Heading into Game 2, the burden of proof falls all on the Bulls

The Bulls are practicing behind the shades. I can hear them. (Photo by M. Bradley)

The Bulls are practicing behind the shades. I can hear them. (Photo by M. Bradley)

Deerfield, Ill. – I’m here at the Berto Center, where the Chicago Bulls are holding their shootaround today. On Tuesday the Bulls staged their second awards presentation in three days, this one to hand Derrick Rose his trophy as the NBA’s most valuable player. (On Sunday they’d had a similar shindig for Tom Thibodeau, just voted the league’s coach the year.)

Very soon, the honored Bulls will need to win an actual game. They trail the Hawks 1-0 in the Eastern semis, and a team can override such a deficit. It would be difficult for any team to rally from an 2-0 hole.

The Bulls aren’t your typical No. 1 seed. They got good fast. They were 41-41 last season, and they went 62-20 in the regular season just completed. And Rose, as terrific as he is, isn’t a full-grown NBA star on the order of Kobe Bryant. At 22, Rose is the NBA’s youngest MVP. He’s three years out of college. He has never before played in the Eastern semis, let alone any level beyond.

In sum, there’s a megaton of pressure on this team tonight. The Hawks can lose Game 2 and call it a successful sojourn. The Bulls have to win.

At issue is whether the Hawks caught the Bulls unaware in Game 1 and pulled away late by hitting a month’s worth of difficult shots, or whether the Bulls simply aren’t as good as their record. One game cannot provide the answer. Game 2 should give us a better idea.

By Mark Bradley

84 comments Add your comment

J.J.M.

May 4th, 2011
11:35 am

Brandon

May 4th, 2011
11:38 am

Gotta show some determination tonight and at the very least not get blown out

tyler

May 4th, 2011
11:41 am

Brandon

May 4th, 2011
11:42 am

Gotta show some heart and composure tonight…at the very least don’t get blown out and keep some momentum

tyler

May 4th, 2011
11:44 am

This game is gonna be extremely difficult for us tonight. I just hope that we don’t mail it in….

Mark Bradley

May 4th, 2011
11:45 am

Tyler has kudos.

leo

May 4th, 2011
11:45 am

The Hawks need to win this game for the NBA to take take note of what they are capable of. Even after winning game one everyone still think they are a fluke. Personally I am hoping the Hawks can sweep the Bulls and rest up for the Heat.

Freshmaker

May 4th, 2011
11:46 am

Can’t wait for the game tonight Mark! Go Hawks! Hopefully Teague can repeat his game 1 performance.

J.J.M.

May 4th, 2011
11:48 am

uh oh mark it might be another glitch in the system again

Devoted Reader

May 4th, 2011
11:54 am

The bipolar team will continue tonight on this year’s performance. They will lose tonight. 100%. But they will win both games in Atlanta. Then we’ll see….

shawn

May 4th, 2011
11:56 am

Please Josh drive it to the hole.

oldbird

May 4th, 2011
11:57 am

I am afraid that the Bulls did not respect us in game one, since they beat us by 30 on our own home floor. I sure hope that I am wrong, and that we figured out how to play them.

Mark Bradley

May 4th, 2011
12:04 pm

I do think the Bulls having beaten the Hawks so badly near the end of March affected the Bulls more than it did the Hawks. If you get my drift.

tom

May 4th, 2011
12:06 pm

maybe these hawks just didn’t respect the regular season like many thought they should have. Hope they get the win tonight. Highlight factory should be rockin friday night! GO HAWKS!!!!!

J.J.M.

May 4th, 2011
12:08 pm

long as the hawks THINK they can beat the bulls then they can

Blue Skies

May 4th, 2011
12:09 pm

LD is a genius to let us get blown out by the Magic last year, by the Bulls and everybody else this year, and loose the last six games of the year. The longest con the NBA has ever seen! Hawks in 5 baby!

chem

May 4th, 2011
12:09 pm

I agree with the “month’s worth of difficult shots”. Crawford and Johnson were heaving them up and they were falling.

DC

May 4th, 2011
12:10 pm

I don’t know…I truely feel that the hawks just put the car in neutral from second half of the season on….they knew who they were and didn’t think they can get over Orlando for the 4th seed. Also remember that the hawks have been extremely exhausted going into the playoffs past several years now..*cough JJ *Cough, now look what a refreshed and determined hawks team can do..

They still have bunch of flaws but this is a group that has seen some tough games over the past season in the playoffs..I’m sure they know exactly what the bulls are going through..tighter game but I’m hoping for another hawks victory…the the dismay of ESPN and TNT and NBA TV and and and and..

tom

May 4th, 2011
12:10 pm

maybe these hawks just didn’t respect the regular season that many have thought they should. hope the hawks win this game. As long as they keep their composure and play together they will be OK. Love seeing the team grow up before our very eyes. Just keep competing! The highlight factory should be rockin on friday. GO HAWKS!!!

glenn

May 4th, 2011
12:16 pm

How does D Rose look ? Gimpy I hope : ) The Bulls have been talking about picking up the intensity . I hope we can match them & stay clutch .

Sonny Clusters

May 4th, 2011
12:17 pm

Catching somebody unaware is harder and harder to do. We remember when we caught Coach downtown wearing women’s clothes. t+That was the beginning of Coach’s difficulties and it provided us some nightmares.

Dawgs2011

May 4th, 2011
12:19 pm

Bring it! These Hawks are mad and nasty. The core of this team has been together for awhile now and it is starting to show. The Hawks are not afraid to punch somebody in the mouth. After beating Dwight Howard they are ready for anything.

Allen Iverson

May 4th, 2011
12:22 pm

“We’re sitting here, and I’m supposed to be the franchise player, and we’re talking about the regular season. I mean listen, we’re sitting here talking about the regular season, not the playoffs, not the playoffs, not the playoffs, but we’re talking about the regular season. Not the playoffs when we go out there and die for and play every minutes last it’s our last but we’re talking about the regular season man. How silly is that?”

I don’t think it’s so much a case of the Hawks mailing in the regular season as it is a case of most of the league (see, for example, the Miami Heat) playing a totally different brand of basketball come playoff time. It has only been one game and admittedly I didn’t watch any of the Bulls-Pacers series, but it sort of feels to me like the Bulls are the exception to the “don’t try as hard in the regular season” rule and maybe they simply don’t have another level (especially with Rose not at full speed). If that’s the case, I think the Hawks should make this series really interesting.

J Clay

May 4th, 2011
12:29 pm

I hope the Hawks can mentally act as if this is Game 7 – treat it as a must win…If they go up 2-0 I really think the Bulls fold.

Can you imagine the dismay of the NBA if it were somehow Hawks vs Thunder or Grizzlies for the title???

Cobb Dawg

May 4th, 2011
12:30 pm

Mark: Is Rose ready to go tonight (ankle)?

jon

May 4th, 2011
12:32 pm

Its amazing… does anybody give Hawks credit that maybe chicago didn’t shoot well because ATL defense in the post season has been tremendous! I argued with Mike Franseca on WFAN about this yesterday… GO HAWKS!

Allen Iverson

May 4th, 2011
12:42 pm

Did y’all know that there’s a country called Georgia, too? When they told me I would be playing for a team in Turkey and that it bordered Georgia, I was thinking Turkey must be a small state near South Carolina. Man, was I wrong.

I guess I should have known something was up when I saw all the funny accent marks on Beşiktaş. The Eurocup is wack.

Any chance the Sixers will take me back?

Allen Iverson

May 4th, 2011
12:46 pm

What about a trade? Me straight up for Zaza? Better commute for both of us. With Kirk Heinrich injured, it makes a lot of sense.

J

May 4th, 2011
12:49 pm

I think we all know that when this team WANTS to compete, they can beat any team in the league. For some reason, the NBA “Experts” don’t understand that so it’s a reason why we don’t get much respect. I’m hoping these Hawks stay motivated in every game, even if they are losing.

Daniel

May 4th, 2011
1:06 pm

Whatever the reasons that the Bulls lost game one, they clearly believe that it had more to do with them “not being ready”/ overlooking the opponent.
The truth is they are not as good as their record suggests. Derreck Rose is obviously a fantastic one on one player, but in the playoffs where those drives end with hard fouls instead of highlight layups of the regular season, a lot of effectiveness is diminished. The rest of the Bulls team are really nothing to write home about. Noah is a hustle player, Boozer is oft injured and VASTLY overrated. Deng is decent. Beyond that they have nothing.

The Bulls need their 22 year old, beat up, pg to score 30+ a game, and have 10+ assists and 5 rebounds in order to win. In that the same thing that Clevland tried for years with Lebron (who is bigger and stronger). How did that work out?

Daniel

May 4th, 2011
1:13 pm

Whatever the reasons that the Bulls lost the first game, they clearly believe it was “rust” or not taking the Hawks seriously, etc.

The truth is that the Bulls are not as good as their record. They need too much from Rose to be successful. In the playoffs, those drives are not ending up as layups but hard fouls, which is clearly taking its toll. The rest of the Bulls are just not that good. Boozer is oft injured and VASTLY overrated. Deng is OK and Noah is a hustler. The rest of the team is below average.

The Bulls are just like the Cavaliers with a less talented and physical presence as their superstar. How did it work out for them again?

Doug

May 4th, 2011
1:23 pm

Mark,

Did you catch the no-hitter on the southside last night? Bad week for Chicago sports. Hope it continues tonight.

Dean

May 4th, 2011
1:24 pm

Picture doesn’t work

Dean

May 4th, 2011
1:25 pm

Wait works now after posting.
Great day today. Got a braves doubleheader at 4 and hawks tonight.

vdunkndunk

May 4th, 2011
1:25 pm

I agree with the idea that the Bulls aren’t as scary as a typical 60-win team, just because they’re so young and they haven’t been here before, and because Rose, while great, isn’t yet a true championship-tested superstar in the same way as Kobe or D-Wade. The Hawks aren’t unbeatable either, of course, but they’ve played very well so far – and to this point, they’ve gone a long way toward making up for a disappointing regular season. It’s weird, but the Hawks, as they 5th seed, have much more playoff experience at this level than the 1 seed, which could end up being an underrated advantage in this series.

clay

May 4th, 2011
1:26 pm

It really is fun watching and listening to this city get behind this team in a long time. I really hope we can pull out a W tonight “be greedy” as LD says. “Get 2 don’t settle for just 1″ Having said that no one be suprised if Chicago wins this game because THEY HAVE TO. I just hope we see the same intensity as we did in game 1. I think we will because this team is starting to prove that they can bring it every game. GO HAWKS (still sounds weird saying that)

Jim Mora

May 4th, 2011
1:34 pm

What’s that? Ah — Playoffs? Don’t talk about — playoffs?! You kidding me?! Playoffs?!

stevie zero

May 4th, 2011
1:44 pm

mark, any chance in hades josh smith can stop shooting (and bricking) 20 footers all night?

Bernard

May 4th, 2011
1:48 pm

GGGGGGGGGGGGGGGOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO Hawks!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Kaye

May 4th, 2011
2:11 pm

Mutumbo

May 4th, 2011
2:12 pm

. . . . . . The Bulls are total B.S.

b

May 4th, 2011
2:14 pm

Can someone on the Hawks put glue on the floor ten feet from the basket
where Josh Smith stands. If he tries to go beyond fifteen ft. from the basket,
then he automatically comes out of the game.

Joakim Noah

May 4th, 2011
2:20 pm

Right on, Daniel. I’m a hustler, baby. I just want you to know: It ain’t where I been, but where I’m ’bout to go.

Reid in EAV

May 4th, 2011
2:29 pm

Well, I don’t really pay any attention to the NBA until the playoffs, but this year that’s working out nicely for me. Go Braves… and also Hawks. If you get into the Finals I’ll be your fairweather bandwagon fan, without apology. ;)

BB Genie

May 4th, 2011
2:40 pm

Good Afternoon, Hawks Fans I had the pleasure of being in the United Center on Monday night in Chicago.( Went home for HS reunion and decided to scoop up 2 tixs) Too Witness the Growing up/Maturing of Jeff Teague and our Hawks. It was a sight for my eyes. Folks!!!!! We have a PG, I Repeat “We have a PG” Myself and my wife in” Full Hawks Gear” Invaded the Bulls Domain. We got Hammered from the time we got out of our car until the 1:23 mark of the 4th Qt. The Bulls Fans were Shock to see two Hawks fans in their Bldg. But we Cheered Like we were in the Club level in Philips arena. it was mind Blowing!! Folks when is the last time you ever saw a PG throw someone’s shot back to 1/2 court?? Teague played with Great Poise, Confindence and Heart!!! The team learned” HOW TO CLOSE ON THE ROAD” as I’ve been saying for the last 2yrs. Joe & Jamal or JJ/JC are the” BEST BACKCOURT IN THE NBA” When they Both get it Going! Both are 6′5 plus and can create there’re own shot!!!! LD called a Great game, excellent Time outs and he “Took J-Smooth OUT of The GAME” when he needed to come out! player Rotation was Great, And Team chemsity was at a all time HIGH! Hawks will WIN in 7777!!!!! Games. Because we control 3/5 Match-ups. Ref’s were trying to take game away from hawks But they played through them.. Keep shooting and Stay Focus. Rebounds & Defense = RINGS GO HAWKS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! PS> We Left the Bldg ” Popping Hawks Jersey’s”

BB Genie

May 4th, 2011
2:41 pm

Enter your comments here

Derrick Rose

May 4th, 2011
2:51 pm

The same way that Larry Drew has a two-foul rule for the first half, he should have a two-jump shot rule for Josh Smith. Only two per game. More than that, and he has to sit for the rest of the game.

GSmooth

May 4th, 2011
3:11 pm

Mark – I like your post here. I really think the Hawks have played better because there are NO expectations for them. They play much better with nothing to prove. The Bullies have EVERYTHING to prove.. gotta love every ESPN reporter picking Chicago in 5. Keep rolling Hawks!

michael

May 4th, 2011
3:12 pm

hey mark do you think the players are looking at tonites game? is a win/win split the mentality of the team or are they going to be disappointed not coming back home up 2-0?

Westurd

May 4th, 2011
3:18 pm

The Eastern Conference is a bit of a guise this year. We are not dealing with three power houses as the regular season tricked us into believing. In fact the Celts dropped off this year and the Heat and Bulls picked up some of that slack and then some. Neither the Heat nor Bulls have been on top of the East beyond this season and neither is playoff tested like the Hawks.

Its a bit of a perfect storm in the Eastern Conference that has made people believe there are three power houses, when in fact there are none. The playoffs should open everyones eyes to the Bulls vulnerbility, the Celts fragility and the Hawks head strong playoff experience.

At least that is one thing I have learned so far in these playoffs.