All Bull - Chicago Bulls
Posted by mikemcgraw on Fri, 04/10/2009 - 22:56
Derrick Rose has now officially done something that LeBron James, Chris Paul, Deron Williams, Dwight Howard and Isiah Thomas could not – make the playoffs in his rookie season.
Charlotte's 84-81 loss at Oklahoma City on Friday made it official. The Bulls will play in the postseason for the fourth time in five years.
Their first-round opponent and final spot in the Eastern Conference standings remain a mystery. Philadelphia lost its fourth straight game, at home to Cleveland, while Detroit beat New Jersey at home. That means the Sixers (40-39) are still in sixth, but just a game ahead of the Bulls and Detroit, who are tied for the No. 7 spot at 39-40.
Posted by mikemcgraw on Thu, 04/09/2009 - 01:24
The Bulls were off Wednesday, but I did notice some interesting news: Ben Wallace returned to action during Cleveland's victory over Washington.
It's an interesting comparison. Wallace fractured his right fibula on Feb. 26. Bulls forward Luol Deng last played on Feb. 28 and has been out with a bone contusion/early stage stress fracture in his right tibia.
Are those injuries in any way similar? I have no idea, but I suppose Wallace provides hope that maybe there is a chance Deng could play again this season, though that doesn't seem likely right now.
Posted by mikemcgraw on Wed, 04/08/2009 - 02:08
The Bulls keep winning at home, but these two close calls against New York and New Jersey the past two games demonstrate that they're not playing as well as they could right now.
My biggest issue with Tuesday's 110-103 win over the Knicks was the long distance offense early in the game. Not only were John Salmons (2 for 8) and Ben Gordon (4 for 7) content to fire away in the first quarter, Joakim Noah and Tyrus Thomas barely touched the ball. Noah played nearly 10 minutes in the opening quarter and never attempted a shot or free throw.
Here are some more thoughts from Tuesday's victory, which dropped the Bulls' magic number for clinching a playoff spot to 2:
Posted by mikemcgraw on Mon, 04/06/2009 - 22:16
Even without reading every story written about the Bulls this season, most fans have probably noticed that first-year coach Vinny Del Negro hasn't opened up on many topics. He's had a tendency to throw out a string of cliches and repeat himself frequently. “No easy answers” may be closing in on its 100th usage since October.
He's also referred to Kirk Hinrich as “Kurt” all season, but that's a little off-topic and I have no explanation for it.
The point is, Del Negro was asked Monday about how he's evolved as a coach in the past seven months. He started with a joke -- “More gray hair, not as much sleep, very tired” -- but eventually gave a decent answer.
Posted by mikemcgraw on Sun, 04/05/2009 - 23:52
Michael Jordan will be announced as a 2009 inductee into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame on Monday, an accomplishment that should be bigger news than it is.
The Basketball Hall of Fame just doesn't get the same respect and attention as its counterparts in baseball and pro football. As I've pointed out before, I think the reason is because the Basketball Hall isn't limited to the greatest players. It's open to just about everyone.
When Jordan is inducted, he'll stand alongside Dick Vitale, Mendy Rudolph, Dave Gavitt, Hortencia Marcari and Lynette Woodard. Those were some of the people added to the Basketball Hall of Fame in the past five years.
Posted by mikemcgraw on Fri, 04/03/2009 - 23:40
The Bulls have had a quiet few days, filled with a couple of brief, short-handed practices. They had one of their periodic autograph sessions on Friday, where the players sit down to sign basketballs and other items assembly-line style.
Meanwhile, Charlotte's loss to Miami on Friday dropped the Bulls' magic number for clinching a playoff spot to 5, though the Bobcats will have a chance to cut into their two-game deficit when they visit the United Center next Saturday.
Posted by mikemcgraw on Tue, 03/31/2009 - 01:05
Ran across an interesting item in the Miami Heat game notes last week. It listed the league leaders in steals plus blocks, which are obviously the two main defensive categories.
The Heat wanted to point out that Dwyane Wade ranks a close second in the category to Orlando center Dwight Howard 275-262. In that loss to the Bulls last Thursday, the Richards High School product became the first player listed at 6-foot-4 or smaller to record 100 blocks in a season.
Beyond that, LeBron James ranked third in the category at 217, followed closely by the Bulls' own Tyrus Thomas in fourth at 216 (135 blocks and 81 steals).
The best I could tell, Chris Paul ranks fifth with 193 steals and 9 blocks, then Jason Kidd and Denver's Chris Andersen.
Posted by mikemcgraw on Fri, 03/27/2009 - 02:14
The Bulls are 9-1 at home since the all-star break, with an average margin of victory of 14 points and seven of those wins coming against teams currently in playoff position.
So it's logical to wonder if the Bulls are strong enough at home to pull an Atlanta. In other words, win three home games and force a Game 7 against one of the best teams in the East, the way the Hawks did against the Celtics last year.
Remember, Atlanta finished the regular season 37-45 last year while Boston had 66 wins. Chances are, the Bulls will be much closer in record to their first-round opponent.
Their three potential first-round opponents pose different problems and the Bulls are long shots to win a series against anyone. The question is how long they can stay in the fight.
Posted by mikemcgraw on Thu, 03/26/2009 - 18:42
Here's a quick injury update: Derrick Rose will play tonight against Miami, but will come off the bench while Kirk Hinrich starts.
Rose missed his first game of the season on Tuesday against Detroit due to a bruised right wrist. He suffered the injury the previous night in Washington when he banged his wrist on the rim during a missed dunk attempt.
Rose said he took between 60 and 80 jumpers this morning at the Berto Center before determining that he's ready to play.
“I can't follow through all the way, but I'm fine,” Rose said. “I'm not going to be scared to shoot.”
Posted by mikemcgraw on Wed, 03/25/2009 - 23:55
Bulls general manager John Paxson had a nice long chat on WMVP's Lunch with a Legend series with Tom Waddle and Marc Silverman. Before we get into some excerpts, there are a couple of scoreboard issues worth noting.
--Charlotte and Milwaukee both lost again Wednesday night, so the Bulls' lead over the Bobcats for eighth place is 2 ½ games. I'd say if the Bulls win their next two home games, against Miami and Indiana, then can get one on the road against either Toronto or Indiana, a playoff spot is pretty much certain. The only question to follow would be if its the No. 7 or 8 seed. Detroit hosts the Lakers on Thursday, then has a bunch of road games to follow.