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Bulls know LeBron, Wade will turn it up

Derrick Rose said Bulls tried make Dwyane Wade (right) LeBrJames settle for jumpers Game 1. | John J. Kim~Sun-Times

Derrick Rose said the Bulls tried to make Dwyane Wade (right) and LeBron James settle for jumpers in Game 1. | John J. Kim~Sun-Times

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Updated: June 18, 2011 12:38AM



LeBron James, 5-for-15. Dwyane Wade, 7-for-17.

That’s a combined 12-for-32 — or 37.5 percent shooting from two players who averaged a combined 47.7 percent in their first 10 playoff games, when they made 179 of 375.

‘‘They missed some shots they normally make,’’ Bulls coach Tom Thibodeau said Monday. ‘‘We know we’re going to have to do a much better job in the next game.’’

How much of it was the Bulls’ defense and how much of it was an off night for two of the league’s most dangerous scorers? That’s not easy to say.

‘‘We just tried to close down the lane,’’ guard Derrick Rose said. ‘‘Stop them from penetrating and make them shoot jump shots.’’

And if those shots fall, things could be different. That’s why the Bulls are wary of James and Wade for Game 2.

‘‘We know they’ll be more ­aggressive,’’ center Joakim Noah said. ‘‘We feel like we can be more aggressive, as well.’’

‘Monster’ Taj

The Bulls were still gushing over the two big-time dunks forward Taj Gibson delivered in Game 1 — a transition thumper on Wade and a put-back tomahawk. Gibson — who had nine points, seven rebounds and two blocked shots — also delivered some serious defense, including some work on James.

‘‘Phenomenal,’’ forward Carlos Boozer said. ‘‘He was a monster Sunday night. He’s been a monster all season long for us. The two dunks he had were inspiring. His defense was great, but his two dunks were something special.’’

Word from the wise

Asked whether he expects the Heat to go big or small in Game 2, Noah said tersely, ‘‘I have no idea.’’

Is this a key to the Bulls’ ­success, focusing on themselves rather than dwelling on what opponents are planning?

‘‘A wise man once told me, ­‘Control what you can control,’ ’’ Noah said. ‘‘I think those are words of wisdom.’’

Rose ‘about team’

Noah seemed a little surprised that Rose told the media he had taken responsibility for his four first-half turnovers in the locker room during halftime of Game 1.

‘'He’s really hard on himself all the time,’’ Noah said. ‘‘That’s what makes him a hell of a player. . . . He’s all about the team.’’

Rose made good on his vow to his teammates to cut down the mistakes in the second half, when he had no turnovers.

‘‘We know that if we can keep our turnovers down,’’ Noah said, ‘‘we’ll have a better chance of ­winning the game because they’re so good at scoring off turnovers.’’



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