NBA Playoffs 2012: Complete Guide to Beating the Chicago Bulls
The Chicago Bulls are the Eastern Conference's top seed, though they haven't been playing like one this past month.
Despite having the reigning NBA MVP in Derrick Rose and the league's deepest bench, Rose and others (Richard Hamilton, Luol Deng) have battled through various injuries and will not be 100 percent in the playoffs.
With that said, here are four ways to beat the Bulls in a playoff series.
Make Derrick Rose Do Too Much
Derrick Rose is a top talent in the NBA.
He can score, pass, defend and provide much-needed leadership to his Chicago Bulls.
But Rose's biggest weakness has to be his tendency of trying to do too much in a close game.
Time and time again, Rose will constantly drive the lane or set up for a jumper even when he is cold. He fails to set up the offense and his teammates while rushing shots even when he has a cold shooting night.
If Rose's shot isn't falling, opposing defenses need to guard his teammates in a close man-to-man.
Rose will start wilting under the pressure as he fails to properly utilize his Bulls teammates.
Slow Down Carlos Boozer, Joakim Noah in Post
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The Chicago Bulls offense runs through Derrick Rose and primarily is an outside-in team.
The Bulls do have capable big men in Carlos Boozer and Joakim Noah who could get it going inside. If they do, the Bulls are almost unstoppable.
What defenses need to do is pressure Boozer, Noah and reserve big men Taj Gibson and Omer Asik with a 2-3 zone defense.
The Bulls struggled significantly this season when facing this zone, having a hard time establishing a strong post game. Boozer and Noah do well one-on-one, yet can't consistently score when faced with double-teams.
If Boozer, Noah and Co. can't score inside, then the Bulls will live or die by the jumper.
Most of the time, settling for jumpers is a slow death sentence.
Offenses Need to Consistently Drive the Lane
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The Chicago Bulls have a great defense with an NBA-leading 88.4 points allowed per game.
The team alternates on a soft man-to-man to zone defense where the players rotate to the ball as help defenders.
This defense keeps opposing players out of the post and driving lanes, making them settle for jumpers around the perimeter.
One way to get around Bulls coach Tom Thibodeau's defensive system is by having your best slasher consistently drive the lane.
Driving the lane successfully will result in higher percentage shots and will probably induce the Bulls into some foul trouble.
This will open up the post and give an opposing offense flexibility in attacking the Bulls.
Be Physical to Disrupt the Bulls Offensive Flow
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What the Indiana Pacers and Miami Heat showed the NBA world was that being physical on the Chicago Bulls is a great way to disrupt them offensively.
The Pacers and Heat weren't afraid of committing hard fouls and it got under the Bulls skin, wrecking their concentration. Also, they both double-teamed Derrick Rose relentlessly, wearing the league's MVP down.
The Pacers forced the Bulls into 15.4 turnovers a game and held them to 41.5 percent shooting (167-of-402) for 97.6 points a game. The Pacers' Jeff Foster and Tyler Hansbrough were really rough on Rose and Luol Deng (above picture), which disrupted Chicago's interior game.
Meanwhile, the Heat were more successful in stopping the Bulls due to having better personnel in LeBron James, Dwyane Wade and Udonis Haslem. The Heat stifled the Bulls to 87.2 points per game and 39.1 percent shooting (162-of-414).
Rose was horrid, shooting 32 percent the last four games against Miami. Heat coach Erik Spoelstra would constantly rotate bigger, fresh bodies like James to face-guard Rose.
Besides Rose, the Bulls are really a finesse team. Disrupting Chicago's offensive rhythm would be key in winning a playoff series.