Tag:Chicago Bulls
Posted on: January 29, 2012 6:48 pm

Five big takeaways from Bulls-Heat

Posted by Royce Young

Round one went to the Heat, but not much separates Miami and Chicago. (Getty Images)

For the first time since Game 5 of the Eastern Confernce Finals where the Heat put together a massive comeback -- or the Bulls choked away a big lead, depending on perspective -- the Bulls and Heat matched up Sunday in Miami. It went as expected, down to the wire, with a couple key possessions decided it as Miami slid by, 97-93.

It was a game that will be played three more times during the regular season and likely one we'll see four, five, six or maybe seven more times in the postseason. It's one of what will be many more, but here are five big things to take away from the first matchup.

1. The final minute was pretty much perfect. Why? Because it was a total mess. Or as Kevin Garnett might say, a bar fight. The Bulls clawed back to finally have a shot at their first lead of the game as Derrick Rose stepped to the line with Chicago down 94-93 with 22 seconds left. Of note: Rose was 12-12 from the line to that point and had made all 28 free throws he'd attempted in the fourth quarter this season. He missed the first short. He missed the second long. The Heat gained possession and Joakim Noah was forced to foul LeBron James.

So it was LeBron's turn to finish the game at the line. He missed the first short. He missed the second long.

And that's when things started to get weird.

Off the second miss, there was an inadvertant whistle as Dwyane Wade saved the ball and Miami appeared to regain possession. The officials decided to jump it up at mid-court, but Monty McCutchen's toss was incredibly lopsided as LeBron easily won it against Taj Gibson. The Bulls fouled, Mario Chalmers stepped to the line with 13 seconds left. He made the first, missed the second and the ball somehow squirted through Carlos Boozer's arms as he called timeout. Rose grabbed it, got the timeout called and the Bulls, after all of that, had the ball with nine seconds left and a chance to tie it or win.

Rose got free and had a decent look for 2 as Richard Hamilton stood wide open in the corner. Rose came up short, the Heat grabbed the ball and finished off the Bulls in a completely fitting finish to a wild, entertaining game between the East's top two teams.

2. LeBron v. Rose. Both were absolutely spectacular. Rose finished with 34, LeBron 35. It was a show of two of the most electric players with the ball in their hands. Everything you'd want from a Heat-Bulls game.

The Heat didn't use LeBron on Rose much in the game like they did in the Eastern Finals, but LeBron did switch to Rose one time -- the Bulls final possession. Rose was terrific despite missing the free throws and 17 of his 28 shots, but he did it abusing Mario Chalmers and Norris Cole. With the Bulls in a position to win or tie, LeBron switched to Rose.

Chicago ran a quick little set that got the ball to Rose isolated at the top of the key on LeBron. Rose got an on-ball screen, slipped past LeBron and jumpstopped at an elbow. Two Heat defenders stepped up, Udonis Haslem flopped to try and draw a charge and Rose was left with an open 15-footer. Which of course he missed.

But for the first 47:51 of the game, the Heat resisted having LeBron guard Rose, like he did so much of in the Eastern Finals. I couldn't help but wonder if it was an intentional switch to try and keep LeBron off of Rose and let the Heat defend the reiging MVP collectively, but it's almost like Erik Spoelstra was saving it as his secret weapon, just in case. As the two teams go forward against each other, it's definitely something to watch for.

3. Rose still has to do too much. There's a key difference between the Bulls and Heat: Rose defers to Richard Hamilton, Kyle Korver, Carlos Boozer and Ronnie Brewer. LeBron defers to Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh. A crucial distinction.

The Bulls are mostly in a position where either they have to kill the offensive glass and create multiple shot possessions or play incredible defense and win an ugly 80-78 game. Or hope that Rose plays an entirely flawless game.

The good news for Chicago is that all three of those things are entirely possible. The Bulls did a great job creating second opportunities, played solid defense and Rose was really good. But still, they didn't get enough of all three. I'm not so sure the Heat are all that much better than the Bulls, but I do think Chicago's margin for error is much smaller.

4. Luol Deng matters, a lot. Forgotten in all of this is Chicago's second best player didn't play. Luol Deng, a guy that gives the Bulls almost 16 points and 7.5 rebounds a game was out with a wrist and hand injury. Not only did the Bulls miss the extra offensive punch Deng gives, but they missed most his defensive ability.

Deng would've been the primary defender on LeBron, but instead Chicago was forced to rotate guys like Ronnie Brewer, Rip Hamilton and big guys like Taj Gibson and Joakim Noah on him. Not ideal for the Bulls and it's a big reason LeBron exploded for 35 points. You can't take something away from this game without remembering that the Bulls were minus Deng. He means way too much to them, especially for the reason he's their guy to stick on No. 6.

5. A seven-game series between these two would be terrific. I'm not entirely sure who the favorite would be, but if this game is any indication, it will likely come down to either Derrick Rose carrying his Bulls, or a combination of LeBron and Wade doing the same for Miami. It's a wonderful contrast between a top heavy squad with three amazing players against a deep roster headed by one incredible player.

Sunday, Wade wasn't great scoring 15 points on 4-16 shooting, but that's the design of the Heat. One guy didn't get it done, so another stepped up. In this case, it was LeBron and Chris Bosh (24 points, 12 rebounds). Bosh is a linchpin in that when Deng is healthy, the Bulls really can defend the Heat well. There likely will be games where Wade and LeBron are struggling and Bosh has to outclass Boozer inside to give Miami easy points.

There's a lot of stuff going on between these two teams. A lot of matchup issues, adjustments and big players making big plays. They're on a crash course to see each other again in the Eastern Finals and as Sunday showed, it'll likely be a beautiful mess.
Posted on: January 29, 2012 6:37 pm
Edited on: January 29, 2012 7:25 pm

Carlos Boozer's son cheers for Heat, against dad

Carlos Boozer's son cheers against his father. (ABC Broadcast)
Posted by Ben Golliver 

Carlos Boozer has been the butt of thousands and thousands of jokes since he signed with the Chicago Bulls and immediately disappointed everyone by getting injured and then being a virtual non-factor in the playoffs last year. But it's never been quite this bad.

It's never been so bad that his own family turned against him on national television.

During the fourth quarter of Sunday's game between the Bulls and their major current rival, the Miami Heat, the television broadcast featured a quick story on Boozer's son, who has made a remarkable recovery from sickle cell anemia. As the camera panned to Boozer's family, seated in the American Airlines Arena crowd, Boozer's son was caught chanting "Let's Go Heat!" along with the home crowd.

Boozer's wife appeared to think it was funny, smiling as it happened.

The cheering was so obvious and extended that it was even called out by the broadcast crew and shown on a replay during a dead ball stoppage.

"If I'm pops and I'm watching this film," said former NBA coach Jeff Van Gundy, "if my kid is yelling 'Let's Go Heat' like we just saw, I've got a problem... You can't go against pop's team... We would have a long talk." 

Papa Boozer, who finished with 10 points, 9 rebounds, 2 assists and 2 steals in 28 minutes, surely left the arena disappointed after the Heat escaped with a 97-93 victory over the Bulls. Maybe his son's excitement could help cheer him up on the drive home? 

Here's the video of Carlos Boozer's son cheering against his father during a game against the Miami Heat.

Posted on: January 29, 2012 3:51 pm
Edited on: January 30, 2012 6:47 am

LeBron James jumps over Bulls guard for alley-oop

Posted by Ben Golliver

Everything was proceeding normally until LeBron James decided to jump over somebody.

The Heat's All-Star forward jumped completely over Chicago Bulls guard John Lucas III to complete an alley-oop from Heat guard Dwyane Wade during Sunday's matchup between last year's Eastern Conference finalists. With the Heat leading 14-7, James used a back screen from Heat guard Mario Chalmers to run mostly free on the baseline. Lucas, a 5-foot-11 guard, switched in an attempt to defend James once the lob action developed. James simply hurdled him completely, catching the pass with one hand above the rim and somehow managing to finish the dunk cleanly. Upon re-entry to Earth, James turned around and barked at Lucas, letting him know exactly what had happened.

"It's a great pass by D-Wade," James said in a televised postgame interview. "Without the pass, I don't finish the shot. Give all the props to D-Wade. I just went to go get it."

"Give all the credit to D-Wade," James repeated in a postgame interview posted on ESPN.com. "He threw it, I can't let him down and not go get it. It was a great play out of the timeout, D-Wade threw it and I was able to finish it... We're not 'Lob City' but we're doing OK." 

Simply ridiculous. Here's the video of LeBron James jumping over a defender to finish an alley-oop against the Chicago Bulls.

Posted on: January 29, 2012 2:37 pm
Edited on: January 29, 2012 2:49 pm

Bulls F Luol Deng (wrist) out vs. Heat

Posted by Ben Golliver

Chicago Bulls forward Luol Deng will not play during Sunday's showdown game against the Miami Heat due to an ongoing wrist injury, according to the Chicago Tribune. Bulls coach Tom Thibodeau reportedly told reports that Deng is "very close" to a return, but it will not come in the first 2011-2012 match-up between last season's Eastern Conference Finalists.

The Bulls announced this week that Deng suffered a torn ligament in his left hand/wrist. Deng had circled Sunday's tilt with the Heat, who eliminated the Bulls from last season's playoffs, as a possible return date. The game is set to tip at 3:30 EST at American Airlines Arena in Miami.

Deng, 26, is averaging 15.9 points, 7.5 rebounds, 2.6 assists and 1.2 steals in 38.3 games for Chicago this season. He missed three games with the wrist injury this week and last played against the Charlotte Bobcats on Jan. 21.

The paper also reported that guard Richard Hamilton is a gametime decision with a groin injury and that guard C.J. Watson would sit out with a wrist injury. The Associated Press reported just before tip that Hamilton will start for Chicago.
Posted on: January 27, 2012 2:53 pm

NBA Podcast: Where Howard stands with the Magic

Posted by EOB

Getty Images

Matt Moore and Ken Berger go over Kevin Love's extension, where Dwight Howard stands with the Magic and the huge game Sunday between Chicago and Miami.
Posted on: January 27, 2012 1:37 pm

3-on-2 Fast Break: Bulls vs. Heat

Posted by EOB

LeBron matched against Rose could be the most interesting matchup in Bulls-Heat. (Getty Images)

3-on-2 Fast Break is a weekly feature here on Eye on Basketball where our intrepid bloggers tackle two questions, comparing two elements. This week, we focus on Sunday's showdown between the Chicago Bulls and Miami Heat. Follow Eye on Basketball on Twitter and like us on Facebook.

1. Heat-Bulls on Sunday, and Luol Deng wants to try and play. Considering the long-term goals of the Bulls, shouldn't they at least not rush him back into a game versus, you know, LeBron James?

Ben Golliver: I'm not going to play doctor, but I'm in the "better safe than sorry" crowd this season, especially as we've seen other coaches use extra caution in sitting their players and/or extending the timelines until they return. The Bulls are in a position, given their record and their talent base, where this isn't anything approaching a must-win. Follow the trainer's advice, don't push it and exercise an extra measure of caution. There are no statement games in late-January this season. This should be a relatively simply risk/reward calculation.

Royce Young: If you're healthy and CAN play, I say you play. It's one game and it really doesn't mean a lot in the grand scheme, but as long as you're not risking long-term damage or something, go for it. It's the type of thing where if Deng re-injures it playing 46 minutes against the Heat, everyone will blame Thibodeau for rushing things back. But these guys want to play, especially in marquee games like that. How are you really going to tell Deng to take it easy if he's ready and willing to go?

Matt Moore: Deng's toughness is admirable. But the Bulls have a goal of a championship and there's no reason to throw out Deng against one of the most physical covers in the league just to try and win a regular season game. It may make them feel better to get a win against the Heat after the kick in the pants Miami gave them in the Conference Finals, but not if it winds up keeping Deng out longer. The shortened schedule is already forcing them to play Derrick Rose with that toe injury which sounds like it hurts like all get out, and they may or may not be short Taj Gibson. Finally the Heat aren't the team with injury issues.

2. What's the matchup to keep an eye on?

Golliver: Eddy Curry continuing his revenge tour against his old teams, of course. I'm expecting double-doubles against both New York on Friday and Chicago on Sunday and I'm not talking about In-and-Out Burgers. But, really, Rose versus the Heat's defense is the match-up. He left the Eastern Conference Finals with a taste in his mouth and he made it clear this week after the Pacers game that he's taking names and making a mental list of those who slight him. How that plays out after LeBron James decided the East Finals by locking him up will be must-see TV.

Young: Derrick Rose vs. LeBron James. That defensive switch really made all the difference in the playoff series last year. LeBron completely shut down Rose's ability to penetrate and because of his size, Rose couldn't even settle for a clean jumper over him. The addition of Richard Hamilton is supposed to help with taking a little of the stress off Rose in those circumstances, but this game will come down to the stars making plays. Will it be LeBron or Rose? Unfortunately for Rose, he's going to have to do it with big No. 6 in front of him.

Moore: Carlos Boozer vs. Chris Bosh. Bosh shocked some people by coming through huge for the Heat in this series, and he's off to an even better start this year. He's figured out where to fit in the Miami offense and he's been more aggressive for once. Boozer's Boozer. He's going to get his but how he plays defensively will be a bit more important. The Bulls can't afford for two of the Big 3 to get going. Wade may be shaky coming back from injury, and who knows how LeBron James will respond in a big game like this after the last six months. But if Bosh gets it going, that's going to create havoc for Chicago, especially with Taj Gibson possibly out or not at 100 percent.
Posted on: January 26, 2012 8:14 pm
Edited on: January 26, 2012 8:42 pm

Derrick Rose ticked at Pacers for celebration

Posted by Ben Golliver  

Derrick Rose is peeved at the Indiana Pacers(Getty Images)
Watch your back, Indiana Pacers. You're officially on Chicago Bullls point guard Derrick Rose's hit list.

The reigning NBA MVP broke from his usually humble, soft-spoken demeanor to let reporters know that he's holding a grudge against the Pacers for how they celebrated a Wednesday night victory at the United Center.

ESPNChicago.com reports that Rose said he can't wait to get his revenge.
"I'll never forget how they celebrated just from winning this game," Rose told reporters. "I can't wait to play them again."
Pacers coach Frank Vogel, meanwhile, explained that his team's post-game celebration was simply a product of their pent-up frustration at losing to the Bulls in the 2011 playoffs.
"They are just thrilled to get the win here," Indiana coach Frank Vogel said. "They were crushed that we didn't beat them last year in the playoffs."
This isn't any sort of reckless trash talk from Rose, but it is an instructive episode because it represents a full step of evolution. Not only are Rose and the Bulls playing like the league's best team, they have been playing like that long enough so that the target on their back is fully formed and their past vanquished victims are out for revenge night after night.

The next step, of course, is to have the rings that elevate that dynamic to the next level, but this is clearly progress from when the Bulls were still developing around Rose in 2009-2010 and then surprising people with the consistency of greatness in their play in 2010-2011.

A little more than a week ago, Los Angeles Lakers star Kobe Bryant told the world that only two NBA players have the competitive edge that he has: Chris Paul and Rose. Over the last 24 hours, we've gotten a great glimpse at what Bryant meant. Paul got into a battle of respect with Lakers big man Pau Gasol while Rose takes a Jordanesque turn here, using a perceived slight as fuel for the next competition.

It took a long, long time for NBA players to finally realize that they should do whatever it takes not to anger Jordan and Bryant, lest they feel wrath in return. Given that history, this won't be the last time we see comments like this from Rose. Until then, we all countdown until the fun part: March 5, the next time Indiana visits the Windy City.
Posted on: January 26, 2012 11:30 am

Luol Deng wants to return Sunday

Deng with no regard for Luol's life. (Getty Images)
By Matt Moore

Luol Deng may be a little insane. We may need to check to see if Tom Thibodeau has done something bad to his wiring during practice. Because what Deng's talking about is just beyond crazy. 

Deng's torn ligament in his left wrist is in all likelihood different and more severe than the one Kobe Bryant suffered and is playing through. It's a testament to Bryant's intensity that he's gunning his way through it. And Deng wants to join him on the floor, despite doctor's orders. Form the Chicago Tribune:  
Hardened by past questions about his toughness and buoyed by the Bulls' championship potential, an upbeat Luol Deng will try to play through a torn ligament in his left wrist that sources say doctors suggested he have surgery to repair.

"I know it sounds terrible, but I really think I'll be fine," Deng said.

Deng even is telling teammates he hasn't ruled out playing in Sunday's game against the Heat, though that seems unlikely after coach Tom Thibodeau conceded Deng is "going to be out awhile."
via Chicago Bulls: Luol Deng determined to play - Chicago Tribune.

So the doctors say you really need to get surgery, and you say you'll play Sunday. We may need to stage an intervention for Lue.

The biggest differential is that Deng still has several years left on his career arc. The Lakers' window is closing, and Bryant is desperate to obtain that sixth ring. Deng is searching for his first, but the Bulls' window is propped open for the foreseeable future with Derrick Rose, Taj Gibson, Joakim Noah, and even a few more years of Carlos Boozer. Deng risking permanent damage to his wrist, kind of an important joint, is admirable but also exceptionally risky. If nothing else, the Bulls medical staff should make sure they keep him out as long as will at least get the wrist stabilized a bit more. 

Deng is gritty, tough, relentless, an All-Star caliber player. But the Bulls' need for Deng go far beyond the next four months.  

The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com