8:30 AM CDT, May 10, 2011
It wasn’t all the shots Derrick Rose took at the end of Game 4. It was all the shots he didn’t take at the beginning.
It wasn’t all the energy and aggressiveness Rose expended trying to take over the fourth quarter of Sunday’s playoff loss to the Hawks. It was all the energy and aggressiveness Rose didn’t impose on the game in the first quarter.
The plan tonight at home seems pretty simple: Rose needs to start Game 5 with the kind of aggressiveness he showed to start the fourth quarter of Game 4, which was the same kind of aggressiveness he had to start Game 3. Rose was 1 of 6 in first quarter-and-a-half of Game 4. Jeez, in Game 3, he had six shots in the first minute-and-a-half en route to his 44-point masterpiece.
Rose said the Bulls are “mad with the effort we put in last game,’’ and Rose can start with himself, if you ask me (and even if you don’t). Rose doesn’t have to put another 40 on the Hawks, although I wouldn’t be the least bit bothered if he did. But Rose does have to act like this is his team and his ball and his game early. Key word: early.
In Game 4, he looked like he was doing what Michael Jordan often did: letting his teammates show him what they had that night and what they needed. As much as I believe Rose deserves some comparisons to Jordan, that particular area isn’t one of them, and here’s why:
What these Bulls need is Rose shooting outside and Rose driving inside and Rose doing what leading scorers do.
I’ve heard some talk about Joakim Noah bringing the energy he’s known for, the energy that he didn’t seem to bring early in Game 4. Yes, the Bulls will need that tonight, but that’s way behind Rose’s early scoring.
In Game 4, the Hawks trapped and double-teamed Rose early, trying to get the ball out of his hands. Fine. The Bulls have seen this before. Rose finds an open big man who then gets it right back to Rose so he can drive on a defense suddenly out of position and off-balance.
What Rose did in Game 3 was unload the entire video game arsenal early. Layins, dunks, floaters, threes --- he used every cheat code the controller had. His teammates figured out their roles pretty quickly. The Bulls got an early lead, got a big lead, got control. Got it?
The Hawks aren’t quite the front-running-or-fold-and-die Minnesota Vikings, and they did come back big on the Bulls earlier this season, but they become selfish and hoist a lot of stupid shots in the misguided belief that that’s the only way to get back in a game. The Bulls need to help them get to that point. That starts with Rose. He’s the best player in this series. He needs to be the best player in the first quarter.
Good morning, Taj Gibson. Zero rebounds. Really. Zero. Interesting time to channel his inner Eddy Curry, huh?
Kirk Hinrich says his hamstring is getting better. Thank goodness, because the Bulls’ defense on Jeff Teague is getting worse.
Al Horford had eight points in the Hawks’ fourth-quarter vivisection of the Bulls in Game 4 on Sunday. Interesting time for Joakim Noah to be named NBA All-Defensive second team, huh?
Wait a minute, I think the Hawks just got another easy layup.
Good morning, Josh Smith. Won’t it be great to play in a building that won’t groan everytime you take a stupid outside shot?
Smith is Rex Grossman in a headband.
Just noticed while writing the names of Kyle Korver and Carlos Boozer --- there’s no “D” in either one. Ba-bum-cha. Thank you, ladies and gentlemen. You’ve been a wonderful audience.
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