Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Bulls lose a tough one at home 111-105, playoff hopes fade.

By Sean Mackey

The Bulls blew a really close one on Tuesday night, losing to the Phoenix Suns 111-105. Rose was fantastic with 23 points, 10 assists and 5 rebounds. Noah and Gibson both had great games as well, also racking up double-doubles. The Bulls held a 3 point lead early in the 4th but after a few bad possessions and a three from Channing Frye, the game was over.

This loss put the Bulls 1.5 games behind Toronto. The Bulls would have to be near perfect for the next 9 games or Toronto and Charlotte would have to have an epic collapses if they want to attempt to sneak into the playoffs. Toronto has an easier schedule for the next 4 games making it even more unlikely the Bulls can catch up. Toronto plays an LA Clippers team that has dropped 14 of the last 17.

I hate this time of the year.

Monday, March 29, 2010

It's not over yet! Bulls 1/2 game out of the playoffs!

By Sean Mackey

The Bulls pulled out two desperately needed wins this weekend against the New Jersey Nets and the "rival" Detroit Pistons. After losing a ridiculous blowout to the Miami Heat last Thursday night, Chicago was able to rebound blowing out the Nets by 23 points and the Pistons by 7. While all this was going on, the Toronto Raptors were continuing their downward spiral out of the 8th seed losing a nail biter against the Denver Nuggets on Friday night and blowing a 15 point lead and losing to the Miami Heat Sunday evening. The two wins for the Bulls, and two losses for the Raptors put Chicago 1/2 game out of the 8th and final playoff seed in the East.

Although both wins this weekend were against some of the worst in the league, they were must wins considering Chicago has a week of games that includes the Phoenix Suns and the red hot Charlotte Bobcats. With Luol Deng out indefinitely, it's hard to say if Chicago will be able to limp into the playoffs with James Johnson as their starting SF. James Johnson was also injured Saturday night and didn't play against the Nets. Although the Bulls won with a lineup that started Pargo, they're going to need JJ healthy if they want to attempt to compete for that last playoff spot.

It's generally believed that knocking out Toronto would give assurance that Chris Bosh would leave his team for a contender this offseason. Ideally the Bulls are thought to be one of the few teams that Bosh would consider signing with this summer. If the Bulls themselves could push the Raptors out of the playoff picture it may help Chicago's cause to sign Bosh. Although a win against Toronto on April 12th would help the Bulls in the standings, the Raptors own the tiebreaker and could sneak into the playoffs if the records match. Toronto plays Charlotte tonight, if Charlotte wins, the Bulls will be tied for the final playoff spot. The Bulls play Phoenix Tuesday at home.

Hopfully Deng will get back soon, the Bulls can get into the playoffs and give LeBron some hell. Go Bulls!

Friday, March 26, 2010

Wow, that was embarrassing.

By Sean Mackey

I usually don't like to blog about losses this late in the season. Every time I watch the Bulls get blown out, I get real sad and it generally puts me in a bad mood for at least half of the morning after. The Bulls got REALLY blown out last night at home by the Miami Heat 103-74. Naturally, I'm kind of pissed off about the whole thing considering I was looking forward to the game the entire day. That whole loss I witnessed in Indianapolis a month ago took the wind out of my sails and well, now I'm even less enthused. It's weird how something as trivial as a basketball game could do that to someone but with a team with so much potential it's hard not to over think things. Things like "why didn't the organization wait until AFTER the season to trade John Salmons" or "why did they trade Tyrus Thomas for a draft pick in 2013 that's probably going to end up in the 20's instead of having him help the team make the playoffs THIS season".

The whole night I kept waiting for someone to come off the bench and step up. I was looking for John Salmons, I was looking for Tyrus Thomas. The Bulls have this glaring hole in their roster without those two players. They had depth with those guys. Hakim Warrick and Flip Murray are decent 3rd and 4th guys off the bench but they're not as good as the guys the Bulls gave away.

Let's face it, Chicago isn't going to lure any decent free agent this summer. Why would Bosh come here when he can go to Miami? The Bulls will most likely hit the panic button like they did this trade deadline and end up overpaying someone like Joe Johnson. I like Joe Johnson, but $20 says as soon as he arrives in Chicago, he'll be on the decline.

That whole swapping draft picks with Milwaukee is looking pretty stupid right about now.

Bulls play the Nets on national television tomorrow night in a must win situation. They lose that game, I'm throwing in the towel.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Heat @ Bulls Tonight on TNT at 8 p.m.!

By Sean Mackey

The plan to possibly tank and get the lottery pick back from Milwaukee has been thrown out the window. There's no chance of the Bulls having a worse record than the Clippers unless L.A. wins every single remaining game. The Bulls have 12 more games to go in the regular season. With all this being said, the quest for the playoffs begins today against the rival (according to D-Wade) Miami Heat. The Heat currently lead the season series 2-1.

The Bulls have won the last two games and Derrick Rose is playing his heart out but with Noah just coming in for sporadic minutes at a time and Deng possibly out for the rest of the season, the next 12 games are going to be tough. Chicago will be taking on Charlotte twice and Toronto once during these 12 games, these are obviously going to be the most important games to win since those teams are currently occupying the 7th and 8th seeds. Charlotte's going to make the playoffs for the first time without a doubt, they're playing REALLY solid basketball. Toronto is the team we're after. If the Bulls can finish 8th (or even possibly 7th) and Bosh is denied the playoffs, everyone can seriously start believing that he'll be signing elsewhere. Whether that team is Chicago, Miami or New York is something that will be speculated about until July 1st.

So tonight, put on your best Jason Caffey or Luc Longley jersey (what you don't have one?), skip the pussy NCAA tournament, and watch some real men compete for seeding that matters.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Lamenting on the Past Month of Bulls Basketball

By Alex Derickson

It's come to this. A ten game losing streak has been weathered and we are riding high on a current two game romp. Now, this is nothing to celebrate, but we are only 2 1/2 games out of being swept by the Cavs. It's come to this. I'm getting excited over a two game win streak and the potential of a Cleveland Steamer in the playoffs.

After the trade deadline, the team seemed to be making a push. The "problem" players that "didn't understand their roles" were replaced for two career role players and two players, one being a former lottery pick who just came out of the D-league. Shockingly, the team seemed to play as good, if not better than they were pre-trades. I stood there and thought, "man, they are making another late season push to the playoffs." Then, Indiana happened.

Sean and I traveled to Indianapolis to see the Bulls, sans Noah, front court depth, etc. take on the Pacers. During this fiasco, I saw the unthinkable. I watched Pargo chuck up more shots than anyone else on the team and play 29 minutes. In the same nightmare, Rose injured himself and left the game in the fourth.

Injuries happen. But when Rose, Noah and Deng went down, the losing streak took hold. Vinny tried to find lineups that work, but the Bulls couldn't match up against a series of tough opponents being led by a "team" that I wouldn't even cast in a rag-tag-bunch-of-no-name-players-thrown-on-a-sports team movie.

To make matters worse, John Salmons is saving Milwaukee's season by leading them to a 14-2 record in the first 16 games with the team. Goddammit. To top that off, if the Bulls finish anywhere between eleven and any-draft-pick-better-than-the-Bucks, the Bucks get their pick and two second rounders.

I feel cheated. I do. I feel like Gar PaxDorf has set the franchise up for failure. Will it get rid of Vinny? Sure! Will this team make the playoffs? Maybe! Will a 4-0 sweep in the first round by the far superior Cleveland LeBron's be fun to watch? Never! And the most important question, if LeBron sweeps the Bulls, would he really want to leave Cleveland to play with a team that's worse than the one he's on?

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

I'm Close to Giving Up.

By Sean Mackey

Four of the Bulls starters were out (Deng, Rose & Noah injured, Hinrich suspended) making room for a 3 guard lineup that included Acie Law, Flip Murray & Janerro Pargo when they took on the Grizzlies last night. This is a starting five that would have probably lost to 1999's opening day starters that consisted of Toni Kukoc, Ron Harper, Brent Barry, Mark Bryant & Andrew Lang. Beat reporter KC Johnson joked on Twitter that he kept thinking that Marcus Fizer was going to be coming off the was that bad. To make matters worse, James Johnson would have most likely started over Acie Law but was late to practice on Monday and was benched. I never understood the benching of a guy who's been playing well for something so trivial. The Bulls were once down by 21 then decided to fight back to cut the lead to 4 but ended up losing 104-97.

This is the 8 straight loss for the Bulls and they're only trailing 1.5 games behind the Raptors for the last playoff spot. It's important for either Chicago to heal quickly and steal the last spot from the Raptors or tank the rest of the season and pray they do worse than the Clippers so they can keep their lottery pick. If the Raptors don't make the playoffs this year, it's pretty much a sure bet that Chris Bosh will want to leave. He doesn't want to make the same mistake Garnett made and continue playing for a mediocre team that has no chance at the playoffs every year. Bosh, Rose and Noah would be a dominant force and an immediate playoff contender in the East.

Then there's the unlikely plan B....lose the rest of the season and hope to fall into the draft lottery. If the Bulls landed in the top 10, they wouldn't swap picks with the Bucks but it's HIGHLY unlikely. Althought the dream of drafting Evan Turner and then picking up Chris Bosh would make any Bulls fan happy.

Either way, the Bulls need to decide what they're gonna do. Deng & Noah are probably going to be out for at least a few more weeks and if Brad Miller goes down or Taj Gibson's foot problems emerge, kiss the 2010 playoffs goodbye.