[Thanks to wjb1492 for today's game preview. Top notch! -ed.]
Wednesday, January 28, 9:30 p.m. Darn West coast games and their late starts!
What to write about this team? Matt, our friendly Bulls blogger, most acerbically (and extensively) recounted the many recent lows the team has provided us with lately in his most recent post, so if you'd like to read more about the mess that is Your Chicago Bulls check it out. Not much positive press for anyone involved with the org lately.
As far as this game goes, one would like to think it's a can't lose. The Clippers are dead last in field goal percentage at .429% and have the fourth worst record league-wide at 10-34. Over the last 5 games, they are 1-4 with a -11.2 scoring margin. However, during that 5 game period, the Clippers did beat the OKC Thunder - which is more than the Bulls can say - and were playing without Davis, Camby, Randolph, or Kaman. And then there's the fact that the Bulls are an even worse 0-5 over the same period, although with a somewhat better scoring margin of -6.6. When comparing the Clippers recent record with that of the Bulls, ClipperSteve of Clips Nation pointed out:
There aren't many teams who have been worse in the last month than the Clippers and the Bulls. After a win on the 20th of December, the Bulls were one game below .500 at 13-14. Since then, they are 4-13. The Clippers have 2 wins in the same time period, and the Grizzlies, Wizards and Kings are the only other teams that have been anywhere close to that bad. The Clippers of course, have played all of those games without Kaman and Randolph, most without Davis, and a few without Camby. What excuse do the Bulls have?
Uhm, Drew Gooden's been out? So yeah, one would like to think it's a can't lose game, but we know better. Chuck Swirsky put it similarly:
No Marcus Camby. No Chris Kaman. No Zach Randolph. Baron Davis may return to action tonight after missing the past thirteen games with a tailbone injury. What does this all mean? Nothing!
The Bulls desperately need to get some wins for the morale of the team, in my opinion - they seem have slipped into that pattern from last year where no lead is safe and everyone (team, opponents, fans) knows it. At least with the Clips injuries to their big men, the Bulls' frontcourt should stand a better chance of not getting totally slaughtered. (Although, to be fair, PF moving up from 30th to 27th in the rankings over the past month or so is an improvement, and both Ty and Joakim have had some good games recently!) In other exciting Bulls questions: Will Kirk make a basket tonight? Will Ben or Derrick get the ball for that last possession shot? Will Vinny leave Noc in for the fourth quarter, giving him the opportunity to undo everything positive he did earlier in the game with a couple of bonehead fouls or TOs? Will Lu do something in the 4th quarter? (Sorry, there were too many game thread posts to choose from to link those last two.)
The accuscore predictions for this game provide some hope, with the Bulls winning 56.8% of the simulations and the Clippers 43.3%, Bulls also holding a slight edge in average score at 99.2-96.8 points. (Oddly, this accuscore prediction on the actual accuscore website does not match the accuscore prediction ESPN provided with its game preview - the evil empire has the Clips as 51%-49% favorites.) Drew Gooden is doubtful with the groin injury, while Baron Davis is probable and Marcus Camby questionable on the Clippers' injury front, with Randolph and Kaman still out. I always pick a Chicago win, even when doing so is completely ridiculous, so I'll go with Bulls 103 - Clippers 94.
Check out the Clips Nation preview - it's got a great list of subplots to the game.