All Bull - Chicago Bulls
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.
Posted by mikemcgraw on Tue, 03/24/2009 - 18:36
Derrick Rose was scratched for Tuesday's game against Detroit because of a badly bruised right wrist suffered during the win at Washington on Monday. This will be the first game the No. 1 draft pick has missed all season.
He walked into the United Center with his right wrist heavily wrapped. At one point, the Bulls called his injury status a game-time decision, but in the final analysis, he was never close to playing. His status for Thursday's game against Miami is in question.
“I had X-rays and I had an MRI this morning,” Rose said. “They said it’s a bruised wrist. It really hurts. Trust me, I can take pain. But it really hurts. I can barely turn a door knob. (Trainer) Fred (Tedeschi) told me to sit out for a while, like two to three days and let it heal.”
Posted by mikemcgraw on Mon, 03/23/2009 - 00:37
By the end of the week, we should know how serious the Bulls are about making the playoffs.
With four winnable games coming up, they could seize control of the eighth spot in the East and worry more about moving up than looking back. Or they could choose not to walk through the wide-open door and spend the final days of the regular season scoreboard-watching. Here's a game-by-game preview:
Washington, Monday: The Bulls have had some brutal losses this season, but it doesn't get much more embarrassing than losing 113-90 to the lowly Wizards with President Obama, a self-described die-hard Bulls fan, watching from the front row on Feb. 27.
Posted by mikemcgraw on Sun, 03/22/2009 - 01:03
Funny how there could be so many positives for the Bulls in a game where they were overwhelmed in the fourth quarter by a lineup of Luke Walton, Jordan Farmar and Sasha Vujacic. Those three paced a 28-5 Lakers run that turned an 8-point Bulls lead into a 15-point deficit. The Bulls lost 117-109, snapping their seven-game home win streak.
The Lakers reserves had been blamed for a recent spate of squandered leads, but there was no reason for the Bulls to feel this group wasn't capable. Farmar scored 12 points against the Bulls in the Nov. 18 game at Staples Center and the outside shooting of Vujacic was a key to last year's playoff run.
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.