[Thanks to Ozzie Montana for today's game preview (sign up!). Taj Gibson is optimistic that he'll play tonight. Unexpectedly it's Derrick Rose (and his neck) who may miss the game. Game is at 8 on CSNChicago. -ed.]
The Circus Trip of Pleasant Surprises reaches its penultimate matchup with the NuggOMGMELOMELOets. With a win tonight, the Bulls can clinch their first winning circus trip since Bill Wennington was in uniform. Signs point to a struggle but as we've already learned countless times in a young season this team has more cojones than the average BaB commenter (cough SoulEater7 sin cough). Follow me through the jump for a tale of romance, intrigue and international espionage!
Now, on to the opponent. The Nuggets are in a weird place right now. We all know about Carmelo "I'm not Chris Bosh but I'm also too big of a pansy to actually force my way out even though I hate Denver and will obviously sign with the Knicks next season" Anthony's drama this season. But he's playing at a high level once again, even improving his efficiency a tad bit and making a nice jump in the rebounding totals. I'm still not seeing any real effort on defense but according to some people Carmelo is super amazing at everything, he just chooses not to excel in every facet of the game. We'll probably see a lot more of Nene in this game, who is doing his thing and beasting offensively. Chris "Faces of Meth" Andersen has also returned to the lineup and provides his usual dose of rebounding/shot blocking and horrific body art. Aaron Afflalo has turned into a very solid player, a great outside shooter and physical defender. But after that, there isn't much to write home about this team. JR Smith is as erratic as ever shooting the ball and apparently has decided to mix it up with George Karl for the 99999th time. Chauncey "Call me Mr. Big Shot even though I have played like absolute horseshit in almost every playoff series since 2005 because I'm an ugly piece of ass that flops my way to points because I can't score like a real man" Billups has fallen off a cliff in terms of productivity. 34% from the field and less than 5 assists a game. His play has gotten so poor that Nuggets fans are even calling for his benching. Nothing pleases me more than seeing the downfall of anyone affiliated with the 2000s era Pistons so I hope he continues to suck massive ass. Ty Lawson is having a down year after a terrific rookie debut and Al Harrington is a Ninja Turtle.
As for the Bullies, we know the script with this team. They'll either start hot or cold, the bench will come in and suck or awesome-ify and the rest of the game will be spent either giving away a lead or clawing away at a deficit. I'm not really sure how this team gets a blowout against a talented opponent in a tough physical environment. Luol Deng hitting some fucking shots past the fucking 1st fucking quarter would really fucking help, motherfucker. Rose is playing at a high level but if we're holding him to superstar standards he's got to get more efficient. More trips to the line, more aggressive drives that free up open shots, more layups that turn the crowd into Bulls fans. Noah is more powerful than Raptor Jesus so I fear for my life dare I criticize (Jo calm down when you get the ball in the post it's not a race). Keith Bogans and CJ Watson are awful, awful people. Why do they hurt me so much when all I ever did was shower them with love? Korver brings the sexy and hopefully a big game in Phoenix will get him on a hot streak. Brewer has big ears and big dunks, plays smart defense and FOR THE LOVE OF SHIT JUST START HIM THIBS BOGANS IS SO BAD HE REALLY IS COME ON.
I'm pretty sure this is just rambling now so to wrap it up I don't think this game ends well for Chicago. Too many minutes, players maybe looking ahead to heading back home in a few days, playing in high altitude against a guy who can score 40 while looking like he's half-asleep. The Thibs' Bulls will never give up on a game and that's an incredible trait but I feel like this is one of those times where if they get down big early you might want to think about the bigger picture.
Or, Rose can just teabag everyone and they can win, making me look stupid in the process. I won't mind, I really won't.