The Chicago Bulls may have just taken a Mike Tyson punch to the gut.
Bulls announce Rajon Rondo is out indefinitely with a right thumb fracture that won't require surgery.
— K.C. Johnson (@KCJHoop) April 21, 2017
It’s almost to say that after taking a strong hold on their series against the Boston Celtics with a Game 2 win, going up 2-0, that is was just too good to be true, as their PG Rajon Rondo has fractured his thumb and will be out indefinitely.
One could argue that the biggest reason for this unforeseen 2-0 lead the Bulls have taken has been Rondo, who’s totally changed the pace of the offense and has also taken the responsibility of guarding Isaiah Thomas. This has allowed Jimmy Butler to focus his energy on the offensive end. Rajon, from the opening tip of Game 1, has seemingly been on a mission. Whether it was to prove Fred Hoiberg should have started him the whole season is obviously unknown. It’s certainly noticeable that playoff Rondo was a totally different animal than the regular season Rondo. From pushing the ball up-court every possession, calling guys out on missed defensive assignments, helping out on the boards, and playing sound defense on IT4, Rajon has been the glue that’s kept this run of consistent play together.
Bulls have been a much different team when Rondo is on the court this series. pic.twitter.com/qvGmIGhqN7
— Chris Forsberg (@ESPNForsberg) April 21, 2017
Now, the focus shifts to Jerian Grant, who will start at PG for the Bulls at the United Center for Game 3. Michael Carter-Williams will presumably take on a larger role as the back-up, and Cameron Payne likely be activated and see some minutes as well (insert eye-roll emoji). Odds are Jimmy Butler and Dwyane Wade will have the ball in their hands majority of games going forward, which could prove to be the demise of the Bulls’ efficient offense, as the ball seems to stick a lot more when they are running point. Not to mention, Jimmy Butler will likely have to chase around and guard Isaiah for the majority of the rest of this series, which could affect his offensive contribution. This only means Dwyane Wade, who bounced back in Game 2 after struggling in Game 1, will have to step up his play.
Devastating news on Rondo! Grant and MCW have to play with confidence but D Wade is the key the rest of this series!
— Stacey King (@Stacey21King) April 21, 2017
All the Bulls need to do is take two of the next five games to move on, which doesn’t seem to be too hard of a task given that they’ve have handled the Celtics pretty easily in the first two match-ups. However, seeing how Hoiberg adjusts his rotation and game plan will be an intriguing aspect to the rest of this series. In addition, it will be interesting to see if, in Rondo’s absence, the Bulls will continue their rebounding advantage, averaging 48.5 RPG to the Celtics’ 37, as Rondo averaged 8.5 rebounds in the first two games.
For the Bulls, it’s time for Hoiberg to call up Bill Belichick and get some tips on how to implement his “next man up” philosophy. For the Celtics, it’s time to attack.
You can follow me and the rest of my sports thoughts @Eli_PerSources.