The Chicago Bulls were down by 10 points to the Indiana Pacers with 3:45 left in the fourth quarter in game one of their first round playoff series, but still managed to get the win. The anxiety game for the young Bulls is now behind them and it’s time to start running.
Run up the court, run up the score and run the sweep.
Why do I say the Pacers can’t run with the Bulls? It’s fairly simple: defense, bench and Derrick Rose.
Out of the three, the Bulls only had D-Rose’s 39 point, six assists and six rebound MVP performance in game one and they still won 104-99. If the Bulls add the other two aspects to the series, the Pacers will get trampled.
Statistically, Chicago had the best defense during the regular season, but played defense similar to the sloppy Golden State Warriors in game one. Indiana rookie Tyler Hansbrough made the Bulls Carlos Boozer look like the first year player. He continuously hit jumpers in Boozer’s face because he had room to put up a shot and his defense didn’t allow Boozer any easy looks.
Boozer was brought in to be a low post offensive presence and a second option, but he did not show up. He scored 12 points off 4-11 shooting from the field and only grabbed six rebounds. Boozer is an all-star caliber player, there is no reason he should get out shined by Hansbrough’s scoring or defense throughout the series. Hansbrough finished game one with 22 points off 10-19 from the field.
Bulls coach Tom Thibodeau couldn’t only yell at Boozer for the poor defense effort, he was barking at the whole team, deserved.
Darren Collison was penetrating the lane with ease and making easy outlet passes to Hansbrough, Roy Hibbert and Danny Granger. Chicago couldn’t stop anything the Pacers had going on during the entire first half and long stints of the second half.
Besides Kyle Korver’s 4-of-4 three point shooting and Luol Deng’s 18 points, Rose didn’t have any help offensively. Boozer couldn’t hit a basket, Joakim Noah couldn’t find any kind of grove throughout the game, even though he finished with 10 points and 11 rebounds, seems low for him, and everyone else on the team combined for 12 points. Sure, we all know Rose is the Bulls offense, but he usually gets a little more help.
Kurt Thomas finished with 6 points, Ronnie Brewer, Taj Gibson and CJ Watson had 2 points and Keith Bogans didn’t score a single point. This won’t happen again.
All in all, the Bulls played a sloppy rushed game of basketball and still won the game.
Indiana had four starters in double-digits including Granger’s 24 points and Hansbrough’s 22, still not enough. Chicago plays its worst defense of the season, the Pacers still can’t hold off the 15-point turnaround in 3:45.
If the Pacers couldn’t win on Saturday, I think it’s safe to say, they won’t win a game because the odds of the Bulls playing this poor again are slim to none.