Chicago Bulls: 5 Potential Disasters That Could Ruin the Bulls' Season

Bob Bajek@bobbajekAnalyst IIIApril 13, 2012

Chicago Bulls: 5 Potential Disasters That Could Ruin the Bulls' Season

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    While the Chicago Bulls disposed of the Miami Heat, 96-86 in overtime, the Bulls are still not a sure bet to win the NBA Finals.

    Many negative things could happen between now and the NBA Finals, as seven regular-season games and potentially three NBA playoff contenders stand in the way of the Bulls and glory.

    What disasters could befall the Bulls when the playoffs arrive?

    Here are five possibilities.

Derrick Rose Gets Injured in Playoffs

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    Derrick Rose is the heart and soul of the Chicago Bulls, and he will be needed if the Bulls have any chance of winning the NBA Finals.

    Rose has struggled with various injury problems (toe, lower back, groin, ankle) throughout the year, missing 23 games.

    If Rose gets hurt in the playoffs, the Bulls will be in grave danger of getting bounced early by a weaker team like the Milwaukee Bucks or New York Knicks.

Derrick Rose Isn't His Old Self

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    Derrick Rose is a game-changer for the Chicago Bulls, but the NBA's reigning MVP hasn't had a productive week after coming off of injuries.

    Rose was 8-of-26 against the New York Knicks and had eight turnovers. The Simeon alum lacked the amazing burst of speed in the lane, allowing the Knicks to consistently strip the ball from him as he drove.

    The 6'3", 190-pound Rose also missed two crucial free throws and two potential game-winning shots against the Knicks.

    When the Miami Heat rolled into town, Rose had another horrid shooting night (1-of-13) and scored a career-low two points. Rose's poor play prompted Bulls coach Tom Thibodeau to play C.J. Watson over his MVP in crunch time.

    In both games, Rose didn't have the lift needed to hit his jump shots. D-Rose's injured ankle and groin are preventing him from having that athletic edge.

    If Rose's injuries get the best of him, the Bulls will be doomed to an early playoff exit.

Luol Deng Not Slowing Down Better Small Forwards

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    Luol Deng is known as a premier NBA defender, but the Chicago Bulls small forward has been torched by the NBA's top No. 3s this past month.

    Against Kevin Durant in a 92-78 April 1st loss, Deng allowed Durant to take over the game. The Oklahoma City Tunder's superstar compiled 26 points (11-of-16), 10 rebounds and four assists while sitting out the entire fourth quarter.

    The New York Knicks' Carmelo Anthony had an even better time against Deng.

    On Easter Sunday, Anthony proved that he's one of the NBA's elite players by tattooing Deng for 43 points (16-of-31) with seven rebounds and three assists. Anthony also held Deng to 3-of-10 shooting in the first half.

    Anthony had another solid game on Tuesday with 29 points (11-of-19), five assists and four steals.

    LeBron James always seems to do well against Deng, as the two-time MVP scored 30 points (11-of-24), grabbed six rebounds and dished five assists in Thursday's 98-86 Bulls win.

    While Deng is a great small forward, he is nowhere near Anthony, Durant and James in talent. These three could torch Deng and subsequently the Bulls come playoff time.

Carlos Boozer's Disappearing Act, Part 2

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    Carlos Boozer has been a solid playoff contributor throughout his NBA career, but he didn't show that for the Chicago Bulls last season.

    Riddled with injuries including turf toe, the 30-year-old Boozer could get into a rhythm in the 2011-12 playoffs. Boozer had career-low averages of 12.6 points and 9.7 rebounds on 43.3 percent shooting.

    This is down from his postseason averages of 18.2 points and 11.8 rebounds on 48.9 percent shooting.

    Against the Miami Heat, Boozer had two games with single-digit scoring.

    Boozer has been healthy and productive this regular season, especially last night against the Heat (19 points, 11 rebounds), and he needs to translate that into playoff success.

    Without a productive Boozer, the Bulls won't get far, because they need his strong post presence.

Tom Thibodeau Getting Outsmarted Again

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    Tom Thibodeau might win the NBA's Coach of the Year Award for a second consecutive season, but the Chicago Bulls coach needs to bring those smarts to the playoffs.

    Erik Spoelstra outsmarted Thibodeau in the 2011 Eastern Conference Finals. Spoelstra knew that if the Heat could shut down Derrick Rose, Spoelstra could constantly rotate a fresh body on Rose while face-guarding him the entire game.

    This proved effective, as Rose shot 32 percent the entire series and was turnover-prone. 

    Thibodeau didn't do anything to help Rose, like putting in faster lineups or having Luol Deng do point-forward responsibilities to get Rose open on screens.

    Spoelstra is a crafty foe, so Thibodeau hopefully figures out a way to put Rose in a position to succeed.

     

    Bob Bajek is an NBA/Chicago Bulls featured columnist. He is also a freelance reporter and can be followed on Patch.com and Twitter.