All Bull - Chicago Bulls
Posted by mikemcgraw on Thu, 03/19/2009 - 01:46
Here's another reason why the Bulls should be headed toward a big finish in the regular season: Newcomers John Salmons and Brad Miller are really settling into the rotation.
In nine games since becoming the starting small forward, Salmons has averaged 21.8 points while shooting 49.6 percent from the field. He's also at 87.5 percent from the foul line and contributing a respectable 5.6 rebounds. There is one glaring room for improvement – Salmons has just 10 assists in those nine games.
An amazing thing about Salmons, I think, is he never averaged in double figures until last year, his sixth NBA season. The 29-year-old has made some huge strides with his offensive skills.
Posted by mikemcgraw on Wed, 03/18/2009 - 00:56
The Bulls took care of business by beating a short-handed Celtics squad 127-121 on Tuesday at the United Center, but logic suggested this should have been an easier win.
Boston came into the game without Kevin Garnett (knee), Glen Davis (ankle), Brian Scalabrine (concussion) and Tony Allen (thumb). Then four minutes into the game, replacement power
forward Leon Powe left with a knee bruise and never returned.
So even though the Celtics still had four of five starters on the floor, they were down to two big men and one of them, Mikki Moore, fouled out less than a minute into the fourth quarter.
Boston was forced to play with Paul Pierce, center Kendrick Perkins and three guards.
Posted by mikemcgraw on Tue, 03/17/2009 - 01:35
The past few days provided further evidence for why the Bulls have no business missing the playoffs. Milwaukee moved back into a tie for eighth place in the East by beating the short-handed Celtics on Sunday. But the rest of the competition is not keeping up.
New Jersey, Charlotte and Indiana had all lost three straight games as of Sunday. The Bobcats got back on track with an easy win over Toronto on Monday, while the Nets dropped their fourth in a row at Denver. At the end of the night, Charlotte was in 10th place, 1 game behind the Bulls and Bucks. New York was 1 ½ back, while New Jersey was 2 games behind.
Posted by mikemcgraw on Sun, 03/15/2009 - 00:20
Vinny Del Negro and assistant Bernie Bickerstaff employed some creative defensive tactics against New Orleans on Saturday. And since the Bulls led by 32 early in the fourth quarter on the way to an easy win, I suppose we should give credit where credit is due.
The Bulls have been switching on all screens virtually the entire season, which seems a little odd sometimes because they use small guards almost exclusively and often end up with Derrick Rose, Ben Gordon or Kirk Hinrich guarding the opposing center.
Posted by mikemcgraw on Sat, 03/14/2009 - 05:43
There was a nice atmosphere at Friday's game as the 76ers reopened the Spectrum for one final time before it is torn down this summer.
But there is no question the Spectrum is more famous for the games it hosted than the building itself. This was no Chicago Stadium or Boston Garden. Not even close. It fit right in with its former neighbor across the street, Veterans Stadium, as a functional building with little to no character.
First of all, the Spectrum was ugly from the outside. It always reminded me of a hat box. On the inside, I remember it feeling cramped because there was only one concourse, serving both the lower and upper levels. Fortunately, I never had reason to visit the third level, which only had a few rows to it.
Posted by mikemcgraw on Fri, 03/13/2009 - 05:22
One subplot to Luol Deng's possible stress fracture in his right tibia is how surgery would effect his ability to play for Great Britain in the European championships this summer. Deng spent the past two summers helping his adopted country qualify for a rare berth in the event.
It's been a great story. When he was very young, Deng's family left its native Sudan to escape a civil war. A few years later, his family was granted asylum in England and moved to London from Alexandria, Egypt.
Posted by mikemcgraw on Tue, 03/10/2009 - 01:34
For the most part, I'd say the Bulls should try to feel good about the double-overtime loss in Miami on Monday.
They put together a strong effort, considering they used just seven players in a 55-minute game and Kirk Hinrich, their best defender to throw at Dwyane Wade, was at far less than 100 percent because of a knee bruise.
Miami is tough to play against because it's better on defense than any of the NBA's other mediocre teams. I've noticed over the years that when a team has a reputation for playing quality defense, referees let them play by a different set of rules. Those teams are allowed to be much more physical and it's a huge advantage.
Posted by mikemcgraw on Mon, 03/09/2009 - 01:14
Hoopshype and realgm – two popular Web sites for NBA news – posted headlines Sunday that Ben Gordon is leaning toward leaving the Bulls this summer, so let's examine the topic briefly.
This idea is old news, for one thing. I've been hearing all season about “such-and-such player knows Gordon's people and says there's no way he's staying with the Bulls.”
At the same time, Gordon has never publicly ruled out re-signing with the Bulls when he becomes an unrestricted free agent this summer. The Bulls, meanwhile, are definitely interested in keeping Gordon long-term.
Really, though, it's silly to suggest Gordon is leaning one way or the other, because he can't even weigh his options until he actually receives a concrete offer from another team.
Posted by mikemcgraw on Sat, 03/07/2009 - 01:45
The No. 1 task for the Bulls coming off Friday's 117-102 win over Milwaukee is to convince themselves they've accomplished nothing.
Sure, they moved into sole possession of eighth place in the Eastern Conference standings for the first time in a couple of months. But that 1-game lead over the Bucks could disappear quickly if they can't turn around their recent road problems.
Since making three trades on Feb. 18-19, the Bulls are 0-4 on the road. All the losses came against sub-.500 teams and weren't even very close late in the fourth quarter.
Posted by mikemcgraw on Wed, 03/04/2009 - 20:03
POSTGAME UPDATE: Luol Deng discussed his leg injury after the Bulls' win over Golden State, the second straight game he's skipped. I don't think this is as controversial as some reports will make it out to be, though it was handled in a strange way.
To recap, Deng felt something early in Saturday's game against Houston. X-rays suggested a possible stress fracture in his right tibia, but after an MRI exam came back clear the next day, the Bulls felt confident the injury was minor.