2011 NBA Playoffs: Time for Concern for the Chicago Bulls?

Sean O'DowdContributor IIIApril 25, 2011

INDIANAPOLIS, IN - APRIL 21:  Joakim Noah #13 of the Chicago Bulls celebrates after Derrick Rose hit the game winning shot against the Indiana Pacers in Game three of the Eastern Conference Quarterfinals in the 2011 NBA Playoffs on April 21, 2011  at Conseco Fieldhouse in Indianapolis, Indiana. The Bulls won 88-84.  NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and/or using this Photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement.  (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)
Andy Lyons/Getty Images

The Bulls entered the series against the Indiana Pacers as the No. 1 team in the league. Fans tuned in expecting a thrashing. Then Game 1 was very close. Game 2 was the same. Game 3 was close itself. And then came Game 4.

But what was the line that led to this series elevating from stepping stone to cause for concern? After the three close games? Didn't matter as long as the Bulls had a three-game lead. More than a few fans gasped when Derrick Rose hobbled off the court. Is that the point where this series could be considered cause for concern?

There hasn't been much to be happy about with the Bulls performance during this series. There have been a few bright spots, such as the performance of Derrick Rose, obviously, and the late heroics of Kyle Korver. 

One of the biggest problems throughout the series has been turnovers. The Bulls have been coughing up the ball left and right, and haven't been as crisp as usual. Such performances might be excusable against the Pacers, but against the Heat, Celtics or even Lakers, these mistakes would end a game before halftime. 

Another prime issue has been the play of Carlos Boozer. Granted, he has been in foul trouble and therefore has been out of the swing of things. But the foul trouble has been a result of his bad play. Boozer is not scoring at the level he should, and his elevation while finishing around the bucket hasn't been spectacular. And his terrible defense has been exploited by the crazy Tyler Hansbrough. 

Yet, these issues had not prevented the Bulls from winning. Yet, Game 4, in which a sweep should have been the outcome, reared its ugly head. 

The first bad sign was when Derrick Rose rolled his ankle in the first quarter. Yet, he is incredibly tough and managed to play through it. And there can be no doubt it impacted his ability to play. The only question is whether or not the injury will affect his play in the future. It is known, however, he was wearing a boot on Sunday. 

Next was the fact that every shot was bouncing off the rim, the game was over at halftime. The last minute comeback was incredible and great to watch yet the Bulls had no business winning that game. Rose shot poorly, yet it could be because of his injury. No one else had such an excuse and the rest of the team could not make a shot. 

The issues facing the Bulls in the first three games—namely turnovers, Boozer's play, and foul trouble—were present. Yet, coupled with the injury to Rose and the terrible shooting, the game was a disaster from the beginning. And therefore it is a cause for concern. 

The whole series just hasn't been successful despite all the wins. Issues have been present every game and last game the Bulls simply could not overcome them. Right now, the Bulls will be able to win this series, and probably the next one against the Magic or Hawks. Yet, if they do not fix these issues soon, the Bulls will not be able to beat teams such as Boston or Miami.