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2022 Playoffs Chicago Bulls playoff analysis

2022 Playoffs Chicago Bulls playoff analysis

As a playoff team that does not need to play the playoffs, the Chicago Bulls are the least optimistic. What went wrong in the second half of the season? Is there any hypothetical way to save some competitiveness or face against the defending Milwaukee Bucks, who have been unable to do anything in the regular season and have become increasingly vulnerable?

As a playoff team that does not need to play the playoffs, the Chicago Bulls are the least optimistic. What went wrong in the second half of the season? Is there any hypothetical way to save some competitiveness or face against the defending Milwaukee Bucks, who have been unable to do anything in the regular season and have become increasingly vulnerable?

1.Introduction: Displacement and Distance

How to look at the Chicago Bulls this season, I want to use the concept of displacement and distance to distinguish.

If you simply look at the expectations of most people for the Bulls in the preseason, and compare the results of 46 wins and 36 losses at the end of the final regular season, the sixth seed in the Eastern Division, to look at the displacement between these two points, then except for a few extremely optimistic people, Disappointment would probably not be described.

But if we look at the actual process that the Bulls have gone through this season, after the winning streak in the opening season, the Bulls who have been in the top four in the Eastern Conference for a long time, or even in the top two for a long time, 23 games after the All-Star Game, even if we welcome Tristan The addition of Thompson, the return of Alex Caruso and Patrick Williams from injury, but the team is only 7 wins and 16 losses.

If it’s just a bad result, that’s fine, but in the content of the game, it is found that the problem has been expanded again and again, and for most of the time, it is not obvious that Billy Donovan has any layout plan, and the surface problems are repeated again and again.

In addition to the recent bad situation, the Bulls have been almost helpless against the top seeds in the East and West all season, and this season, the team that once occupied many discussion boards has fallen into a position that almost no one is optimistic about. , On the contrary, they have become the teams that the upper seeds want to play against.

Therefore, judging from the distance traveled by the bull this season, it can be said to be quite tortuous and meandering, and at the end it showed a large cliff and diving.

2.The Chicago Bulls’ on-court context: Offensive

With Zach LaVine, Alex Caruso and Lonzo Ball out mid-season, DeMar DeRozan started the dribble at the top of both sides, then Nikola Vucevic led the way to clear the free throw circle as much as possible, allowing DeRozan to do his magic. Familiar dribbling, footsteps, and shots after time difference; the so-called clearing, including Vucevic’s pop-out after blocking, while Ayo Dosunmu and Coby White, etc., are trying to ambush as far as possible to the bottom corner or the far weaker side .

And when DeRozan is not on the court, or is blocked from getting the ball from quite a distance, let Vucevic get the ball close to the box if there is more time left, or Dosunmu and White will start the pick-and-roll; But unlike Vucevic when DeRozan launches, Vucevic needs to be taken apart. The launch of the two young guards will allow Vucevic to roll-in and have the opportunity to follow up or play in good positions.

But when LaVine comes back, he’s not in full recovery, and when he’s on the floor with DeRozan, he’ll be a little bit higher than White or Dosunmu, because for him, being in the corners will Reducing his cutting lanes, that aspect compresses space into DeRozan’s section, and Vucevic’s ball order and space.

When LaVine and DeRozan were separated and were alone on the court, it was probably due to the injury, so LaVine used Step Back jumpers more in his shot selection, unlike DeRozan, who would double-team and create empty space for others. file opportunity.

Then the return of Caruso and Patrick Williams, although they are not the main offensive, but in order to familiarize them with the rhythm of the game, they still have to break some of the offensive lineups that they are used to during the peak of the season. I think this is also to allow them to be in the playoffs. The necessary evils to bring back the situation as far as possible.

This is where the off-ball movement should be mentioned in particular, which was also criticized by the Bulls in the second half of the season.

Running without the ball to make short cuts to the basket is actually very dependent on the short cut player’s mastery of the ball carrier’s movements, and we must tell the truth, unlike the beginning of the season, there will be Caruso or Ball to block people and easily. The catch and shoot, the one-shot approach DeRozan started mid-season, made it harder for even defenders who were engrossed in him to master his footsteps and shots, and it was certainly harder for empty-handed runners.

As mentioned above, LaVine’s personal play with the ball after returning to the team is not mainly to destroy the opponent’s formation, but to allow himself to shoot. stand up.

Then, in the last 6 games at the end of the season, Williams used 57.4% – 66.7% – 79.3% of the shooting measurements to score 15.8 points and 6.2 rebounds per game. From the data point of view, it is regarded as a warm start at the end of the season. Playoffs; but judging from the content of the game, his current scoring method, in addition to perimeter and other shooting, is not completely integrated with DeRozan and LaVine based on his off-the-ball movement characteristics, and is more suitable for holding the ball. Launched from the flanks – and then this clashed with Vucevic again.

Therefore, on the offensive end of the Bulls, the mid-season accustomed model, in addition to being researched and deciphered naturally, and in order to allow players who return to the team one after another can regain their sense of Get back into the game as soon as possible, the conclusion seems to be more inclined to the latter, resulting in a gap on the offensive end. With more offensive weapons, the offensive efficiency has increased from 116.1 in February. It fell to 111.1 and 112.5 in March and April.

3.The Chicago Bulls’ on-court context: defensive end

Why use context to explain offense and defense, rather than advantages and disadvantages? Because every phenomenon has its causes and choices behind it, fans can of course easily say that they feel that the coaching team and players are not strengthening and improving.

But, really don’t easily think that which coach is a real watermelon, basically every decision has a very eloquent motivation behind it, but it is just the results caused by sometimes changing factors and execution, and the expectations behind that motivation have not been realized. ; sometimes, you just don’t see another option that you thought would lead to worse results.

Like the Chicago Bulls defense.

Looking at the defensive rating, from 99.3 – 107.6 – 113.2 – 115.5 – 114.9 -116.2 in October to 126.8 in April, basically since December, the Bulls defense has always had holes, and this hole is not just because of Lonzo Ball , Alex Caruso’s injury, even if the above-mentioned people have extra time, they are replaced by Ayo Dosunmu, Javonte Green or Derrick Jones Jr. who are also very good defensively, but DeMar DeRozan and Zach LaVine’s personal defensive focus It is generally not as good as the beginning of the season, so Nikola Vucevic is more likely to be exposed under the same defensive system because the defensive intensity of the perimeter is reduced.

So, why don’t we just blame DeRozan and LaVine for that, why aren’t they as preoccupied with defense as they were at the start of the season?

The injury absence of Caruso and Ball not only caused the perimeter defense to lose two top defenders, but also caused the Bulls to lose two very smart and versatile players on the team offense. The Bulls are struggling to rearrange their rotation after Patrick Williams’ injury.

Except for Ball’s three-point and fast-break passing, the two can’t really say which level of attack is the top, but they can be passers, setters, perimeter shooters, and they can also help the two scoring arrows to set up blocks. people, making it easier for them to score.

These jobs on the offensive end, until Dosunmu and Coby White are baptized to take over, no one will connect, so the two arrows are even more difficult to score, as mentioned in the context of the offensive end, this is not to let them Do you feel that you must allocate physical strength before the critical period?

The Bulls had a game where the defense was outstanding. In that game, the Bulls used Tyler Cook with Vucevic, and LaVine did not play. Against this playoff opponent, the Milwaukee Bucks, the Bucks only scored 94 points, but The Bulls themselves only scored 90 points; there is a statistic that since October’s 2 wins, the Bulls have not broken 100 points in the game, it is 1 wins and 13 losses.

At the same time, Green, Dosunmu or Jones, who are defensive experts, also have to share some scoring tasks that they are not good at or have not been assigned at the beginning of the season because of their prolonged playing time, such as fouls, physical strength, and inability to match based on strategy or function, etc. It will also affect their defensive performance.

A complete bull is an interlocking chain, using Caruso and Ball as a connection and adhesion, in addition to being effective on the defensive end, but also using them on the offensive end to relieve DeRozan and LaVine of too many tasks, so that the two can put more The mental strength is on defense, and with Green and Jones who originally started from the bench, after these conditions are fermented, the disadvantage of Vucevic’s defensive characteristics can be largely covered up.

That’s why, in my article at the beginning of the season, I always emphasized the scheduling of the Bulls. In addition to the double arrows, Caruso and Ball must also be present, although Dosunmu’s rapid growth partially filled this. The role, White’s offense and enhanced individual defense after regaining the feel of the game, these two factors slightly filled the role of Caruso and Ball, but they were still cracked and the Bulls ushered in LaVine’s injury and state ups and downs.

To give another example, when Vucevic’s offense was sluggish at the beginning of the season, Bulls fans would occasionally get fascinated by Tony Bradley Jr.’s performance as a short-term substitute, thinking that he could be used more, but when the opponent’s unfamiliarity with him faded, he The degree of growth cannot keep up with the degree to which the opponent can crack him.

So, I would say it’s all choices.

4.Combat Combination: The brewing feud in the same district

In fact, the Chicago Bulls, which are also located in the central area, are quite close to the Milwaukee Bucks home, so for a long time in the past, the record and popularity of the Bulls are usually better than the Bucks, when they went to Milwaukee to play , as if to the second home; however, unlike the Cleveland Cavaliers, the Indiana Pacers and even the Detroit Pistons, who are also in the Central District, all have become rivals with the Bulls in a certain era, but the Bucks are not.

The last playoff match between the two teams was on April 30, 2015, when the Bucks were about to take shape. Although Giannis Antetokounmpo and Khris Middleton had already shown their prominence in the team, they were not enough to be a big deal. The Bulls’ Game 6 was swept away 120-66 by a team of Derrick Rose, Jimmy Butler, Pau Gasol, Nikola Mirotic, Joakim Noah, Taj Gibson and others.

The two teams met again in the playoffs, and their momentum and status have been exchanged. As the defending champion Bucks, although there is no so-called defending champion in the regular season, they have maintained their position in the front section of the Eastern Division. Bobby Portis, who has withstood most of the season and performed well, paired with Brook Lopez, who recently returned to the team, and Serge Ibaka, who was traded in the middle of the season, is hidden behind the three main players Antetokounmpo, Middleton and Jrue Holiday, and cannot be ignored. The combination.

If you just look at this season’s battles, the Bulls, who have been fighting all over the world, can’t say that they can compete with the Bucks, especially after Lopez returned to the team in the last two games. The deer lost by 28 and 21 points respectively, and were behind in every quarter.

In this situation where the gap in confrontation strength has widened as the season progresses, to be honest, if it is not the first time the two teams have faced each other this season, because of Grayson Allen’s vicious foul on Alex Caruso and the subsequent mishandling of public relations. , this battle only depends on the battle results, it should not be expected to have any sparks.

Then let’s analyze it later. From the perspective of the Bulls, what may happen in this series, on both ends of the offense and defense, and what the Bulls can try to do?

5. Analysis of Offensive End Contrast

(1) Status of DeMar DeRozan activation:

If it is DeRozan’s continuous singles, since DeRozan’s singles are mainly based on the middle lane, it will not cause obvious strong and weak sides, so DeRozan must rely on fake moves or time difference to attract the opponent to double-team, it is easier to create The perimeter is empty; but against the Bucks, the Bucks are likely to have Jrue Holiday or Khris Middleton as the first line, and then Antetokounmpo with a large range to help defend the double team appropriately, and will also quickly turn around Squeeze the gaps DeRozan could create.

(2) Status of Zach LaVine launch:

And if you switch to LaVine to launch, suddenly expect LaVine to do a lot of high-intensity confrontation cuts, considering his injuries this season, it may be a bit unrealistic, but if he can do more with Nikola Vucevic or Tristan Thompson Give and Go, or pass to the perimeter guard and use more blockers to run empty-handed, it’s more likely to pull the Bucks’ defense.

(3) Status of Vucevic:

Since the Bucks’ penalty area is mostly sinking and retreating when dealing with pick-and-rolls, Vucevic’s perimeter feel will also be a very important factor. It is expected that Vucevic will be in the current offensive lineup and ball possession order. It’s not fair to him to be able to quickly go to the penalty area of ​​singles Brook Lopez, Serge Ibaka and Antetokounmpo in a short offensive time.

(4) Possible new usage of Patrick Williams:

Will the Bulls consider letting Williams occasionally play small-ball center to maintain space and attacking ability on offense? Although Williams doesn’t seem to have much of a short-roll combination in the back, just pop-out combined with the ability to hold the ball and three threats can make him and Thompson have different game considerations and usage.

(5) Ayo Dosunmu and Coby White:

These two young guards who started in the middle of the season and became a major source of strength for the Bulls can be allowed or understood if they play abnormally.

I still hope that once Dosunmu has a perimeter gap on the offensive end, especially when Antetokounmpo is on the court, he must grasp it. After all, Antetokounmpo’s ability to assist in defense can instantly eliminate many gaps you thought there would be on the court; If he shoots more decisively from the outside, his cutting ability will have more opportunities to play.

As for White, when Alex Caruso and Williams returned to the team, his performance and positioning were affected. True shooting percentage and playing time from December to February were quite high at 59.9% – 60.3% – 62.4% and all in 30 minutes. Above, fell to 51.2% and 51.6% in March and April and between 20 and 30 minutes.

But I think the key to affecting him is actually LaVine. In this low tide, when LaVine is holding the ball, it has little effect on the team’s offense. When White’s original holding time was taken by LaVine, he couldn’t. No ball end for feedback.

(6) Possible solutions:

Assuming LaVine doesn’t improve on the court alone, coach Billy Donovan will at least occasionally drop the idea of ​​having at least one of DeRozan and LaVine on the court, and try to have Vucevic, Williams, Dosunmu, White work with a lineup like Caruso. Second-line offense for a while.

Let there be four players on the field who can assist in holding the ball, but do not need to be dominated by whoever is the main player, to find the best combination for Vucevic to launch, and make Vucevic the most prioritized and arranged attacking option again, Have more time on the ball and a better position to start the offense.

6.Defensive end matchup analysis

When Brook Lopez returned, he paired with Bobby Portis in the paint, allowing the Milwaukee Bucks’ offense to at least maintain a pop-out turret, which kept the Chicago Bulls in the final two. In the last game against the Bucks, the defense completely collapsed, which I think is a more meaningful discussion than whether someone can match Giannis Antetokounmpo.

This is not to disrespect Brother Antetokounmpo, but under the premise of recognizing that he will definitely cause damage, how to prevent such damage from spilling out, limit it to Brother Antetokounmpo itself, and not let other people’s balls also seriously injure the Bulls.

Although the Bucks lack an offensive engine other than the starting lineup, relying on one or two of the three main players and one of the two restricted areas can maintain the most basic and effective offensive mode on the field.

As long as Vucevic isn’t suddenly instructed to change his approach in the pick-and-roll, perhaps, to accommodate the pick-and-roll change on the defensive end, use Tristan Thompson, Patrick Williams, or Derrick Jones Jr., or Tony Bradley Jr. and Tyler Cook came to change the defensive response of the pick-and-roll, but can the reinforcement of this change in the pick-and-roll defense really make up for the sacrifices at other levels?

In my opinion, there seem to be three possible solutions:In my opinion, there seem to be three possible solutions:

(1) Early in the game, consciously focus the ball, give Vucevic early, deliberately create foul trouble for Lopez or Portis, and expect the other guy who doesn’t have foul trouble to not feel great, but the Bucks have two insurances, You could even add Serge Ibaka, and Vucevic isn’t very good at making contact at the rim this season.

(2) Williams showed no less contribution and output than Vucevic on offense, and then as a small-ball center, with Jones, Thompson or Javonte Green, as a paint player, providing different pick-and-roll defense strategies to disrupt the Bucks Judgment or rhythm on the pick-and-roll offense.

(3) When Antetokounmpo holds the ball:

The Bulls’ frontline can hold his first step down without being swayed or pushed away; something Williams, Caruso, or Jones or Green should probably still be able to do.

Then the flank on the same side can quickly interfere with the timing of Giannis Antetokounmpo’s placement and collection of the ball, making him unable to make the next move under normal footsteps and timing; if he can do this, probably Leaving Caruso or Green, I also expect Dosunmu to do it.

Then when he transfers the ball to the strong or weak side, at this time, whether the center is Vucevic or Thompson, he must consciously switch over to block Antetokounmpo, and the center player will switch to block the ball line and block him. For the offensive rebound, or the quick empty cut to the basket, at the same time let the other striker who was originally defending him go to the other side to respond to the pick-and-roll of the Bucks’ anti-aircraft battery and the other two engines.

The first two solutions must be built on the Bulls’ unproven offensive model, and the third solution, in addition to the limited options at each stage, must be well executed, just like the golden state. Warrior-like early switching awareness.

7.Series predictions

When I put forward many actions that the Chicago Bulls have not tried and must execute well before they have a chance to recover their disadvantage against the Milwaukee Bucks, it means that the Bulls are in an absolute disadvantage. ; There are many predictions that the Bulls will be swept by the Bucks. Judging from the Bulls’ current situation and battles, this is a very reasonable idea.

Then I think the first game is a very critical one. The only thing that the Bulls can say is the X factor is that no one knows this Bull, after the end of the regular season and the play-off period, they can grasp this rare team. What will the playoff style integrated during the period look like? You can take advantage of this strangeness to raid the Bucks.

Therefore, the best chance is the first game of the series. If this game cannot be won, it may be possible to win it only by relying on very abnormal on-the-spot conditions and feel.

But this is a series game after all, and as the defending champion, the Bucks are also the most experienced and capable team in the East to respond when an accident occurs in the series, so even if the Bulls rack their brains to squeeze out a few games The way to win, the Bucks are still able to adjust back to win the series.

Author’s note: Because the article was not published immediately after the article was published, the first game of the series had already been played when the full article was published. The Bulls did as expected in the article and played a tug-of-war with a good chance of winning, but in the end the Bucks still accepted the game .

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