Bulls vs. Sixers, 2012 NBA Playoffs: Can Sixers close the rebounding gap now that they won't focus on Rose?

Sam Smith gets to the strategy of how the Sixers plan to change their defense now that it isn't geared toward a single explosive talent like Derrick Rose. He was never really back to that point, even in game one, but the threat was always in defenses heads. And now?

[Elton] Brand noted the 76ers priorities for Game 1 and now for Game 2 remain rebounding, and he says the 76ers feel they at least have a better chance on the boards with Rose out.

The Bulls' 20 second chance points in Game 1 was circled by the 76ers as one of the biggest reasons for their loss.

Brand said one of the principal problems playing the Bulls is Rose's explosive moves into the paint. Even when he doesn't shoot, the defense has to trap, thus sending a big man out. The result is leaving those open lanes for Joakim Noah, Taj Gibson, Omer Asik and Carlos Boozer to get to the basket for demoralizing second shots.

"We're not trapping as far away from (the basket without Rose)," Brand said. "Those are like offensive plays for them. We're not running around the court trapping so we can be closer to the rim, but we'll have to wait and see. The bigs we have (will) have to play defense and rebound and step up and be physical."

And this was stated as well by Doug Collins:

One of the things about Rose when he’s on the floor he brings so much attention to your defense. You’re constantly thinking about how you have two on the ball with him all the time. So now you get yourself caught in situations where you’re playing four on three. The more we can limit the opportunities for them to have us in a mismatch helps us. It hurts your rebounding when you’re playing like that because obviously it’s usually a big that’s helping (on Rose). We’re hoping that we’re going to rebound the ball better and we’re not going to get strung out defensively. That’s what he brings to their team. That being said, C.J. Watson beat us in here the last time that we played. We have the ultimate respect for him.

It certainly makes sense and there's loads of anecdotal evidence when watching a Bulls game suggesting that the Bulls get a lot of offensive rebounds after their bigs are rotating to help on a penetrating Rose.

For what it's worth though, this season the Bulls are a hair better in OReb% with Rose off the court, though their total rebounding is down a half of a percentage point. Last season the Bulls OReb% did dip from 32% to 30% when Rose was out of the lineup (total rebounding was up though). Doesn't look to be that significant of a difference, but there's something to be said with how a team can game-plan a whole series knowing Rose won't be coming back.

And also of note in Smith's post: The Sixers may be using more Evan Turner, who is the best defensive rebounding SG in all of basketball.

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