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.

Morning Update: Bulls win first meeting with Cavs; LeBron pays off Cubs-Indians bet

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USA TODAY

Morning Update: Bulls win first meeting with Cavs; LeBron pays off Cubs-Indians bet

Here are some of Friday's top stories in Chicago sports:

Saturday on CSN: Bradley vs. Nevada; Illinois State vs. New Mexico

Dwyane Wade, Bulls take first blood with LeBron James, Cavs

Bears-49ers: And the winner is?

Jonathan Toews practices but won’t play vs. Flyers

For Cubs, winter meetings will be all about the hunt for pitching 

White Sox reportedly asking for No. 1 prospect plus more in trade return for Chris Sale

'Quarterback' Rajon Rondo executes Bulls' game plan, logs first triple-double of the year

White Sox agree to one-year deals with Brett Lawrie, Avisail Garcia

LeBron James pays off bet, rocks Cubs uniform to the United Center

High School Lites basketball roundup: Week 1

'Quarterback' Rajon Rondo executes Bulls' game plan, logs first triple-double of the year

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USA TODAY

'Quarterback' Rajon Rondo executes Bulls' game plan, logs first triple-double of the year

Two nights after managing just 90 points in a lackluster home loss to the Lakers, the Bulls entered Friday night’s tilt against the defending-champion Cavaliers with a specific offensive game plan.

Attack, head coach Fred Hoiberg told his team, the interior of the Cleveland defense early to establish a presence in the paint. Knowing the Cavs, for all their strengths that made them NBA champions five months earlier, lacked a true rim protector, the Bulls made it a point to get Taj Gibson and Robin Lopez going.

The Bulls managed to do exactly that, tallying a season-high 78 points in the paint in their 111-105 victory over the Cavaliers. And while Lopez was again his usual efficient self and Gibson turned in his best performance of the season – the two scored 33 points on 15-for-23 shooting – it was point guard Rajon Rondo who proved to be the kick-starter for a Bulls offense that needed to be at its best to match Cleveland’s star power.

Rondo logged his first triple-double with the Bulls in the victory, tallying 15 points, 11 rebounds and 12 assists. But looking past the raw numbers, it was the shots Rondo took, and the passes he made, that allowed the Bulls to play so efficiently on offense and ultimately come away with their most impressive victory of the year.

Of Rondo’s 12 assists, all but two of the made shots off those passes came from a distance farther than 7 feet. Ten of Rondo’s assists resulted in baskets in the paint, of which the Bulls had 39 as a team. Squaring off against a subpar defender in Kyrie Irving, Rondo was active in knifing into the paint and finding open bigs inside. Rondo had six assists in the first quarter, and all but one resulted in baskets within 3 feet of the hoop.

All four of his made field goals in the first half were layups, as was his only bucket in the third quarter. His putback midway through the fourth quarter was also at the rim, and gave him his tenth rebound to secure the triple-double. Two possessions later he connected on a 3-pointer that gave the Bulls an eight-point lead; Cleveland never got closer than four the rest of the way. Rondo only took three shots outside of the paint. Friday marked the first time in a month Rondo had shot better than 50 percent from the field in back-to-back games.

Past Rondo’s own numbers, Gibson said that the Bulls’ point guard was instrumental in leading the Bulls’ offense to match up against a Cavaliers offense that entered the night second in the league in efficiency.

“He’s like a quarterback. Even though he never really played any contact football the way he always gathers the huddle, he always sees what’s going on in the game,” Gibson said. “He’s always encouraging. He’s pushing it. He’s a great teammate and I know he got a lot of criticism before the year, a lot of people talk about the negative that’s in it, but he’s been showing me nothing but great stuff on and off the court.”

In a game that had a playoff-like atmosphere to it simply because of the matchup between Dwyane Wade and LeBron James, as well as the defending champs coming to town, the veteran Rondo took it upon himself to lead the Bulls offense. Though the Bulls wanted to avoid getting into a track meet against the fast-paced Cavs, Rondo didn’t allow the offense to become stagnant when it was apparent they could get into the paint at will.

“I thought Rondo was great all night long,” Fred Hoiberg said, “getting guys out and running, pushing them. You can hear him yelling “run with me” to get the guys down the floor. Rajon was a huge factor.”

His defense will continue to be a liability – Irving had an off-night shooting more than anything – and he won’t score 15 points each night, but his leadership and ability to run an offense with precision has the Bulls behind their floor general as they head into the season’s second month.

“He’s always inspiring. He’s one of those guys you want to go to war with. He’s one of those guys that’s in the huddle, you know that every time down the court if it’s a wrong call, a foul, a scuffle, if you not feeling right he’s always going to have your back no matter what.”