Bulls vs. Sixers, 2012 NBA Playoffs: Yet more looks at Game Two's disastrous 3rd quarter

The Bulls were outscored 36-14 in the third quarter on Tuesday night, and never really recovered. The Sixers completely stifled the Bulls and were able to run out on misses after being able to also completely take over the rebounding in that time. As Alex noted in that post yesterday, during that run the Bulls had 15 misses and only collected one of them.

Zach Lowe at SI.com takes to the tape and points out how much more aggressively the Sixers trapped Rip Hamilton off of screens, which threw off the rhythm the Bulls were able to show earlier with that same action. Each iteration of the play shows some things a bit different, but on one gave some particular things to consider:

From the very beginning of this set, Hawes is shadowing Hamilton, and when Hamilton comes off Noah’s pick, Hawes tries his hardest to take Hamilton out toward mid-court. He’s only partly successful here, but even so, Hamilton can’t quite turn the corner and get his body facing the rim — the angle he needs to make a pass into the paint.

It’s a small thing, but Iguodala, Philly’s best defender, is guarding C.J. Watson, meaning Watson has a taller defender than usual to shoot over when Hamilton kicks the ball his way. This is a side benefit of starting Turner and having him defend opposing point guards. The Bulls run this exact set several times per game (other teams run it, too, but none as often as Chicago), and it starts with Deng screening for Hamilton, and then screening again for Watson on the ball. The Sixers, with two roughly equivalent guys on Deng and Watson, can just switch that screen without worrying about a mismatch.

Hickory-High has a similar post that also highlights some different types of plays from the Bulls offense, namely pick and rolls where the PGs either don't force a switch, or take advantage when they do. CJ Watson and JLIII have their limitations, obviously, in this and any clamoring for more post-ups for Carlos Boozer. Booz (unfortunately) needs extra help to establish post position, and who of those PGs is proficient at an entry pass?

Jason Patt at Bulls101 goes further, and does the depressing work of taking notes on every play in that 3rd quarter. As you'd expect, it's less about what the Sixers did and more what the Bulls didn't do. It's worth a revisit if you can stomach it. Poor PG play, nonexistent screening, and both Carlos Boozer and Rip Hamilton failing on both ends of the floor.

Everyone notes that the Bulls can re-adjust to counter what the Sixers did, and it'll be key to get their offense working as a way to slow the Sixers down on the other end.

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