[Thanks to sin (I guess...) for today's game preview (sign up!). Game is at 7 on ESPN nationally, CSNChicago locally. I think I set the wrong channel on the DVR tonight, d'oh. -ed.]
Bulls vs Lakers. Who's predicting a loss? Who's predicting a blowout tonight? Who's predicting Kobe goes off for 50? Well, not me!! I'm going to straight-up predict we're winning tonight in a close game where Rose scores some ridiculous total. Now that my bold predictions are out of the way let's move onto the preview!
After a much-harder-than-it-should-have-been win against Houston, a boring-grind-out win against a dead Durant huh? -ed.] Thunder, and a play-down-to-the-level-of-the-competition-for-no-reason win against the pitiful Cavaliers, the Bulls come into tonight with a lot more confidence than they started the week with. Tonight, the reigning champs roll into town. Wait a minute: why does this sound familiar? A string of strong games leading up to a measuring stick game against one of the expected contenders in April/May/June? Oh, that's right, that's basically how we went into the Orlando game a week ago. We all know how well that went. But, hey: the Lakers are playing as crappily as I have ever seen, and are totally banged up in the front court while we come in with our new and improved one; I actually like our chances in this game.
As mentioned above, Gasol has been dealing with a hamstring injury as of late, leaving Odom as the only reliable big man on the Lakers team. Considering Noah and Taj basically had their way with the Lakers front line the first time around this season, I'd say Boozer and Noah will have a cake walk tonight. Also hopefully with Gasol slowed, it'll mean Kobe decides he wants to be MJ and shoot a million shots (now, if he were to make a good percentage of them I'd say we're fucked). Hopefully, we get another best case scenario like the last meeting where Bogans picks up two fouls immediately so that we can bring in Brewer early to match up against Kobe. Other things to worry about defensively? Not much. No, we don't need to worry about Shannon Brown, I refuse to believe he can light us up again (but if I'm wrong that's probably why I'm not coaching a basketball team). With their depleted front line, we definitely look like a much deeper team up front, but their backcourt may have just as much depth as ours. Which is why it's going to be very important that our front court plays well. And, as usual, we can expect that Rose will absolutely abuse his matchup, especially one as slow as Fisher. It is fun to always know you have a shot at winning because of one amazing player.
Forget the idea of tonight being a measuring stick game. I'd rather consider it a chance to abuse an elite team while they're plagued with injuries. It's like when you finally see that school bully one day with a cast or some kind of injury and you know it's your one chance to take advantage and bully him for once. That's what we need to do: Bully these Lakers while they're down, because when we meet them in June they won't be so easy.
Fun Subplot: Phil Jackson makes what is supposedly his last trip to the United Center as an NBA head coach. (Personally I don't buy his whole 'last stand' thing.)
Another ESPN game tonight. (We sure are
getting blown out on national TV alot this year.) Hopefully, we put on a better show for the national audience than the shit show we put on last Friday.
Head over to Silver Screen and Roll to greet the enemy. Who knows, maybe some of them will be calling Rose a bad motherfucker as well by the night's end.
Lakers vs Bulls coverage starts at 7pm.