NBA Playoffs 2012: 5 Vital Keys for the Chicago Bulls in the Postseason
After losing the Eastern Conference Finals to the Miami Heat last year, the Bulls, all summer long, have worked their tails off to bounce back this season.
With the playoffs drawing near, redemption will be attained if the Bulls can realize these five keys.
With a defensive team like the Bulls, the game's level of physicality is elevated to new heights. Nobody wishes for a superstar to miss games due to injuries, but those are realities that the players need to deal with.
Despite these injuries, the Bulls managed to stay up in the standings. A healthy Bulls team would be unstoppable.
Vintage Rip Hamilton
Last year, the Bulls had trouble at the 2-spot.
In the offseason, the Bulls filled the void by signing former All-Star guard Rip Hamilton. He brought immediate leadership and championship experience to the young Bulls team which helped them dominate the early part of the season.
In 26 games that Hamilton played this season, he averaged 12 points, three assists and 2.5 rebounds in 25 minutes of playing per game.
These numbers might be low compared to his nights in Detroit during the 2004 season, but the leadership he contributes and the fire within him matter most for his team. His numbers are a good complement to Rose's nightly output.
With a healthy and consistent Rip Hamilton, the Bulls may feature one of the most intimidating backcourts to enter the playoffs this year.
Consistent Second Unit
The Bulls have one of the deepest benches in the league today.
C.J. Watson and Kyle Korver lead the Bulls' secondary rotation, producing decent numbers on nights that they must step up.
Chicago's starting five is one of the best in the league. Most of the time, however, the team that wins a tough series is the one with the deeper bench.
Luckily for the Bulls, their bench is one of the toughest to beat.
Derrick Rose Should Be Derrick Rose
"Too fast, too strong, too good," this describes what Derrick Rose can do.
With 22.2 points and 7.9 assists per night, Rose leads his team in both categories. His ability to break down his man with the dribble and finish strong through the lane is what his team needs him to do.
He is their leader and their MVP. Despite having talent around him, Rose is the unquestioned top guy for Chicago.
Tom Thibodeau made defense a major part of the Chicago Bulls basketball system. The Bulls are limiting their opponents to 88.4 points a game while scoring 96.3 for themselves.
They convert 28 points out of their opponent's 13.4 average turnovers per game. These numbers alone are proof on how sticky the Bulls defense is.
With Joakim Noah and Taj Gibson protecting the interior with two blocks each per game, every outing is a long night for the opposition. Omer Asik and Ronnie Brewer are both key contributors who make defense a priority as well.