Bulls

Pacers to use 'Rose plan' against Bulls

Pacers to use 'Rose plan' against Bulls

Saturday, April 16, 2011Posted: 12:05 PM
By Aggrey Sam
CSNChicago.com

With the whiteboard in the United Center visiting locker room reading Rose Plan under the Pacers defensive keys, Indiana leading scorer Danny Granger didnt exactly back away from his comments about Derrick Rose being a virtual one-man gang, although he did acknowledge some of the other weapons on the Bulls.

Luol Deng has always been a great player. I think he really thrives because he gets a lot of stuff off Derrick Rose. A lot of people pay so much attention to Derrick RoseI could also mention Carlos Boozer, although I think Derrick Rose is the primary force, Granger said before Saturdays Game 1 of the Bulls-Pacers first-round playoff series. He does a lot for them, as far as scoring and setting up everybody else on the offensive end, and weve got to do our best to slow him down.

I didnt use the word rules specifically because I didnt want the comparison, said Frank Vogel, who became the Pacers head coach after Jim OBrien was firedironically, a day after losing to the Bulls. We know what we have to do against him. Weve just got to execute it.

Were thinking about a planfull-court man-to-man press, half-court zonethings weve never played before, joked the 37-year-old, who would only reveal that starting point guard Darren Collison would begin the game guarding Rose. We believe in what we do. Were going to play our defense with a few different wrinkles for him. Were here for a reason. Were a good basketball team.

Without being too specific, were going to have a couple different guys go at him at different times and really just have to guard him with five guys. We understand that no one guy can stop him and its got to be a team effort.

Indianas young coachthe youngest in the leagueand star player arent concerned with the perception that theyre outmatched and plan to stick with what got them into the postseason.

Basically, we started playing together a little bit more. Were young so we make a lot of mistakes, but were always trying to be unselfish, playing together, moving the basketballthat helped us win a lot of games, said Granger about the teams in-season turnaround. We didnt come here just to play a few games and lose. We came here trying to win and I think everybodyI dont care what seed you areif you dont come into the playoffs with that mindset, bad things are going to happen.

Our youth is definitely a disadvantage, but in the same instance, weve got to start somewhere. It starts here for a lot of our young players and itll be a good learning experience. The pressure, honestly, is on them. Everyone thinks were going to lose anyway, so we can come out and play free, and try to get a win.

Concurred Vogel: Predictions that the Bulls will sweep the Pacers are irrelevant to us. We believe in ourselves.

Weve proven we can score 115 against a team like this, he continued, referring to the Pacers overtime win over the Bulls in March. We can be fruitful offensively. We have confidence we can score on anybody and were confident we can defend, as well.

Weve gotten here by playing together, playing as a team and thats how were going to continue to playYou cant win in the playoffs without playing physical basketball.

Granger also referenced the overtime upsetin which Rose scored a career-high-tying 42 points, but fouled out in the extra sessionand says the Pacers will try to implement some of the successful aspects of that game plan to the postseason matchup.

We did a good job of attacking their defense. They have the best defense in the league and we used some schemes to attack them. We were successful that time. Were going to try to carry that over to this series.

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.

Steve Kerr told a Michael Jordan Bulls story to give advice to Kevin Durant

Steve Kerr told a Michael Jordan Bulls story to give advice to Kevin Durant

Anyone who lived through the Michael Jordan Bulls remembers those games when he was putting up tons of points, but the Bulls were still struggling overall.

Steve Kerr referenced one of those games to give advice to Kevin Durant during Game 5 of the Western Conference Finals. The TNT broadcast caught the conversation and aired it late in the third quarter.

"When MJ was with the Bulls, we had a playoff game," Kerr began the story. "He kept trying to score and he was scoring, but we weren't getting anything going. Phil Jackson said 'Who's open?' He said, 'John Paxson.'"

Paxson famously hit the game-winning shot in Game 6 of the 1993 NBA Finals to clinch the series. Kerr, who later hit his own championship-winning shot on an assist from Jordan in 1997, was trying to get to get his teammates involved.

"I want to trust your teammates early," Kerr said. "What you're doing is you're getting to the rim and then you're trying to hit him. I want you to trust the first guy and then move. Still attack, still look to score, but trust these guys, OK?"

Watch the video above to see the interaction.

Durant scored 29 points in Game 5 to lead the Warriors, but Houston took a 3-2 series lead with a 98-94 win.

Shai Gilgeous-Alexander stock is on the rise; just how high will he climb?

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USA TODAY

Shai Gilgeous-Alexander stock is on the rise; just how high will he climb?

John Calipari's 2017 recruiting class featured five McDonald's All-Americans and Hamidou Diallo, a former five-star recruit who nearly jumped to the NBA the previous year. It also included a lanky 6-foot-6 point guard named Shai Gilgeous-Alexander. And for the first part of the 2017-18 season, the Toronto native who played his final two high school years in Tennessee, appeared to be a nice fit off the bench for Calipari.

But something flipped. Gilgeous-Alexander was inserted into the starting lineup for good on January 9 and never looked back. He played his best basketball beginning in late February to the end of the season, a span of 10 games against eight NCAA Tournament opponents. In those games Gilgeous-Alexander averaged 19.0 points, 6.3 rebounds and 6.7 assists. He shot 51 percent from the field, 50 percent from deep and 84 percent from the free throw line, and added 1.4 steals in nearly 38 minutes per game for good measure. He was one of the best players in the country, and on a team with five McDonald's All-Americans, he was Calipari's best freshman.

"I knew with how hard I worked that anything was possible," SGA said at last week's NBA Draft Combine in Chicago. "It was just a matter of time before it started clicking and I started to get it rolling."

That stretch included a 17-point, 10-assist double-double against Ole Miss, a 29-point showing against Tennessee in the SEC Tournament, and 27 more points in the second round of the NCAA Tournament against Buffalo. Even in his worst game of the stretch, a 15-point effort against Kansas State in the Tournament, he made up for 2 of 10 shooting by getting to the free throw line 12, converting 11 of them.

It made his decision to make the jump to the NBA an easy one - that, and another loaded Calipari recruiting class incoming. He stands taller than just about any other point guard in the class and might have as good a jump shot as any. He's adept at getting to the rim, averaging 4.7 free throw attempts per game (that number jumped to 5.6 after he became a starter, and 7.5 in those final 10 games of the season. He isn't the quickest guard in the class, but he uses his feet well, is able to find open shooters due to his height and improved on making mistakes on drive-and-kicks as the season went on.

"I think I translate really well to the next level with there being so much more space on the floor and the open court stretched out," he said. "It only benefits me and my ability to get in the lane and make plays."

There's something to be said for him being the next in line of the Calipari point guards. The ever-growing list includes players like Derrick Rose, John Wall, Tyreke Evans, Eric Bledsoe, Jamal Murray and DeAaron Fox. It's the NBA's version of Penn State linebackers or Alabama defensive linemen. The success rate is nearly 100 percent when it comes to Calipari's freshmen point guards; even Brandon Knight averaged 18.1 points over a three-year span in the NBA.

"That’s why guys go to Kentucky," Gilgeous-Alexander said. "It prepares them for the next level. Coach (Calipari) does a really good job, especially with point guards, getting them ready for that next level in a short amount of time."

Gilgeous-Alexander didn't test or play in the 5-on-5 scrimmages, but he still came out of Chicago a winner. He measured 6-foot-6 in shoes with a ridiculous 6-foot-11 1/2 wingspan, a full three inches longer than any other point guard at the Combine. He also added, rather uniquely, that he watches of film Kawhi Leonard playing defense. Most players don't mention watching film on different-position players; most players aren't 6-foot-6 point guards.

"(It's) obviously a more versatile league and playing small ball. And with me being able to guard multiple positions, a lot of teams are switching things like the pick and roll off ball screens, so me being able to switch and guard multiple positions can help an organization."

Gilgeous-Alexander's arrow is pointing way up. He appears to be teetering near Lottery pick status, though that could go one way or the other in private team workouts, especially if he's pitted against fellow top point guards like Trae Young and Collin Sexton. But if his rise at Kentucky is any indication, he'll only continue to improve his game, his stock and eventually his draft position.