Cavs acknowledge defending Rose no easy task


Apr 25

At just 21 years of age, Chicago’s Derrick Rose has already proven he is capable of excelling when it matters most – in the postseason.

In Chicago’s Game 3 win over the Cavaliers, Rose posted team highs with 31 points and seven assists. The second-year pro is averaging 27.3 ppg, 8.3 apg and 3.7 rpg in 42.7 through the first three games of the playoffs.

In 10 career postseason games for Rose, he has scored 20 or more points six times, including two contests with 30 or more points. While the best player on the court clearly is Cleveland’s LeBron James, likely to win his second straight MVP award, Cavaliers Head Coach Mike Brown is aware stopping Rose is their best bet to keep Chicago from tying the series at 2-2.

“We’ve just got to keep mixing up our coverages,” said Brown of defending Rose prior to Game 4. “He’s a great player. We threw double teams at him and played him soft. The one thing he’s doing now is hitting that jump shot. When he hits that, as quick and powerful as he is and as well as he passes the ball, he’s really a handful to handle.”

Bulls Head Coach Vinny Del Negro knows that a new game plan for defending Rose could be in store.

“A lot of teams try and handcuff Derrick,” he said. “We’ll try and handcuff some of their players as well. It’s easy to talk about, but it’s hard to do. There are adjustments you can make, but guys have to make plays and hit shots. We’ve won all year with our defense and rebounding and we’ve got to do a much better job on the glass. Their offensive rebounds really affected us last game.”

Del Negro believes one of the keys for his team to even the series is getting off to another quick start. In Game 3, the Bulls held a 32-21 advantage after the first quarter and withstood a late Cleveland rally for the win.

“We’ve got to come ready to play and I know we will,” said Del Negro. “We’ve got to start out playing well at both ends. We expect them to come out hard and we’ll come out hard. The sense of urgency is there and we know how important this game is and so do they.”

More items on Chicago’s first round postseason series with the Cavaliers from the team’s game notes:

Chicago’s four turnovers in Game 2 set a franchise record for fewest turnovers in a playoff game, and tied an NBA record for the fewest turnovers in a loss. The Bulls then followed that up with eight turnovers in Game 3. The 12 total turnovers is the fewest by the Bulls over a two-game span this season (previous two-game low was 16).

“We’ve put an emphasis on that all year,” said Del Negro. “The guys have really done a nice job understanding we need to control tempo. If you give them extra opportunities, they’re going to make you pay for it. It’s been a conscious effort and hopefully it will continue.”

On the year, Chicago committed nine or fewer turnovers in game 10 times, but never in back-to-back games.

“We’ve never been a steal or deny team,” said Brown. “The playoffs are about possessions and right now, it’s not even close. [The Bulls] are beating us in that area. I think they have seven more possessions a game than us because of the lack of turnovers they are having and the ones we are having. We have to do a better job of taking care of the ball and not having as many unforced turnovers as we’ve had in the last couple of games.

Derrick Rose scored 31 points and Kirk Hinrich added 27 in the Bulls’ 108-106 victory over the Cavs in Game 3. It was only the third playoff game in team history in which both starting guards scored at least 25 points. Michael Jordan (36) and Sam Vincent (31) did it against the Pistons in 1988; Jerry Sloan (27) and Norm Van Lier (26) did it against the Lakers in 1973 (Elias Sports Bureau). Rose and Hinrich’s 58 combined points accounted for 53.7 percent of Chicago scoring in Game 3.

After scoring a total of 13 points (6-18 FG, 1-5 3FG) through the first two games of the season, Bulls guard Kirk Hinrich erupted for 27 points (9-12 FG, 4-4 3FG) and added five boards and five assists in Chicago’s 108-106 win over Cleveland in Game 3 Thursday night. Including the postseason, Chicago is 14-0 this year when Hinrich scores 16 or more points in a game. The Bulls also are 10-1 when he makes three or more three-balls in a game. On the year, Hinrich averaged 10.9 ppg.

In Game 3 on Thursday night, Joakim Noah posted his second double-double of the series (fifth career playoff double-double) with 10 points, a team-high 15 rebounds, five assists (playoff high) and two blocks. In 10 career playoff games, Noah has tallied 10 or more rebounds in eight games and 10 or more points six times.

Audio—Bulls Head Coach Vinny Del Negro talks about taking on the Cavs in Game 4, whether he’s surprised how well his team has played Cleveland, and the postseason contributions of Luol Deng (04.25.10):

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