Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Bulls 09-10 season is over. Cavs win series 4-1, VDN likely to be fired this weekend.

By Sean Mackey

The Bulls put in a valiant effort last night in their final game against the Cavs, losing 96-94. Derrick Rose was fantastic, scoring 31 points and adding 6 assists. Luol Deng also played well with 26 points. LeBron James was once again one assist shy of a triple double. With this loss, the Bulls fell to the Cavs 4-1 in the series. This marks the first time the Bulls have ever lost a season series to the Cavs. The Cavs go on to the second round to face the 2008 NBA Champion Boston Celtics.

Last night's game was very poorly officiated. It proved how much the NBA is banking on a Cavs-Lakers finals. The 3 consecutive fouls called on Brad Miller and Joakim Noah in the 4th quarter were completely unjust. One of those calls may have been a foul but how else do you guard Shaq? Those 3 calls along with an overturned continuation play from Derrick Rose did the Bulls in.

The treatment the Cavs get is unlike anything I've ever seen before. If the Bulls so much as breathed on them they would call a foul or if the Cavs fouled, they would still call it on the Bulls. At this point, I would rather have any team other than the Cavs win the title this year. For the last time ever, I'm throwing on my old Boston Celtics t-shirt and cheering a team I hate. I hope they give them hell.

It's safe to say that last night's game probably marked the end of the Vinny Del Negro era in Chicago. A decision is expected to be reached this weekend on whether or not to let VDN finish the last year on his contract. Most insiders believe that VDN will be fired especially after the scuffle that was reported a few weeks ago regarding him and John Paxson.

The first post I ever made on this blog was regarding the hiring of this man. I always was a supporter of Vinny, especially this year. He was instrumental in the development of Derrick Rose and Joakim Noah. He also got the team to work hard through a season despite constant trade/firing rumors. He was treated poorly his whole tenure in Chicago and despite having zero support from the whole organization and the odds stacked against him, he still posted two consecutive .500 seasons. VDN will eventually coach again and it'll be interesting to see where he goes next. I wish him good luck.

The Orlando Magic, Boston Celtics and LA Lakers have my support. Someone please beat the Cavs.

Friday, April 23, 2010

We will not be swept! Bulls beat Cavs 108-106.

By Sean Mackey

The Bulls were able to squeak out a win after blowing a 21 point lead against the Cavs Thursday night, winning 108-106. Derrick Rose was sensational (again) scoring 31 points and dishing out 7 assists. Joakim Noah had his usual double-double with 10 points and 15 boards. However, the player of the game award would have to go to Kirk Hinrich who scored 27 points on 9-12 shooting including going 4-4 on three pointers. This game further proves how effective the Bulls would be on a consistent basis if they had a reliable shooting guard every night. With this win, the Bulls cut the series to 2-1.

This was a great game and LeBron James proved that he's pretty much unstoppable again. He hits shots that no one is suppose to make. Chicago built up a 21 point lead coming out of the half and started to make this look like it would be a blowout. Charles Barkley claimed at the half that even though the Bulls were up by double digits, they would blow the lead and the Cavs would win. The Bulls did blow the lead and missed 4 straight free throws late in the game but the Cavs never tied or took the lead during the second half. The Cavs looked visibly annoyed towards the end of the game and switched to a small lineup that had LeBron James playing center for the team. LeBron also was immediately switched to defend Derrick Rose which was in all honesty was Mike Brown scraping the bottom of the barrel of his "coaching" ideas. While Derrick Rose didn't score with LeBron defending him, the damage was already done. The Cavs eventually ran out of time outs and had to throw the ball in from the other side of the court with 3.7 seconds remaining. Instead of getting the ball to LeBron (who is a great half court shooter), the ball fell into the hands of Anthony Parker who missed and the Bulls won.

All and all, LeBron is great, however, I think his team full of spare parts still needs to be better for him to win a title. If the Bulls can figure out a way to beat this team, I'm pretty sure Orlando and L.A. can. They're both teams who have consistent shooters on the floor at all times. Regardless though, LeBron was able to score 39 points, pull down 10 rebounds and dish out 8 assists on the Bulls, stats he could have against any team on any night with 2 broken fingers and one eye opened.

I have a feeling the Cavs are going to try to blow the Bulls out of the water early on Sunday so Chicago is going to need to turn it on for 4 straight quarters if they want to tie this thing. I'm talking to you Kirk Hinrich.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Bulls down 2-0 to Cavs after LeBron catches fire in the 4th

By Sean Mackey

The Chicago Bulls fell to 2-0 in their first round series against the Cavs Monday night with a 112-102 loss in Cleveland. LeBron James buried the Bulls late in the 4th quarter with 15 points down the stretch. While Cleveland got the win, the Bulls got closer to actually figuring out how to beat the Cavs.

Luol Deng had a great night finishing with 20 points. Although LeBron still scored 40 points, Deng was able to turn him into a jump shooter most of the game. Deng was able to get the best of LeBron a few times during the game. At one point after a frustrating LeBron basket, Deng took the ball coast to coast for a slam. Later on, Deng squared up and knocked down a three right in LeBron's face.

Joakim Noah was able to ignore an entire evening of loud boos scoring 25 points and grabbing 13 rebounds after a series of Cleveland bashing interviews. My personal favorite quotes were the "I never heard anyone say I'm going to Cleveland on vacation" and "I look out my hotel room window and all I see is....factories". The man's got a point, Cleveland's a shit town. They've got the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame Museum and the Christmas Story house. Chicago's a real city, Cleveland is known for LeBron, that's it. It would probably bankrupt the whole city just for the paint to cover up that gigantic LeBron James Nike ad on one of their buildings downtown if LeBron left. Actually, they'd probably just leave it there and bask in the glory days of when LeBron was there and let it get old and nasty everything else.

Anyways, Derrick Rose had a great game as well with 23 points and 8 assists. He was cutting in and out of defenders and hitting decent looks as usual. Overall the Bulls played fantastic, LeBron just hit some crazy shots towards the end sealing the win. I loved the 8 man rotation VDN stuck with. Not playing Pargo or Warrick was a good choice.
The Bulls head back to Chicago on Thursday night for Game 3. Chicago needs to take advantage of this and steal a few at home if they want any chance in this.

Friday, April 16, 2010

Bulls vs. Cavs: 2010 1st Round Series Preview; Playoff Predictions!

By Sean Mackey

This is what we've all been waiting for. The 2010 NBA playoffs are here! There's some great opening round match ups this year and there's sure to be some upsets. The thing that's great about the NBA playoffs is that they're the most efficient of any sport. You have to win 4 out of 7 games. It's hard to argue who was the better team overall after someone wins 4 games in a series. Although a lot of naysayers will argue that the NCAA Tournament is the most fun to watch, it's hardly the most efficient, same with the NFL Playoffs. Two years ago the New England Patriots went undefeated the entire season, but lost in the Super Bowl. Had there been a best of 7 series, the Patriots would have probably won. No wonder Tom Brady boycotted the Pro Bowl, I'd be mad too. It would be terrible to be perfect and then lose the ONE deciding game that makes you a champion. The UK Wildcats had 5 NBA caliber players this season. They lost just 2 games throughout the year but ended up losing to West Virginia in the tournament. I'd like to argue UK would have won the whole thing this year had there been a best of seven series, or even 3 of 5. However, an NCAA tournament with best of 5 or 7 series would be terribly time consuming and stretch 3 months long. The NBA Playoffs take about 2 months to get through but their fun to watch nonetheless.

The Chicago Bulls will begin their opening round series against the Cleveland Cavaliers on Saturday afternoon. While the Bulls are pegged by many to lose the series within 5 games, I still feel that anything is possible. The Dallas Mavericks meltdown of 2007 proved that upsets can happen. The Bulls tied the season series with the Cavs 2-2. The first win was by 1 point with a fully healthy Cavs team and a hobbled Bulls one. The 2nd win was last week while LeBron was resting. The two Cavs victories were by a combined 21 points which isn't much. Cleveland will now have Shaq and LeBron activated and also have a legit PF and former all-star in Antwan Jamison to work with. The Cavs really have no reason to lose any series this year but I have a feeling that the Orlando Magic will be able to handle them. Orlando just has too many good shooters and the best center in the world. LeBron is the Cleveland Cavaliers. They proved this last week that they can't beat anyone without him. Regardless, the Cavs have way more depth than the Bulls and that's what will eventually topple this Chicago team. Had the Bulls kept Salmons and Thomas, this series would be a whole lot more complicated. While Flip Murray and Hakim Warrick are nice pieces, they're really not 2nd and 3rd guys off the bench. Let's take a look at the depth of each roster.

Chicago Bulls 2010 playoff roster

C - Noah/Miller/Richard
PF - Gibson/Warrick
SF - Deng/Johnson/Alexander/Kurz
SG - Hinrich/Murray/Brown
PG - Rose/Pargo/Law

Cleveland Cavaliers 2010 playoff roster

C - O'Neal/Ilgauskas
PF - Jamison/Varejao/Williams/Powe
SF - James/Hickson/Moon/Green
SG - Parker/West
PG - Williams/Gibson/Telfair

As you can see the Cavs have a lot more weapons than the Bulls. Hinrich and Gibson are both going to have to turn it up to 11 if they want to have any chance of winning this thing. Deng and Johnson are taking on the the toughest task in the basketball world, guarding LeBron James. In the Bulls first win against the Cavs this season, Chicago was somehow able to make LeBron James a jump shooter and while he's one of the best at that, he wasn't hitting contested shots. I'm hoping that VDN will trust James Johnson a little more this series and let him guard LeBron some. He's proven throughout the year that he's capable of playing defense so it'll be interesting to see if he's played a whole lot although my gut tells me he won't be. The Bulls anchor stars Rose and Noah will have to be spectacular this series if they want any chance of stealing some games. Look for the Cavs to get Noah and Gibson in foul trouble early, but also look for Derrick Rose to score 25-30 points a night. Will it be enough? Probably not but anything can happen.

Sean's prediction: Cavs over Bulls 4-2

Below you see a playoff bracket of sorts along with my predictions of who will win them. Andrew over at is having a contest. Head on over to his site, register and post your playoff bracket in the "contest" section for a chance to win a Derrick Rose t-shirt and a basketball encyclopedia. Good luck to the Bulls and follow our twitter feed at for up to the minute updates during the upcoming playoff games.


Eastern Conference

1st Round
(1) Cavs over (8) Bulls (4-2)
(2) Magic over (7) Bobcats (4-1)
(3) Hawks over (6) Bucks (4-1)
(4) Celtics over (5) Heat (4-2)

2nd Round
(1) Cavs over (5) Celtics (4-1)
(2) Magic over (3) Hawks (4-1)

Eastern Conference Finals
(2) Magic over (1 ) Cavs (4-3)

Western Conference
1st Round
(1) Lakers over (8) Thunder (4-2)
(2) Mavericks over (7) Spurs (4-1)
(3) Suns over (6) Blazers (4-0)
(4) Nuggets over (5) Jazz (4-3)

2nd Round
(1) Lakers over (5) Nuggets (4-2)
(3) Suns over (2) Mavericks (4-2)

Western Conference Finals
(1) Lakers over (3) Suns (4-2)

Finals: Magic over Lakers 4-3
2010 NBA Champion: Orlando Magic

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Bulls beat Bobcats, make the playoffs!

By Sean Mackey

It took all 82 games, but the Bulls still snuck into the 2010 NBA playoffs last night with a win over the Charlotte Bobcats. The Toronto Raptors ended up winning their last game of the season as well, so it was imperative that the Bulls beat the Bobcats. Chicago took the lead early and never really let up. Although it was kind of a sloppy game, the Bulls seemed focused the entire night and were able to reach their 5th playoff appearance in 6 years.

Derrick Rose and Joakim Noah were sensational once again. Coming off a career high 39 points the night before, Rose scored 27 points and also added 5 assists. Joakim Noah had another monster game with 21 points, 13 rebounds and 4 assists.

Taj Gibson had his 18th double double this season with 11 points and 13 rebounds. Gibson ended the season leading all rookies in double-doubles, rebounds, field goal percentage and blocks. While Gibson had more opportunities than most rookie big men this season due to injuries and the inconstant play of Tyrus Thomas, only a few past NBA all-stars have lead in all four categories. In the end, Taj turned out to be a pleasant surprise, especially after I predicted he would be D-League fodder. He's almost a lock for the 2009-10 All-Rookie Team and will probably end up 4th in the running for NBA Rookie of the Year.

Despite Ben Gordon leaving for Detroit, trading away John Salmons and Tyrus Thomas, injuries and recent controversies regarding management, the Bulls were once again able to post a 2nd consecutive 41-41 record. A huge achievment giving all of the circumstances proving that Chicago may just be 1 or 2 pieces away from being a solid contender in the East. The win last night pushed Toronto out of the playoffs, leading to even more speculation that Chris Bosh has played his last game in a Raptors uniform. VDN should probably buy Antwan Jamison a fruit basket or something for that sick elbow to the face he delivered to Bosh last week.

The Bulls begin their 1st round series playoff series against the league best Cleveland Cavaliers Saturday at 2 p.m. on ABC. Joakim Noah is predicting to "shock the world" once again and if this series is anything like last year's opening round, the Cavs are in for a fight.


Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Bulls win over Celtics overshadowed by VDN/Pax scuffle

By Sean Mackey

The Bulls were finally able to hand a healthy Boston Celtics team a loss this year winning on Tuesday night 101-93. Derrick Rose was sensational, scoring a career high 39 points while adding 7 assists, 5 rebounds and 3 blocks. Kirk Hinrich was also on fire scoring his season high 30 points. Joakim Noah was a beast down low (like always) pulling down 16 rebounds. With this win, the Bulls pull ahead 1/2 game of the Raptors for the 8th and final playoff seed in the east. The loss for Boston keeps them locked for the 4th seed, they will now have to play the Cavs in the 2nd round of the playoffs (if both teams make it that far).

Chicago's victory was completely overshadowed by a story that broke an hour before tipoff by Adrian Wojnarowski over at Yahoo Sports. According to sources, after a loss to the Phoenix Suns in late March, VP John Paxson allegedly stormed into coach Vinny Del Negro's office, pulled his tie, struck his chest twice in a provoking manner and challenged VDN to a fight. Assistant Bernie Bickerstaff had to restrain Paxson before the incident escalated any further. Del Negro failed to retaliate in fear of voiding his contract. Paxson was reportedly angry with Del Negro regarding the handling of Joakim Noah's minutes.The incident was known throughout the Bulls inner circle and by Chicago Tribune beat reporter, K.C. Johnson however Johnson declined to break the story. Adrian Wojnarowski is a friend of Johnson's so it's safe to say he probably spilled the beans and gave the story to Woj.

While no Chicago Bulls fan has been a true fan of Vinny's coaching, Paxson definitely crossed the line. It's safe to say Vinny Del Negro is gone after this season. From day one, VDN has been a 2 year holdover coach. He's fought on through critisism from fans, management, and got a VERY mediocre (at best) Bulls team to the the playoffs last season and helped them take a defending champion Boston Celtics team to 7 games in the first round. This year, without the help of star Ben Gordon, he's managed to get his team within one game of last year's record and could get them into the playoffs for the 2nd year in a row with a win in Charlotte this week.

I'm hoping that the Bulls rally after last night's win, beat Charlotte and give the Cavs a fight in the 1st round just to stick it to John Paxson.

Friday, April 9, 2010

Bulls win a REALLY ugly, LeBron-less game.

By Sean Mackey

The Chicago Bulls scrapped out a win last night, edging the Cleveland Cavaliers 109-108. An hour before tipoff, it was announced that LeBron James was listed as inactive. While having LeBron out definitely helped out the Bulls, the Cavs came to play.

Mo Williams had 35 points, 10 assists and 3 rebounds and generally outplayed Derrick Rose most of the night. Not to say Rose wasn't any good, because he had 24 points and 10 assists himself. However, the hero of the game was Bulls center Joakim Noah who tallied 17 points and 15 rebounds along with the game changing jumper late in the 4th quarter. The Bulls however missed 4 free throws in the last minute of play that would have given them a 5 point lead.

I turned the game off at halftime. Although it was relatively high scoring, the defense was sloppy on both sides. It's sad that I feel that way but the Bulls have been playing so uninspired over the last few games. Let's face it, the Bulls got lucky last night with LeBron sitting out and Jamison twisting his ankle midgame. Regardless, the Bulls needed a win and well, they got a big one that they were expected to lose. With the win last night, the Bulls are now tied with Toronto for the 8th and final playoff spot.

Chicago plays the New Jersey Nets tonight at 8:00 p.m. on CSN and NBA League Pass. The Bulls were able to pull out a 20+ point win against this team two weeks ago. Toronto plays the Atlanta Hawks tonight without star Chris Bosh.

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Raptors lose to Celtics, Bulls 1/2 game out of 8th seed.

By Sean Mackey

The Toronto Raptors fell to the Boston Celtics 115-104 last night. This loss put the Raptors just 1/2 game ahead of the Bulls for the 8th and final playoff spot. It was announced after last night's game that Toronto's leading scorer Chris Bosh will miss the rest of the regular season with a facial fracture he sustained in a game against Cleveland on Tuesday. Although the odds should be in the Bulls favor, they're not.

Chicago failed to capitalize at home on Tuesday night with a Milwaukee Bucks team who was without their star center, Andrew Bogut . The Bulls were absolutely terrible in the 2nd quarter and scored a season low 9 points. After Milwaukee took the lead, the Bulls tied it later in the 4th quarter before collapsing completely.

The Bulls finish out the season with games against Cleveland (tonight), New Jersey, Toronto, Boston and Charlotte. With the exception of maybe the NJ game, this is going to be a tough last 5 games for the Bulls. The Toronto game on Sunday will probably dictate who's going to the playoffs. If you remember back to last season, Toronto beat the Bulls in one of the last games of the season, forcing Chicago to play the Boston Celtics in their epic 7 game series. Had the Bulls won that game, they would have been playing the Magic, who of course went on to the NBA Finals. Not to say the Bulls would have done any better in a Magic series but it would have made things very interesting. Once again, this year, the Bulls fate lies in a Toronto Raptors game.

The Toronto Raptors have a considerably easier schedule than Chicago does with games against Atlanta, Chicago, Detroit and New York. With exception of maybe the Atlanta and Chicago games, Detroit and New York are very winnable.

The Bulls play the Cleveland Cavaliers on national television tonight live on TNT @ 8 p.m.

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Chicago's big chance to gain ground on Toronto....TONIGHT!

By Sean Mackey

The Chicago Bulls have 6 games remaining in the regular season and they're currently sitting on the 9th seed looking in on Toronto. Neither team's schedules are that promising for the last 6 games but the Bulls may have a slightly easier route. Tonight, the Bulls are taking on the surging Milwaukee Bucks at home. The Bucks were dealt some terrible luck two nights ago when their star center, Andrew Bogut landed awkwardly after a dunk breaking his right hand, spraining his wrist and dislocating his elbow. Kurt Thomas will be starting in place of Bogut for the rest of the season and the playoffs.

While I sort of feel bad for the Bucks, this could mean great news for the Bulls tonight. With Noah and Gibson playing great, they may be able to dominate the Bucks frontline and pull out a win. Toronto on the other hand has to play the Cleveland Cavaliers tonight. Over the last week, LeBron James has been hinting he'd like to rest the last few days of the season before the playoffs. Hopefully he plays tonight and decides to take Thursday's game off against the Bulls.

Either way, the Bulls are going to probably need to win 4 or 5 of the last 6 (including a win over Toronto on Sunday evening) if they wanna sneak into the playoffs.

Bulls play the Bucks at home tonight at 8:00 p.m. on CSN or NBA League Pass.