The one thing going into the playoffs you can’t do Pippen Peoples is change the channel on these guys no matter HOW BAD they look in the beginning. The Chicago Bulls came out about as flat as a wet pancake falling down as much as 18 points to the Detroit Pistons as they were getting their lunch money taken from them by Andre Drummond. They used a solid 32-24 third quarter before going on a 15-0 run to start the 4th quarter to defeat the Pistons 106-98. The win coupled a Toronto Raptors loss to the New York Knicks on Friday night and all of a sudden the Bulls for the moment have the number three seed in the Eastern Conference standings. This game ended up with many positive implications for the Bulls. With Brooklyn losing to the Atlanta Hawks, the Bulls have now sewn up home court advantage in the first round no matter what. Boy the Bulls picked a fine time to have their biggest winning streak of the season. The have won seven straight games with three to go against a desperate New York Knicks team whose playoff chances are flat lining as we speak on Sunday, Orlando on Monday and Charlotte on Wednesday. Boy this was tough to keep format with just three things learned, but let’s see if I can do it.
1) You know the Bulls can’t come out as flat as they did on Friday right?
I remember a Detroit Pistons fan reaching out to me on Facebook telling me now that they had signed Josh Smith and Brandon Jennings look out for Deeeeeeeeeetroit basketbaaaaaaalllllllllllll! My only reply was “Josh Smith is your problem now.” The Detroit Pistons are a badly built team that no one, not even the Pistons management can figure out why? On paper these guys are unstoppable. Friday night in the first half, that was what everybody envisioned. But they did (or didn’t do) the same things that haunted them all season. That Pippen Peoples is execute plays down the stretch to finish games. The Bulls came out very flat which has been a problem at times this season. The thing is it’s usually against the also ran teams like the Pistons and they flip the switch defensively (how many teams in the last 25 years can you say that about) and snatched the win. Chicago came out like they assumed the Pistons would run through the motions and end their season. It didn’t happen. The Bulls got punched in the mouth and it almost cost them against the Pistons. Part of the problem was…
2) The Bulls guards struggle against quick guards.
In the first half the Pistons troika of guards consisting of Rodney Stuckey, Brandon Jennings and Peyton Siva had a lay up line going in the first half. The guards of the Bulls were not up strong enough playing the pick and roll and it caused the Bulls to fall behind. Why is this such an issue? Here’s why. When the guards have constant dribble penetration to the basket it draws the attention of the front line of Joakim Noah, Carlos Boozer and Taj Gibson. When they have to contain the guards coming to the basket that leaves someone open. That someone? Andre Drummond who grabbed 19 rebounds, like in the first half Pippen Peoples!!!! At one time he was neck and neck with the entire Bulls team. Sure if you are watching the game the frontline will take the blame and criticism. I’m saying that the on the ball defense of Kirk Hinrich and DJ Augustin must improve in the playoffs.
3) The Bulls depend too much on the perimeter jump shot.
In the second half, the story will be that the Bulls defense got super stingy and shut down the Pistons. The real story is that DJ Augustin found his rhythm and started dropping jumpers like they were hot and Mike Dunleavy game showed up late like a star in the Rucker Tournaments of New York. I’ve said this time and time again Pippen Peoples, Mike Dunleavy is a major X-factor that gets overlooked at times. When Dunleavy shoots well from the perimeter, the Bulls are VERY difficult to beat. This showed last night. When he scored the same amount of points as the fans commenting on this article, the Bulls were getting beat. When he scored all of his 14 points in the second half, the Bulls stretched out the Pistons defense and lanes opened up for Augustin, Boozer, and Gibson to wreak havoc. Jimmy Butler just continues to fire from the three-point line. I mean if he won’t listen to me, maybe he’ll listen to one of the Pippen Peoples out there. I might be missing something but from where I come from going 1-7 from the land of plenty is not that good. Let’s break it down, he shot 5-13 from the field and 1-7 from three-point land. That means he was 4-6 from inside the arc. Umm…yeah!
Here’s what I learned…Now learn from this!
Joakim Noah joined some elite company last night. He became only the ninth player in NBA history to record 400 assists and 100 blocks in a season. Believe it or not he is the third Bulls player to do it. The other two? A guy named Michael Jordan and the man this website is named after Scottie Pippen. Congratulations Joakim, keep ballin!
Look, I knew I couldn’t get all of this in one article. I will break down more about this game in part two of three lessons learned. Talk to you soon Pippen Peoples!