Derrick Rose said the Bulls were surprised by the Pacers’ double-teaming in Game 2 of their playoff series, and I’m wondering, how is a Tom Thibodeau team surprised by anything?
That’s both a compliment and a What The . . .?
First, Thibodeau is all basketball by all reports. He has no other life. Bad for him, good for the Bulls. They ought to be well-drilled in every possible scenario, such as, I don’t know, trapping the ball to get it out of Rose’s hands.
And this is where my opening question becomes a matter of What The . . . ? Here’s why: The Pacers did this before in a game the Bulls certainly ought to remember. It was only last month, and it was their only loss in the Central Division. The game went overtime after Rose had gone off for 38 point, the last three on free throws with 1.2 second left.
Point is, in the extra period, the Pacers immediately sent big guys at Rose as soon as he crossed midcourt. It worked. They got the ball out of his hands, and Rose’s teammates were slow to react. OK, Bulls lose, but I didn’t really worry about that happening again because Thibodeau wouldn’t let it, that practicing, drilling monster that he is.
And then came Game 2. And there almost went Game 2 with the same trapping. Joakim Noah finally woke up, came to an open spot, got the ball and gave it to Kyle Korver for the only three points that Rose didn’t score down the stretch.
Yeah, the Bulls survived, but just barely, and seemingly with no clue.
“They were hitting and coming to double-team me randomly,’’ Rose said. “It wasn't a coach call or anything. They were just coming out. It surprised us.’’
Thibodeau says it’s nothing new. Thibodeau says Rose has been jumped by bigger opponents before. OK. Fine. Then why do the Bulls often look as if they’ve never practiced against it, or often appear not to recognize what’s happening, which is pretty amazing, what with all the watching of Rose the Bulls do.
But whatever, stop it, OK? Thanks.
Funny how the Bulls are getting questions about relying too much on Rose after the first two playoff games. Because Pacers coach Frank Vogel thought long-armed rookie Paul George was “spectacular’’ on Rose in Game 2. To the first issue, the Bulls have relied on Rose all season. That’s why he’s the presumptive league MVP. Hel-lo. To the second issue, I guess that’s what a coach is supposed to say about his player even though Rose still scored 36 points. Is this is the start an oxymoronic list of “Rose stoppers’’ the way there was with Michael Jordan?
Love this story about George, however: The Indianapolis Star reported that after the Pacers returned to Indianapolis at 3 a.m. Tuesday after Game 2, he went to Conseco Fieldhouse and took about 1,000 shots over 90 minutes.
Thibodeau believes the Pacers have “quality big guys.’’ I guess that’s what a coach is supposed to say, but the Bulls have 41 offensive rebounds in two games.
These Bulls haven’t looked like the Michael Jordan Bulls that never lost a first-round game, but it remains just as important for these Bulls to sweep the bottom seed and let the rest of the conference beat itself up.