[Note by your friendly BullsBlogger, 03/13/09 5:55 PM CDT: I'll keep this as the game thread, new thread at 8:15 -ed. ]
At this point in the season, what is there to say about this team that we don’t already know? The Bulls show signs of improvement and get our hopes up, and then let us down by giving us a few losses in a row. But, in the end, I would prefer a playoff run rather than another lottery pick. There is no way the Bulls get lucky two years in a row in the lottery and get a whack at some premier talent. Plus, this organization has shown that while it drafts well, gets strong talent, they never seem to get great all-around talent. Gordon, Deng, Tyrus, Noah; they are all talented players, but also niche players. Gordon can score at will and not much else. Deng is good running the court and slashing, but not much else. Tyrus is probably the player with the highest ceiling for potential, but even his game is geared around cleaning up on the boards and playing help defense with an occasional spot-up jumper, but not much else. Noah can rebound with some of the best, but not much else. I believe this team would benefit from some playoff experience, especially D-Rose. I’m not drawing comparisons, but our homeboy D-Wade down here in Miami started to make his name in the playoffs his rookie season. He almost single-handedly defeated the Hornets (including two game-winners), and then almost forced a Game 7 against Indy in Round 2 if it wasn’t for Stan "Ron Jeremy" Van Gundy sitting him for the final possession after he scored 10 straight points in the 4th quarter (with a couple of those coming against Ron Artest). Again, no comparison, but D-Rose has shown when he is given the keys to the offense in the 4th, he can win a game for the team. I still believe of the 8 thru 13 teams in the East the Bulls would give Cleveland some problems, while Boston would probably just suffocate the Bulls. So that would be my dream first round playoff match-up: Bulls vs. Cavs.
On to the game… as much hubbub as was made about the 76ers being better without Elton Brand, they have the same winning percentage since his season was officially over as before: .500. And while I do somewhat believe the first half of the season showed that it was an odd singing given the 76ers style of play without Brand, I do believe management in Philly had the right idea and they will miss him late in the season when the games slow down, defenses are tighter, and easy buckets are harder to come by. The Bulls enter this game 10-25 on the road, and Philly is actually a respectable 18-14 at home. However, this year’s Bulls have shown they rarely have two bad games in a row. So, discounting Monday’s heartbreaker (and the best basketball game I have ever attended, despite the loss, I might add) which was hard-fought, the Bulls should bounce back tonight. The 8 thru 13 teams are separated by a measly 1 ½ games. The Bulls need every win they can get from here on out. Hopefully, they are aware of this and begin to play with some fire and poise and make a run here in the last month of the season.
GAMETIME: 6pm CST TV: CSN RADIO: ESPN1000