Game 4 roundup: Bulls have work to do

452943.jpg

Game 4 roundup: Bulls have work to do

Sunday, April 24, 2011
Posted: 12:30 p.m.

By Aggrey Sam
CSNChicago.com

INDIANAPOLISLike any team that loses a close game, the Bulls lamented a few issuesbesides their failed final possessionafter losing Game 4. Some were individual plays, but they mostly focused on various themes.

For example, Derrick Rose was disappointed in the teams lack of urgency and execution early in the contest compared to their lackluster first three quarters.

At the end of the game, when we got things going, it got pretty easy. But weve just got to do what we do at the end of the game at the beginning and find people, make the game very simple because theyre putting two on me, where the big doesnt leave until I pass the ball, so just look at more film and try to get things right, said Rose, who noted that the hole the Bulls dug themselves was simply too big this time around. Weve just got to put them away, take their confidence and I think it should be an easy game after that.

READ: Rose won't blame poor shooting on ankle.
Chimed in Carlos Boozer: We feel like we havent played our best game in the series yet. That being said, even though were up 3-1, were looking forward to the next one so that we can play better.

When asked if they lost their composure at times, Luol Deng was candid in his response.

We might have. A lot of things happened throughout the game, said Deng. I thought we stuck together to make that comeback. We just couldnt finish it.

Kyle Korver found some humor in one particular playhis early fourth-quarter three-pointer to beat the shot clock, which was waved off after an official review several plays and minutes laterthat could have been the difference for the Bulls.

Technology these days, huh? quipped Korver. Couple of years ago, we would have won, but Im sure its the right call if they looked at it on the replay.

Boozer still trying to find his rhythm

While his 15-point, 13-rebound outing was an upgrade from his subpar Game 3 performance, its clear that Boozer is still out of sync. Once again, foul trouble was an issue for the two-time All-Star and it seemed to affect other aspects of his game, as he wasnt as assertive as needed throughout the contest.

Im not going to keep whining about getting in foul trouble. Im just going to keep playing my game. I tried to adjust to the refs as the game went along, said Boozer. I got the two early ones again, but listenweve got guys in here that can play; weve guys that can come in and have been playing great all season for usso if I get two, I know whoevers coming in behind me is going to do a great job.
WATCH: Boozer says they have to come out better next game.

While backups Taj Gibson and Kurt Thomas are more than capable of filling in if necessary, Boozer being off the court for an extended period of time isnt ideal. Korver, his longtime teammate, rationalized the power forwards struggles.

Hes been in foul trouble a lot and I think hes trying to be aggressive, but theyre trying to take charges, theyre trying to flop, theyre trying to get him in foul trouble and hes got to realize he cant go at the middle of their chest. Hes got to go at their shoulders. But hell figure that out.
Bulls rebounding dominance ceases
For once, the Bulls didnt own the boards, as the Pacers competed on the boards, snatching 45 rebounds to the visitors 46.

They went after it. The more you go, the more you get and they went after it, they fought hard, they got to loose balls. You cant just jump against these guys; youve got to hit, said coach Tom Thibodeau. Youve got to block out. Youve got to block out and youve got to fight, and if you think youre just going to out-jump them, its not going to happen. Theyre physical, try to ram you under the basket and theyre going after it. Weve got to play a lot tougher.

Added Boozer: Weve got to do a little bit better job of getting into guys bodies and boxing them out, and grabbing the rebound. Well work on the mistakes that we made and hopefully be better the next game.
READ: Sharpshooter Korver emerges as clutch performer.

A major reason for the Pacers solid work on the glass was Pacers big man Jeff Foster, who corralled seven offensive boards.

Foster, he plays really aggressive. He doesnt necessarily get the ball, but he tips to someone, said Korver. Weve got to do a better job of hitting him first and not just waiting for the ball to come to us. But thats something where we usually have the advantage.

Observed Deng:I know they got a lot from Foster tipping out. I dont know how many offensive rebounds he had, but he seemed to get them at the times when we needed them.

The self-critical Rose put some of the onus on the backcourt.

Weve got to rebound the ball. They were doing a lot of tip-backs, where Foster was just hitting the ball back out. As a guard, youve got to get those and that could easily start a fast break, so next game, if he tries that, Im definitely going to be looking for it.

Prior to the game, Pacers interim head coach Frank Vogel commented on the NBA upgrading two of the longtime Indiana big mans hard fouls from Game 3 to flagrant fouls.

No reaction. Happens in the league, foreshadowed the coach. Ive seen it happen before. Its not going to change anything we do.

Joakim Noah, while he wasnt a fan of Foster going after his teammates, acknowledged, Its just the name of the game right now. The game is physical.
Chicago fans invade Indy

If one were dropped off in Conseco Fieldhouse without knowing the location, it would reasonable to assume the arena was in Chicago. Even at a Pacers home game, Bulls fans flooded the arena, making it seem like at least a 50-50 split between the two factions, if the majority wasnt supporting the Windy City squad.

Rose stuck to his usual reasoning that the fans support the team on the road because of the franchises legacyIts because of the players before us, said the man that had seemingly half of Indianapolis chanting MVP, not only in the arena, but on the street, as the teams bus left its downtown hotel for the gamebut its obviously more than that.

Surprisingly, weve got a good following on the road most of the season. You guys media that have been with us throughout the year know weve been fortunate to have a lot of fans come on the road for us and support us. Its great to see them out there, said Boozer. Maybe the support is a little surprising, but I guess it shouldnt after the way the seasons been. Weve had a lot of fans almost everywhere we go, which is great. We love seeing our guys out there. Usually, theyre chanting MVP most of the game and its good to have that support on the road.

WATCH: Noah: "It's a tough loss but the playoffs have to go through Chi-Town and we're excited about that."

Noah concurred: The love for the Chicago Bulls is crazy right now and we love it, thrive off that and were excited to go home. We get a lot of love out there, too, when we go back home. Its good, it gives us confidence, but we know its on us to really put in the work and make them happy.

Young Pacers have confident leader
Although Vogel predicted a win before the game, it would be unfair to call him prophetic, as the rookie head coach has been confident his team would be successful the entire series.

We believe fully that it can happen and believe it starts with winning one game. Our guys were shocked that they did not win on their home court last game. They were shocked, they were devastated. We expect to win here. Were going to win Game 4 and go from there, said Vogel. Were standing toe-to-toe with a championship contender. Ive told them all year that theyre one of the best teams in the NBA and they are one of the best teams in the NBA; theyre playing as well as anybody in the league, right now. We hit our stride towards the end of the year and were getting better by the game. We dont have wins to show for it, which is frustrating, but were one of the best teams in the NBA right now. Our future is bright.

Our young guys have a lot of guts. Big onions, as college basketball television analyst Bill Raftery used to say. Its very, very encouraging to the future of this franchise, to see guys compete the way theyre competing when its on the line, continued the 37-year-old. They had to go through some stuff, I think. They had to learn and every win, every positive experience that they went through, every accomplishment, every achievement, we just reinforced it with them, showed them that they can, that theyre doing it, theyre improving, theyre getting better and I dont think they necessarily believed it right away, but as the season went on, I think that they are one of the best teams in the league.

Its been a great learning experience. Its been fun playing the chess match that goes into it, making the game adjustments, watching Coach Thibodeau make adjustments. Just a learning experience. Its been fun.

Pacers veteran stopper talks guarding Rose

Jones, who has shared the defensive assignment of guarding Rose the past two games with starting rookie shooting guard Paul George after not playing in Game 1 and Game 2, talked to CSNChicago.com about his duties.

We just tried to make him take some tough shots, picked him up, tried to make his day a little more stressful, just put a different look on him, he explained. Vogel has a game plan and he has things in mind. His job is to create strategy and I had to go with it. I did what he thought was best and I just stayed ready on the bench, tried to help my guys out and wait until my number was called.

Dahntay Jones also discussed how his young teammates have grown up during the series, a process in which Vogel has played an integral part.

Im proud of them. These guys are playing extremely hard and scrappy, playing with no fear and thats how its supposed to be in the playoffs. Theyre getting their experience on the run, but theyre playing extremely well, said Jones. Coach Vogel, hes been a positive coach. Hes been helping the young guys out, just instilling confidence in them and trying to play to their strengths, instead of knocking of them down for their weaknesses. Hes done a good job of that.

Morning Update: Dwyane Wade comes up clutch in close win vs. Kings

update-121.jpg
AP

Morning Update: Dwyane Wade comes up clutch in close win vs. Kings

Dwyane Wade gets a little help but saves the day defensively vs. Kings

Sunday on CSN: UIC travels to Valparaiso

One-goal victories are great but Blackhawks’ method has to change

Bears numbers don't indicate 3-13, yet still lie

Road Ahead: Blackhawks play three home games before All-Star break

Blackhawks acquire Michael Latta from Kings in swap of minor leaguers

Phillips DT Chris Elmore commits to Syracuse

Dwyane Wade gets a little help but saves the day defensively vs. Kings

Dwyane Wade gets a little help but saves the day defensively vs. Kings

It was a gift and the Bulls weren't going to look it in the mouth as Dwyane Wade was poised to finish off another one of his sterling defensive plays with a breakaway dunk with the game tied and Arron Afflalo and DeMarcus Cousins trailing.

Lightly touched by the small of his back by Cousins, Wade miscalculated his liftoff and missed the dunk but was bailed out by the refs for a foul with 14 seconds left.

Then, he bailed the Bulls out.

Wade had his fifth fourth-quarter defensive play, stripping Cousins on a steal on the ensuing possession with the Sacramento Kings having a chance to win, leading to a Michael Carter-Williams dunk and finishing a 102-99 win Saturday night at the United Center.

It was a clock-turning performance for Wade on both ends of the floor, even if his missed dunk is a reminder that he is 35 years old. 

"I took off too far as I look at the instant replay," Wade said. "I should've took maybe one more dribble. Can't say I felt 35, I just took off too far (laughs). But hey, sometimes you get calls, sometimes you don't. I'm a person who hasn't gotten a lot all year so I'm not gonna apologize for nothing."

Stripping Cousins on his spin move was the finale, but he swatted an Arron Afflalo corner triple in the fourth, smothered Ty Lawson at the rim twice for blocked shots to end the third and tortured Lawson again in the fourth for another steal that led to him following up a Jimmy Butler missed layup with a follow and foul.

"Just a read," said Wade on stripping Cousins. "We knew he was gonna go to DeMarcus at that point. Once we forced him left, I knew he had to come back to the right hand. And being in the right place at the right time, the ball was right there for me."

Wade played like a desperate and motivated man, putting up 30 with six rebounds and four assists on the second night of a back-to-back is proof positive he took Friday's loss to Atlanta personally and used his play to back up those feelings.

He took to twitter to apologize for the poor effort against the Hawks, producing his best all-around performance as a Bull.

"We've been good in desperate moments," Wade said. "We haven't been good in non-desperate moments, when we win three in a row or playing a team that we should beat. But (in) the desperate moments I like us."

He scored 13 in the fourth, along with the last of his four blocked shots and all three of his steals took place in the final 12.

"I thought he was terrific," Bulls coach Fred Hoiberg said. "He was aggressive all game long, taking the ball to the basket, getting to the line 15 times. He came up with two big plays."

Hoiberg threw out different lineups and rotations, playing Paul Zipser as a sixth man and having the second-round draft pick close the game. Zipser took advantage, hitting three triples and scoring 13 points.

"I thought it was night and day from last night," Hoiberg said. "Our energy was really good all night long. We got just enough stops to find a way to win."

Cousins dominated the game with 42 and 14 rebounds in 35 minutes, the only Kings player in double figures all night.

"He was pretty much unguardable for the majority of the game, Taj did a solid job on him," Hoiberg said. "When Robin was on him, they put him on the perimeter and let him shoot threes. He's a monster."

Back-to-back triples from Cousins gave him 40 and tied the game at 97, as a third one rimmed out with a little under two minutes left.

Cousins dominated the start of the third quarter, hitting midrange jumpers over Lopez and taunting the Bulls bench after hitting a jumper to put the Kings ahead, 70-63 midway through the third.

But the Bulls stayed close, with Hoiberg choosing to sit Rajon Rondo for the second half after playing him six minutes in the second quarter, using Wade as a point guard and going with Carter-Williams for defense, along with Zipser, who didn't look scared of the moment.

"I like the wrinkle coach put in there, putting him in early," Wade said. "He gave him an opportunity and he helped us big time."

Butler scored 23 with seven assists and five rebounds in 39 minutes, didn't have to play the hero for once and made fun of Wade's apology tweet.

"He was due for a big night," Butler said. "He can tweet again if he can come out again and give us 30 and some big steals and big dunks."

"I think that's what called of him, to score baskets and guard. It's kinda sneaky. You never really expect it until it happens."

It looked like the worst was over when the Bulls made a short run to end the third, surviving the onslaught from Cousins — and surviving their own experimenting with Zipser instead of going with Denzel Valentine, switching things up altogether.

But the tone was set by the leaders, who can only manufacture but so much urgency on a nightly basis.

"I like this team when we're desperate," Wade said. "A desperate team, we're not bad."