First Round Game 2: Pacers-Bulls Preview

Game 1 stats:
Danny Granger: 24 points (10-20, 4-8 from three), 6 rebounds
Tyler Hansbrough: 22 points (10-19), 4 rebounds
Darren Collison: 17 points (7-15), 6 rebounds, 9 assists

Derrick Rose: 39 points (10-23, 0-9 from three), 6 rebounds, 6 assists, 3 blocks
Luol Deng: 18 points (7-13), 11 rebounds
Kyle Korver: 13 points (4-7, 4-4 from three), game high +13 plus/minus

After a “disappointing win,” the Bulls look to take a two game lead before they travel to Indiana for the next two games. Chicago played against one of Indiana’s best performances, maybe the best they will face, and still won; thanks in large part to Derrick Rose.

Remember when Rose was criticized for not getting to the line? It was quite the opposite this weekend when Rose got to the line 21 times, and hit 19 of those freebies. All of Rose’s great plays notwithstanding, he shot (and missed) nine three pointers. That cannot happen again. A couple of them were end-of-the-quarter-heaves, but too many of them were silly shots; especially when Rose was getting to the rim at will.

It’s a great sign that the Bulls willed themselves to win, showing amazing poise in the last few minutes. Indiana, on the other hand, didn’t show the greatest late-game composure, allowing the Bulls to go on a 16-1 run to close the game. But the fact that the Bulls were down by ten, in the fourth quarter, against the worst team in the playoffs, isn’t great. It shows that this team is still young and has a lot to work on.

There was a lot of talk about Boozer’s poor showing. He scored just 12 points on 4-11 shooting, grabbed six rebounds and added four turnovers and five fouls. Not quite the game Bulls fans were expecting from their new inside scorer.

But his defense wasn’t as bad as some say it was, especially against Tyler Hansbrough. Hansbrough played a great game, as he did the last time the Bulls and Pacers met in the regular season. With Boozer on the court, Hansbrough shot 33 percent (1-7 from the restricted area, 3-5 from mid-range). When Boozington was out, Hansbrough shot 86 percent (6-7 from the field overall, 4-5 from midrange).

Those numbers don’t look great considering that Hansbrough is clearly a mid-range shooter and the Bulls didn’t close out well on him, but don’t expect him to get any open looks tonight as Coach Thibodeau is sure to make adjustments.

So what did Thibs think was wrong on defense? “Everything,” Thibodeau said Sunday. “Every aspect from ball pressure, challenging shots, finishing the defense, getting back, getting set. Fourth-quarter defense was a lot different than the rest of the game.”

One reason the Bulls won the game, was the rebounding margin. Chicago out-rebounded the Pacers 49 to 34 and 21 to 13 on the offensive glass. Joakim Noah had eight offensive boards himself. But the game didn’t start out looking like Chicago was going to control the boards. Roy Hibbert had four offensive rebounds in the first quarter. He ended up with five offensive rebounds and eight total rebounds.

Maybe the Bulls learned that the playoffs are really different. And after seeing upsets in a few other series, hopefully they will come out hungrier than ever. The Pacers have nothing to lose and they played that way for most of the game. But then they seemed to get tight, as did Chicago’s defense. If the Bulls can play the same defense they showed at the end of game one, this game shouldn’t be too close. But isn’t that what everyone said about game one?

From ESPN Stats and Information:
“Derrick Rose has been sensational in playoff Game 1s, averaging 34.3 PPG, 5.7 RPG and 9.0 APG. Game 2s have not been as kind, as Rose is averaging less than half as many points along with fewer assists and rebounds. Rose is 0-2 in Game 2.”

About the Author:
Braedan Ritter was born and raised in Pennsylvania but was swayed by gifts from his aunt to follow the Chicago sports teams. It didn’t hurt that the Bulls had a guy named Michael Jordan playing for them, and the Sixers had…Derrick Coleman. Braedan has stuck with Chicago through thick and thin, and really thin (see: Chicago Cubs). And speaking of Coleman, Braedan is currently a student at Syracuse University.

3 Responses to First Round Game 2: Pacers-Bulls Preview

    Mr Bull April 18, 2011 at 5:53 pm #

    I laughed when I heard Vogel saying “GUYS WE ARE A BETTER REBOUNDING TEAM THEN THEY ARE!!! “

    Crazee April 18, 2011 at 6:57 pm #

    I generally don’t care when the Bulls have a weak first quarter, most of their games are pretty close after one and I’m used to it. But I’d like to see the Bulls make a concerted effort to get a lead early and see if they can get the Pacers to play from behind. The Pacers, when trailing, have a tendency to just throw up shots early in the shot clock. This plays to the Bulls advantage, and I think the game will be much easier.

    I’d also like to see Rose get Boozer and Noah some early cheap baskets to loosen the defense up for him and Deng. Not that DRose and the Denger need it, but it’d be nice.

    I don’t need a blowout, a solid 95-83 game would be fine. Oh, and go Atlanta.

  3. Tae April 19, 2011 at 12:14 am #

    You guys are going to be disappointed with Boozer if you think he’s going to have a consistent, good game throughout the playoffs. At least none of you have gone pure meathead like the Afternoon Saloon, calling Noah an overpaid bust and Asik the future of the franchise.

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