Friday, February 25, 2011

Bulls Stand Pat At Trade Deadline, Beat the Heat (Again) 93-89!

By Sean Mackey

The Chicago Bulls organization did everything in their power Thursday afternoon to trade for a SG without giving up any of their bigs. Chicago pulled off a trade on Tuesday night when they shipped James Johnson off to the Toronto Raptors for Miami's 2011 1st round pick. There was a lot of speculation that Chicago would use that pick in a trade. While there were rumors of possibly snatching up Courtney Lee, Anthony Parker or OJ Mayo, the first time in years, the Bulls didn't do a thing on the day of the trade deadline. Every team wanted either Omer Asik or Taj Gibson in return for a shooting guard but in the end, it was decided that they were both too valuable to the Bulls playoff roster to give up. The Bulls bench proved last night that Gar Forman was right about not giving up the depth at the four and five.

The Bulls were able to pull off a stunning victory over the Miami Heat last night, winning 93-89. Derrick Rose proved he was the MVP by tallying 26 points, 6 assists and 5 rebounds. Luol Deng had a spectacular game challenging LeBron James and eventually hitting what would be the game winning shot. Deng finished with 20 points, 10 rebounds and 5 assists. Carlos Boozer had a decent game with 16 points and 9 rebounds. Dwayne Wade lead the Heat with 34 points and 8 assists. LeBron James ended the game with 29 points and 10 rebounds.

This was a must win game coming off of a tough loss to Toronto the night before. Chicago's defense was almost flawless in the 2nd half. There was no possible way to play better than they did other than cut back on the fouls. The Bulls are a second half team and whatever pep talk Thibs gives those guys must work. They're so motivated to win at any cost.

The Bulls second unit was what really helped win the game for them and exposed just how bad Miami's bench was. Chicago's bench outscored Miami's 22-2 and out rebounded them 20-2. It's nice to have players like Eddie House and James Jones come off the bench and hit an occasional three but when it comes to big man depth, Joel Anthony and Big Z's ghost aren't going to cut it.

Gar Forman was correct to keep Asik. He's a guy who plays with as much intensity and hustle as Noah and is so big that he disrupts other team's offense on a consistent basis. Deng, Boozer and Asik kept Bosh from scoring almost anything going 1-18 from the field. Bosh didn't just have a bad shooting night either, he had a hand in his face the entire game.

The Bulls do still have a hole at the two guard spot but if they can make up for it with their defense like they did last night, they might be okay in the playoffs. It's also possible the Bulls will play the buy out market and pick someone up like Michael Redd or Tashaun Prince if they become available. The D-League is also a possibility.

The Bulls take on the Milwaukee Bucks on Saturday night in Milwaukee. Hopefully the Bulls can continue their winning ways. Go Bulls!

Friday, February 18, 2011

Bulls Head Into All-Star Weekend With a Win Over the Spurs, 109-99!

By Sean Mackey

The Bulls were able to pull off another upset Thursday night when they defeated the San Antonio Spurs 109-99. Derrick Rose went off, scoring a career high 42 points while tallying 8 assists, 5 rebounds and 1 block. Luol Deng had another solid outing with 19 points, 7 rebounds and 5 assists. Carlos Boozer racked up 15 points and 6 boards. Tony Parker lead the way for San Antonio with 26 points and 4 assists.

This was certainly a great game. I think a lot of people expected both teams to come in and play some loose, sloppy ball the day before the All-Star break but they didn't. The Spurs have the best record in the NBA and had only lost 9 games before last night. You can see why they have the best record too because their defense is outstanding and they have plenty of decent bench players to help them chug along. Rookie, Gary Neal lit the Bulls up for 16 points including 4-5 from behind the 3 point line. Last night, Sam Smith tweeted something among the lines of how well the Spurs find these great players late in the draft. Last year it was DeJuan Blair, this year it was Neal. You add those kind of players around Parker, Ginobili & Duncan and you have a decent team. Tim Duncan is still awesome. He started 5-5 in the 3rd quarter and 2 of those field goals were closely guarded. He's just so fundamentally solid.

While I sort of think Derrick Rose was intentionally going for a career high towards the end of the game, he played great. He wants to win games and the MVP trophy really bad. He's taken it upon himself to show up every point guard he's played this season. In a league where about every team has a solid point guard these days, this is quite the accomplishment. It's hard to believe this guy is only 22 years old.

The Bulls defense was absolutely stifling last night. When Taj Gibson and Omer Asik are on the floor, no one's getting to the hoop. Asik's work never really shows up on the box score but he's definitely not worth giving up for someone like Cavs guard, Anthony Parker. As much as I love Brad Miller's work, I'm glad we chose Asik over re-signing B-Mill. When Noah comes back next week, the Bulls front line will be the most solid in the NBA. I have serious doubts at this point that the Bulls are going to make a trade before the deadline unless they're willing to give up draft picks and/or James Johnson. If the Bulls can get someone like Anthony Parker or Courtney Lee for JJ, go for it. If they're asking for Gibson or Asik, I'd definitely say no way. This team is built with certain pieces that keep everything going in the right direction. There is no need to fix something that isn't broken. The Bulls head into NBA All-Star Weekend with the 3rd best record in the East at 38-16.

NBA All-Star weekend starts tonight and the Bulls organization have a lot to be excited about. Derrick Rose will be participating in both the All-Star game on Sunday (as a starter) and in the Skills Challenge on Saturday night. D-Rose won the Skill Challenge in his rookie season but couldn't participate last season due to injury. Taj Gibson will be participating in the Rookie/Sophmore game this evening and is also oddly part of the NBA Shooting Stars competition. Gibson will be joined by former Bull (and 3 point shootout winner) Steve Kerr and Cathrine Kraayveld of the Chicago Sky. The Shooting Stars contest looks like a one sided battle with team Texas set up for a win with Dirk Nowitzki leading his squad. Taj Gibson, Pau Gasol and Al Horford are not really big shooters so I'll be surprised if anyone other than Texas wins that contest.

The Bulls next regular season game is next Thursday (2/24) against the Miami Heat. Bulls center, Joakim Noah is set to return. It's going to be a great game.
Go Bulls!