Chicago Bulls v Atlanta Hawks - Game Six

Derrick Rose vows to be more aggressive in Game 4


For three games now, Derrick Rose has come off the top of the high screen and saw a line of defenders. Sometimes it’s a trap and a traditional double team. Sometimes its more of a soft double with the next guy just rotated over ready to come — the Heat have the athletes to come at him in waves.

Rose has done what basketball coaches have told him since elementary school — when all those guys are on you someone else has to be open. Pass the ball.

Rose has done that and watched Bulls offense struggle. Tuesday night he is going to see what he can do if he attacks more, he told the Chicago Tribune.

“I definitely believe in them,” Rose said of his teammates. “But I want to see what I can do if I take the double-team on. I saw what the double-team did the last two games. My passing the ball the majority of the time really isn’t working. Or we’re not running the right play to get people open. We went over the plays and play calls (Monday). (Tuesday), I have to be way more aggressive….

“That’s not me,” Rose said. “I’m thinking too much, trying to get the ball out of my hands so that my teammates can make plays. … I have to change my mindset right now. Usually when I come out, I see how the defense is playing me. They’ve been double-teaming me the whole time, especially in pick-and-roll. The big (man) stays up until I get the ball out of my hands.

“Starting (Tuesday), from beginning to end, I have to be way more aggressive. I have to find a way. I don’t know how I’m going to do it. But I have to search out the opportunity and go for it.”

Rose sounds like Tom Thibodeau coached the last game — like a guy desperately looking for answers. The Heat’s athletes on defense have made the offense of “Derrick Rose and the Rosettes” not work. As great as Rose is at finding seams, the Heat’s defense has great athletes who can cut those seams off.

The Bulls got a good game from Carlos Boozer with 26 points last outing, but they need more. They need someone to knock down threes and make the Heat pay for packing the lane with people to stop Rose. Maybe a more aggressive Rose can bring that out of his teammates.

Or maybe it plays into the hands of the Heat.

LeBron James with two-handed halfcourt bounce pass for assist (VIDEO)

LeBron James
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Perhaps LeBron James‘ most underappreciated skill has been his passing. He is rightly hailed as the most unselfish superstar of his generation, but being a willing passer is only part of it: he’s also as good at it as any point guard in the league. Case in point: this two-handed halfcourt bounce pass on Tuesday night, finding Richard Jefferson for an easy dunk:

Kobe gets great introduction, loud ovation in Philadelphia

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Kobe Bryant‘s relationship with his hometown of Philadelphia had its rocky sections — the Kobe’s Lakers beat the Sixers in the 2001 Finals, and then Kobe was booed during the 2002 All-Star Game —  but all was forgiven on Tuesday night.

In his final trip to Philly, he was given a framed Lower Merion High School jersey — that’s Kobe’s school, in case you forgot — and it was presented by Dr. J.

Then the fans welcomed him like you see above.

That pumped up Kobe, who scored 13 first quarter points on 5-of-10 shooting, his best quarter of the season.

Rumor: Nets testing trade waters for Bojan Bogdanovic

Bojan Bogdanovic, Otto Porter Jr.
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If you play for the Brooklyn Nets, and your name is not Rondae Hollis-Jefferson, expect you will come up in trade rumors this season.

First up on the block, Bojan Bogdanovic. The report comes from Mike Mazzeo of ESPN.

Bogdanovic is in the first year of a three-year, $11 million deal, which isn’t bad for a guy playing nearly 25 minutes a night and scoring 8.4 points per game. There is a lot of potential in his game, if developed in the right setting — he’s a good shooter out on the wing who works well off the ball. He seems to have regressed this season, but how much of that is due to the Nets and their guard play (and just generally struggling) is up for debate.

Is there going to be interest in him? Probably. As always, it is about the price, what the Nets will demand. Whether the Nets can get anything back they want is up for debate.

Right now a lot of GMs are testing the waters for players, judging the market. That is a long way from a trade happening. But don’t be shocked if the Nets make a deal or two before the February deadline.

Just a reminder that Joakim Noah would like some more run

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Joakim Noah is playing 20.6 minutes a night coming off the bench for Fred Hoiberg and the Chicago Bulls this season.

And he doesn’t like it. He wants more run. He was getting 10 minutes more a night last season under Tom Thibodeau, and Noah wants some of those minutes back. Nick Friedel of ESPN sent out a tweet that was a reminder of just that.

Three thoughts here.

1) Reducing minutes for guys who battle injuries every season by the time the playoffs roll around was one huge reason Fred Hoiberg was brought in to coach the Bulls and Tom Thibodeau was shown the door. This isn’t just Hoiberg, the minutes reduction comes from management. While it is possible Noah’s spot in the rotation shifts (he could start at some point) and he might get a little more run, the Thibodeau era is gone.

2) There are legit reasons for Noah to want to play. First, he is a competitor who doesn’t like sitting. Second, the Bulls’ defense is elite when he plays (allowing 95.5 points per 100 possessions) and the Bulls outscore opponents by 1.3 per 100 when he plays. Finally, Noah is in the final year of his contract and scoring just 3.1 points per game is not going to help him earn more cash in the next deal.

3) Barring injury to another big, don’t expect a change.