Bulls

Down but not out, Pacers look to corral Rose

Down but not out, Pacers look to corral Rose

Tuesday, April 19, 2011
Posted: 12:32 p.m.

By Aggrey Sam
CSNChicago.com

Indiana wouldnt reveal what adjustments theyd make as far as defending Derrick Rose heading into Game 2 of their first-round series against the Bulls. Maybe thats because it would be all too familiar to Chicago.

Im not going to be a guy that tries to get all in him and pressure him full court, but we had a talk with Coach Frank Pacers interim head coach Frank Vogel before the game and he wanted me to be a Scottie Pippen type of player against him, said Pacers rookie Paul George, referring to the Bulls legendswho happens to have joined Comcast SportsNets broadcast team for the seriesdefensive versatility, which allowed him to guard point guards. I try to angle him, send him to my teammates. They did a great job helping. All I could really do was try to stay in front of him.

I got film of the game Game 1, went back and really studied him, really figured out what his tendencies are and really stayed true to my abilities. I knew I had the length and the foot speed to stay in front of him and gap him, as well, continued the 6-foot-8 rookie starting shooting guard out of Fresno State, who worked out for the Bulls prior to last years NBA Draft. He kind of took over last game later in quarters, so we tried to get the ball out of his hands. Thats where the trap came in. We wanted the Bulls to beat us with their other players, but hes a great player, so he made plays.

READ: Bulls know they must improve as series shifts to Indy

I knew I had to step up this time and really try to get the ball out of his hands or try to make him hit tough shots and thats what he did, hit tough shots.

Based on Roses scoring alonehe dropped in 36 pointsit would appear that the Pacers strategy of assigning a swingman on the lightning-quick point guard was none too effective, but George hounded the Bulls superstar into 10-for-25 shooting and six turnovers, as well as finishing with four blocks, three steals and what Vogel said was a team-record 18 deflections.

Hes a gifted defender, said Vogel. Very, very proud of his effort tonight.

Were just trying to give him some different looks. Give him a steady diet, he picks you apart, he continued. We tried to trap Rose out at halfcourt, as opposed to him drawing our whole team and then finding him.

While Rose wasnt exactly befuddled by Georges defense, his opponents combination of size, length and agility, as well as Indianas trapping defense, did appear to give him pause at certain junctures of the contest.

Ive got to use more ball fakes. Hes definitely a tall guy. He was playing almost the whole game. But ball fakes and making sure I play smart the whole game, even through fatigue, said Rose. Ive just got to get used to it, make smarter decisions, look at film tonight, go over it tomorrow and we should be ready for how their bigs step up a little bit more, and it should be easy basketball after that.

WATCH: Relive Bulls' Game 2 win over the Pacers

Praised Bulls head coach Tom Thibodeau, somewhat of a defensive connosieur: Paul George is a terrific player, good defender.

George guarding Rosealthough Vogel surprisingly assigned leading scorer Danny Granger to him on critical late possessionswas part of the Pacers game plan and although Darren Collison struggled with Roses size advantage and powerfully compact frame, Vogel didnt even have the option to deploy his diminutive starting point guard after he suffered a sprained left ankle, following a first-half fast-break layup and subsequent tumble into baseline photographers.

Right now, I think its day-to-day. Most likely, Im going to try to be back for Game 3, said Collison, who tried to test the injury at halftime. It an X-ray was negative. Right now, its just real sore and swelled up pretty bad, but well see.

Ninety percent of the time, if I have an injury like that, Id go right back out there and play on it, but its just frustrating because I cant even jog on it, he continued. Im definitely going to be treating it as much as I can. I definitely need to be out there for myself. Its disappointing, unfortunate that it happened.

While also disappointed in the loss, Collison was positive of his teams effort, singling out Georges defensive play and the job his backupsA.J. Price and veteran T.J. Forddid in his absence.

WATCH: Rose knows Indy will be a tough place to play

A.J. played well. T.J.s an experienced point guard. Hes been in the playoffs before. Im definitely very confident in those guys, said Collison. Its frustrating, but for the most part, our effort was there. Paul George did a good job defensively, made some shots tough for him. hes going to make shots, hes going to shoot the ball the majority of the time, so I thought we did a good job, solid, on defense. It came down to us and as a basketball team, if it comes down to you, then you have a legitimate shot to win the game.

Im proud of everybodys effort. Weve battled the last two games. I think everybody questioned whether we were going to come back in Game 2 and do the same thing, but all along, we kept telling people thats how weve been playing. Weve been playing like that throughout the whole season; thats how we play, so respect or not, I think people are going to start noticing our effort.

His 37-year-old rookie coachthe youngest in the leagueechoed his sentiments. When asked about his teams resiliency, Vogel, who prefaces postgame press conferences with an impromptu opening statement, took on an air of defiance.

Do you guys have any questions about that? I dont, he queried reporters. Were standing toe to toe with this team. Im very proud of our guys. Well take it back to Indy, see what happens.

Aggrey Sam is CSNChicago.com's Bulls Insider. Follow him @CSNBullsInsider on Twitter for up-to-the-minute Bulls information and his take on the team, the NBA and much more.

Player Preview: Kris Dunn's growth critical for his, Bulls' future

Player Preview: Kris Dunn's growth critical for his, Bulls' future

Player: Kris Dunn
Position: Point guard
Year: 3rd
17-18 stats: 13.4 points, 6.0 assists, 2.0 steals

Outlook: Kris Dunn’s unexpected leap turned out to be one of the most delightful surprises of the 2017-18 season for the Bulls. As part of the Jimmy Butler draft night trade, many wondered if he was more an object of the front office’s affection than a future centerpiece at the game’s deepest position.

What he showed was a competitiveness and growing confidence that was stifled in his rookie season under the harsh hand of Tom Thibodeau. Once he took command as a starter over Jerian Grant, he never looked back and many can attribute the Bulls’ best stretch of the season to Dunn’s energy.

Now, entering his third year he’s firmly in the “good but not great” category, a no-man’s land spot of sorts for a front office that may have to make a long-term decision on Dunn following the season. The Bulls can lock him up to an extension next summer or allow him to go into restricted free agency following his fourth season.

While that seems to be eons away and Dunn certainly has time to keep moving on the trajectory he started hitting last season, the upcoming year will still be critical as he’ll have the on-floor responsibility of making an awkward but talented group mesh with a full season of Zach LaVine and the addition of Jabari Parker.

Fred Hoiberg has the toughest job of all, but Dunn has to bring whatever gameplan Hoiberg employs to life—and considering the run he was on before his unfortunate fall against the Golden State Warriors that caused him to miss valuable time, he’ll want to reclaim that spot and keep pressing forward.

Defensively, he can be a problem on the ball for opposing point guards and that’s his strongest suit.

Offensively, he may have to spend more time off the ball with LaVine able to create opportunities and Parker having the ability to create his own shot as easy as anyone on the roster. Many times last season he was the lone shot creator on the floor and thus could dictate the offense without having his lack of 3-point shooting be exploited by way of defenses shrinking the floor.

Shooting 29.6 percent from 3 via the catch-and-shoot variety has to improve if this lineup has any chance of working offensively, otherwise teams will sag away from Dunn to help on LaVine, Parker and Lauri Markkanen.

But Dunn has been good on the screen-and-roll, especially with Markkanen and realized very early the key to his own success would be largely tied to getting Markkanen great shots in the flow of the offense.

That responsibility still stands but the focus slightly shifts due to the roster construction and one wonders if the makeup will allow for all its young players to grow at a similar pace without conflict.

Dunn could be the face of the test case.

NBA Buzz: Dwyane Wade's legacy gets one final chapter in Miami

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USA TODAY

NBA Buzz: Dwyane Wade's legacy gets one final chapter in Miami

In case you missed it over the weekend, Chicago-area native Dwyane Wade announced he would return to the Miami Heat for one final season. It will be Wade's 16th season since being drafted 5th overall by Miami in 2003 (the Bulls were planning to draft him at  No. 7), and his place in NBA history is secure.

Wade enters the 2018-19 season ranked 31st on the all-time scoring list with 22,082 points and could pass three or four more players before he's done. Among shooting guards, Wade ranks 7th all-time in scoring, but when you consider all of his accomplishments, the former Richards H.S. (Oak Lawn) star deserves to be included among the 20 greatest players in NBA history, and probably the 4th best shooting guard behind only Michael Jordan, Kobe Bryant and Jerry West.

In his retirement video, Wade talked about being an overlooked prospect in high school, not making the varsity at Richards until his junior year. Academic concerns reduced the number of Division I schools that were seriously recruiting Wade and he made a commitment to Marquette early in his senior year.

After sitting out one season as a Prop 48 recruit, Wade quickly established himself as one of the nation's elite guards, carrying Marquette to the Final Four in 2003. Still, concerns about his outside shooting ability and in-between size at 6-foot-3 had Wade initially projected to go somewhere between 10 and 15 in the NBA draft.

It was during the private workout process that Wade showed NBA talent evaluators just how special he could be at the pro level, and he began to fly up draft boards. Heat coach Pat Riley originally wanted to add a big man like Chris Kaman with the 5th pick, but after Wade wowed Heat officials in a workout, Riley was convinced to change his mind, ushering in a new era of winning basketball for the franchise.

Wade teamed with Shaquille O'Neal to bring Miami its first NBA championship in 2006. Wade was magnificent in the Finals against Dallas, averaging 34.7 points per game, to earn MVP honors.

Bulls fans know all too well what happened in 2010. Wade took two free agent meetings with the Bulls and by all accounts was close to committing to a Chicago homecoming. But after returning to Miami to think things over, Wade eventually decided to team up with good friends LeBron James and Chris Bosh in South Florida, a partnership that led to four straight Finals appearances and two more championships.

Wade did eventually put on a Bulls’ jersey for the 2016-2017 season, averaging 18.3 points during an uneven 41-41 season that ended with the Bulls blowing a 2-0 lead in an opening round playoff series against Boston. Wade eventually negotiated a buyout on the second year of the contract he signed with the Bulls, and played half a season with James in Cleveland before returning to his beloved Miami at the trade deadline in February.

Numbers alone don't tell the story of Wade's brilliance as an NBA player. He's always been adept at getting to the free throw line, and he's the top shot blocker among guards all-time. Wade willingly sacrificed his offensive game during the prime of his career to let James thrive in Miami, and he's also played point guard at times to showcase his skills as a facilitator.

Other shooting guards have scored more points than Wade, including Reggie Miller, Ray Allen and Clyde Drexler, but none of those players have won as much as Wade or had a bigger impact on the teams they played on.

Some Bulls fans were unhappy about the way Wade left his hometown team, basically taking about $38 million of the franchise's money for one season on the court. But the Bulls were committed to a rebuild after trading Jimmy Butler in the summer of 2017, and it made little sense for Wade to be taking away minutes from younger players the coaching staff needed to develop.

Wade seemed to be rejuvenated by returning to South Florida last season, and he'll be honored in every NBA city as he goes through his farewell tour this season. The Heat will play at the United Center on November 23 and January 19, and you can bet there will be a lot of friends, former teammates and members of the extended Wade family on hand for his final appearance.

The skinny, under-recruited kid from Robbins shocked the basketball world by developing into one of the greatest shooting guards of all-time. He's also a world-wide celebrity and business mogul. So, even though Wade didn’t wear the Bulls' uniform until he was past his prime, Chicago basketball fans should salute him for one of the more unlikely success stories the league has ever seen.

SOUTHEAST DIVISION PREVIEW

Wade figures to have few turn back the clock games in a limited role for the Heat this season, and Miami should be good enough to get back to the playoffs next spring as a 7 or 8 seed.

Here's how the Southeast should stack up this season.

1. Wizards: Unless free agent addition Dwight Howard continues his run of ruining every franchise he’s joined since leaving Orlando, Washington should be the class of the division. Led by All-Star guards John Wall and Bradley Beal, the Wizards have enough offensive firepower to win about 43-48 games this season.

Otto Porter is an underrated shooter at the small forward position, and the frontline of Porter, Markieff Morris and Howard should be pretty solid. Question is, can Washington get enough production from the bench unit of Kelly Oubre, Jeff Green, Austin Rivers, Tomas Satoransky and Ian Mahinmi to stay afloat when the inevitable injuries hit?

2. Heat: Pat Riley went against the grain in the summer of 2017 by giving big contracts to hard-working, but non-star players like James Johnson, Kelly Olynyk, Dion Waiters and Wayne Ellington instead of trying to free up cap space to chase a superstar. As a result, the Heat are capped out with a solid, but unspectacular roster.

Led by All-Star guard Goran Dragic, Waiters and underachieving center Hassan Whiteside, Miami should be good enough to hold on to a playoff position in the East, but if the Heat get off to a slow start, look for Riley to pursue trades to try to clean up the cap situation for a run at one of the elite free agents in the 2019 class.

3. Hornets: Michael Jordan decided to clean house after missing the playoffs last season, firing coach Steve Clifford and GM Rich Cho in favor of Spurs assistant James Borrego and fellow North Carolina alum Mitch Kupchak.

Problem is, the talent on the floor hasn't really been upgraded, although the Hornets did draft a couple intriguing prospects the last 2 years in Malik Monk and Miles Bridges. All-Star point guard Kemba Walker will be a free agent next summer, and wing players Nicolas Batum, Marvin Williams and Michael Kidd-Gilchrist have been mostly disappointing. Charlotte figures to post a mid-30's win total, leaving them a little short of playoff contention.

4. Magic: Another team looking for a fresh start, bringing Clifford in from Charlotte to try to improve the team's porous defense. Orlando added shot-blocking specialist Mo Bamba with the 5th pick in the draft, and power forward Aaron Gordon signed a near max deal to be the face of the franchise. But with ex-Bulls D.J. Augustin and Jerian Grant currently penciled in to man the point guard position, it doesn't look like the Magic is ready to make a big jump this season.

5. Hawks: Safe to say, this looks like the worst roster in the league. Atlanta sports fans haven't exactly been passionate in support of this franchise, and outside of watching rookie Trae Young jack up three pointers, they don't figure to have a lot to cheer about this season. Young forwards John Collins and Taurean Prince are athletic players who will provide some high-flying highlights, but it's pretty obvious the biggest day on the Hawks' calendar will be the NBA draft lottery next May.