Tag:Joakim Noah
Posted on: May 25, 2011 2:34 pm

Thibodeau thinks Rose struggles start with calls

Tom Thibodeau thinks Derrick Rose isn't getting the calls he should in the Eastern Conference Finals. Thibodeau has bigger problems.

Posted by Matt Moore

From Larry Brown Sports, we discover Tom Thibodeau's reason for why Derrick Rose is struggling in the Eastern Conference Finals.
Bulls coach Tom Thibodeau must have kept that in mind, because he made a point to call out the refs following his team’s Game 4 loss in Miami.

Speaking about Derrick Rose after the game, Thibodeau said “He hasn’t been able to get to the line like we thought he would. There’s a lot of contact, and he hasn’t gotten calls.”
via Tom Thibodeau Calls Out Refs for Not Giving Derrick Rose More Calls | Larry Brown Sports.

On the one hand, the Heat had a 38-22 advantage in free throws in Game 4, and Derrick Rose took seven to LeBron James' 13. On the other hand, here's a brief list of ways why maybe Coach needs to look elsewhere for answers besides blaming the officials. 

  • Rose was 8-27 from the field, or to put it in a different context, Rose missed more than two of every three shots he took. He was 1-9 from the 3-point line. Why did he take four more after starting 0-5 you might ask. Well, that would be something his coach might have something to say about. That's nine possessions where Rose won't be getting to the line. 
  • The Bulls, a terrible 3-point shooting team, knowing this going in, took 24 3-point attempts in Game 4. That's 28 percent of their total FGA predicated on the arc. The Heat, conversely, took 13, for just 17 percent. The Heat shot 39 percent, the Bulls 24 percent. So even though the Bulls are a terrible perimeter-shooting team and needed to create free throws, they went to 3-point shooting to save them.
  • Derrick Rose got a few calls, including a ridiculous continuation on one of his poster dunks. It's not like Rose was constantly knocked to the ground, he just didn't drive as much.
  • Instead, Rose habitually went to the pull-up jumper, like he did on the final possession of regulation. When he did drive, late, he turned the ball over. Hard to draw free throws when you're rolling the ball out of bounds. 
  • The Heat's defense has done three things on Rose in this series. Send multiple defenders to keep him from being able to figure out a consistent attack, bring help at three, sometimes four levels on Rose's drives, and guard him with players like James who have incredible size advantages. The key for the Bulls should be to punish those positional switches by having the other players matched up on smaller/slower players get involved, or working with Rose off-ball. But of course, those would be offensive adjustments and Thibodeau is too busy screaming at the defense to not let a 6-8, 285 lb. freight train with unparalleled explosion drive by them or hit fadeaway 16-footers. Much too busy.

The reality is that there were calls that didn't go the Bulls way in Game 4, and the whistles were generous towards Miami. But Rose not only had the game winner he missed, but a key free throw clanged off in the final minutes and multiple turnovers. Rose is 22. He'll bounce back. This is part of the learning process. He's still the MVP after a banner year. 

But the Bulls aren't losing this series 3-1 because of the officials. They're losing it for multiple reasons, and one of them is that Derrick Rose just hasn't been any good and his coach hasn't helped him to make any adjustments.  
Posted on: May 25, 2011 11:55 am
Edited on: May 25, 2011 11:59 am

Report: Omer Asik is done for the year

Omer Asik out at least through series, possibly season after ankle injury. 

Posted by Matt Moore

Update 11:59 a.m.: CSN Chicago reports the injury is actually a broken fibula. Ow. 

Original report: It's raining in Chicago today. And when it rains, it pours.

A day after the Bulls lost to the Heat to go down 3-1 in the Eastern Conference Finals, a Turkish journalist reports that Bulls center Omer Asik is done for the season with an ankle injury. The Chicago Tribune confirms that Asik is done for this series at least. 

It's more bad news for the Bulls as Asik's help off the bench added to the depth that was one of Chicago's major advantages and the reason they won Game 1. Asik not only helped defensively with raw size, but his attack on the glass provided points. You know points, those things Chicago can't produce at all during this series. 

The loss of Asik isn't as devastating tactically considering Tom Thibodeau's bizarre decision to go with smaller and smaller lineups, trying to get out and run past the most athletic team in the league. But as the Bulls' advantage on the offensive glass continues to shrink, Asik could have helped to offset Udonis Haslem's impact. Without Asik, the Bulls will run even smaller lineups, especially if Joakim Noah gets in foul trouble going forward.

Like I said, when it rains, it pours for Chicago.
Posted on: May 25, 2011 1:57 am
Edited on: May 25, 2011 2:09 am

NBA Playoffs: How the Heat snuffed the Bulls out

The Bulls had one more chance at making a comeback. But the Miami Heat snuffed it out on the defensive end with talent, but more importantly, with supreme effort. The Heat wanted it more, and it showed. 

Posted by Matt Moore

The chance was still hanging there, by a thread. The Bulls were down six with 25 seconds to go. A quick score, force a turnover which the Bulls excel at, get another one at this is a game. There's a chance. You just have to get a bucket. Derrick Rose driving, which is what you want. Amazing comebacks happen, and Chicago could have made it happen. They just needed a score. 

Desire is such a dangerous term. These are professional athletes fighting for a chance at a championship. They're close. They can taste it. Want-to is not lacking in this series. But in a series as grueling in this, with constant brutal defense on both sides, and how physical it is, there are moments that are decided by giving it an all-out effort. It wasn't brilliant highlight plays, big alley-oops, or flash and dance that won Game 4 for the Heat. It was desire. Here's how they snuffed out the Bulls. 


After a LeBron James pull-up jumper (on which James may have very well walked), Rose speed down the court to try and get a quick two to put the pressure back on Miami on the inbounds. Dwyane Wade is on the far side at the start of the play.


As Rose attacks, Wade times his jump in an interesting way. He jump-stops, plants, and explodes straight up, after Rose has already left his feet and is almost at the apex of his jump before releasing the ball.

Wade gets an absolutely absurd amount of elevation for a player who may be banged up, and blocks the ball out towards the wing, but not out of bounds. Joakim Noah and LeBron James both go for the rebound. 


Noah has nearly a four-inch advantage on James, but James manages to explode and get to the ball at the same time, knocking it loose towards the sideline. Noah secures this rebound, he's got two shooters on the far side wide-open. (Broken plays consistently made for huge plays for the Bulls in Game 4.)

The ball is loose, the game is on the line, and LeBron James is the first one to the floor. James reaches out to tap the ball away from Noah on one leg diving. 

One dive is good effort. James taps it once on the dive, then gives full-out extension to keep the ball from going out of bounds and keep it out of his hands. Noah starts to dive for the ball as well. But Udonis Haslem is in position to dive as well and he goes for the ball at the same time. 

Check out how close this was to going out of bounds on James' steal. 

This may have been the most effort LeBron James has ever made on a basketball floor. For a player who consistently is questioned for his intensity and effort, there can be no confusion. James wanted this more than any other player on the floor and every bit of his unbelievable athleticism was put into securing this ball as he taps it towards the middle of the floor. 

Joakim Noah gave a tremendous effort in Game 4 at both ends. He really hustled to work the glass, try and score, defend, and even run the break. But here not one, but two Heat players are quicker to dive for the ball than him and both beat him to the punch. Haslem dives on the loose ball like a fumble, and turns his back to Noah to try and create a gap between Noah and the ball with his body. 

As Noah dives over him, Haslem slips the ball to Mike Miller, who eventually gets it to Wade who is fouled. 

Another Bulls turnover, their last shot, and hope is snuffed out by the Heat. The Bulls were supposed to win this series with superior team play and greater effort over an entitled Heat team. But what makes the Heat so dangerous at this moment is not the talent. It's that talent brought to its fullest potential by the kind of effort seen on this play. No alley-oops. No smoke and mirrors. Just effort. 

And a win. 

Posted on: May 25, 2011 12:39 am

Boozer's flagrant turned things for Miami

Posted by Royce Young

There was a lot of talk prior to Game 4 that the Bulls needed to send a physical message to the Heat. That whether it be Taj Gibson, Omer Asik, Kurt Thomas or someone else, the first Miami player to cruise down the lnae needed to take a clobbering.

That's what a lot of people thought.

That kind of thing can work a lot of the time to fire up a team and send a message. But it's about picking spots. The correct spots, that is. And Carlos Boozer did not pick a good spot for a flagrant foul.

Chicago was leading 77-74 with 4:40 remaining as Chris Bosh went at the rim. He got a clear path because Joakim Noah overplayed a pass and slipped and Boozer rotated (properly) over to help. He fouled Bosh preventing two easy points, but for some reason followed through with his left arm and shoved Bosh to the floor.

Boom, flagrant one.

What Miami got was two free throws and possession of the ball which turned into four points and a one-point lead. Just like that.

Was it a semi-weak flagrant? Yeah, probably. Not the most malicious thing ever and Bosh sold it pretty hard. But there's no doubt it was correctly called. Boozer's foul was excessive and there was no need for him to extend his left forearm out like that. Plus, it was up around the shoulders and any time that happens, you're getting nailed.

Wrong place, wrong time for Boozer to try and show he was tough. Kind of typical of him to mess up in a big moment I guess. That decision by Boozer didn't cost the Bulls the game by any means but that was definitely a swing play in the game. Miami picked up four points and the lead off of one bad foul.

That foul in the first quarter might've had a reverse effect. It might've sent a message and rallied his team. But in crunch time when points were the most valuable thing in the game, it was just pretty much stupid.
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 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 5:35 pm
Edited on: May 24, 2011 5:33 am

Noah fined $50,000 by NBA for gay slur

Joakim Noah has been fined $50K for using a gay slur during Game 3 of the Eastern Conference finals. The comment was directed toward a fan while Noah was on the bench. Kobe Bryant was fined more in early April because Bryant's comment was directed at a league official, a spokesman tells CBSSports.com

Posted by Matt Moore

All the talk today, aside from wondering where in the red blazes Derrick Rose's offense has gone and if anyone that's GM of the Blazers can last more than a season, has been about Joakim Noah's homosexual slur used toward a fan Sunday night. The comment came in retaliation for repeated verbal abuse, and Noah's remark was caught on video. And, just as the reaction was swift and strong from both the public and the league in the case of Kobe Bryant's incident, so too the outcry was quick towards Noah's Heat-of-the-moment utterance. Now the league has followed suit.

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The NBA today fined Noah $50,000 for the use of the homosexual slur. Kobe Bryant was fined $100,000 for his remark toward an official in early April. A league spokesman confirmed to CBSSports.com that the differential in the fines was: "Kobe's fine included discipline for verbal abuse of a game official." 

Noah apologized Monday morning for the remark saying he would "accept the consequences." Noah met with officials Monday to discuss the incident. Certainly the fact that Noah's comment occurred on national television during the second-most-watched NBA game in cable history had something to do with the attention it garnered, but it's good to see the league responding quickly and fairly to both incidents. Some will question why Noah's fine was less, and if abusing a fan is any less harmful than abusing an official, but in reality, the extra money fined Bryant was for a separate issue. It was in part for using the term, and in part for the abuse of an official. 

With Noah having apologized, and no doubt seeking the same reparations with public relations as Bryant did in a series of PSA ads against homophobic slurs, the incident should move behind the Bulls. Now they just have to worry about being in a 2-1 hole going into Tuesday's game in Miami.
The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com