How Joakim Noah & Chicago Bulls Can Ensure 'We'll Win' Promise vs. Brooklyn Nets

Jonathan WassermanNBA Lead WriterMay 4, 2013

Jan 16, 2013; Toronto, ON, Canada; Chicago Bulls center Joakim Noah (13) talks to guard Nate Robinson (2) during their game against the Toronto Raptors at the Air Canada Centre. The Bulls beat the Raptors 107-105. Mandatory Credit: Tom Szczerbowski-USA TODAY Sports
Tom Szczerbowski-USA TODAY Sports

At about half-strength, the Chicago Bulls will have their work cut out for them in Game 7 against the Brooklyn Nets.

It's doesn't look like Luol Deng will be ready to go while Kirk Hinrich remains questionable. They're going to need to squeeze out every bit of offense they can like a roll of toothpaste without much left.

The problem is they don't have many weapons or scorers who can generate points on their own. During the regular season, the Bulls were ranked No. 29 in the NBA in points per game.

Throughout the series, we've seen Chicago's offense go east and west too much and not enough north and south. Many of the team's possessions have resulted in rushed shots coming with less than five seconds on the shot clock.

Much of that has to do with a lineup by and large incapable of creating its own shot.

Chicago needs to run the pick-and-roll to death against Brooklyn. Though it's just one simple play, some teams revolve their entire offense around it and the Bulls happen to have the personnel to make it work.

Carlos Boozer is your quintessential pick-and-pop target, while Nate Robinson's handle, stop-start quickness and ability to shoot off the dribble make him a dual threat off ball screens.

The pick-and-roll creates scoring opportunities, and that's all Chicago can ask for. Of course, it needs to execute, but getting off clean looks is more than half the battle for this lineup.

The high ball screen not only sets up the pick-and-roll, but it creates driving lanes to the rack. It gives the ball-handler multiple scoring options. He can either hit the screener/roll man, he can pull up in space or he can use the hesitation dribble to attack the rim.

In this case, Jimmy Butler uses Boozer's screen and explodes to the rim for the layup:

Here's another example of the high ball screen creating just enough space for Nate Robinson to hit the gap. Again, these are obviously just a few of many plays drawn up throughout the game, but without go-to scorers in the lineup, coach Tom Thibodeau will have to rely on them for high-percentage offensive looks.

In the half court, the pick-and-roll will open up scoring opportunities for players who struggle to create shots on their own.


Secure the Perimeter

Chicago's defense prides itself on its rotations. It protects the rim as well as any team in the NBA, but securing the perimeter will be crucial.

The Bulls can't afford for Brooklyn to heat up from downtown. They just don't have enough offensive firepower to keep up with that.

In Game 1, the Nets made 42.9 percent of their three-pointers before cruising to a 106-89 victory:

In Game 2, the Bulls held Brooklyn to just 4-of-21 from downtown and only 82 points total:

In Game 3, the Nets shot just 5-of-21 from three, totaling 76 points all game:

The statistics were skewed during triple-overtime in Game 4, while Brooklyn shot a respectable 35 percent from three in Games 5 and 6.

Chicago is probably going to have to keep the Nets under 100 points to be able to pull this one out and preventing them from heating up from behind the arc will be key.

Offensively, the Bulls have to execute their sets and continuously try and create half-court space for Robinson and Butler to attack.

The pick-and-roll or high ball screen is a play they should look to take advantage of considering Robinson's turn-the-corner speed and Boozer's ability to convert as the roller.

This won't be an easy one for the Bulls. They're going to need some easy buckets inside from Joakim Noah, Boozer and Taj Gibson.

But if they can close out on Brooklyn's shooters, create and convert some open looks and keep the game low-scoring, the Bulls will have a shot despite a depleted and banged-up roster.