[Thanks to paddyfairview for today's game preview. Game is at 7 on WGN. -ed.]
Since our 13.5 game lead over Indiana basically robs this game of any Central Division significance, let's talk about the Eastern Conference:
2. Chicago / Miami (3 games back)
4. Atlanta / Orlando (5.5 games back)
6. New York (11 games back)
8. Hopefully not the Bobcats
It may be early, but the gulf between the East's elite and the 6-8 seeds (not to mention between us and a couple of Central teams that would need an 07 Colorado Rockies run to take the title) is wide enough that we can at least begin talking/worrying about seeding in the second and third playoff rounds, not just the first.
If everything changes on a dime, so be it, but I'm enjoying this while it lasts. (Hey, being neck-and-neck with the FA's who spurned us for each other is worth celebrating no matter what).
Every playoff race has that moment when ordinary games suddenly assume significance, and as far as I'm concerned that moment was yesterday. It's only February, you say. The sched's been weak, you say. For all you stubborn bastards who have to endlessly qualify your team's success, just remember that we've kept pace through major injuries and the natural working-out-the-kinks phase of a new system. It's not just that the race is tight now; it's that we're ascending, Miami's faltering, and you just never know when the wheels might come off in Boston. Not saying it WILL happen, but would you be surprised to see Garnett go down with another knee injury? They're warriors, they fight through bumps instead of bitching like the Heat, but they're really, really old. They're like Clint Eastwood in Gran Torino, surviving purely out of hatred and spite:
"Get off my lawn, Kobe."
Let's keep the division record perfect tonight (the Bulls are 10-0 against Central teams, if you hadn't heard) and keep one of those potential "run" teams in its place, while making sure not to lose ground on the hated Heat. The Bulls and Pacers are both on the second night of a back-to-back, which should even out the energy. It's hard to say how DRose will be feeling, but let's hope he's at least got his shooting touch back. I'm not really worried about Granger against our defense; Hibbert's lost some of his luster and they just don't have enough options. Not much to say other than that; let's hope the Bulls score 100 and avoid embarassing boos after what will in all probability be a victory.
...To all you people who throw a fit and duck out of the game thread only to reappear when the Bulls are winning...weak. Man up, shut up and watch the game, or don't come at all.
Oh yeah, and if you missed it, it's been a really great week for hating Chris Bosh and Rajon Rondo. Really, really great. Credit to JustAnotherFan and mrdope for a clutch photoshop job and an intimate portrait, respectively. Credit to Omer Asik for playing basketball like a man, and Derrick Rose for beating Rajon Rondo, again. Credit to BaB for sparking a huge vote surge. It was us, I'm convinced.
Inappropriate comments about Larry Bird's mother go here: Indy Cornrows