Tag: Heat Bulls

Chicago Bulls v Miami Heat - Game Three

Thibodeau thinks Derrick Rose not getting the calls


Derrick Rose has averaged 6.5 free throws a game so far in the Eastern Conference Finals, which is down just slightly from the 6.9 trips to the line he averaged during the regular season.

But Bulls coach Tom Thibodeau was expecting a lot more.

And he’s blaming the officials. Kind of. In an “I don’t want to get fined” kind of way, as reported at the Palm Beach Post.

“He hasn’t been able to get to the line like we thought he would,” the Bulls coach said. “There’s a lot of contact, and he hasn’t gotten calls.”

The fact is the referees have let this be a physical series for the most part — as they should in the Eastern Conference Finals. The game should get more physical and the referees should let them play at this point in the season.

Part of being a champion is being able to adjust and play through that. The Heat are dealing with it much better right now.

Video: Derrick Rose just abuses rim, Joel Anthony

Chicago Bulls v Miami Heat - Game Four

In the first half of Tuesday night’s Game 4, Derrick Rose attacked the rim as hard as he has all playoffs. Maybe all season. He was determined to break down the Heat’s defense.

One result of that was one of the best dunks of the playoffs — a monster throwdown where he weaves through the defense then just posterizes Joel Anthony.

As much as you see him do things like this, Rose’s explosive athleticism can still just be jaw dropping at times.

Believe it or not, LeBron knows how Rose feels

Chicago Bulls v Miami Heat - Game Four

People are going to want to act like LeBron James is relishing this. That there’s a part of James who is vindictively and sadistically savoring the kid who took his trophy failing like this. But it’s not like that among athletes, and it’s not like that between LeBron James and Derrick Rose.

Because some part of James sees what Rose is going through and recognizes it, empathizes with it, understands it. This isn’t to make James into some highly empathetic figure, or a kind-hearted, benevolent statesman for the game. James has shown enough behavior to warrant a piece of the criticism he’s earned. Probably not the vilification to the degree of him embodying everything evil, but James is the person who dismissively throws his warm-ups off, who spreads his pre-game laundry out as a barrier to reporters, who didn’t shake Orlando’s hand in 2009, who did orchestrate “The Decision,” etc. He is that guy.

But he’s also a player who was burdened at an obscenely young age with the hopes of a franchise. He was given the responsibility of being The Chosen One (which he embraced with a tat on his back), and leading Cleveland out of darkness and into Valhalla. Cleveland. You know, where sports hope goes to die. I’m not rubbing this in, Cleveland. It’s unendurable what you’ve gone through as a city. But the high pressure of trying to save a desperate people did weigh on James. LeBron was bested in the playoffs by the best power forward in NBA history, one of the best defenses ever seen mechanized by a Big 3 which set the model for what James would later do, by a ridiculously hot shooting Magic team that if the NBA Playoffs were pop-a-shot in 2009 would have won enough tickets to buy the whole freaking Chuck-E-Cheese, and again by that same defense. He did it with supporting players like Mo Williams, Antawn Jamison, Wally Szczerbiak, Larry Hughes, Ben Wallace, Daniel Gibson, Anderson Varejao. He knows what it’s like to have the entire world expecting you to be better than five men at once, all of whom are actively trying to kill you.

James knows how Rose feels when he sees Kyle Korver missing threes, destroying the only reason he’s supposed to be on the floor. He knows what it’s like for Rose when the Bulls can’t create space, find a lane, attack the basket or get a shot off without him. He knows what it’s like to feel like you have to do everything, and to know the opponent knows that, and to know the opponent knows you know.

And he knows what it’s like to fail.

James knows Rose, more than most will discuss because of the neat theatrics of Rose dismissing James in a text message over the summer. It’s easier to paint Rose as a saint and James as an evil demon prowling the streets of Chicago before DRose sent him packing. But it ignores fairly obvious elements. Like Derrick Rose being a Calipari product. And LeBron James and his crew being thick as thieves with Calipari.

James knows Rose, and he knows what he’s been through. He knows what it’s like to struggle and fail, to be beat up, worn down, exhausted, and constantly looking to your teammates and wondering why they can’t hit water if they fell out of a boat, or what that defensive rotation was, or where they were passing it to, or why no one else can create their own shot. He’s worn the shoes Derrick Rose is wearing and knows how hard it is to face the microphones thrust in his face after not being able to get it done. James knows how Rose feels and it’s the cause of two things.

It’s why James keeps praising Rose, and it’s why James won’t let up on Rose for a second.

In Game 4, there was no clearer manifestation of James being the active deterrent to Rose. James blocked Rose’s notorious floater into the fifth row (ask Josh Smith how difficult that shot it to time). He blanketed Rose for the entire fourth, causing yet another in a long series of disastrous fourths for the MVP. He defended the game winning attempt, twice, forcing a turnover and a miss. Want proof of the effect James has on Rose? Rose misses more shots than he makes at the rim when LeBron James is on the floor in this series. It was key to the Heat’s 101-93 win in overtime to take a 3-1 series lead.

Derrick Rose is home. He’s a 22-year-old MVP on top of the world, playing for a shot in the Finals of a World Championship. He’s shouldering the load, playing long minutes (seriously, Tom Thibodeau doesn’t know the meaning of the world “breather”). He’s going through exactly what James went through year after year. It reminds James to stay consistent, to stay aggressive, to not go back to where Rose is. When this series is over, James will hug Rose and whisper in his ear words of encouragement the same way Kevin Garnett whispered in James’ ear last year. Because Garnett knew what it was like as well, to hold up a franchise, to be their Atlas, and to fail under the crushing weight. Eventually, the lesson goes (right or wrong), you have to go out and find your own support and stop waiting for management to give it to you. LeBron did and now he’s five wins away from the title that eluded him.

But when he whispers in Rose’s ear, it won’t be smug or pompous (no matter how smug or pompous James may be otherwise), it’ll be supportive and understanding. Basketball is a brotherhood, the marketing slogan says. But franchise saviors share a unique bond. It gives James no joy to do this to the MVP. But like everything else James has done over the past year…

It’s just business.

Game 5 is Thursday if Rose wants to delay that conversation a little longer.

Derrick Rose vows to be more aggressive in Game 4

Chicago Bulls v Atlanta Hawks - Game Six

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.

Heat fans get on Barkley, he flips them off, idiocy ensues

2010 NBA All-Star T-Mobile Rookie Challenge and Youth Jam

I was on a talk radio show in Miami today, where they should be celebrating the fact that their team seems to be taking control of their series against the Bulls.

And what was one of the big topics of the day? Charles Barkley flipping the bird to some Heat fans.

I linked to the video (via the Miami Herald) in our Monday Morning Links (language not safe for work) and figured it was just an interesting little oddity. Now it has blown up to a full-fledged discussion topic. Because there are not better ones out there, I guess.

Remember that Charles Barkley has been ripping the Heat for most of the season and recently called them a “whiney bunch.” TNT was broadcasting live from Game 3 with a studio setup outside AmericanAirlines Arena when a group of Heat fans started chanting “f—- you Chuck.”

After 20 seconds or so of this (on the video, we don’t know what else) Barkley flipped off the fans behind him. Who then cheered. Then threw some things at him. Which crossed the line. Again, here is the link to the video, it is NSFW.

According to our man Ira Winderman with the Sun Sentinel, TNT is now taking their studio show inside the arena for Tuesday’s game. We’ll see if that helps, it’s a more controlled environment but some of the things said to Joakim Noah that led to his response and fine were over the line should have had that person tossed from the arena.

Dwyane Wade, who has had some back and forth with Barkley, thought it was pretty amusing.

“It was great to hear; it was great to see, for my fans, to stick up for us,” he said. “And, at one point, Chuck got a little frustrated with it. Good for them.”

And Barkley, well, he was vintage Barkley about it on WQAM radio (as quoted by the Sun Sentinel).

“They were telling me I suck,” he said. “They were telling me I never won a championship. Like, ‘Come on, give me something better than that, dude.’

“I always laugh at that statement, ‘You didn’t get a ring. ‘I’m like, dude, you work at McDonald’s. My life’s a lot better than yours. You relax.’ “