He’s ready. He’s ready to lead the Bulls in a deep playoff ran. It as a tough game 1, with Indiana frustrating the Chicago Bulls with tough defense, shifting from zone, giving different looks on everyone while going wild from the outside most of the game (10-18 from three). Still, there’s no reason the Bulls won’t win their first playoff series with Derrick Rose as the helm.
Derrick Rose was terrible from the outside (0-9 !!!) as Chicago went 6-20 on the night, but finished with 39 points, carrying the Bulls throughout the match and on to their fourth quarter coupe, finally getting the lead and holding on to a 104-99 win and a 1-0 lead in their first round series with the Pacers.
More importantly for Rose and Chicago is the MVP like treatment he got from the referees. Don’t get me wrong – I love the guy, but when a player goes 21 times to the line, you gotta raise your eyebrows. He hit 19 of 21, pretty much unstoppable when ever he got to the paint. When he did get stopped, he got the whistles on his side.
At least he Rose had the referees on his side – no too many Bulls players showed up for most of the match. Carlos Boozer, tangled up in foul trouble from very early on played only 26 minutes and never got any rhythm going, finishing with 12 points and four rebounds. Loul Deng had a very good game (18 points, 10 rebounds) but is going to have a lot of trouble with Danny Granger throughout the series. The Pacers star scored 24 points, hitting four tre’s. Like his team, he disappeared in the fourth (33-20 for the Bulls).
Luckily for Chicago they did have one guy hitting from the outside – Kyle Korver, who might be getting more minutes after Keith Bogans had another 0 night and you just can’t be playing four against five every night. Korver hit every time(4-4) including a huge one in crunch time. The Bulls led the league in 4th quarter scoring margin. The Pacers were among the worst, so the final 12 minutes weren’t that much of surprise despite the first three quarter.
The Bulls had 11 fourth quarter comebacks this year. Defense, defense. They didn’t have that intensity and focus wire to wire, something that must have agitated their head coach who always had defense coming first. They woke up and entered shut down in the fourth, not allowing Indiana a field goal in the final 3:30. All the hustle from Hansbrough, Hibbert and McRoberts, which also led to 13 offensive rebounds against one of the best rebounding teams in the league didn’t help when the defense started clicking for the Bulls. Indiana couldn’t get a better shooting night. I don’t think they have too much left to surprise the Bulls with.
We’ll end with Rose. He’ll probably be gettin’ the MVP soon (I hear some chants in Orlando as Howard is having a historic first half) and it’s nights like this one that make him the most deserving player this season. Like he said “I’ll do whatever is necessary to win.” He put his body on the line again with his relentless offensive style. His defense needs to be better, his shot selection as well, but as long as the Bulls get that kind of effort each playoff night, with the dominance stapled to it, they’re in the clear.