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Pacers Back-2-Back Recap 3 Lessons Learned

Well Pippen Peoples, I’m back after chasing a Buffet Billion Dollar Bracket that did not pan out. I’m all partied out after celebrating a weekend celebrating my father’s 23rd birthday…Happy Birthday Pops! Now it’s back to work for Pippen Aint Easy, the best source for Chicago Bulls news, previews and reviews. The Bulls schedule had two strange back to back games. The Bulls played Philadelphia 76ers on the road then Indiana. Then the Bulls came home and played Philadelphia again then Indiana on Monday night. I covered the back to back lessons learned with the 76ers. Now I will share what I learned in the two games the Bulls played the Indiana Pacers. The Chicago Bulls in the second half was just plain terrible. While watching the Pacers go on a 19-0 run in the third quarter I was just looking at the Bulls saying the same thing over and over again…Man, these guys can’t score a lick. Breaking News to Pippen Aint Easy…Carlos Boozer played in the 4th quarter! Not because he earned the minutes, it was because Taj Gibson fouled out with almost seven minutes to go. Needless to say the Bulls lost 91-79. Jimmy Butler and DJ Augustin led the Bulls with 17 apiece. Let me say the obvious, if a basketball team shoots 36% from the field and gets outrebounded 51-36, this is the definition of a basketball team being dominated. Chicago could have just jumped on the bus after halftime. They scored only 19 points in the 3rd quarter and 17 points in the 4th quarter. GUH!

But boy what a couple of days make! The Bulls came back on Monday night to win 89-77 on the strength of Taj Gibson’s 23 points and eight rebounds off the bench. The two teams end the season with a 2-2 series tie. Unlike Friday night, the Bulls thought it might be a good idea to come out and score points once in a while in the third quarter going on a 16-5 run in the 3rd quarter. That was enough to send the Pacers to their third straight loss and six of their last eight on the road. For the total recap please read Ashley Wijangco’s piece on the game. As always it’s an informative read. Here’s what I learned in these two games…

1) The Chicago Bulls are going to have to find someone who can hit a jump shot CONSISTENTLY not named DJ Augustin or Taj Gibson.

We are getting close to the playoffs, Pippen Peoples. That means that offensive execution gets better for your opponent which means offensive opportunities are at a premium. The Bulls at times all season have struggled mightily at the offensive end. To beat a team four times in a week means that somebody on the Bulls is going to have to hit shots from the perimeter…consistently. Mike Dunleavy can be an X-factor here. When he shoots better that 50% from the floor, the Bulls usually win. Dunleavy shot 6-12 from the field for 13 points on Monday night in the win. Compare that to Friday night when Dunleavy shot 3-9 from the field for just nine points. Coincidence? Nope, just a fact. Kirk Hinrich has been serviceable at times from the perimeter and a complete waste of a starting spot in others. If Hinrich is going to start for the Bulls he is going to have to stay away from the 1-5 or 2-8 nights from the field. The guard play for the playoff teams are formidable and he is a HUGE liability when he is not knocking down shots. In the Friday loss, Hinrich scored an uneventful seven points with an oh by the way three-point shot when the game was over. On Monday Hinrich scored 18 points on 7-13 shooting including 2-4 from three-point land. These two players are examples of who needs to bring their jump shot on a nightly basis  for the Bulls to be effective.

2) If the Bulls play the Indiana Pacers in the playoffs…they can stop Roy Hibbert.

Frank Vogel seems to think that Roy Hibbert should win the Defensive Player of the Year award. I appreciate him speaking up for his player but he really shouldn’t. I’m not saying that Roy Hibbert is a bad player. I am saying that he is a little overrated. He has come a long way since he came  out of Georgetown but he does little to place himself among the great Georgetown centers of Patrick Ewing, Alonzo Mourning and Dikembe Mutumbo. Now Othella Harrington? If he doesn’t play better than a three-point five rebound performance of Monday night, that might be a better comparison. Joakim Noah basically has outplayed Hibbert for the most part recently. Hibbert struggles with quick big men. If Joakim can drive to the basket on Hibbert, he can get him in foul trouble kind of like last night when Hibbert had five.  There’s a reason Hibbert was sitting in that controversial game last year when LeBron went to the basket on Paul George and scored the winning basket. Hibbert would have been on Chris Bosh who plays the high post. Guess where Joakim Noah plays at?

3) The Chicago Bulls need to see what they got in Jimmer Fredette.

Why sign Jimmer Fredette if you are not going to use him? The Washington Wizards go get Drew Gooden off the street and he goes nuts. Jimmer comes to Chicago and plays spades with Carlos Boozer, Tornike Shengalia and Erik Murphy on the bench in the 4th quarter. Like I said earlier, the Bulls HAVE to get  outside shooting from someone in the playoffs. Try this guy out in the last ten or so games in the season. Tony Snell will probably struggle in the playoffs somewhat, and you can only go so far with DJ Augustin and Taj Gibson anchoring the WHOLE offensive load. One of them could have an off night and the Bulls will be in trouble. Everyone says this dude can shoot, let him try. What do you have to lose.

Here’s what I learned…Now learn from this!

Now hear this…..DERRICK ROSE IS OUT FOR THE SEASON! What you see right now is what you get. Stop pining for D-Rose. It wouldn’t help if he did come back. It would mess up the chemistry the Bulls have built for months.

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