First Round Game 4: Bulls-Pacers Preview and Open Thread

Game 2 Stats:
Luol Deng: 21 points (8-19 shooting), 6 rebounds, 6 assists
Derrick Rose: 23 points (4-18 shooting, 13-15 from the line), 5 TOs

Danny Granger: 21 points (10-21 shooting), 4 rebounds, 2 steals

Looking to close out the Pacers, Chicago will try to finally put a complete game together in this series. In games one and two, it was Derrick Rose who carried the Bulls. He averaged 37.5 points on 21-48 shooting (31-34 free throws), seven rebounds and six assists.

But in game three, Rose had a poor showing, shooting just 4-18 (22 percent) from the field, while recording just three rebounds, two assists and five turnovers. If there was a bright spot it would be his four steals (he had only three steals in the first two games combined). Oh, and his game-winning layup with under twenty seconds left, that was a good thing too. Even in his poor games, Rose comes up big and his confidence shows.

“We’ve been winning games and we didn’t even play our best basketball yet,” Rose said. “We’ve been finding ways to win. I think these games are going to help us in the long run.”

And this new path to victory answered the question of whether the Bulls could win if Rose had an off game and who else could step up when needed. Luol Deng answered that call. Deng scored 21 points on 8-19 shooting and tied for a game-best plus/minus of +9 (tied with Josh McRoberts). Joakim Noah came up big as well. Jo scored eleven points, grabbed ten rebounds and blocked four shots. Keith Bogans even hit all of his threes to add nine points.

The Bulls still only shot 38.9 percent from the field though. And after dominating the boards the first two games, Chicago tied Indy with 42 boards. There’s always going to be something to work on, but this time the “something” happens to be a “someone”.

Carlos Boozer missed the call for filling in for Rose’s poor game. His phone must be on vibrate and maybe he forgot to set his alarm as well, because that would explain his relative no-show thus far in the playoffs. Boozer is averaging just 11 points per game so far on 36 percent shooting. He had one good game, game two, where he scored 17 points and grabbed 16 rebounds. His offensive rating has fallen from 107.4 during the regular season, to 100.2 during this series.

There are a few positives for Boozington. His defensive rating has dropped as well, from 100.94 to 96.5. And he is leading the team in rebounding during the series (11). But the Bulls didn’t sign him for his defense, obviously (because that would be like signing Darko Milicic to play basketball and pay him $20-million. Wait, someone did that. Nevermind, bad example). Boozer is on the floor for his offense, and, for the most part, it hasn’t been there. He shot 51 percent in the regular season, and he’s now shooting 15 percent worse in the first three games of the playoffs. Maybe the Bulls won’t need Boozer’s offense this series, but they will need an inside presence in the next rounds if they advance and want to keep advancing.

First-things-first, the Bulls need to close out the Pacers. And Indiana will throw everything they have at the Bulls (including elbows apparently) in what could be their last game of the season (and with a lock-out looming, who knows how long they could be done for). Or, maybe the Pacers spirit will be broken after losing a fourth-quarter lead in each of the last three games. I wouldn’t bet on a professional team that has played the number one seed close in all three games to end the series by giving up. No matter what happens, the Pacers deserve a lot of respect for the fight they have shown thus far. They have drastically disrupted the Bulls offense and made what many believed to be a lop-sided series very interesting (Chicago has won the three games by a combined 15 points).

It would be nice for the Bulls to get some rest. Especially Rose before round two, and before he gets beaten up again.

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.

15 Responses to First Round Game 4: Bulls-Pacers Preview and Open Thread

    BULL4EVER April 23, 2011 at 1:18 pm #

    Never mind Chicago in need of a shooting guard, Carlos Boozer needs to totally step up and totally live up his contract because Chicago can’t be having another ben wallace on this Bulls team trying to win it all for the first time since the Jordan/Pippen and Phil Jackson dynasty days.GO BULLS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    Mr Bull April 23, 2011 at 2:03 pm #

    at least Big Ben was a defensive force inside…

    BoppinBob April 23, 2011 at 3:18 pm #

    What little I have seen of this playoff series it has looked like Boozer has been double teamed. If that is actually the case, then he has provided the threat of scoring and created opportunities for other Bulls.

    What was the Bulls record with Big Ben? How did they do in the playoffs? Also, I do not see anyone complaining about Bogans right now. Bogans is at 40% from 3, and Korver is unconscienous ut there. The Bulls just need to continue their focus and not worry about stats, just worry about wins.

  4. Inception April 23, 2011 at 10:15 pm #

    uh, yeah……so when can we start the Boozer trade rumors?

  5. Inception April 23, 2011 at 10:23 pm #

    to be fair, rose is not hitting his jumpshots, which is also costing CHI….he’s hit a cold-spell

    Adam April 23, 2011 at 11:33 pm #

    @ Inception,
    Joking, right?

    The Pacers are simply playing hard-nose out of their mind basketball, while the Bulls have been in a funk the entire series. Boozer has been most of a no show (offensively), but so has everyone else and yet they are still 3-1 and going back to Chi City. Expect Booz, Rose, and Jo No to man handle them in game 5. And I can see a pretty hard foul coming from Big Sexy; it’s been 4 games and he hasn’t let them know what he’s about. Bulls by 20.

    inkybreath April 23, 2011 at 11:34 pm #

    Exactly, Boozy is supposed to be the guy to step up when Rose is cold.

    deron April 24, 2011 at 12:35 am #

    I was rooting for the Bulls to make a comeback. If they did, it would have probably been the most competitive sweep in the playoffs in the last 20 years. The Pacers are putting up a good fight, so I guess it will be the most competitive 5-game series in the last 20 years.

  9. Inception April 24, 2011 at 1:20 am #

    @Adam, i understand indy is playing at full speed with nothing to lose, but at some point, the 2nd option (supposedly) is supposed to step up….can we get at least one 20 pt game from Booz??…and what about that bone-headed technical foul from Boozer?…who knows, that one point probably cost chicago the game…they would’ve been down by 2 instead of 3 on the last play out of the timeout….i honestly haven’t seen one really solid game from Boozer thus far…i’ve seen it from Deng…i’ve seen it from Noah….but Booz? nope.

  10. TBF April 24, 2011 at 1:56 am #

    Well, Rose needs to realize that he has no place at all shooting 9 three pointers. That’s just inexcusable. 1-9 from downtown. That’s your ballgame right there.

    inkybreath April 24, 2011 at 2:32 am #

    —not to steer it away from Rose. He is being challenged and he is not reacting so well on the floor. Could he not find any mid-range jumpers to take? It was easy enough to watch Granger and follow suit ….

    BFD April 24, 2011 at 3:39 am #

    Could be worse. We could be either of the teams from Texas right now. (Or Orlando.) I don’t know why people are getting so frustrated that we aren’t killing the Pacers, when the Heat are the only other top seed that looks like it has it easy.

    Scottie Pimpin April 24, 2011 at 6:20 am #

    Dear coach,

    if your not going to play Asik , can you at least plug him in for like a minute and let him elbow jeff foster in the face the way he did to rose and deng, thanks.


    Colin April 25, 2011 at 5:18 pm #

    One thing to the Pacers coach (as soon as he is their official coach I will bother to learn his name)….

    You should not be up 3-1. Stop saying that.

    You are down 1-3 because you are an 8 seed that proven to not be that good at winning basketball games. You fold at the end in close games.

    We are up 3-1 (despite playing poorly) because we are a team that has proven over the course of the season that we often dominate and routinely find ways to win in close games.

    Now, if you are ever a good team regularly wins, or has shown the propensity to win close games against great competition, then I will allow you to say “we SHOULD be up 3-1”.

    Until then, just be very happy with your one win in game 4.


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