Bulls will be finished if Rose can't finish

Most of the time, it has been Carlos Boozer in foul trouble or just shooting badly that brings Taj Gibson into the game and jazzes up the Bulls’ attack.

In Game 3 of the Eastern Conference finals, however, it was Gibson in foul trouble early in the second quarter that brought Boozer back into the game, more out of desperation, it seemed, after his 0-for-5 shooting in the first quarter.

But look at that: Boozer hit four shots in a row. Inside and outside. With confidence and determination.

Boozer was nearly matching a scorching Chris Bosh, scoring nine of the Bulls last 21 points of the half. Remarkably, Boozer was turning a bad offensive start into a good game, something he rarely has been able to do, especially in the playoffs.

What’s more, Boozer was even better in the third quarter, pouring in 12 points and hitting 8 of 11 shots at one point. He would finish with 26 points and 17 rebounds, and while his defensive rotations led to some easy Miami baskets, Boozer at least gave his star a chance to do something good later.

If only the star we we’re talking about was Chris Bosh. Or LeBron James. Or Dwyane Wade.

Because Derrick Rose was not that guy Sunday.

Rose gave the Bulls 20 points, but he shot only 8 for 19 and managed only five assists, fewer than Joakim Noah.

When it mattered, Rose didn’t. He had two points in the fourth quarter, taking only two shots. He also had two assists and a steal, but committed two turnovers and two fouls.

The Heat double-teamed Rose everytime the Bulls went to the pick-and-roll. Most of the time, Rose tried to beat it with a pass, meaning the Heat accomplished their plan of getting the ball out of hands. Not enough good stuff happened after that.

It would be nice if he had more help, and it’s a lot to lay on a kid, but this is the NBA’s MVP we’re talking about. He has to own each game, or at least the fourth quarter. The Bulls have little chance otherwise. Obvious, yeah. But true. It’s not that complex. Your best players have to be your best players.

And Miami’s best players were just that. James scored 10 points in the fourth quarter on his way to 22 points, 10 assists and 6 rebounds. Chris Bosh also had 10 in the fourth quarter on his way to an unconscious 34. Wade finished with 17, and combined with James for seven points in Miami’s decisive 9-0 run in the middle of the final period.

The Bulls allowed the Heat to shoot 51 percent, a long way from their league-best 43 percent. The Heat vowed to move the ball better after Game 1 and they have. That has put greater pressure on the Bulls’ defensive rotations, but they have recovered slowly or not at all.

They also didn’t respond physically to Bosh’s big game. He made some tough shots, but nobody challenged him with the body at the rim. It might be time to dust off Kurt Thomas.

But the bigger problem is, Miami has closed the last two games. Whatever the Bulls’ defensive problems, they still also have to score. That starts with Rose.

Before Game 3, Rose declared he would be more aggressive immediately. He started 2 for 8. Before the must-win Game 4, maybe Rose will declare he would be better immediately.

Copyright © 2015, RedEye
Related Content
  • Donald Trump says cops should be tougher on Chicago crime

    Donald Trump says cops should be tougher on Chicago crime

    Businessman Donald Trump brought his nascent bid for the Republican presidential nomination to town Monday, warning that crime in Chicago is "out of control" and hurting the city's image worldwide.

  • South Carolina church shooting shines spotlight on media treatment of white, black suspects

    South Carolina church shooting shines spotlight on media treatment of white, black suspects

    I have been to the Grammy Awards. I have had features written about my music in Billboard, XXL, Jet and other magazines I've always loved. Oprah Winfrey told me to my face that she loves my dreads and purple eyebrows. My music is played on TV shows and movies, and I write about my opinionated views...

  • 'Magic Mike XXL' is the summer's best sequel so far

    'Magic Mike XXL' is the summer's best sequel so far

    2012’s “Magic Mike” and its sequel, “Magic Mike XXL,” could have been so stupid, and I’m sure those who haven’t seen either one assume that they are. I mean, think of how cheesy a movie about male strippers could be. Based on the commercials, they barely seem like movies at all—just two-hour thrust-athons...

  • Vince Staples' sprawling double album 'Summertime '06' is relentlessly gritty

    Vince Staples' sprawling double album 'Summertime '06' is relentlessly gritty

    Vince Staples deals in pessimism, for good reason. The Long Beach rapper has seen a lot of violence and despair in his 21 years. He'll tell you about it too, in unflinching clarity that few artists his age possess. There’s little if any hope in his music. Yet even with the darkness oozing out of...

  • RedEye's favorite songs of 2015 (so far)

    RedEye's favorite songs of 2015 (so far)

    As we reach 2015's midpoint, it's clear that the year in music has been incredible, with a little bit of everything, from classic soul, rap, emo, '70s funk, grunge and scorching Southern rock to searing punk, bubblegum pop and jazz fusion. In particular, Kendrick Lamar's rap-funk masterpiece "To...

  • RedEye's 25 favorite albums of 2015 (so far)

    RedEye's 25 favorite albums of 2015 (so far)

    As we reach 2015's midpoint, it's clear that the year in music has been incredible, with a little bit of everything from classic soul, rap, emo, '70s funk, grunge and scorching Southern rock to searing punk, bubblegum pop and jazz fusion. In particular, Kendrick Lamar's rap-funk masterpiece "To...

Comments
Loading