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Series Shifts to Chicago

RedsArmyAdmin April 23, 2009 Uncategorized 3 Comments

1 @ 1
Thursday, April 23, 2009
8:00 pm ET
United Center (Chicago, IL)

With the series knotted up at 1-1, the most exciting round one matchup
has shifted from Beantown to the Windy City. Rookie of the Year Derrick
Rose put on an offensive clinic to lead his Bulls to a two-point
overtime victory in Game 1, while Ray Allen's heroics highlighted a
Uconn shootout with Ben Gordon in crunch time of Game 2 on Monday
night. The level of intensity has been unquestioned thus far, as just
one accumulative point has separated the Bulls and Celtics throughout
the first two games of this series.

Not everybody has played well for Doc Rivers, but the core group of
youngsters have risen to the occasion. The interior duo of Glen Davis
(22.0 PPG, 6.0 RPG, 1.5 BPG) and Kendrick Perkins (15.0 PPG, 10.0 RPG,
2.0 BPG) has been terrific, and of course, Rajon Rondo has taken
another step towards stardom. He's no Oscar Robertson, but his
triple-double averages of 24 points, 10.5 rebounds, and 11.5 assists
per game, to go along with 3.5 steals, has turned the heads of even the
most prominent Rondo supporters.

Despite the fact that homecourt advantage has [temporarily] been taken
away, the Celtics have got to feel good about themselves for Games 3
and 4. Why, you ask? They have yet to play Boston Celtics basketball on
both ends of the floor. They've had their moments and shown some
flashes of the product that was put on the floor prior to the start of
the postseason, but what we saw in the first two games of the series
was not on par with what the team expected of themselves. Ray Allen was
nonexistent throughout the first three halves of the series, the
offense has gone stagnant for long stretches, the bench has been
putrid, and their inability to defend the two most dangerous options of
the pick n' roll (without Garnett) has been more than frustrating. In
addition to that, Paul Pierce has been completely out of whack. Not
only are his shots not falling (16-40 from the field), he looks a bit
gassed.

However, this is Paul Pierce. He is not going to go through an entire
series this way. You could even say that he is due for a big outing
some time soon, and as the captain goes, the team goes. Better
basketball is on the way, although it will be far from a picnic, as
Boston's front line has even more weight on their shoulders with the
ACL injury that Leon Powe attained in Game 2.

Both clubs have fought hard left it all out on the floor so far. We can't expect anything less on the enemies' hardwood.


Regular Season Record: 62-20
Eastern Conference Seed: 2

Projected Starters
G G F F C

Series Leaders
PPG: Rajon Rondo (24.0)
RPG: Rajon Rondo (10.5)
APG: Rajon Rondo (11.5)
SPG: Rajon Rondo (3.5)
BPG: Kendrick Perkins (2.0)

Primary Focus: Perimeter Defense
We've talked about closing off penetration and protecting the paint all
series. That remains the main focus when defending the Chicago Bulls,
and at the United Center, you might even have to worry about some home
cookin' from the outside. In Game 2, we all witnessed what Ben Gordon
is capable of, but you expect him to score the ball every night.

In Chicago, however, you can't sleep on the complementary pieces. It is
no secret that role players play better at home. The Kirk Hinrichs,
John Salmons', and Tim Thomas' of the world are capable of hurting you
from the outside when they are in the comfort of their own building.
Heck, we even saw Tyrus Thomas put on a surprise mid-range shooting
clinic in Boston on Saturday.

Doc Rivers' perimeter men must make life as easy as possible for their
bigs in the back-line of the defense. When you're on the road, you're
less likely to get calls, and with Leon Powe out of action for the next
6-8 months with a torn ACL, Boston's front line has become even
thinner. No Garnett, no Powe, and whether Brian Scalabrine returns for
Game 3 or not, it is completely unrealistic to expect any real
contributions from a guy who has had multiple concussions keep him out
of action for all but three outings since January 28. If the perimeter
defense can deny penetration and close out on ball reversal, it would
help the Celtic bigs keep their foul situation under control and also
give them a better chance of getting defensive rebounding position.


Regular Season Record: 41-41
Eastern Conference Seed: 7

Projected Starters
G G F F C

Series Leaders
PPG: Ben Gordon (31.0)
RPG: Joakim Noah (12.5)
APG: Derrick Rose (9.0)
SPG: Lindsey Hunter (2.0)
BPG: Tyrus Thomas (4.5)

Primary Focus: Soak Up the Atmosphere
Chicago gave the Celtics all they could handle back in Boston for Games
1 and 2, and they have played with a great deal of confidence and
tenacity thus far in this series. When you're on your home floor, your
confidence and energy level skyrockets, especially when you've got a
tremendous crowd like Chicago's behind you from the opening tip to the
final buzzer.

If there is one thing Chicago should be nervous about, it is that
Boston has yet to put together a Celtic-like effort. It is almost as if
the Celtics, and Paul Pierce individually, are due for a big game. The
Bulls need to make sure that doesn't happen by maintaining their level
of intensity, feeding off the crowd, and making sure that they come
away with as many 50/50 hustle plays as possible.

The defending champs are more than capable of winning on the road, but
keep in mind that the Bulls have won 13 of their last 15 at the United
Center. As long as Chicago makes it a point to outwork the opposition
take advantage of homecourt, the offense will come, and the rest will
take care of itself.

Injury Report
Kevin Garnett (right knee – out)
Rajon Rondo (sprained right ankle – will play)
Leon Powe (torn ACL – out)
Brian Scalabrine (post-concussion syndrome – probable)
Luol Deng (anterior right tibial stress fracture – out)
John Salmons (strained groin – will play)
Jerome James (ruptured achilles tendon – out)

Keys to Victory

  • Close Off Penetration, Protect the Paint
  • Ball Movement
  • Avoid Foul Trouble
  • Control the Defensive Glass
  • Bench Boost

Like this Article? Share it!

  • FSantos33

    Just watched “Around The Horn” on ESPN – Bob Ryan totally sold out and picked the Bulls to win tonight. When asked who would win the series Ryan said it’s 50/50. I disagree with him and all the other haters. We ain’t going to lose to the F’in Bulls in the first round that’s what I am saying. Lets GO!!
    Team Defense!! We’ve given up over 100 pts to the Bulls in the fist two games. This can’t happen anymore. My focus would be on Rondo tonight. He must run the ball set up teammates for shots and for himself to attack the rim. (Run Rondo Run) Pierce must attack the rim and get to the FT line more. This can open things up for our outside shooters and making life a lot easier. LETS GO CELTICS!!!!!

  • AMP

    Look at the STATs. Rondo’s running the team!

  • http://profile.typepad.com/6p011570423591970b KobeWearsAPurpleThong

    Perimiter D-good call Balla. That’s exactly what the analysts on CSN are saying. If (when) Rose gets by Rondo or Marbury, the D needs to collapse and pick him up immediately or we will have a repeat of Game 1 with alot of layups. I’m looking for P2 to drop 25 or more, and I think Scal is really gonna bring some great energy and hustle back to this team. GO GREEN!!!