Who Picks Up Slack For Bulls?
Derrick Rose can’t do it by himself, especially with LeBron James guarding him. That we know. We also know that seven foot sub Omer Asik is done after breaking a bone in his leg. Carlos Boozer, after being heavily criticized for not producing much offensively at first, has finally stepped up over the last two games.
In Game Four during fourth quarter and overtime, the Bulls suddenly didn’t look very deep and Rose can’t do it by himself; who steps up tonight on offense?
Noah’s confidence is shaken and it’s gotten increasingly obvious over the last two games. While Noah has never been a high scoring threat, his scoring over the last two games (one point in Game 3, six in Game 4) is unacceptable and has really hurt the Bulls. On offense he’s not even looking at the basket or securing passes his way. Sure you’re not going to get 20ppg out of him, but the Bulls need him to at least score in double figures. Getting him a couple early baskets could go a long way.
With Asik gone and Noah struggling, you would think Thomas would get some minutes tonight. Thomas has only appeared in six of the Bulls playoff games so far and hasn’t played in the last eight, so he should be as fresh as the second oldest player in the NBA can be. Plus on a team that lacks veterans that have been in critical games before, it only makes sense to get him involved.
Korver’s confidence also looks shaken. At times in Game 4 he was throwing up shots just to avoid dribbling. Korver is only shooting 38% from the floor in the playoffs. In the series he is just 5 of 18 from the floor, and 3 of 8 on three pointers. Instead of thinking before he shoots like he has been in the series, he needs to just shoot; he is too good to shoot that poorly.
Deng has been the Bulls steadiest offensive weapon in the series. Which is why I was surprised he was almost completely uninvolved in the offense for the majority of the fourth quarter and overtime after hitting a key three early in the beginning of the fourth. With the struggles on offense for the unit, and lack of depth suddenly, shouldn’t Deng get 25 shots tonight? He’s averaging about 15 in the series.
The Bulls need Gibson to match the impact he had in game one, but he also needs to be on the floor to do it. After playing 44 minutes in games 1 and 2 he has just played 22 in games 3 and 4. How about running Gibson, Noah and Boozer on the same unit offensively and seeing what happens?
Though Brewer has carved a niche as a shut-down defender first, primarily on LeBron James, he is also capable offensively. He knows his job and doesn’t force shots, making 50% of them in the series and scoring seven per game in only about 15 mpg. Will he be the one who produces offensively?
[image credit: http://www.flickr.com/photos/keithallison]