Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Bulls Blowout Magic 120-102

By Sean Mackey

First of all, sorry for the lack of updates regarding the last two Bulls games. Both Alex and I were out celebrating his 21st birthday and didn't get to watch the fantastic win against the Nugget last Friday. We did however get to watch the Bulls lose a ridiculous nationally televised game to a depleted Indiana Pacers team who were without Danny Grainger and Mike Dunleavy.

Last night, again I didn't get to watch the game, but the Bulls beat the hell out of the Orlando Magic 120-102 who are currently holding the #3 seed in the Eastern Conference. Derrick Rose and Ben Gordon had great games and the bench looked really good with Miller, Tim Thomas (who had 17 points) & Salmons all playing well. Miller had a rare breakaway slam also which brought some laughs to his teammates regarding his landing of of the dunk.

Once again, VDN stuck with his Kirk Hinrich lead 4th quarter, somehow this time theyprevailed. Vinny's been taking a lot of flack from columnists, bloggers, beat writers and the whole NBA in general for taking Rose out in favor of Hinrich for the 4th quarter of the game. No one really knows why he's even doing it at this point but whatever, I'm gonna let it slide until it really hurts us.

The Bulls play again tonight, this time at New Jersey. Last time they met, the Bulls had a 100-87 win back in December. The Bulls have not won consecutive road games against the Nets since 1998. New Jersey is coming off their big win against Philly on Monday night where Devin Harris hit a controversial half court shot at the buzzer. Chicago needs to win this game since the Nets are just a half game behind them fighting for that final 8th playoff seed.

Friday, February 20, 2009

Sefolosha Traded, Pax Not Resigning, Bulls vs. Nuggets TONIGHT!

By Sean Mackey

One last trade went through at the wire yesterday afternoon. The Bulls decided to part ways with Thabo Sefolosha, trading him to the OKC Thunder for a 2009 or 2010 draft pick. The draft pick will be the least valuable of their draft picks from the Spurs, Suns or Nuggets.

I think this gives them another trade piece or an excellent pick to perhaps draft another bench guy with some energy like Tyler Hansbrough this June (if the pick is for this year's draft). Thabo was going to have zero playing time after aquiring John Salmons and his botched pass attempt that cost the Bulls the game last week against Miami which was still fresh in everyone's mind.

The Bulls were declared big winners of the 2009 trade deadline this year by most NBA analysts regardless if they took on a bunch of crap. Chicago is obviously looking ahead to 2010 which they should, especially with rumors circling around that Chris Bosh would like to play on the Bulls. Jerome James will likely retire and insurance will pay his salary saving the Bulls millions. Roberson will most likely be waived and Tim Thomas will actually see playing time in taking Noc's place.

Pax also reiterated that he is NOT resigning, which is great. Although you can tell this job has aged him terribly, especially over the last 3 years, I'm glad he's staying. I doubt he'll be with the team 2 years from now but he needs to at least finish what he's started.

The Bulls play the Nuggets tonight in Chicago. They lost their first meeting on Nov 23rd but hope to continue their winning ways. They'll be without all of the new guys including Miller, Salmons and Tim Thomas until Sunday's matinee against the Indiana Pacers.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Bulls Ship Out Hughes (Crap) to the Knicks For Tim Thomas (Crap), Anthony Roberson (Crap) & Jerome James (Crap)!

By Sean Mackey

The Bulls succeeded in their final trade deadline task of dumping Larry Hughes. Larry Legend (as Alex and I like to call him) was traded to the NY Knicks for former Bulls dumpee Tim Thomas along with PG Anthony Roberson and injured center Jerome James.

This move should free up a little bit of cap space for the offseason. I'm sort of glad to see they kept Captain Kirk on the team for the rest of the year. I'm pretty sure he'll be traded though as soon as July comes around.

It's going to be interesting to see what happens to Tim Thomas since he was only played 3 games before a buyout happened last time he was with Chicago. VDN has stated that he liked Tim while he with him in Phoenix, but I'm sure Tim isn't going to want to listen to a rookie coach who was once the director of player personnel. The consensus with Jerome James is that he's done and insurance will probably pay his salary and Anthony Roberson will most likely keep the bench all nice and warm with Lindsey Hunter.

Unfortunately, no other major last minute deals were made around the NBA either so the Larry Hughes trade was the deal of the day. We'll see how this all comes together on Sunday when most of the new Bulls squad will be intact to take on the Indiana Pacers.

Noc & Gooden Traded To The Kings For Miller & Salmons, Bulls Win in Milwaukee!

By Sean Mackey

It's old news now but in case you're living under a rock, the Bulls finally made a trade. Nocioni, Gooden, Ruffin & Simmons were traded late yesterday afternoon to the Sacramento Kings for former Bull, Brad Miller and John Salmons. Noc along with the other 3 traded Bulls were notified after they got off their team bus that they had been traded. I must admit that I'm a little sad that Noc is gone. He's the first of the original "core" group of guys from this Bulls mid 2000's team to be traded. His intensity and personality will be missed among Bulls fans.
Anyways, this trade finally gives the Bulls a very serviceable veteran center and a decent back up swingman. Brad Miller gave a radio interview yesterday evening in Sacramento and seemed very happy to be returning to Chicago. Miller is originally from Indiana and his agent resides in Chicago so everything seems to be falling into place for him which is great.

The Bulls also had a game last night against team Skiles/Boylan. They ended up winning 114-104 against the depleted Milwaukee Bucks. Kirk Hinrich put on a show in what may have been his last game as a Chicago Bull with a season high 31 points going 5-8 from downtown. Rose had a quiet 18 points, 9 assists and Deng had 21 points and 8 rebounds. It was a great game to watch considering the scrappy defense being played in the 4th quarter. With that win, it puts the Bulls 1.5 games out of the 8th and final playoff spot.

The trade deadline ends this afternoon at 2:00 p.m. The internet is swirling with Bulls trade rumors with Kirk Hinrich going to Portland for Raef "huge expiring contract" LaFrenz or to the L.A. Clippers. for Chris Kaman. Also, Larry Hughes (who I keep forgetting is on the Bulls) is expected to be traded back to Washington or Philly. I personally see Kirk going to Portland if he's going to be dealt anywhere. Bringing in Caveman Kaman would just create a front court log jam and I'm sure VDN doesn't want to deal with that as he has had to deal with the guard log jam all season. Regardless of everything that happens today, I'm pretty stoked to see Miller back, he scheduled to make his debut on Sunday against his other former team, the Pacers.

It'll be super interesting to see the Bulls roster later this evening.

Monday, February 16, 2009

Rose Wins Skills Competition; Trade Deadline Ends on Thursday

By Sean Mackey

NBA All-Star weekend 2009 was pretty awesome. D-Rose pulled off an upset at the Playstation Skills Challenge on Saturday night, defeating all-star Devin Harris in the final round. He's the first rookie ever to win the competition. Congrads to Rose!

The first ever NBA All-Star H.O.R.S.E. contest was held on Saturday afternoon. This might have been my favorite event. Joe Johnson, Kevin Durant and OJ Mayo competed for about 45-50 minutes until Kevin Durant eleminated OJ Mayo for the title. The outcome may have taken a little too long but I hope they continue this event next year. The 3 point shootout was terrible. The event was won by newcomer Daequan Cook who won with a disappointing 18 points. If Ben Gordon was thrown into this, he would have blown away the competition. I hope next year he's still in a Bulls uniform and gets to compete after being snubbed for 4 straight years. The dunk contest was amazing, althought I think Rudy Fernandez got kind of shafted on his dunk scores. Howard's dunk on the 12 ft. goal was outstanding. Nate Robinson jumping overtop of Dwight Howard was nothing short of incredible. Both "Krytonate" and Superman displayed some great showmanship at what will probably be remembered as one of the greatest dunk contests of all time.

So onto the trade talk. Thursdays the big day, the 2009 NBA trade deadline. A lot of online NBA insiders have said the highly anticipated Bulls/Suns trade for Amare Stoudemire has already happened. Others, such as writer Sam Smith have said the Bulls are no longer the frontrunner in the trade for Amare.

I don't know who to believe and won't believe anything until something is officially announced by ESPN or the Chicago Bulls. If the bottom falls out on this trade, the Bulls need to quickly make a move for L.A. Clippers' center Chris "Capt. Caveman" Kaman. Something has to be done to change this Bulls roster. Just getting rid of Larry Hughes doesn't count.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Bulls come from behind again...different result occurs

by Alex Derickson

In another come from behind game, the Bulls fell short of defeating Shawn Marion's dunk. It a strange turn of events, Ben Gordon (31 points 5 rebounds 2 assists) asserted himself as the clutch player on the team by sinking three key freethrows to tie the game at 93 with about six seconds left. Then on Miami's inbound play Kirk Hinrich came up with a great steal as Dwayne Wade fuddled with the ball. Somewhere between that steal and the forthcoming timeout, VDN got drunk at the wheel and subbed out Rose (18 points 6 assists) and put in Thabo Sefolosha. I'm assuming this was for length purposes incase a tip in was needed if BG couldn't get the shot in. Apparently he forgot that Rose was capable of doing this
On the inbound play, "Simple Jack" (Thabo, for those keeping score at home) throws the ball into the hands of Dwayne Wade. Apparently Thabo thought 2010 had already happened and Wade just forgot to change jersey's. 
What happened next was very interesting to me. Miami calls a time out and...holy crap! Spoelstra drew up a play for them! Imagine that, a rookie coach drawing up a play to win the game. Between Skiles apathy, Boylan's impotence, and VDN's...well..Vinnyness, I totally forgot what that was like. 
It's nice to see this team fighting back from being down and actually playing well even though this was one of their sloppier games of late (19 turnovers, 20 assists). It would be nicer to have seen them pull out a stop and send it to overtime. Can't win them all...and in this case, can't win half of them either.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Bulls come from behind and of course, more trade rumors

By Alex Derickson

On a night that honored Bulls legend, Johnny Red Kerr, the Bulls came through with a fantastic come from behind victory against their somewhat-rivals, the Detroit Pistons. 
Down by 15 in the fourth the Bulls rallied by bringing one aspect of the game they haven't really showcased. Being aggressive, getting the ball inside and then getting to the
 line. It opened up opportunities to get easy shots and chip away at the lead, which was nice to see.
Another huge lift this game, and through the road trip as well, has
 been the phenomenal play of Tyrus Thomas. He got is sixth double-double since the end of January (tenth on the year) which he now shares the lead with all-star Dwight Howard. Something finally clicked in his head and he's attacking the basket, rebounding with the best of them and letting his athleticism do the rest.
Lately, it seems like Vinny's coaching "style" has seemed to catch on and the Bulls have been pushing the ball up the floor and running it as much as possible to try and wear teams down. They are averaging over 100 points a game for the first time since before the Skiles era and their defense hasn't been shabby either. They are scoring off of turnovers and forcing teams to give it up by playing scr
appy defense similar back to that 49 win season they had when this exact team (plus Derrick Rose, minus PJ Brown and Duhon) took the court in 2006-2007. Everything s
eems to be clicking for them and the young front court of Tyrus and Noah (12 points, 16 rebounds against Detroit) have really come together thanks in large part to the absence of the black holes that are Drew "i- can-make-and-will-take-that-jump-shot" Gooden and Larry "I'm-tall-like-Thabo" Hughes. It's opened up a lot of playing time for them to get the experience they need to progress in this league...

Which is a shame that it's all happening the past few weeks because as we all know, it's trade season. 
With the trade deadline being a mere eight days away (seven for those who in live in the opposite hemisphere) talks have heated up and with all-star caliber players on the block this year, it seems like it might be a busy week ahead for certain NBA Gm's who's names start with the letter "J" and end with "ohn Paxson."
With Amare  Stoudemire and any and all Suns not names Steve Nash being shopped by Phoenix, and rumors of Chris Bosh wanting out of Canada, and the Clippers apparently "determined" to move Chris Kaman, this year seems to hold more opportunities to solve the Bulls problem of low post scoring and interior defense.  
As Sean said earlier, the Bulls have offered Steve Kerr and the Phoenix Suns, Gooden, Thabo, Tyrus Thomas, and their first round draft pick for Amare. 
This gives Phoenix an expiring contract in Gooden, a developing power forward with absolutely incredible athelticism to replace Amare, a potential lottery to mid first round draft pick, and most importantly, it gives Phoenix the first NBA basketball player to ever come from Switzerland. 
As much as I would hate to see Tyrus go with his play as of late, I think this deal should be done. Amare is a proven all-star with an inside game and a pretty consistent mid-range jump shot. He's also incredibly athletic and would fit the current playing style. I'm just not sure if his lack of a defensive effort is because he doesn't care, or if it's because he was surrounded with Shawn Marion and then Shaq who are both very very good defenders in their own right. 
Steve Kerr, however, also wants Joakim Noah along with Tyrus, the Swiss Miss, and all the previously mentioned above. Unless he gets desperate, I don't see Paxson giving up his both of his young big men. I think the plan would be for Amare to run the offensive side of the ball and let Joakim be responsible for the defensive end, which could turn out to work very well. The only way I would see this going down is if Pax gets a young big in return, someone like Robin Lopez like Sean said earlier.
There have been other rumors of course regarding the Bulls outside of the Amare saga, which nothing will probably develop until after All-Star weekend so Phoenix can get their last look at him. Rumors of Larry Hughes going back to his old stomping ground of the abysmal Washington Wizards are started to come up again. The rumored deal is Hughes going to DC for Etan Thomas and Mike James of SuperNanny fame. I'm cool with this just because it gets rid of Hughes and if the Amare trade were to go down with Noah being a piece, it gives
them a serviceable forward in Thomas.
What i would like to see would be both of the above trades (possibly sparing Noah, or not, i'll learn to cope) and then the Bulls trying to make a push for Chris Kaman. The Clippers are stacked with front court players who either are perpetually injured (Camby) or summoned by Gozer the Gazarian to destroy New York City (Randolph). I think Kaman's run in a Clipper uniform is over and Captain Caveman could find a new home in Chicago. The only way I could see this working is if the Bulls can dump Hinrich and Noche and pick up a an expiring deal along the lines of Steve Novak or something along the way. 
All of this is just rumors and wishful thinking but after a year like last year where the only trade was Wallace for players we would try and trade a year later, I'd really like something good to happen here. Some/any combination of the above would be great. I just want some assurance that Pax legitimately wants to rebuild around Rose and Deng (preferably as a third scoring option) and get the fans excited again. This team has been great the past few weeks and have been very fun to watch, but it's not a team that's going to bring you a title, or really even a division championship. It's a sixth to eighth seed playoff team destined for an early exit at the hands of Cleveland, Boston, or Orlando.

I turn 21 on Thursday the 19th (the trade deadline). I'm hoping that I'll be able to have one drink for John Paxson for executing a trade that solves the Bulls problems, and not because he let another good offer slip away.

Johnny "Red" Kerr Honored Tonight & Trade Rumors

By Sean Mackey

The Bulls will try to continue their best play of the season tonight at home against the Detroit Pistons. It's safe to say that their rivalry is over. Ben Wallace is out of the picture and the Pistons are playing so so with the arrival of Allen Iverson.

During halftime tonight, the Bulls will be honoring longtime play by play announcer Johnny "Red" Kerr. This is something that was long overdue. I can't tell you how much I miss listening to Johnny and Wayne Larrivee this season. I absolutely can not stand Stacey King or Neil Funk. They're funny from time to time when Stacey says something stupid but they can't compare. Plans are underway for a statue of Johnny as well, very classy. MJ and Scottie will be in attendance tonight so hopefully the Bulls can honor him with a win as well as a halftime celebration.

Hopefully the trade rumors aren't going to kill the Bulls mentality tonight, but they probably will. I'd be kind of upset if I thought I might be shipped off by next Thursday. It's ashame to think the core will probably be shook up by then but we've tried this for 3 or 4 years, some changes have to be made.

According to Rumor Press, the Bulls have thrown Thomas, Gooden, Sef & their first round draft pick at Steve Kerr, but he's not biting yet. He wants Joakim Noah as well. Throwing in Noah is something I might hesitate to do unless they're considering giving us Robin Lopez as well as Amare. Regardless, the Bulls are going to have at least a slightly different look by next Thursday.

Friday, February 6, 2009

Celtics Fail

By Sean Mackey

I hate the Celtics. I hate them so much that I sometimes debate which is better, watching the Bulls win, or the Celtics lose. I hope this Lakers win results in them having another long losing streak. I could have watched replays of Ray Allen's botched last shot attempt over and over. Even without Bynum, the Lakers are the best in the league but I hope he comes back for the playoffs so they can finish the job.

Thursday, February 5, 2009

Report: Stoudemire On Trading Block

By Sean Mackey

Pax, get on the damn phone. Give Kerr whatever he wants (excluding Rose and Deng). We want to do more than just make the playoffs and get a crappy draft pick.

Bulls Beat Hornets, Win 4 Of The Last 5

By Sean Mackey

The Bulls made the Hornets look terrible on a night that luckily didn't include Chris Paul or Tyson Chandler. This was a game they obviously needed to win and they came in and did what needed to be done.

Most of the regulars had exceptional games. Derrick Rose had his way with Antonio Daniels with 21 points and 6 assists. Tyrus Thomas had his 9th double double of the season with 15 points and 10 rebounds (along with 3 blocks) on 5-7 shooting and Joakim Noah had 16 points, 9 rebounds and 2 blocks. Ben Gordon chipped in 19 points and 7 assists.

I'm glad to see they won this game convincingly. I'm not getting too excited or anything but they're playing well and are just one game out of the playoffs. Let's hope the Bucks and Nets keep losing and the Bulls can at least make a playoff appearance. Let's also hope the Bulls are contacting Steve Kerr in regards to Amare.

On another note, Ben Gordon was left out of the three point contest again this season. He's been one of the best shooters this season, cut him a break! Bulls play the Mavs on Saturday, hopefully their amazing play can continue and finish this 7 game roadtrip on a good note.

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Bulls Fall to Rockets 107-100, Hornets Follow Tonight

By Sean Mackey

I was pumped for this one but the Bulls didn't lead once in the 48 minutes of play. Asking Noah to guard Yao Ming is almost laughable. No wait, it is laughable. A-Gray couldn't do much either but at least he didn't foul him on every play. Yao got into foul trouble early in the first half and the Bulls started making a run and came within one point before the Rockets started their own run.

Chicago had an off night on shooting but Deng played a great game and was really the only bright spot with 28 points and 6 rebounds. Tyrus played a decent game as well with 14 points, 13 rebounds and 3 blocks.

I don't really know what else to say other than I was disappointed with the outcome of this one since I thought it was actually a winable game. They play again tonight against the New Orleans Hornets.

One thing is for sure, the Bulls are definitely playing the best basketball of their season (probably because Gooden and Hughes aren't playing), but they can't continue to get discouraged when miss 5 straight shots. They need to stay aggressive and keep moving the ball well to get the best shot. Also, I might say that with the exception of their inability to stop anyone in the paint, the defense is also acceptable.

The Hornets will be without CP3 this evening, who is out with a groin injury, ouch. They're also on a 3 game losing streak. D-Rose should have his way with Antonio Daniels and hopefully they can pull out another win.

Monday, February 2, 2009

Bosh Not Re-signing With Toronto

By Sean Mackey

The big news today is that Chris Bosh of the Toronto Raptors has told management that he's not going to re-sign in 2010. This isn't just a rumor either, since it was acknowledged live on ESPN by Stephen A. Smith. I consider him one of the better inside NBA analysts out there, so I'm taking his word for it.

With this being said, the Raptors are going to need to deal him to get something in return. Do the Bulls have a chance at landing him before the trade deadline? No. Not a chance in hell. The Bulls don't have a player a team can build around, so don't expect them to swap him for Hinrich and Gooden. This is just going to hurt their chances of landing him in 2010. Chances are, he's going to end up down in Miami. They can offer Marion and probably Beasley. The problem is that if things don't work out, he may re-sign somewhere else in 2010.

Bosh with Wade together would make them a decent contender this year. The Bulls only hope may be to call Steve Kerr and see how much he wants for Amare. Maybe he'll pull a Kevin McHale and save his former franchise from mediocrity. I dream too much.

Sunday, February 1, 2009

Bulls Win 3 In A Row...On The Road!

By Sean Mackey

Somehow, the Bulls beat the far superior Phoenix Suns last night. Not only did they win, but they led the entire game. Derrick Rose and Ben Gordon both had 26 points. Deng had another great game with 17 points and 10 rebounds.

How the Bulls managed to outrebound a team who has Shaq and Stoudemire was beyond me. They did a pretty decent job of containing both of them as best as they could. Poor defense from D-Rose and BG led to Barbosa getting anything he wanted but whatever, a win's a win. Not only that but it was a convincing victory. They moved the ball very well, they got some good looks and made some decent shots.

I'm not getting all excited or anything because every winning streak this season has lead to a losing streak thus pushing the team's record further away from .500. The Bulls play the next three games on the road against far better teams. The Rockets, Hornets and Mavericks follow starting on Tuesday. If they can maybe win one more of these games, I'll be content.