[Thanks to chgobr for tonight's game preview. -Matt]
The Thursday Cleveland game exposed my emotional fragility. Of course I know losing solidifies our chances for the 9th pick as well as maintains hope that Charlotte makes up 1½ games and we get the 8th pick. However, I couldn't control myself. I rooted for the Bulls to win and enjoyed it when they won. I am ashamed of myself. I wonder if this problem will persist tonight. I'm also worried New Jersey's ineptitude may overcome ours.
Bullshooter, despite overwhelming odds, in his Cleveland game preview attempted to convince us to watch. The game thread received almost 300 comments so I guess he succeeded (or was it the rare Bulls win?). Let me try to excite you about tonight's game.
Here is what I'm looking at tonight:
1. Despite disdain for our dead-man-walking coach we seem to be playing better. The "Czar" Fratello repeatedly pointed out how well he thought the Bulls were playing, particularly in the first quarter. My head is splitting trying to figure out how to improve this team.
2. Larry Hughes is an enigma. Poor shot selection, risky and/or matador defense that leads to easy points is interwoven with offensive bursts and periods of excellent defense that can carry a team. His contract makes him difficult to move. Can the right coach make him into consistent, valuable contributor? He seems to have the talent, but does he have the brains?
3. Eddie Jordan has done a terrific job with this team. How did he get this team to buy into playing defense? Riley thinks he has done a great job .
4. We get to evaluate Arenas. Arenas came back on Wednesday against Milwaukee at home and Washington lost. He played 20 minutes, had 17 points, 4 TOs and 2 assists. Last night against Miami he again played 20 minutes, had 13 points, 8 assists and 5 rebounds and 1 TO. Is he really better or will his knees deteriorate and someone will be stuck with a horrible, unmovable, contract?
5. Attributing our Thursday win to James bad back minimizes the excellent job Thabo and Noah did defensively. Thabo and Noah provide 2008-9 optimism.
6. With all our Ben Gordon grumblings who on our team can make big 4th quarter shots better than BG? When he is hot he is fun to watch. When Hughes is hot other teams cannot just focus on BG. This makes BG more dangerous. What-do-we-do with BG adds to my off-season confusion.
7. Who on this blog didn't love the Corpse missing a key dunk Wednesday at crunch-time? The audible groan from the Cleveland crowd was music to my ears(as a smile emerges on my face)?
208 days until opening night.