The Chicago Bulls were supposed to be relaxing today, reveling in their first round sweep of the lowly Indiana Pacers. In between swiping Peeps from their kids Easter baskets, they would reflect on their pasting of the Pacers and await their next opponent. Funny thing happened though. The Pacers didn’t buy in to that scenario.
After four games, battles really, the Bulls lead 3-1, but they’re really quite fortunate to be in that position. If not for youthful mistakes down the stretch and Derrick Rose’s MVP-type heroics, the Pacers very well could be looking to close out the Bulls Tuesday night. The fact is, the Pacers have dominated the Bulls for the majority of these 4 games.
Bulls fans (and broadcasters) can whine all they want about Jeff Fosters “thug” tactics. Are these the same Bulls fans who once cheered Dennis Rodman? You’d think, of all teams, the Bulls would recognize a hard foul when they saw one. If the Bulls are to advance and hold seed, do they really think they won’t see hard fouls from the Magic, Heat, or Celtics?
And Bulls players need to stop crying about their terrible play. The Pacers have caused the majority of that play through newfound defensive pressure. No, the Bulls need to realize the Pacers have exposed the Bulls soft underbelly. Derrick Rose is a great player, but after him is a great big gob of “meh.”
It’s unlikely the Pacers can sweep the next three from the Bulls. Two are in Chicago and the Pacers still lack a “closer” like Rose. But make no mistake, the Bulls are in trouble. If the Pacers pressure can rattle the Bulls, then what they’ll see down the road will be deadly. They’ve been able to rally from double-digit deficits late in games in two of four games and couldn’t do it yesterday after trailing by 18. Wade, James, Rondo, and Pierce aren’t going to be as generous as Granger and Collison.
The Pacers are young, but the real deal. Unfortunately for Chicago, we’ve seen the real Bulls as well.