Blog Entry

Grading the series: Bulls top Pacers in 5

Posted on: April 26, 2011 10:44 pm
Edited on: April 26, 2011 11:25 pm
Posted by Royce Young


Derrick Rose: It was a bit of an up and down series for Rose. If you just gloss over the boxscore numbers, it looks like he did pretty well (28.3 points and 6.3 assists per game). But spanning Games 3 and 4, Rose really struggled shooting the ball (35 percent for the series). A bit too often, he settled for the 3 (over seven a game), and didn't really command the game the way you'd hope a future MVP would.

That said, he was pretty excellent in Game 5 and, overall, played a good series. He's the reason the Bulls got away from the Pacers in just five games. He battled through an ankle sprain to play his best game of the series. That said a lot about his toughness, and, behind him, his team finally turned in a solid, complete game of basketball. High marks overall for Rose.

Grade: B+

Tom Thibodeau: I think, quietly, Thibodeau managed this series extremely well. It was subtle because he didn't deviate much from the regular season plan, but one move I especially took note of was his decision to stick with Kurt Thomas in Game 1 down the stretch, instead of going to Carlos Boozer. That added toughness and grit from Thomas ended up landing the Bulls a big offensive rebound to seal the game. Thibodeau didn't push every correct button, but he stayed consistent to the gameplan that worked to win Chicago 62 games this season.

And in his first playoff series, he got out in five games. Not bad.

Grade: A-

The supporting cast: If you're looking for a word, it's inconsistent. Luol Deng was solid, averaging 17.3 ppg in the series. Joakim Noah was his usual self. Kyle Korver hit some big shots. But overall, Chicago's role players didn't step up consistently the way they did during the regular season. Taj Gibson was great in Game 5, but that was really the ony game he had an impact. Ronnie Brewer was a non-factor all five games, and Carlos Boozer was pretty much a disappointment.

Going forward, they need to be better. And I'm sure they know it.

Grade: C

Overall grade: There was definitely a good push by the Bulls in Game 5 to raise this mark. They played easily their best game, making shots, rebounding, playing defense and playing together. But, other than that, the other four games were a complete struggle versus the weakest team in the playoff field. I've gone over it ad nauseum, but Chicago was just a couple minutes away from losing an extra game, or two.

Alas, they won in five. A sweep would've been ideal, but it was clear early on that this Pacer team was ready to fight. And they did. Winning is the important part in the postseason, and the East's top seed is advancing unscathed.

Grade: B


Danny Granger: Indiana's star was pretty good overall. He hit some big shots, made some big plays and was probably the biggest reason the Pacers stole a game. But he's also a reason they didn't steal at least one more.

Granger's disappearance in crunch time in Games 1 and 2 ultimately doomed their chances of coming out of Chicago with a big win to start the series. That's partially his fault and partially a product of the stellar Bulls defense. He could've been better, but, keep in mind, he did have Luol Deng on him for five games.

Grade: B

Frank Vogel: Indiana's interim coach earned a job next season in my mind. He had his guys convinced they could win. He talked them up. He had them believing, which is the first job of an underdog coach. The Pacers never wavered and, really, Indiana's gameplan was rock solid throughout.

A few of his rotations were a bit curious and the fact the Pacers seemed to run away from Roy Hibbert was odd. But in Vogel's maiden voyage into the postseason, without even the actual head coaching position, he should win himself a new title for next season.

Grade: A

Homecourt advantage: Down 3-0, I realize some of the excitement and air is let out of your balloon. But to let the enemy fill up half your arena? That's pretty ridiculous. The Pacer fans that were there were loud and did their part, but the ones that sold off to Bulls' fans? Shame.

Grade: D+

Overall grade: The Pacers were in that great position of not having much expected of them. Winning even a game was seen as a big victory for them. Still, being so close to actually making this a series has to be a bit disappointing. Yes, they were completely overmatched by a more talented team. But a rebound here, a few more free throws or a good stop there and this Game 5 isn't ending their season.

A great effort from them though. You can't fault that. They played the NBA's best regular season team tooth and nail for four games before running out of gas. It was admirable.

Grade: A-

Since: Apr 27, 2008
Posted on: April 29, 2011 4:22 pm

Grading the series: Bulls top Pacers in 5

Wake up and be the player he was for the Jazz? This is exactly the kind of player Boozer was for the Jazz; he got injured and he disappeared during the playoffs. We got probably to good years out of him, and he still choked in the playoffs during both of those years. Expect more of the same from Boozer, he does not play well in the playoffs. 

Since: Dec 3, 2007
Posted on: April 27, 2011 10:13 pm

Grading the series: Bulls top Pacers in 5

The young Pacers will be back next year.  With some shopping money for a free agent to compliment Granger, kissing Ford and Dunleavey goodbye and (if Larry Bird is smart) taking the interim tag off of Coach Vogel this team poised to make some noise for years to come.

Since: May 3, 2007
Posted on: April 27, 2011 1:51 pm

Grading the series: Bulls top Pacers in 5

Well, the Bulls series against the Pacers wasn't really very pretty, but they managed to pull it off.  Congratulations on your first playoff series win in quite some time.  Your game 5 performance was pretty good, and Derrick Rose had a very good performance.  I also congratulate the Pacers for their performance as well.  For a while it looked lke they were going to give Chicago more than they could handle.  Chicago, take this win, tighten your shoelaces, and polish up for the next round.  Use this series as a learning experience and let's have an even better team performance in the next round.  Sure, it will be a tougher challenge, but you have risen to the occasion all year long.  I have complete confidence you will again.  Remember, there is a reason you have the number one seed: you quite simply earned it.  Good luck in the upcoming series.

Since: May 17, 2007
Posted on: April 27, 2011 12:57 pm

Grading the series: Bulls top Pacers in 5

I'm sorry, but I thought the Bulls played a terrible series against the Pacers, with the final game being a possible exception.  Derrick Rose pretty much played like the league's MVP most of the time, but where were the rest of the Bulls?  And more specifically, where was Carlos Boozer for the entire series?  I was simply shocked at his lack of presence.  If the Bulls, as a whole, play the next series like they did this one, they're gone.  We all know round 2 will be significantly tougher and it will be much more difficult just to hang around as they did most of this series.  I really expected more from the Bulls, especially against such a low seed.  Much more actually.  It's hard to put your finger on, but maybe the Bulls' relative lack of playoff experience is showing up.  That factor really seemed to be present for the Pacers.  Chicago has a really good coach.  He'll have to earn his paycheck in order for the Bulls to advance beyond the next round.  Something has to be done differently to get this team cranking again like they were in the regular season.  I know they are much better than what they have shown us so far in this year's playoffs.  They better start showing it quickly.

Since: Dec 11, 2006
Posted on: April 27, 2011 11:47 am

Grading the series: Bulls top Pacers in 5

I have to pretty much agree with the author's analysis of this series, and the overall performances of the individual components involved.  Overall, I thought the Bulls played well below the level most people were expecting of them in this series.  On the other hand, the Pacers I would say played above what most people expected from them in this series.  Be that as it may, the Bulls have the better team and figured out a way to pull out this series, barely.  Did the Bulls deserve to win this series?  Yes they did.  Did Derrick Rose show he's an MVP?  At times.  Did the Pacers do well relative their potential?  I think so.  Although they had mental lapses in this series, what do people expect from a young team with very little, if any, playoff experience.  They represented themselves and their team admirably, now their fans are a whole nother story.  Now the Bulls are a different story completely.  They cetainly did not look nearly like the number one seed.  Just a few different bounces of the ball, and this series goes 7 games.  Rose had to carry his team through every win.  And where the heck was Carlos Boozer?  Show up playing like you did in this series, in round 2, and the final results will be significantly different.  I think their coach will get this figured out, and we'll see a different team in the days ahead.  Hard to say though.  So far in the playoffs, the Bulls are really not playing the way you would like to see a number one seed play.  I'm looking for better days ahead for the Bulls, and congratulations to the Pacers for representing themselves well in this series with the Bulls.

Since: Apr 7, 2009
Posted on: April 27, 2011 10:24 am

Grading the series: Bulls top Pacers in 5

And I would have to disagree with you! 

Since: Apr 2, 2010
Posted on: April 27, 2011 9:44 am

Grading the series: Bulls top Pacers in 5

To say Danny Granger was the reason why they were down 0-3 is rediculous.  He was getting doubled all the time in the fourth quarter and in "crunch time"  The Pacers need a second scorer to step up next year, Granger can't do it by himself getting doubled every time he touches the ball in the fourth.

Since: Oct 22, 2007
Posted on: April 27, 2011 1:17 am

Grading the series: Bulls top Pacers in 5

You're right, that's not even funny!

Since: Oct 11, 2010
Posted on: April 27, 2011 12:29 am
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Since: Apr 6, 2011
Posted on: April 26, 2011 11:22 pm
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