Tag:2011 EC Conference finals
Posted on: May 24, 2011 11:04 pm
Edited on: May 25, 2011 12:07 am

Derrick Rose dunks video: Bulls vs. Heat Game 4

Video of Chicago Bulls point guard Derrick Rose throwing down three incredible dunks in the first half of Game 4 of the Eastern Conference finals against the Miami Heat. Posted by Ben Golliver.

During the first half of Tuesday night's Game 4 against the Miami Heat, Chicago Bulls point guard Derrick Rose showed why he's the NBA's MVP with a trio of spectacular dunks. He seemed to be raising the bar from dunk to dunk, going from great to sensational to utterly ridiculous. Let's take a look at all three in order.

First, near the end of the first quarter, Rose displayed some excellent verticality, getting ahead of the pack in transition to throw down a monster one-hand dunk. Heat forward LeBron James was trailing the play, but decided not to attempt a chasedown block once he saw Rose elevate. Here's a look at the video.

Second, just before halftime, Rose got loose in transition one again, attacking Heat reserve point guard Mario Chalmers. Although he was fouled by Chalmers near the free throw line, Rose didn't hesitate to continue towards the hoop, throwing down a monster two-handed dunk. Thanks to a generous continuation call, Rose was given the and-one call on the monster slam.

Third and finally, shortly after the dunk above, Rose put Heat center Joel Anthony on a major, major poster, his most impressive play of the night. Rose crossed over Heat forward Udonis Haslem, who was trapping him, from right to left near the free throw line. After taking a gather step as he entered the paint, he eyed Anthony, who was coming over to provide weakside help, but decided to go up and over rather than around Anthony's contest. He finished the dunk cleanly with two hands and was once again given the and-one call. The Bulls bench erupted in celebration.

Simply amazing. This would be a good month for most All-Stars. Rose simply calls it a good half.
Posted on: May 24, 2011 5:39 pm

LiveChat: Heat-Bulls Conference Finals Game 4

Join us at 8:30 p.m. EST for Heat-Bulls Game 4. We'll discuss such topics as:

There will inevitably be mid-90's video game references, as there were in Game 4 of Mavs-Thunder as well. Join us at 8 p.m. EST.

Posted on: May 24, 2011 1:56 pm

The 2.5 stars jokes bother Chris Bosh a little

Posted by Royce Young

The easy joke to make about Chris Bosh this season is that he's no star. That the Heat have a Big Two and he's just the outsider with a really small head and a giant mouthpiece.

He's heard all of that all season long. He heard it when Carlos Boozer made a comment saying the Heat have two stars. And Bosh has put together maybe his best string of games all season so far against the Bulls, going for 30 in Game 1 and 34 in Game 3. He's averaging 24.7 points per game so far in the series along with 7.3 rebounds.

Bosh went on WQAM in Miami and was asked about the "2.5 stars" jokes that have been made and if Carlos Boozer made him made.

“He didn’t piss me off. It wasn’t like I was just thinking of that quote the whole time. It didn’t do much for me. It did motivate me at times, but it wasn’t the main source. I get inspiration from everywhere and that wasn’t the main thing.”

He was then asked if it bothers him people say the Heat have just two stars.

“I’m not going to lie it gets under my skin a little bit. I always say okay I never asked to be the “Big Three,” and it’s like okay a joke is a joke. Come on I am trying my best? The fact that it was hard. It made it hard to not get offended. It’s like I’m working over here. All I wanted to do was win and that was early. Now you just don’t care.”

Bosh has always been portrayed as a bit of a sensitive guy. Call him soft, "fake tough" or whatever else, he doesn't exactly have a reputation like Kevin Garnett.

Against Boston in Game 3, he admitted that his nerves maybe got to him a bit and that he was rattled. That sort of stuff doesn't really help the reputation, Chris.

But in this series, when his team needs him most, he's producing. Is that because he's extra motivated? Who knows. If it really works like that maybe LeBron needs to say the Heat have just one star so that Dwyane Wade gets jumpstarted a bit.
Posted on: May 24, 2011 9:09 am

Playoff Fix: Running of the Bulls

The Bulls need to run, rebound and stop LeBron James to tie the Eastern Conference Finals in Game 4. Piece of cake!

Posted by Matt Moore

One Big Thing: Both coaches are 100 percent dead set on making this series about speed, despite how good the transition defense is. The Bulls talked a lot about getting out and running in Game 3. They made good on that promise to a degree, scoring 16 points on 8-10 shooting in transition. But the Heat also wound up with 10 points on the fast break, meaning the Bulls' halfcourt offense would have to put in work. It of course couldn't, and we've got a 2-1 Miami advantage. With Omer Asik dealing with an injury issue, the Bulls have the luxury of smaller lineups to try and get up and down the floor. The idea was to get Carlos Boozer involoved in transition. But Boozer is very much a halfcourt offense guy. He's no longer a spring chicken, doesn't have great athleticism, and loves a jumpshot. So him being involved on the break is a little odd. Better to get Taj Gibson and Joakim Noah going as finishers off the attention Derrick Rose draws than aim for transition jumpers from Boozer. What's worse is this feels like a desperation adjustment from the Bulls. "We can't create offense in the halfcourt, grind-it-out way our play style suggests, so we'll just try and make up for it with 'easy' baskets." Maybe the Bulls do get out and run in Game 4, opening up opportunities for their shooters from ther perimeter using transition spacing. But it's hard to see how the Bulls are going to even the series without getting some more halfcourt offense help.

The X-Factor: C.J. Watson has been on a tight leash in this series, but he matches up rather well with the Heat defense. Watson has good outside shooting, can play on or off-ball, plays decent defense, and on the perimeter, can pump-fake and drive with a decent floater. Watson doesn't get much time because, well, Derrick Rose lives and breathes. But Watson could make a difference if played in tandem with Rose more, giving Rose a speedy backcourt partner who can space the floor. It means issues with rotations should Rose get tired, but at this point, we all know Thibodeau will be driving him into the ground regardless. Watson could make a difference if he can put in a double-figure socring performance with any efficiency.

The  Adjustment: Miami continues to struggle keeping the Bulls off the offensive glass, but they're chipping away at it. Udonis Haslem has made a huge impact, but also the Heat have run the Bulls off the three-point line, which has decreased the number of long rebounds. Still, the Bulls' best way to get back in this series is to get points off follows. Boozer was the big getter in Game 3, nabbing seven offensive boards. That's containable. If Chris Bosh can keep Boozer off the offensive glass and the Heat can keep up what they've been doing as the series goes along, they might take away the rebounding advantage. Do that and without an outlier shooting performance, the Bulls are sunk.

The Sticking Point: All the talk coming into the series was "Who's going to check Derrick Rose?" Well, the Heat have shown they have a pretty good plan for doing that with multiple guys, though the Heat expect Rose to break out at some point.  But here's a bigger one. "How do the Bulls defend LeBron at the end of games?" The Bulls threw multiple defenders at James all night in Game 3, hoping to put him in a slump. He wound up with ten assists, throwing pinpoint laser passes to open teammates. Then, when they Bulls peeled off to try and stop the other Heat players killing them, James stepped up and took advantage of the ISO situation. It has to be extremely frustrating for Luol Deng who has played phenomenal defense in this series for 3. 75 quarters each game, only to have James simply overcome it in that last bit of the game. The Bulls have to at some point make a statement, "LeBron James will not beat us in the fourth quarter." That has risky consequences, but nothing riskier than putting the possibility of a 3-1 hole for the Bulls in James' hand down the stretch, not with the way he's been closing out games.
Posted on: May 23, 2011 12:47 am
Edited on: May 23, 2011 1:12 am

Three keys for Chicago to extend East finals

The Chicago Bulls dropped Game 3 against the Miami Heat, falling behind in the Eastern Conference finals 2-1. What needs to change for the Bulls to extend this series? Posted by Ben Golliver.


The Miami Heat not only won Game 3 on Sunday night, they took full control of their Eastern Conference finals series against the Chicago Bulls. In prevailing 96-85, Miami showed it was capable of playing defense as well as Chicago has played it all season and that it could find new ways to pick apart the Bulls with their three-headed monster attack. In turn, forward Chris Bosh delivered a game-high 34 points.

The Heat's win clearly sets up Game 4 as the swing game. Should Chicago prevail, this series is almost certainly going seven games. But if Miami should hold court at home? The Bulls would be faced with the prospect of winning three straight in an elimination scenario. Good luck with that.

Here's three things that need to happen for the pendulum of momentum to swing back the other way.

1. Derrick Rose needs to find his rhythm

Following Game 1, the post-game talk centered around how well Luol Deng and Chicago's team defense were able to contain LeBron James. In Game 3, especially during the second half, the same points apply for how Miami handled Derrick Rose. Clearly, he was frustrated and forced off of his game.

The Heat committed lots of bodies to the cause, doubling Rose, stepping into his driving lanes and remaining very active in the passing lanes as well. In handling the double teams, Rose said: "I've been trying to beat it with the pass, I have to be more aggressive."

Yes and no. While LeBron James helped seal the win by picking off a Rose crosscourt pass and taking it to the house over Kyle Korver, Rose also committed multiple turnovers by driving too hard into traffic, either losing control of the ball or getting hit with a player control foul. It's a bit of a paradox, but he needs to be both more aggressive and less aggressive simultaneously (if that's possible).

A return to controlled, timely aggression is probably the best way to put it. 

Here's a look at James' steal and finish in transition.

2. Backcourt scoring desperately needed

Rose's reads would be easier and his drives to the bucket more effective and productive if he was getting anything -- anything at all -- from his backcourt mates. Chicago guards not named Rose combined for 13 points on 5-14 shooting. Keith Bogans, Kyle Korver, Ronnie Brewer and C.J. Watson also combined to attempt just four three-pointers in 63 minutes.

If you're wondering why there's no room in the paint, look no further than the fact that Luol Deng is the only player on the entire roster that approximates a floor-spacer right now. Like a football team with no deep threat option, the Bulls haven't made the Heat pay for overloading. It was the same story in Game 2: Deng took seven three-pointers while Bogans, Korver, Brewer and Watson combined to shoot 2-10 from deep. 

If those numbers don't change in a meaningful way, it doesn't matter how well Chicago plays defense. They're toast.

3. Energy differential

Both teams competed incredibly hard on Sunday night, and Chicago was hampered by the fact that Joakim Noah's activity level was hampered by early foul trouble, throwing their rotation off. Coaches always talk about who has the "edge," though, and in small ways it was Miami. Most obviously, it was the play of Bosh, who came out aggressive and never looked back, sizing up open shots and seizing the opportunity to take his defenders off the dribble. 

Bulls coach Tom Thibodeau pointed to his team's failures to defend Bosh as a prime reason for the loss. In particular, he didn't like how his team closed out on Bosh once Miami's other players had attacked the paint. "We gave him too much space. We didn't challenge his shot properly. We didn't give the appropriate help ... You have to protect the paint and then get back out. I don't think we did that... We've got to get up and challenge their shots better. Rebounding was good, challenging their shots wasn't."

Carlos Boozer, Bosh's match-up, was no statistical slouch either, dumping in 26 points and grabbing 17 rebounds. But Bosh was simply a more impactful player in the fourth quarter, scoring eight straight points to help push Miami out of Chicago's reach.

The Bulls never gave up, but they didn't have enough activity, especially offensively, to pull the game back within reach.

"Our will wasn't there tonight," Rose concluded. It will need to be there in Game 4 or Miami can book its NBA Finals tickets. 
Posted on: May 22, 2011 9:05 pm
Edited on: May 24, 2011 5:14 am

Joakim Noah caught using gay slur towards fan

Did Chicago Bulls center Joakim Noah get caught uttering the same slur that Los Angeles Lakers guard Kobe Bryant was fined for? Posted by Ben Golliver.

During Sunday night's telecast of Game 3 of the Eastern Conference finals against the Miami Heat, Chicago Bulls center Joakim Noah appeared to direct profane language, and possibly a gay slur, toward someone seated behind the Bulls bench.

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Back in April, Los Angeles Lakers guard Kobe Bryant was caught on a television broadcast using similar language toward an NBA official and was eventually fined $100,000 by the NBA league office.

The exchange occurred after Noah was whistled for his second foul with more than six minutes remaining in the first quarter. Noah was whistled for an over the back call after attempting to tap in a Carlos Boozer miss. Noah came from behind Heat forward LeBron James to tap the ball near the cylinder and made contact with his body. After briefly arguing the call, Noah headed straight for the Bulls bench and began barking at someone seated behind him and to his right.

Noah then appeared to yell a string of profanities and finished with what appears to be the exact phrase that Bryant was fined for using. The only difference: Noah was not addressing one of the officials.

The Associated Press reported immediately after Game 3 that Noah "is acknowledging saying 'something' toward a fan" and that the NBA "declined immediate comment" on the incident. 

Jamey Eisenberg reports for CBSSports.com that Noah issued an apology on Sunday night after Game 3.
"I just got caught up," Noah said after the Heat beat the Bulls 96-85 to take a 2-1 series lead. "I didn't mean any disrespect. ... A fan said something, and I said something back. I apologize."

When asked if he expects to be fined, Noah said, "I don't know what's going to happen."
Ken Berger of CBSSports.com reports that Noah expanded a bit at Chicago's Monday morning shootaround.
"Yesterday, I made some comments that were pretty disrespectful. After I picked up my second foul, I said some things. I was pretty upset about it, and I said some things that I shouldn't have said. I didn't mean to hurt anybody's feelings. It wasn't right, and I'm going to deal with the consequences."
Berger also reports that Bulls forward Taj Gibson said Noah was the target of a stream of abuse from an intoxicated fan.
"The guy just kept going. I know the crowd looked at the guy too, like, 'Come on man, leave him alone. It's over.' But the guy just kept going. ... It was the usual, but in that circumstances, it was heavy because he was really loud. And he was a big guy, too. He was intoxicated. When I saw him, I was surprised, because he just kept going and going. Normally a fan may say a couple of things and then sit down. But he just kept going and going, and it was Joakim the whole time."
In a video statement released on Bulls.com on Monday, Noah said he was ready to "deal with the consequences."
"Yesterday I made some comments that were pretty disrespectful after I picked up a second foul. I came out of the game and a fan said something to me and I was really upset about it. I said some things I shouldn't have said. I don't mean to hurt anybody's feelings. It wasn't right and I'm going to deal with the consequences. But right now what's really frustrating is that we have a game to worry about and I don't want to be a distraction to the team. I think all of our focus and all of our energy has to be on that right now."
Immediately after the incident, NBA analysts and media members took to Twitter to predict that Noah would be fined by the NBA league office. "Because the NBA fined Kobe, you think they'll have to fine Noah," CNBC's Darren Rovell tweeted. "But it's really the luck of the draw whether you're caught on TV."

"No question he said exactly what Kobe said," SI.com's Zach Lowe added. "Get that $100k ready, Joakim."

Here's video of Noah's profanity-laced exchange.

This post will be updated as more information becomes available.
Posted on: May 22, 2011 6:56 pm

LiveChat: Heat-Bulls Conference Finals Game 3

Join us at 8:30 p.m. EST for Heat-Bulls Game 3 LiveChat. We'll discuss PEDs like Pez, and LeBron's "secret society." Chat at you then.

Posted on: May 22, 2011 2:58 am

Playoff Fix: It's Rose's turn

Derrick Rose needs to turn the Eastern Conference Finals around for the Bulls and step up as an MVP. 

Posted by Matt Moore

One Big Thing: Derrick Rose has to kill it. Rose has been unable to be his MVP self in this series thanks to stellar defense from Miami. But Rose is going to have to find ways to press the issue and get the first step to the rim. Rose has been trying to let the rest of the offense steps up as the Heat defense swarms him, but the Bulls can't hit the broad side of a barn right now. Rose has to come out early and be aggressive. If that means the pull-up jumper when Chalmers goes under the screen, so be it. If that means knocking down perimeter shots, which isn't really Rose's strength at this point, that's what he's got to do. The Chicago offense can't open up opportunities for Rose. Rose is going to have to open them up for others. If Rose starts off aggressive, the Heat defense will have to overreact to try and prevent a huge game from the MVP, which will create shots for Kyle Korver and Luol Deng, among others. 

The X-Factor: Mario Chalmers is probably due for a decent game. Don't get confused, Chalmers is radically outmatched in this series, regardless of who he's defending or who's defending him. But due to the attention the Big 3 receives, Chalmers is going to have opportunities. Chalmers has also done well surprising opposing offenses with his ball pressure, forcing turnovers. Knocking down open shots and creating easy buckets off of turnovers is the most you can expect from Chalmers, and if any time is great for him to do so, a key Game 3 with the Bulls looking to make adjustments after a disappointing Game 2, desperate for a win is a great chance. Chalmers has more athleticism than Bibby, but surprisingly Bibby has played decent defense on Derrick Rose while Chalmers has been an outright disaster. But surely Rio has one good game in this series. Game 3 could make it an impactful one. 

The Adjustment: Tom Thibodeau has opted, to no one's surprise, to stick with defensive lineups in this series. The idea is to create a cold war, a long, hard conflict of inches between two stellar defenses with the Bulls winning out as its what they do best. But the Heat offense is superior to the Bulls on most nights, so as the Heat corner the options originally presented by Chicago, Thibodeau has to go to more offensive weapons. Whether that means more Carlos Boozer or more Kyle Korver remains to be seen. It almost certainly won't be both, but one of the two needs to give Chicago a better run of efficiency. The Bulls can win with defense. They just have to have enough offense to give that defense the chance to win it for them.

The Sticking Point: The Bulls blew out the Heat in Game 1, the Heat flew by the Bulls in the closing minutes of Game 2. Things are unlikely to open up and an already ugly series is likely to only get uglier. Don't be surprised if things get chippy. This series is begging for a fight with Haslem and Taj Gibson both emotional difference makers for their teams. Joakim Noah is a constant agitator and LeBron James keeps flirting with conflict. The Bulls are desperate. The Heat are indignant. An already bloody series is going to add some bruises in Game 3.
The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com