All Bull - Chicago Bulls

All Bull - Chicago Bulls

Beware the Wizards in the draft lottery

Posted by mikemcgraw on Tue, 05/19/2009 - 02:47
The NBA draft lottery is Tuesday night and for just the second time in 11 years, the Bulls are not involved. Even when they made the playoffs, they had the Knicks' pick two years in a row in 2006 and '07 from the Eddy Curry trade. They will have a rooting interest, though, because this appears to be a one-man draft. In the short-term, Oklahoma's Blake Griffin seems to be well ahead of the class. The rest of the top five could include Spanish point guard Ricky Rubio, who is under contract in Europe; UConn center Hasheem Thabeet, Arizona PF Jordan Hill and Arizona State SG James Harden. If the Thunder wins the lottery, Griffin will join Derrick Rose as the second straight No. 1 pick to play in his home town.

Will there be any suitors for Gordon this summer?

Posted by mikemcgraw on Mon, 05/04/2009 - 23:09
This will be something of a companion piece to Monday' column suggesting the Bulls shouldn't let the luxury tax get in the way of re-signing Ben Gordon. At this point, I think keeping Gordon is definitely a goal of team management. But they will also keep their options open this summer, because some interesting trade possibilities could develop as teams try to keep their payrolls down. Toronto isn't planning to do anything with Chris Bosh this summer, but Amare Stoudemire could conceivably end up back on the market. Utah might be open to a sign-and-trade for Carlos Boozer. There is talk that Orlando won't be able to keep both Hedo Turkoglu and promising big man Marcin Gortat, two likely free agents.

Game 7 morning report: Gordon, Salmons health unchanged

Posted by mikemcgraw on Sat, 05/02/2009 - 16:50
The Bulls changed their pregame routine before Game 7. After holding shootaround at a downtown college two blocks from their hotel before the previous two games in Boston, the Bulls were at the chilly TD Banknorth Garden for Saturday's shootaround. Injuries were a hot topic, not surprisingly. Based on their Game 6 performances, it appeared that John Salmons (35 points) was feeling better after struggling for nearly a month with a groin strain and Ben Gordon (12 points) wasn't doing well with his let hamstring injury. But both players suggested their health was status quo.

Bulls can win Game 7

Posted by mikemcgraw on Fri, 05/01/2009 - 23:49
There is no way to make a truly informed prediction in a series like this, so let's put it this way -- The Bulls can win Game 7 in Boston on Saturday night. Will they? Well, they could easily lay an egg, miss important shots or break down defensively at the wrong time. But they've played three competitive games at the Garden, winning once, and are 3-1 in overtime games during this season. Playoff pressure and a hostile environment haven't bothered the Bulls yet and shouldn't in Game 7. Here are some avenues to a strong Bulls performance, in approximate order of importance:

I don't believe what I just saw

Posted by mikemcgraw on Fri, 05/01/2009 - 01:12
It is just mind-numbing that the Bulls and Celtics could produce what was already one of the great series in recent NBA history, then top it by playing three overtimes in Game 6. Both teams showed plenty of guts in this one. Boston could easily have decided to save its energy for Game 7 after falling behind by 12 in the fourth quarter, but instead stunned the Bulls and a riled-up crowd at the United Center by unleashing a 21-2 run. The Bulls had to scramble to just get the game to one overtime. At the same time, a tired Celtics squad expended a few metric tons of energy and now has to fly home and return to the court in less than 48 hours. Here are a few more Game 6 tidbits:

Game 6 preamble: Coaches want to move past rough stuff

Posted by mikemcgraw on Thu, 04/30/2009 - 17:41
Any sports-minded person who walked down the street or turned on the radio the past two days probably got a sense that Bulls fans are expecting, maybe hoping, for some retaliation in tonight's Game 6. Fans seem to be sore about the smack in the mouth Rajon Rondo delivered to Brad Miller at the end of Game 5 and several other hard fouls from the Celtics. Both coaches were asked before Thursday's game how they'll deal with that atmosphere. “Move on from that stuff,” said Boston coach Doc Rivers. “At the end of the day, you have to play basketball. You have to understand there are hard fouls in the game. We've been the recipient of quite a few ourselves. But you have to have the mental toughness to play through that. That's just the league in general.”

Bulls-Celtics is the NBA's tightest playoff series in 14 years

Posted by mikemcgraw on Thu, 04/30/2009 - 01:24
This Bulls-Celtics playoff series is the first in NBA history to have three games go to overtime. There have also been four games decided by 3 points or less, which is a very rare occurrence. The last playoff series to match that level of competitiveness happened 14 years ago. New York and Indiana actually did this series one better with four games decided by 2 points or less. That one began with Reggie Miller hitting two 3-pointers in about six seconds late in Game 1 and ended with Patrick Ewing's missed finger roll in Game 7.

Bulls should blame themselves first

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.

Gordon will give it a shot in Game 5

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.”

Bulls match '98 champs in one category

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