On the surface, the Chicago Bulls are about to get out of the first round when they win Tuesday against Indiana. And they will point to their star Derrick Rose averaging 28.3 points per game despite all the defensive attention.
But the eight-seed Pacers have exposed some questions about the Bulls. Specifically, just how tough are the Bulls. Because the Pacers are being physical with Derrick Rose and who is stepping up to be a physical enforcer for the Bulls?
Chicago legend Scottie Pippen called out Carlos Boozer in the Chicago Sun Times for not being that man.
‘‘They’ve all got two legs and two arms,’’ the six-time NBA champion said. ‘‘You’ve got Carlos Boozer out there who’s spending fouls and a lot of his fouls are not needed at the time that he’s giving them. Those could be hard fouls. Those could be fouls that you knock a [Darren] Collison to the floor, you knock a [Jeff] Foster to the floor.
‘‘Utilize your fouls and make them more valuable for you and your team.’’
It’s all about timing. There are times that a message foul can work. And the Pacers have nothing to lose doing that. Pippen is right that some of Boozers fouls could be better timed. For sure. But retaliation is not the answer. Not in the playoffs. Pick your spots and this isn’t it.
But the Bulls have to know that things are only going to get more physical going forward — Boston or Miami will just beat on them — and they have got to be ready to answer.