Thursday, October 28, 2010

Game 1 of 82: Bulls Fall to Thunder 106-95

By Sean Mackey

The Chicago Bulls fell to the Thunder Wednesday night 106-95 in the first of the 82 game regular season. Derrick Rose was fantastic scoring 28 points and adding 6 assists. Joakim Noah had a monster game after starting off slow in the first half scoring 18 points and grabbing 19 rebounds. Taj Gibson also played well starting in place of the injured Carlos Boozer scoring 16 points and pulling down 11 rebounds. Kevin Durant lead the Thunder with 30 points and 7 rebounds. Russell Westbrook matched Rose's 28 points and pulled down 10 boards as well.

This is a game the Bulls really could have won had Rose not been in foul trouble so early in the first half. The second unit seemed to be sort of hobbled and inefficient. CJ Watson is a better version of Jannero Pargo but has no business running an offense. Ronnie Brewer looked injured. Kurt Thomas looked old. Omer Asik barely played. Brian Scalabrine played too much & Kyle Korver only got 2 of 5 to fall. It's infuriating that the Bulls can't be efficient without Rose on the floor at all times.

I think Luol Deng is the guy that's going to need to step up. Yeah, he was being guarded by Kevin Durant and Sefolosha the whole night but he's much better than the way he played last night. Thibs is going to have to set up an offense that can get Deng and Korver open in the corners for some 3's otherwise Rose is just driving the whole game.

The effort that Taj Gibson put in was impressive. He had an absolutely terrible preseason but looked a lot better than Jeff Green did. Although, I think Jeff Green is a bit overrated and really isn't a PF, Taj should be dominating guys like him at all times.

Keith Bogans has no business starting on this team. I would love to see Korver start as the team's starting shooting guard but it doesn't really seem to be an option in Thibodeau's mind. The Bulls need scoring off the bench and Korver is the only one efficient enough to be that guy.

Oh well, the Bulls played a great game. They overachieved in my mind. The Thunder are poised to be the #2 team in the west and Chicago was tied or leading most of the game all while their new all-star PF sat on the bench in a suit. Had it not been for some silly fouls, a goaltending call against Deng (which was a clean block) and a few turnovers, Chicago would have pulled this out.

I know, it's just one game but it's depressing to see the Bulls lose a game they should have won. Chicago hosts their first home game on Saturday night against the Detroit Piston @ 8:00 p.m. EST. The game will be broadcasted on CSN Chicago and NBA League Pass (which is free until November 2nd). Go Bulls!

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

8 Things We Learned From the Preseason/2010-11 Season Predictions

By Sean Mackey

The preseason is finally over...thank God. We can all finally move on to big boy, regular season NBA basketball.

The Bulls finished the preseason with a 4-4 record including 2 blowout victories over teams that Chicago needs to be blowing out on a consistant basis. Derrick Rose lead the Bulls in scoring and assists averaging 16.9 ppg & 4.5 apg. Joakim Noah almost averaged a double-double with 10.8 ppg & 9.3 rpg.

With all of the sloppy preseason action over, how much did we learn about this Bulls team? A lot actually.

1. Kyle Korver is going to be used just as Ray Allen was in Boston the last 3 seasons. He's going to be coming off screens and shooting in transition. Korver is ridiculously underrated and takes good shots. Catch and shoot baby!

2. The Bulls need a better SG. Ronnie Brewer seems like a bust. He's always injured and well, he's a shooting guard who doesn't really have much of a shot. Keith Bogans has proved to be servicable on the defensive end as well as having a reliable 3 point shot but he's not a guy that needs to be starting. I really wish the Bulls would have signed Allen Iverson or Tracy McGrady. The Bulls need shooters plain and simple.

3. Chicago doesn't have a back up point guard. CJ Watson is more of shooting guard than someone who runs an offense. Watson's going to be great when the Thibs decides to go small and play Rose alongside him but the Bulls can't do that all the time obviously. At times like these, I wish we still had C-Du.

4. James Johnson has really put in some work over the offseason. He's slimmed down, he's faster and is making decent shots including shooting .429 from the 3 point line during the preseason. This is probably what lead the Bulls to pick up his option last night. JJ is proving that he wants to be better and the organization can see that.

6. Omer Asik is not a project. This guy is NBA ready, guards the rim well and rebounds the ball. This is a guy who is going to have to match up with Noah at every practice and it's really going to help make him into a hustling good back up. I'm very excited to see he's going to probably going to get several minutes this season.

7. Luol Deng is back to being far. He's always the guy that everyone wants to trade but he's out to prove that one season a few years ago wasn't a fluke. Deng averaged 16 ppg and shot a ridiculous .517 from the 3 point stripe. Thibs is giving Deng the green light to shoot the 3 ball and it's paying off. I'm excited to see he's back to his old self and that he really is a top 10 SF.

8. The Bulls need Carlos Boozer back soon. This is a guy who they really couldn't afford to lose for even a few games but he's out for a month or so and well, the circus trip is coming up in just a few weeks. Boozer and Noah could be the best front court in the NBA and they're going to need to be if the Bulls want to go anywhere in the playoffs this season. Taj isn't going to cut it.

2010-11 NBA Season Predictions:

The Bulls are most likely going to enjoy their best record since 1998 this season but they're still about one piece away from having an elite team. A trade (minus Noah) for Carmelo Anthony would probably push the Bulls up there with the Heat in terms of talent. I believe this is the year the Bulls make the 2nd round of the playoffs but will probably stall out there. Boston and Orlando are just way too deep.

Chicago Bulls 2010-11 record: 51-31

Eastern Conference Playoff Seeding:

1. Miami Heat

2. Orlando Magic

3. Boston Celtics

4. Chicago Bulls

5. Atlanta Hawks

6. Milwaukee Bucks

7. New York Knicks

8. Charlotte Bobcats

Note: I have a feeling the Bucks may bottom out this year. They have really high expectations this season with Bogut coming back and added some shooters but how long before they tune Skiles out? If the Nets can somehow trade for Carmelo Anthony, they may have a decent shot at making the post season.

Western Conference Playoff Seeding:

1. L.A. Lakers

2. OKC Thunder

3. Utah Jazz

4. Dallas Mavericks

5. Houston Rockets

6. San Antoio Spurs

7. Golden State Warriors

8. L.A. Clippers

Note: Denver is going to trade Carmelo Anthony and I doubt they'll have the pieces to make the post season. I also think the Suns run is finally over and agree with Sam Smith that Steve Nash will most likely be dealt before the trade deadline. I think the Clippers are gonna edge out the Trail Blazers as well. That's my bold prediction for the year. Last season it was the Timberwolves making the playoffs...boy was I wrong.

2010-11 Eastern Conference Finals:

Miami Heat vs. Boston Celtics (Miami in 6 games)

2010-11 Western Conference Finals:

L.A. Lakers vs. OKC Thunder (L.A. in 7 games)

2010-11 NBA Finals:

Miami Heat vs. L.A. Lakers (L.A. in 6 games)

2010-11 MVP:

Kevin Durant (runner up LeBron James)

2010-11 Defensive Player of the Year:

Dwight Howard (runner up Joakim Noah)

2010-11 6th Man of the Year:

Courtney Lee (runner up Steve Blake)

2010-11 Most Improved Player of the Year:

Danilo Gallinari (runner up Brook Lopez)

2010-11 Coach of the Year:

Erik Spoelstra (runner up Tom Thibodeau)

The NBA Season kicks off tonight with the Heat vs. Celtics...can't wait! The Bulls regular season opens up tomorrow in OKC vs. the Thunder. The Bulls starters will be Rose, Bogans, Deng, Gibson & Noah. Get excited.

Monday, October 4, 2010

Noah Agrees to 5 Year/$60 Million Extension plus Boozer's injured 6-8 weeks!

By Sean Mackey

The Chicago Bulls and center Joakim Noah were able to finally agree on a contact extension over the weekend. Sources are saying the deal is around $60 million for 5 years plus incentives. This will lock Noah up well into prime and should end any talk regarding a trade to Denver for Carmelo Anthony. Here's what Sam Smith of had to say:

League sources confirmed the Bulls have come to an agreement with Joakim
on a contract extension.

Sources said the deal is for five
years and is worth about $60 million. It would go into effect after this season.
An announcement is expected this week.

Noah would be just the second
player from the rookie Class of 2007 along with Kevin
to agree to an extension.

It would be a relief for the Bulls
to sign Noah, especially with the potential for a lockout looming after this
season with new rules that could alter dealings regarding contracts.

I love Joakim. He's easily my favorite Bull and this deal is very good news for Chicago fans fearing that he may be shipped off to Denver or stuck in a Ben Gordonesque contract standoff. You always like to see a guy play with his passion and energy and he deserves every bit of the money he's going to get over the next 5 years. Congrats to the Bulls for getting a deal done for this guy!

Unfortunately, the good news of Joakim Noah's contract extension was cancelled out earlier on Sunday afternoon. The Bulls big name acquisition of the summer, Carlos Boozer apparently tripped over a gym bag in his house on Saturday night and broke his hand. Boozer's injury will require surgery on Tuesday and will be out 6-8 weeks.'s press release:

Chicago Bulls forward Carlos Boozer sustained a fracture of his right hand (5th
metacarpal) on October 2, 2010. He was evaluated by team physician Dr. Brian
Cole and hand specialist Dr. Marc Cohen of Midwest Orthopaedics at Rush. The
fracture will require surgery and Carlos will likely be out 8 weeks.

This is a HUGE blow to the organization who already had ridiculously high hopes of starting off the season healthy. The whole tripping over a gym bag story has me sort of sceptical. It's a bizarre occurrence and I'm really hoping he's telling the truth and not pulling a Monte Ellis. The last thing the Bulls need is to issue a suspension on top of the 2 months Boozer will already miss.

Taj Gibson is the obvious starter for tomorrow's first preseason game of the year against the Milwaukee Bucks. Kurt Thomas will most likely be putting in some extra time at the PF spot while Boozer is out.

Also...NBA 2K11 comes out tomorrow and hopefully by Thursday I'll have a review up of what IGN is calling the "greatest basketball video game of all time".