The Bulls Roundup is something new we are trying here at Midway Madness. The Roundup is a free-flowing conversation between feature writers Kyle Roche and Eric Burgher about the Bulls playoffs chances. Highlighting matchups and performance, Eric and Kyle will discuss the Bulls as the series unfolds. A new Roundup will be featured on the off day of each Bulls game.
The Chicago Bulls returned to the United Center Friday to deliver a 99-96 victory. The Bulls won this bout with the Cavs with a Derrick Rose last second three pointer from about the Sears Tower. Rose finished the game with 30 points, seven rebounds and seven assists.
Player of the Game.
Kyle Roche: As much as I want to give it to Rose for how he took over the game in the fourth quarter, I give it to the coach Tom Thibodeau. I thought he made some great adjustments in the game to give the Bulls the upper hand. Inserting Mirotic early and giving him a lot of playing time exploited the James Jones matchup. Plus, going small and staying small really made it tough for the Cavs on offense and defense.
Eric Burgher: You’ve been waiting all playoffs to give it to Thibodeau and you finally got your chance! I do love that he played Mirotic more and stuck with Gibson over Noah late, but I think that was mostly because of Gasol being out. I have to give it to Rose. I made him my “Player to Watch” and he lived up. Rose controlled the game the way James did in Game 2, driving to the hoop at will, making his teammates more dangerous, and that shot at the end – wow. The Bulls’ success lives and dies with Derrick Rose and he won that game for the Bulls in so many ways.
What we’re looking for
KR: Small ball. The Bulls had a lot of success running Taj Gibson at the five and shooters surrounding him. I personally loved that Thibs went with this lineup and stuck with it down the stretch. If the Cavs go small then I expect Thibs to do the same. Going small also allows Mirotic to get a lot of playing time. Mirotic played well in game three, until he got in foul trouble. I expect another great game from both teams.
EB: All season we’ve seen these Bulls follow up a great game with a dud. I am still not fully convinced the Bulls can win this series, but leaving Chicago with a 3-1 series lead would be huge. They need to come out with a ton of intensity and play this game like an elimination game. They had a put-away game against the Bucks early and they played like there was a tomorrow. They have to play today like there is no tomorrow, because if they go back to Cleveland with the series tied, there may not be.
KR: Taj Gibson. He did a great job when Thibs kept him on the floor and I expect it to keep it up again for game four. He is really the only one that can keep Tristan Thompson in check on the backboard. With Gasol’s status unknown for game four, Gibson might get some more playing time and he will need to continue to keep the energy and defense up.
EB: I love your choice of Taj. He is going to be extremely important especially if Pau Gasol can’t play or isn’t at 100%. So for the sake of variety here I’m gonna go with Mike Dunleavy. The Cavs have put LeBron on Dunleavy to start games because he has been getting off to strong starts. If the front court is depleted, the Bulls are going to have to hit their perimeter shots, and Dunleavy needs to be a contributing factor.