaired last year.

Everyone is hoping for a miracle in terms of a timetable. Tons of reports swirling about on various sports outlets as well as national news, but nothing official. I’m waiting to see what Bulls official beat writers report. Will it again be repaired? I’ve heard they won’t repair it a second time. Will it be snipped like Westbrook’s was? Hopefully. If so, that will give Rose a CHANCE to return for the playoffs.

If Rose doesn’t come back this season, that lone game in 2012… Game one against Philly where he tore his ACL, will be the last time we have gotten to see Rose in the postseason. Think about that for a minute. As a part of Derrick Rose’s fanbase, I’d have to say, at least in this era of basketball, no other has suffered more. So much hope and promise in this home grown hero and yet, it doesn’t “feel” like it will ever be realized.

I’ll keep you posted as I learn more. Wishing nothing but the best for Rose and his family. This has got to be so frustrating.

–ct

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Bulls Drop Boston; Face East Leading Hawks Tonight

Bulls went 2-3 since I last blogged. Gone were the pipe dreams that the Bulls would split those two Wizard contests. No, we lost badly in D.C. and then dropped the home game. Worrisome part about both these games is that the Wiz, made it look pretty easy. Between these contests, were a win over the Bucks at home (Pau 46/18) and a rather embarrassingly bad blowout loss to Orlando.

The Bulls defense, simply is not up to par. Someone in a Facebook group I’m in mentioned that these players perhaps are just not equipped to play man-to-man defense. I would have to agree with that sentiment because opponents are scoring at will.

Rose looking like Rose again
Has he finally broken out of the slump? Over the last two games (the win over Boston and loss to Washington), Rose has been continuing to launch rockets, early and often, but the difference is he’s connecting now. I still don’t think he needs to launch as many threes as he will never stretch the floor as much as a Dunleavy or potentially a McDermott would. I think he needs to stick to the mid range, but we’ll see.

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5 shots inside the paint | 1 at the elbow | 5 from 3pt range | 1 from half court (32pts and 5 assists)

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7 shots in the paint | 5 threes (29 pts and 10 assists)

Dunleavy still out, and now Jo out with a rolled ankle
Jo was hobbled in the Washington game and will sit out a few games. Dunleavy must have had a nasty sprain for him to miss so many games. We are 4-4 without his services so while I have maligned the guy a ton because I don’t think he’s athletic or quick enough at that 3 spot, it turns out that he is a great help defender and his ability to stretch the floor is sorely missed.

Can we beat Atlanta tonight?
I dunno. I’m looking at the trends and its gonna be tough… Unless after 11 straight wins its just time for them to fall. Bulls CANNOT get off to that slow start that they usually do at home and expect to catch up. They are also going to have to be exceptional on their rotations because the Hawks move that ball around the court like lightning.

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Things to watch:

–> CHI dropped 4 out of their last 6
–> ATL on 11 gm win streak
–> ATL has league best road record at 15-5
–> CHI 12-9 at home
–> Rose 11-for-17 from 3 last 2 gms
–> Last ATL loss came 12/26 by 30 at home to MIL
–> ATL is 25-1 when shooting a higher % than opponent

I’m going to be in the house tonight! I’ve never attended a loser in the Bulls era, so let’s watch that trend as well!

I’ll be live tweeting from @ChiTwnBullsBlog… Follow us for the latest.

Take care and #SeeRed!!!!

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Bulls Experiencing the Highest ‘Highs’ and the Lowest ‘Lows’

dm_150108_NADonbullsSorry followers, the wedding season is heating up! Much hotter than expected during a record cold January in Chicago.

Wanted to reach out really quick and assure that I’m still around, still keeping up with our Bulls and will be attending the Atlanta game on 1/17… Super excited and will have tons of “fan goodies” for everyone.

Since I last blogged, Bulls were on a high man. They’d won 4 out of an eventual SEVEN games, their longest win streak of the season (previously they’d only managed 4 in a row). Rose was a killer too… Check the highlights:

Jimmy and Pau have been playing out of their minds and posting some amazing numbers too. After that game, the Bulls handled the Lakers, NOLA and Indy, but then something went terribly wrong for the squad. Its something that we as fans are still trying to figure out… Starting in the 4th quarter of the Pacers game, the Bulls seemingly forgot how to score the basketball. Indiana went on a 21-2 run and the Bulls would only manage 11 pts. Eleven. At first, you just assumed it was flukish, etc. They got the win, so no big deal, they’ll get it together.

The very next game though, Brooklyn would end up exposing the Bulls on their home floor. Duplicating what Indiana had done, they went under screens and allowed Rose to shoot uncontested long two’s the whole game.

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Rose ended up going 2-15… His only made shots coming behind the left elbow in the 1st and 3rd quarters… Brutal night for Rose.

This, coupled with a big night from Brook Lopez, who dominated our front court. The Bulls just folded. Definitely a worrisome development, especially after the team went cold in Indiana a game prior.

Bulls followed this bad loss up with wins over Denver, Boston and Houston (dang, has it been THAT long since I blogged?). Bulls used a 31 pt. 4th quarter in a game full of dunks and high flying scoring to overcome the Rockets. THIS game was followed up by a 20 pt. loss to the Utah Jazz. Believe me, this final score looks better than it actually was.

Just uneven, up and down performances, but at the same time, the team stands at 25-11. Derrick’s performances have left a lot to be desired as what started out as a slump has begun to diminish his greatness. His mental approach is a concern as well. He seems to be extremely upset that opponents are going under screens and desperately wants to make them pay. I get it, but he needs to be able to impact a game in more ways than just scoring the basketball. We have capable scorers this season. Feed them. Make the game easier for them. Obviously when he’s a scoring threat, that does tend to lend itself to making the game easier, but as the floor general, he needs to find another way. I just want him doing what’s best for the team.

What’s Next?

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‪#‎CHIvsWAS‬ Bulls NBA best road record will be put to the test tonight… Trends to watch:

–> Wall is 0-5 vs. a Rose led squad
–> Bulls are 10-1 after losses this season
–> Wiz are on a 2 game win streak
–> Rose shooting 25.5% over the last six games

Who wins? Bulls seem to have a different mentality on the road. This would be a PERFECT night for Rose to break out of this slump. Wall is itching to beat him and the team would like to exact some revenge from the last whopping we gave them in D.C.

If Rose could again eclipse Wall, with Wall likely to be an All Star game starter and Rose likely out of this one, I think that would give his ego a boost and perhaps will restore his confidence and competitive edge a little. Selfish to think this way, but hey, whatever it takes to get Rose back on track, I’ll take it.

I’ll be in-game tweeting from @ChiTwnBullsBlog… Follow us for the latest and I PROMISE to not go away for so long again!

–ct

 

Posted in Press and Analysis, Regular Season 2014-15 | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

Too much Rose in 4Q for Wiz; Lakeshow next

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The usually stoic and unemotional Rose literally skips, in an exaggerated fashion, back to the bench after hitting a step-back jumper late in the 4Q

Whoo wee! Bulls are really beginning to come together. I really wanted these two games, moreso than the Knicks/Memphis sandwich. Toronto and the Wizards are two of the top three Eastern Conference teams right now, and Chicago just handed both of them giant “L’s” to wear around their necks, going into the holiday. Brilliant. How did they do it? Same formula from the Raptors game… A little Gasol, a lot of Aaron Brooks, great defense by both Noah and Butler, strong bench play and Rose coming on strong in the 4th.

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Game Synopsis: This game began pretty sloppy. Bulls were turning the ball over and playing kind of loose. Not the same, lethargic starts that we see at the UC though. they gained control mid-quarter and ended up topping Washington 21-20, off of Gasol’s first made three as a Bull. Good sign. The bench was amazing in the second as NO ONE could stay in front of Aaron Brooks. E’twaun Moore showed us all something as he’s able to make big plays. Taj was also 5-5 for 12 pts in 18 min, and Chicago would end up with a 37-24 bench advantage. They also did a great job in the paint… 50-42 advantage. After remaining in control pretty much through 3 quarters, the Wiz would gain a 1pt. lead off of a 8pt. John Wall run in the 4th. Then Rose took over and scored 8 out of the next 10 for Chicago, including that dagger step back to put the Bulls up 94-87.

Game Changer: Rose. He imposed his will in the 4th, which seems to be his new role with this team. Great situation for him as he can get more rest during games… No need to be a volume scorer. Bulls have more than enough competent scoring options. His quote from earlier in the season is ringing true. “…The 4th quarter is ‘my time’.”

Peak Performer(s):
Rose: 25pts (10-17 & 1-3 from three), 2rebs 4asts 2stls 5tos (28min)
Pau: 18pts (7-13 & 1-1 from three), 9rebs 4asts 1stl 2blks (34min)
Brooks: 13pts (5-13), 4rebs 6asts 1stl (25min)

Weak Performer: Dunleavy continues to get lost on the offense… Going 0-2, but playing 22 minutes. Only 3 rebs and 1 assist. I think Mirotic produces more with fewer minutes. I am also a fan of Nikola’s rebounding rate.

Main Hashtag: #CHIvsWAS

In-Game Tweets

Sideline Skinny

    • Aaron Brooks has come off the bench to score in double figures in each of the last 4 games.
    • Over his last 2 games, in the 4Q, Rose has scored 25 total points on 10/12 shooting.
    • Kirk Hinrich missed this game due to a strained hamstring. He didn’t travel with the team to D.C.
    • This win extends the Bulls road record to 13-4… Best in the Eastern Conference and only one more loss than GSW, who’s 13-3 mark is best in the league.

What’s Next?

Screenshot 2014-12-24 12.12.52Christmas matchup with the Lakers… Remember last time we faced the Lakers on Christmas?  Pretty special game for Rose and I’m happy Bulls don’t have to travel this year. They are fully capable of laying eggs on their home floor though and the Lakers just took down GSW at Staples.

We’ll be in-game tweeting from @ChiTwnBullsBlog… Follow us for the latest! #SeeRed – Main hashtag: #LALvsCHI

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