Bulls

Beyond the Arc: Bulls' playoff road gets tougher

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Beyond the Arc: Bulls' playoff road gets tougher

Wednesday, April 27, 2011Posted: 4:40 p.m.

By Mark Schanowski
CSNChicago.com

Now that the Bulls have dispatched the pesky Pacers in five games, the real work begins. Whether its Orlando or Atlanta in the conference semi-finals, the Bulls will be severely tested, especially up front. How confident are you heading into Round 2? Please post your comments in the section below.

Right now, its all about getting healthy and working out some of the problems that surfaced during the Indiana series. Derrick Rose should be 100 percent healthy with five days to rest his sprained left ankle.

Now, the big concern is Carlos Boozer, whose overall play dropped off dramatically late in the season. Boozer hyperextended the big toe on his right foot in the Game 5 clinching win, and left the United Center in a walking boot. That type of injury is extremely painful and could be a lingering issue throughout the playoffs. Weve seen football players miss multiple games because of turf toe injuries, so lets hope Boozers strain is only a mild one.

The larger issue is trying to get the two-time All-Star more involved in the halfcourt offense. Boozer will have a size advantage over either Brandon Bass or Josh Smith in the next round, and the Bulls need to find a way to get him more touches deep in the post.

One idea would be to try to reverse the ball off the high screen and roll with Rose, allowing Boozer to post up his defender on the weak side without worrying about facing a quick double team. Boozer is at his best when he attacks quickly after receiving the ball, instead of backing his defender down and shooting a fallaway jumper. Getting some early baskets would give him a big confidence boost and probably pick up his activity on the defensive end as well.

One of the other big issues for the Bulls going forward is cutting down on turnovers. The number of total possessions normally drops in playoff games, which puts an even higher premium on valuing the basketball. The Bulls got careless at times against Indiana, and the Pacers were able to turn steals into easy baskets. Turning the ball over 15 to 20 times a game is a recipe for disaster against the teams remaining in the playoff field. The Bulls dominated the regular season series against Atlanta, but if they turn the ball over in the next round, the Hawks have athletes who can finish on the fastbreak like Smith, Marvin Williams, Joe Johnson and Jamal Crawford.

If the Bulls draw Orlando in the next round, the obvious problem is trying to defend Dwight Howard in the post. Howard has enjoyed a lot of success against Joakim Noah in the past, and when teams double team Howard, they run the risk of getting burned by the Magics 3 point shooters. Orlando hasnt been getting consistent production from the likes of Hedo Turkoglu, Jason Richardson and Gilbert Arenas, but all are capable of turning in big scoring nights.

Bottom line, dont pencil the Bulls into the Eastern Conference Finals just yet. It was great to see them open Game 5 on a 12-2 run, then bury Indiana with a three-point barrage after things got close in the 3rd quarter. Hopefully, their poor shooting in the first four games of the Indiana series is gone and forgotten. After all, theyve got plenty of time to tune up for the next round.

What are your predictions for Round 2? Would you rather face Atlanta or Orlando? Please post your comments in the section below. Ill have a more detailed preview on Beyond the Arc when the Hawks-Magic series is decided.

Mark Schanowski hosts our Bulls pre- and postgame studio coverage with 15-year NBA veteran Kendall Gill. You can also watch Mark on SportsNet Central, Sunday through Thursday at 6:30 and 10 p.m.

Bulls Talk Podcast: 90s Throwback: Will Perdue discusses the Jordan effect

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AP

Bulls Talk Podcast: 90s Throwback: Will Perdue discusses the Jordan effect

In our 90s throwback series we have been discussing the most important time in franchise history with people that were in it. This week host Jason Goff is joined by NBC Sports Chicago Bulls analyst and former Bull Will Perdue to discuss life as one of the greatest teams in the history of the sport.

(1:18) - Event that let him know this was going to be special

(4:40) - Being a teammate of Michael Jordan

(7:28) - Bulls had plenty of rivalries

(11:40) - Felt bad that Michael stopped other good players from winning

(12:40) - Phil Jackson was a master manipulator

(21:10) - Difference between Popovich and Jackson

Listen to the full episode in the embedded player below:

Bulls Talk Podcast

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Lauri Markkanen to miss extended time with 'stress reaction of pelvis'

Lauri Markkanen to miss extended time with 'stress reaction of pelvis'

Friday afternoon, the Bulls announced that Lauri Markkanen will miss extended time with a stress reaction of his right pelvis.

The stress reaction was discovered in its early stages as a result of an MRI that Markkenan underwent on Jan. 23.

While the Bulls made no mention of a procedure in their statement, Markkanen will undergo a 'period of rest', with a recovery timetable of 4-6 weeks.

This is a surprising and unfortunate setback for Markkanen, who has been enduring an up and down campaign. Markkanen is currently averaging career lows in points (15), rebounds (6.5) and field goal attempts (12) per game. He had been playing through an ankle injury for the past few weeks.

And for the Bulls, it's another layer to a tumultuous month of January. The team is already without Wendell Carter Jr., Daniel Gafford and Otto Porter Jr. for the immediate future.

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