Archive for April 28th, 2011
Good ankle or bad ankle, the bottom line is that Derrick Rose is living up to his expectations as the leagues MVP. It’s a bit of a contradiction that a team like the Indiana Pacers would manage to outplay with both intensity and perseverance the Chicago Bulls and yet find itself down 3-1 in the series before game 5 at Chicago. Like we had said on a previous entry on this blog, No.1 seeds guided by the league’s MVP shouldn’t be struggling that much against a team that only won 37 games in the regular season. But they did. And they sure enough crushed the Pacers on game 5 to not only secure a spot into the Eastern Conference Semifinals, but to also prove out that they might just have what it takes to win it all.
Everything was looking fine for the Pacers until the third quarter. Many had wondered whether Derrick Rose would be able to play with the usual intensity and speed with which he carries his game of if the ankle injury suffered on Game 4 on Saturday would slow him down. Well, Derrick Rose turned on the engines in a 30-19 blowout in the third quarter and the Indiana Pacers were never able to get even close after that.
Rose returned to the game at the 6:17 mark of the third quarter. It wasn’t the best scenario. He already had four fouls and it was uncertain how his ankle was holding on to an intense game. Soon we would all know. Rose scored 10 points in the Bulls’ 23-8 run, including three 3-pointers, a block of 7-foot-2 Roy Hibbert’s shot under the Pacers’ basket, two assists, one steal and one rebound. That’s with bad ankle. Derrick finished off the game with 8-of-17 shooting and 25 points.
The Bulls would play on Monday for the Eastern Conference semifinals against either the Orlando Magic or the Atlanta Hawks. As of press time, the Hawks are up in the series by 3-2. Orlando won the last game but it should have a very hard time playing against the odds and historic tendencies as only 8 teams in the NBA playoffs have managed to come back from a 3-1 deficit. Still, whoever makes it to the second round is going to have to find a way to slow down the Bulls.
There are a couple of issues that the Chicago Bulls need to address before Monday’s game. Gibson replaced the under performing Boozer and the difference was stunning as the younger player’s put on a renewed defensive effort that forced seven Pacers turnovers in the third quarter leading to 11 Bulls points.
Boozer, on the other hand, had two points and five rebounds, and just wasn’t great. He managed to finish the series with an average of 10.4 points on 35.8 percent shooting and 7.6 rebounds in 30 minutes of play. The bottom line is that no matter what happens in the next few games, the Bulls are going to struggle with a stronger offensive team. Derrick Rose could possibly keep on guiding the Bulls into bigger and better things. He is going to need a little more help from the rest of the squad if they really hope to get back into those glorious days of the Jordan era.