All Bull - Chicago Bulls
Posted by mikemcgraw on Wed, 04/29/2009 - 01:45
No doubt, a prevailing topic of conversation until Game 6 tips off will be whether the Bulls got hosed in the 106-104 overtime loss in Boston on Tuesday.
Well, the Bulls should start by blaming themselves. They had an 11-point lead in the fourth quarter and were up 10 with seven minutes remaining and couldn't close it out. They couldn't convert with a chance to win the game at the end of regulation. They also couldn't do anything to take Paul Pierce away from his favorite spot on the floor. Pierce knocked down 3 straight jumpers over John Salmons late in the overtime. The final basket provided the winning margin with 3.4 seconds remaining.
Posted by mikemcgraw on Tue, 04/28/2009 - 12:43
BOSTON -- Bulls guard Ben Gordon told coach Vinny Del Negro about an hour before tip-off of Game 5 that he'll try to play despite a painful let hamstring strain. Gordon, who is averaging 24.8 points in the series, suffered the injury early in Sunday's double-overtime win at the United Center.
“He's going to try to play,” Del Negro told a media crowd. “It loosened up a little bit, but it's still real tight and he wants to give it a try. We'll talk and monitor it as the game goes on and just see where it goes from there.”
A few minutes earlier, Gordon was non-committal after spending about 30 minutes shooting around on the court.
“I felt all right,” he said. “It's painful, but we've just got to deal with it. (I feel it when) changing direction or pushing off.”
Posted by mikemcgraw on Mon, 04/27/2009 - 00:33
This is the 57th playoff series in Bulls franchise history. So how many of those series have had at least 3 games decided by 3 points or less, which has happened already in this Bulls-Celtics skirmish?
The answer is two – the last two series of the Michael Jordan era, in fact. In the 1998 Eastern Conference finals, all three Indiana wins at Market Square Arena were by either 2 or 3 points. Then in the '98 Finals, Utah won Game 1 by 3, Game 5 by 2 and lost the decisive, historic Game 6 by 1.
The recent standard for most competitive first-round series is probably Cleveland-Washington in 2006, when the Cavs won three of the six games by 1 point. This year's Orlando-Philadelphia series also has three of four games decided by 3 points or less.
BREAKING DOWN MISSED CHANCES
Posted by mikemcgraw on Fri, 04/24/2009 - 08:22
Game 3 at the United Center was like the worst imaginable final installment to a trilogy. There may not even be a proper analogy in the movie world, since “Godfather Part 3” came about 20 years after No. 2. Maybe if Star Wars jumped straight from “Empire Strikes Back” to Jar Jar Binks, that would capture the essence of what the Bulls accomplished.
After a pair of incredibly dramatic and entertaining games to start the series in Boston, the Bulls were never competitive in Thursday's 107-86 trouncing.
Credit the Celtics and star Paul Pierce, who claimed his team had only payed its 'C' game, then gave a thorough demonstration by scoring 13 of his 24 points in the opening seven minutes.
Posted by mikemcgraw on Thu, 04/23/2009 - 12:49
Since the Bulls' playoff theme is being billed as “See Red,” I'm wondering if the team will somehow incorporate the late, great Johnny “Red” Kerr into the action.
This is the first time I can remember the Bulls promoting a color scheme, asking all fans to wear red. After the victory at Boston in Game 1, the United Center figures be loud on Thursday night.
Here are some things that could make a difference in Game 3:
Posted by mikemcgraw on Wed, 04/22/2009 - 08:47
The Bulls have some news to announce later today and no doubt it's what we've all been expecting since last October -- Derrick Rose will be named NBA rookie of the year.
Rose averaged 16.8 points, 6.3 assists and 3.9 rebounds this season. Just as impressive were his elevated shooting percentage (.475) and low turnover rate (2.5 per game).
He also tied the NBA record for most points by a rookie in his playoff debut by scoring 36 against Boston on Saturday, which matched Kareem Abdul-Jabbar.
It would have been pretty comical if someone else won rookie of the year after Rose's playoff debut. The new conference is at 2 p.m. at the Renaissance North Shore.
Posted by mikemcgraw on Tue, 04/21/2009 - 01:23
There will be two days to rehash these incredible first two games of the Bulls-Celtics playoff series. So it might be interesting, in light of Ben Gordon's big performance on Monday, to take a little quiz.
In Game 2, Gordon became the only Bulls player besides Michael Jordan to score at least 42 points in a playoff game. Flynn Robinson had 41 against the Lakers in 1968, by the way.
Off the top of your head, estimate how many times Jordan scored 42 or more points in a playoff game and I'll give the answer below. Sorry, no prize for guessing correctly.
--Anyway, these first two contests seemed to show that the Celtics aren't any better than the Bulls without Kevin Garnett. But Game 3 on Thursday at the United Center could be a turning point.
Posted by mikemcgraw on Mon, 04/20/2009 - 15:46
A theme during Monday's pregame interviews was how it's ironic that Bulls coach Vinny Del Negro grew up a Celtics fan and Celtics coach Doc Rivers grew up a Bulls fan.
“It's more that Vinny and I are close friends. That's more difficult than I grew up a Bulls fan and he grew up a Celtics fan,” Rivers said. “Where you grow up, that's who you usually cheer for.”
Rivers is form Maywood and attended Proviso East High School, while Del Negro is from Springfield, Mass. They've been friends since playing together in San Antonio for most of two seasons from 1994-96.
“We're very close. We talk a lot,” Rivers added. “It's one of those things where you don't really enjoy series like this because you know it's somebody that you really care about.”
Posted by mikemcgraw on Mon, 04/20/2009 - 00:57
While the Bulls were thinking positive during a Sunday practice in downtown Boston, a few miles away in suburban Waltham, Celtics center Kendrick Perkins offered some interesting smack talk about the Bulls and rookie sensation Derrick Rose.
“Everybody has their night,” Perkins said, according to the Associated Press. “I know it won't happen again. He'll never have another game like that against us.”
Perkins was referring to Rose's 36 points and 11 assists in a 105-103 overtime victory on Saturday. Game 2 is Monday night at the Garden and Perkins offered a prediction.
Posted by mikemcgraw on Sat, 04/18/2009 - 18:36
It's rare when one play at the start of a game can foreshadow what's in store. The Bulls came out Saturday from the opening tip and executed their fantasy game plan to perfection.
On Boston's first possession, Paul Pierce missed a jumper. Ben Gordon grabbed the rebound and got it to Derrick Rose, who flew down the court and fed Joakim Noah for an alley-oop dunk. There was some traffic under the basket, so Noah took the opportunity to hang on the rim for about five seconds to punctuate the game's first basket.
Pushing the tempo is obviously job No. 1 for Rose and the Bulls against the older, slower Celtics and they did a decent job in the Game 1 victory. The offiicial count on fast-break points was Bulls 24-13.