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Five Things the Bulls Needed To Do, And Did

Two days ago, before game six between the Bulls and Celtics, I listed five things that the Bulls needed to do in order to take down the Celtics and force a game seven at The Garden. That can be found here.
Let’s take a look at the five keys the Bulls needed to make happen and see if they were able to accomplish these goals.

1. Keep the ball out of Rajon Rondo’s Hands

This is an interesting one to look at because technically Rondo did not do as much driving as he did in games one through five.  I stressed making the Celtics take jump shots and beat you from far out, and that is what Rondo had to do.

The 19 assists came partially from Ray Allen being absolutely on fire, but it still showed that Rondo was not able to beat the Bulls from the standpoint of getting his average of points in the series (averaged 24 coming into the game, finished with eight points on 4-17 shooting.

The defense definitely stepped up in this one on Rondo and it paid off mightily.


2. Reduce the minutes of Tyrus Thomas

This stat was a little bit distorted by the three overtimes in game six but Thomas ended up playing, on average, more minutes then he had in the series.  Coming in to the game, Thomas averaged 28.1 minutes per game and with the overtimes taken into consideration, Thomas played 53.4 percent of available minutes.

In game six, Thomas played 37 minutes out of a potential 63, which comes out to 58.7 percent of available minutes.  Once again, Thomas did not let me down, ending with a less than stellar statline that included just three rebounds and two blocks.  His +/- for the game was -14, while Brad Miller’s was +26.

It’s a trend that is starting to scare me and I can only hope that Thomas is not in the game for much longer than 23-24 minutes in game seven.  The Bulls definitely did not complete this goal.


3. More Isolations for Derrick Rose

While the Bulls did not necessarily run set isolations for Derrick Rose, the Bulls pass this test because Rose was once again driving to the hole on multiple occasions, drawing fouls, and finding open teammates.  Rose was 5-11 inside the paint and looked in command when he was there.

The 11 shots in the paint tied a series high for Rose, as he also took 11 in game one of the series when he had his best game. Rose’s jump shot was also falling yesterday which made the isolation that much better.

Rajon Rondo HAD to account for Rose’s ability to drive, and the result was an extra inch of room for Rose to get off jump shots.  Easy pass here to the Bulls.


4. Keep the fast pace and outrun the Celtics

The Bulls were outstanding on the fast break last night and, had it not been for Ray Allen, this game would have been a blowout because of it. The Bulls had two of the biggest plays on the night off of fast breaks that included Derrick Rose’s breakaway and Joakim Noah’s thunderous steal and slam over Paul Pierce.

For the game, the Bulls had 18 fast break points compared to the Celtics three.  This will be just as important in game seven as the Bulls look to take advantage of an extremely tired Celtics team.


5. Keep the Celtics out of the paint

I am very torn on whether or not I should pass the Bulls on this one. On one hand, they did an excellent job keeping the Celtics out of the paint as the Celtics had just 40 points in the paint, which was six under their average even with an extra 15 minutes to play with.

Kendrick Perkins finished with 12 points and Glen Davis, who took the majority of his shots from outside, finished with 23 points.

They did not made Perkins shoot outside shots, where he went just 0-1, but they did a nice job forcing Glen Davis out as he shot 5-10 from outside the paint.  However, there was really no need for the Celtics to get paint points because of Ray Allen’s dominance.

The Celtics were able to grab 16 offensive rebounds in the game, but considering that they did force Davis out I will give them a pass on this one.



May 1, 2009 - Posted by | Basketball, Chicago Bulls, NBA | , , ,

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