Heading in to Game 2 of their series with the Philadelphia 76ers, the Chicago Bulls were visibly a different team. After losing star point guard, and former MVP, Derrick Rose, many experts felt that the Bulls chances of being a legitimate title threat went down the drain, but that they would still be able to advance past the eighth seeded 76ers.
In the game two matchup, the 76ers were on fire from the field, ending the game shooting 59 percent from the field and dominating the Bulls in the second half.
If the Bulls want to beat the 76ers and advance to the second round, here are four things they must do to achieve that goal.
It is never easy seeing a teammate go down, and it's even harder when that teammate is your leader.
After Derrick Rose tore his ACL in Game 1, it was now on the team's shoulders to pick each other up and move forward.
The mood at the United Center on Tuesday was somber, not only the crowd, but the team, too. With their backs against the wall and being told they cannot win without Derrick, this team bought into what everyone was saying.
From the opening tip you could tell this team was playing like a team who had just lost its leader. It is certainly sad what happened to Rose, but they need to realize in order to move on, you have to put him in the past.
If the Bulls can play like the team that had to spend much of the season without Rose, they should be able to dominate the 76ers on both ends of the court.
Since his arrival in Chicago, many have been quick to talk bad about Carlos Boozer's game and how his style doesn't quite fit on this team.
While Boozer isn't quite the inside presence we all want him to be, he has never been that type of player in the past. This season, Boozer actually has pretty solid numbers, averaging 15 points and nearly nine rebounds a game.
Despite Boozer not being the player we all thought he would be and his numbers showing he isn't as bad as we all think, the area he has struggled in the most during the last two seasons is the playoffs. So far in two games, Boozer is averaging just nine points and six rebounds.
Boozer is well known for his defensive inefficiency and at this point in his career there is little that is going to change that. The one thing that frustrates Bulls fans the most isn't that he is a bad defender, but sometimes he appears to just not try.
If the Bulls have any shot at advancing, Boozer needs to hustle on both ends of the court and step up his offensive game, and instead of always settling for the 15-foot jump shot, he needs to keep his back to the basket and try to use his post up game.
On Tuesday night at the United Center, the 76ers were able to put up 25 fast break points to Chicago's eight.
For a team that is so reliant on its stellar defense, the Bulls did not show up when it mattered on Tuesday. Any time you allow a team to stretch the floor like the 76ers did, it is tough to beat them. The most frustrating part is that the Bulls only had eight turnovers for the game, so the majority of the 76ers' fast break points came off of rebounds and the Bulls not falling back on defense.
If you are a team that relies heavily on its defense to set the tempo for a game, like the Bulls are, they are going to need to shore up their defense and not allow the 76ers to push the ball upcourt and get so many fast break points.
When you have a point guard who can beat his man off the dribble and drive to the basket, you can clear out and run isolation to give him that opportunity.
Derrick Rose can run isolation.
C.J. Watson and John Lucas III can not.
For a large part of Game 2, the Bulls went back to a familiar offensive set. The offense starts with either Richard Hamilton or Kyle Korver running off of backdoor screens or the point guard setting up isolation.
In a Derrick Rose led offense, he can either drive to the basket and score or find a teammate along the wing to dish it out to. An offense led by either Watson or Lucas III cannot function in that same way. In no knock against either Watson or Lucas III, but they are not the same player Rose is. Rose has the ability to drive and muscle his way past defenders unlike many others in this league.
If the Bulls want to become more fluid offensively, they need to resort to setting screens and allowing their big men to flow back to the basket. If Watson and Lucas III can use their screens they can open up jumpshots for themselves as well as be able to find their teammates under the basket.