[Thanks to jockstrapnoah for today's game preview. Early start, 6, on CSNChicago. -ed.]
The Spurs win and the sublime 42 poured in by Rose less than a week ago set off all sorts of buzz about MVPs and contenderships. That buzz was washed clean away by dunks, cars, choirs, beibers, and the like, even before a deluge of West to East talent shifts erased all memory of the Bulls’ last on court accomplishment. But they play the Raptors tonight, and actual Basketball is welcomed.
Until Thursday at 4pm basketball is a sideshow to the tweets of NBA analysts and those that pose as such, but there are a number of stories that make this game interesting. Noah is back, thank god. Bulls basketball ratchets up a notch both in pace and entertainment when Noah hits the floor, but unfortunately his minutes are going to be monitored as he plays his way back into shape (reach into the back of the closet for the tie you were thinking of throwing out, Thibs, just in case). The Bulls are expecting to be somewhat out of sync with the return of Noah, and they have 48 minutes of basketball to get back in sync before tomorrow’s colossal match-up against the Heat.
Apparently James Johnson is in Toronto and will be playing tonight, as a Raptor. James Johnson gives the Raptors something they’ve been missing since Linas Klieza went down with a nasty sounding knee injury in January, a small forward. Sonny Weems (Bulls 2nd draft pick in 2008, seriously) has been playing small forward and had 19 points last night in a loss to Charlotte, but he’s a little small for that at 6’6”. Julian Wright just hasn’t been getting many minutes...and that’s it as far as the position goes. This is James Johnson’s big break, going to a team missing a player at his position, but even when given the objective of developing talent rather than winning, dumb turnovers and missed rotations are something that no coach can tolerate. Play smart James.
I fully expect a Bulls blow out victory while tuning up for tomorrow’s TNT fireworks. Raptors HQ is your Raptors Head Quarters. [and check their piece on the incoming JJ, with my quotes! -ed.]