|Written by Michael|
Bet on the NBAWatching the Bulls play basketball can be an infuriating experience because the team has such a difficult time scoring baskets for long stretches.
This has been the case especially in the playoffs, where opponents have clamped down on Derrick Rose, forcing other Bulls to step up – a task which most of them have been unable to accomplish. The series against the Heat has been the clearest example of why Chicago is not quite ready for an NBA Finals run just yet, although they are on the right track.
The Miami Heat are the best defensive team the Bulls have had to face in the playoffs so far, and they have done a great job of shutting down Derrick Rose in the half court. When the Bulls have to run a set offense, they spend too much time at the top of the key, trying to set up something for Rose. But when he is inevitably double-teamed, Miami has been able to force bad shots from Rose, turnovers, or even worse shots from teammates.
When Rose is shut down even a little bit, it shows how few scoring options the Chicago Bulls really have. Carlos Boozer can put in a few shots but gives up even more with his shaky defense, creating a net loss against teams like the Heat. Kyle Korver has yet to hit three-pointers with any sort of consistency, making him a huge liability when he is on the floor missing long-range jumpers. Chicago's 40% shooting and 22 turnovers were proof their offense is still not adequate.
The Heat, again, shot better than the Bulls at 42.7% – just barely enough to keep an edge, and got to the foul line 38 times to the Bulls' 22. And where Chicago made only 17-of-22 free throws, the Heat made 32-of-38. Chicago's crushing defense over this series has caused them to get into foul trouble early on in quarters, and then Miami has exploited this factor to live at the line.
The Chicago defense allows them to slow games down and hang around even if they are shooting poorly, and they had a chance to win the game in regulation. But last night's game went into overtime, where the Bulls went completely cold, making only two shots and scoring 4 points to Miami's 16 in five minutes. The Bulls are now down 1-3 against the Heat and are almost guaranteed to be eliminated in one of the next three games, unless they find some offense from anyone on their roster.