Like a cockroach surviving a nuclear explosion, the Bulls are somehow still in the hunt for the 8th playoff spot in the East. They'll try to move to within a game of the Nets and Hawks for the 8th spot tonight when they take on the Spurs (7:00 Central, Comcast SportsNet). Despite the early starting time, the game will apparently not be on TNT. That might be a good thing, unless you want to hear Charles Barkley talk about how the Bulls need a low-post scorer.
I don't know if he counts as the mythical "low-post scorer" the Bulls have needed for years, but Drew Gooden has really been impressive since he got here. Since the trade, he's been averaging 18.1 points and 12.1 rebounds per-40 minutes. I've seen people on here complaining about Gooden playing so much at the expense of Tyrus, and while I agree that Tyrus needs to play more, there's no reason why his minutes need to come at the expense of Gooden. The Bulls have a grand total of three frontcourt players - Noah, Gooden, and Tyrus - so you'd think finding playing time for all three wouldn't be a problem (and no, Gray doesn't count). It wouldn't be a problem at all if Boylan didn't insist on playing Deng and Nocioni at the 4 for long stretches. Based on its great success on Tuesday, though, I can only imagine that we'll see a four-guard lineup tonight.
The Spurs are coming into Chicago on a 4 game losing streak, and they've dropped to 6th in the Western Conference. Of course, they're still only 2 games out of 1st in the West, so there's no need to shed any tears for them.. Manu Ginobili has been playing at a near-MVP level (I say "near-MVP" only because he doesn't play as many minutes as the other top contenders do) this year, but somehow he didn't even make the All-Star team. I hope Thabo doesn't have his minutes limited tonight, because I am looking forward to seeing him guard Ginobili. If Thabo can somewhat contain elite shooting guards like Ginobili, he can be a solid starter in this league - at least on a team smarter than the Bulls.
The Bulls were blown out by the Spurs in December, and much anger was directed towards "interim-interim coach" Pete Myers' rotations. After three months of Jim Boylan . . . well, let's just say that Myers ain't looking so bad right now.