[Thanks to NoVertical for today's game preview. Game is at 7:30 on WGN (and nationally on WGNAmerica? I never know how that works -ed.]
Ah, it's the dreaded second game of a back to back, after last night's win over the Grizz (Grizzlies vs Bulls boxscore). But the Bulls have a 14-5 record in such games this year, which is basically consistent with their winning percentage all season. The deep bench, youth, and Thibs lack of family/friends/food/drink are key. Plus, the Bucks are coming off of their own game last night after they did the world a favor and made Knicks fans believe their team was a self-parody.
Also, to be honest, I'm not going to cry (a lot) if the Bulls do drop this one tonight. With the Celtics loss last night, the Bulls currently hold a 2 game lead for the crucial #1 spot in the Eastern Conference, so we don't need the game. Still, it would be nice to get the win, and after the jump I'll tell you why I think we can earn a season sweep tonight....
We can certainly expect the Bucks to fight hard tonight. They are two games out of the last playoff spot in the East, hoping to catch the Pacers and earn the receive a full fledged beatdown in Round 1 of the Playoffs. Plus, it's Skiles, who we know always demands effort and always would like to beat his former employer.
Overall, though, the Bucks are having a disappointing season. Going into the year, some NBA observers had them picked as a top 4 contender in the East. Many were fearing the deer. They were mistaken, as the Bucks have struggled with injuries and a lack of talent, and will finish with a losing record this year.
PG - Brandon Jennings: Though he is coming off of a nice game scoring last night (37 pts on 25 shots), he isn't having a great season, with a TS% of .487. He does have the ability to score in bunches and is really quick, but I think after last night he regresses to the mean.
SG - John Salmons: Not going to say a lot, this is a man we all know well. We'll see if he can keep Bogans from pouring in 6 points or more. If not, the Bucks chances decrease even further.
SF - Carlos Delfino: A guy I actually like. I am not really sure why. He did go for 30 a few nights ago, but I expect him to have his hands full with Deng tonight. Expect Funk to describe every Delfino shot as either "wild" or "bad," regardless of whether it goes in.
PF - Luc Mbah a Moute: Not really a threat to score or rebound. Name is always a threat for a Funk pronounciation butchering, however.
C - Andrew Bogut: A very good player, a very strange man. The disgusting arm injury was really a shame last year, as his elbow is still not fully recovered and it shows in his stats and on the court. He is a good defender and also has a strong offensive game, if he were fully healthy this season he would have been the second best center in the East. I feel bad for Bucks fans with him. On the other hand, he really is weird, eating veal schnitzel and sending out potentially racist tweets. I like our strange center better.
Not very strong overall. We have
Corey Maggette, the Bucks big offseason addition;
Earl Boykins, who did not play last night but did play very in the 4th quarter last time against the Bulls;
Chris Douglas-Roberts, who I continue to be fascinated with as a future Rose minimum salary teammate.
This is a game I think we should win. Last time we played them, we had the lead and then let up several Salmons/Boykins threes off of poor rotation and losing men on defense. Honestly, if we get up tonight I wouldn't be surprised if the same thing happens again, but we should still be able to close them out.
I expect Noah to have a big night on the offensive glass. He and Asik will be responsible for plenty of second chance points for the Bulls.
I expect at least two "MVP" chants from the crowd for Rose. You might think these will be from Bulls fans who made the short drive, but they will actually be coming from Bucks fans that Rose converts during the game.
Ideally, Deng would get some rest, along with Taj and C.J. and Rose. That isn't going to happen, because the Bucks will keep playing hard and so Thibs will keep playing at least Deng. I really hope Taj can rest the toe, and if the Bulls do go up big, it would be nice to see one of the modern day Marx brothers (Pargo and Lucas) close out a win with both CJ and Rose on the bench. I highly doubt either will be active, however.
Blogging with people who are not really our enemies but happen to like a different basketball team: