Derrick Rose has blown hot and cold in the 2015 playoffs and he's taking the Bulls along with him.
While it is expected that Rose can't return to elite form immediately after a February knee surgery, he's given us two playoff games which remind us of the 2011 season when he was named NBA MVP. In the other three games however, Rose has struggled so much that the Bulls are 1-2 in those games.
If we take a close look at his season stats, it's interesting to note that there is a pattern in D-Rose's performances. During the regular season, Rose struggled in games where they had less rest.
Rose shot 35.5% from the field and 21.4% from three point distance during the second of 11 back to back games. He also shot just 40% from the field and 30.7% from three land in 25 regular season games with one day rest. However, his FG percentage shot up to 45.7% when he played in games with two or more days of rest. Rose's true shooting percentage also increased from 43.7% with zero days rest, 48.1% with one day rest and at least 52% when he has two or more days of rest.
This trend has continued in the playoffs against the Bucks.
Derrick Rose has shot 54% from the field and 50% from three point distance in games with two days rest. On the other hand, he's shot below 30% from the field and 24% from downtown with one day rest. In Games 2 and 4 where the Bulls had two days of rest, Rose has averaged 28.5 points and 7.5 assists. In the other three games, he's managed just 14 points and 5.66 assists per game.
Of course, the Bulls have won in the two games where Rose has looked like the 2011 MVP. They've gone 1-2 in the games where he's struggled. If this trend continues in Game 6, where the Bulls had two days of rest, then Derrick Rose is due for an explosion.But that's just a trend or a pattern and not an exact science. The million dollar question is: Which Derrick Rose will show up tomorrow?
We'll help you answer that question by previewing the sixth game of the Bulls-Bucks and Clippers-Spurs series scheduled for tomorrow. We'll also be giving you the SportHold Super Prediction score to help you make your picks for Thursday's double header challenge.
The SportHold Super Prediction score is based on the collated predictions of SportHold users. Our users enter their predictions in our challenges page and we come up with a set of picks based on those. Those picks become our voice- or the voice of the crowd. The more predictions we get, the stronger our voice is. Remember that there is strength in numbers. Here at SportHold though, we just don't come up with a voice, but our users compete with others in our leaderboard. We give out points to every prediction you make, depending on the accuracy. Users also get points when they test their Sports IQ at our mini-games and even get a chance to win cash prizes by predicting the exact scores of NBA games. To get you started, here is the Prediction Data for April 30 to help you out:
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In Game 5, Jason Kidd looked like a genius for pulling off the Michael Carter Williams trade at the deadline.
That's because MCW came up with his best performance in a Milwaukee uniform at perhaps the most crucial game of their season. Down 1-3 to the Bulls in their first round series and playing at the United Center, Carter-Williams went 10-15 from the field en route to 22 points, eight rebounds and nine assists in a dramatic Game 5 performance that extended the series further to a Game 6.
Now, the Bucks go home to the BMO Harris Bradley Center where they have the opportunity to tie the series and send it to a winner-take-all Game 7 which no one ever expected.
After the Bulls outclassed them in the first three games of the series, it looked like everything was over except for the final tally. However, two games later, the Bucks have proved that defense wins playoff games.
The 2nd best defensive team in the NBA has forced a veteran Chicago team to 86 turnovers thru five games in the series while only comitting a total if 59 giveaways themselves. And while the Bulls had fewer turnovers in Game 5 at 12 versus 17 (the only game in the series where Chicago had fewer TOs than the Bucks), the Bucks forced Derrick Rose to a game high 6 turnovers.
While it's been Jimmy Butler and Pau Gasol playing consistent for the Chicago, stopping Derrick Rose has keyed Milwaukee's two victories. Rose had a total of 14 turnovers in Games 4 & 5 (which the Bucks won) and was limited to 10-33 from the field in both games. Prior to that, Rose averaged 24.0 points and 8.0 assists while shooting 47.2% from the field and 45.5% from the three point land as the Bulls won three in a row.
Derrick Rose has averaged 39.0 minutes per game in the playoffs after playing just 30.0 per contest during the regular season. Rose lost the ball to Kris Middleton in the final play of Game 4 and was beat by Jerryd Bayless on a backdoor play that resulted in a buzzer beating layup. Rose then followed that up with a 5-20 shooting night in Game 5 where he was dominated by Carter Williams on both ends of the floor.
Fatigue could be another factor for the Bulls as all Chicago starters are averaging more minutes in the playoffs than the regular season with Jimmy Butler getting the most load at 44.2 minutes per game. The Bucks meanwhile, only have Khris Middleton, Giannis Antetokounmpo and MCW averaging more than 30 minutes per game.
The Bucks' main concern is MCW's sprained ankle but he declared himself ready to go for Game 6. But Derrick Rose may also be ready to go after a two days rest. While Rose has struggled this season with shorter rests, he's always played better with at least two days of play stoppage. He scored 23 in Game 1 with two days rest and 34 in Game 3 after another two day break. If that trend continues, we're expecting the 2011 MVP to show up on Thursday. If that happens, the Bucks don't have the matador to tame the raging bull in Rose and the Bulls may be on the way to their date with LeBron and the Cavs.
We told you the Spurs played big in big games. They played huge in the biggest game of their season, showing nerves of steel to pull off a win in a game that had plenty of momentum swings.
Momentum swings have been the trademark of this series as each team has won on the road and have both lost after posting 15 point wins. The score 111-107 was the final score in Game 2 (which went to OT) and Game 5, which the Spurs won after DeAndre Jordan was called for an offenive goal tending in the dying seconds of the game. But if the Spurs are very familiar with playing under heavy duress, the Clippers wilt under pressure once again, reminding all of us of what happened to them last season:
During their second round match-up against the Thunder ni 2014, the Clippers were in a familiar position, leading Game 5 big before losing a close game by six points. Two nights later, they were ousted from the playoffs. Doc Rivers hopes lightning doesn't strike twice in L.A.
To do that, he must get the needed contributions from his reserves. After scoring 33 points in Game 4, L.A.'s reserves were outscored by their San Antonio counterparts 48-17 as only Jamal Crawford, Austin Rivers and Glen Davis saw action off the bench for the Clippers in Game 5. The spurs had at least five non-starters who played at least 11 minutes and they had six players who scored in double digits, led by Tim Duncan's 21.
The Spurs have to feel good about themselves because not only does the Game 5 winner historically goes on to win the series at a high rate of 80% but because they beat the Clippers on a night where Kawhi Leonard didn't have a big game. Leonard scored 18 points but it was a far cry from his spectacular performances from Game 1 to 4. What won it for the Spurs is the core of their basketball: teamwork and poise. They hope to play with both again in what could be the series closer.
A loss would mean another big blow to the Clippers' franchise who have never advanced to the Conference finals since their maiden appearance in 1970 as the Buffalo Braves. The Clippers brought in Chris Paul in 2012 to build a title contender but they have been frustrated year after year. The Spurs ousted them in six games at the conference semifinals in 2012 and the Grizzlies eliminated them in Round 1 of 2013 while the Thunder closed them out in six games in last season's 2nd round. Rivers hopes this year will finally have a different ending.
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