[Thanks to paddyfairview for today's game preview. Game is at 7 on CSNChicago. -ed.]
Note: I wrote most of this before I heard that CP3 suffered a concussion Sunday night versus the Cavs. Apparently he's listed as out for the game. Great, now I'm more afraid of a letdown game than I was before.
Today's game is brought to you by the letter "W".
W is for "wee-un", which is what the bulls need to do (repeatedly) in order to stay ahead of the Heat and catch the Celtics in the East. After swearing all season I cared only about wee-un-ing* (MVPs and all else be damned), now that there's blood in the water it turns out I'm a hypocrite. I want the one seed for more than just home court advantage. The Celtics? The Heat? The Knicks? Orlando and Atlanta? I don't just want to beat them. I want everyone to know that we're better. Sixty games into one winning season is a little early to develop hubris, you say? Clearly I've gone mad with power. But I digress. This game is all about New Orleans and not giving back a hard-earned win. Here's hoping we stay intense and see more of this on the sidelines.
*It's over. I just killed it.Chicago prevailed 97-88 when last these teams met. Derrick Rose put up 23/6/4 against Chris Paul's 15/6 and 3 steals, and Omer Asik had a huge game with a then career-high 11 rebounds. Keith Bogans also had a "huge" game with 3 threes and 11 total points. Marcus Thornton burned the Bulls for 24 points on 9-15 shooting (3-4 from downtown) but Thornton's gone now, and that's just one of a few changes made to the teams' rotations. Noah and Emeka Okafor each missed last game, but are back now. The Hornets also picked up Carl Landry, which means their front line is going to be a lot better than the big mess of Aaron Gray, David West's two measly boards, Jason Smith and David Anderson that we saw last time. The 30 rebounds that Booz, Asik and Thomas combined for will be tougher to come by. The Bulls, of course, picked up Rasual Butler, but I don't expect to see him (there should be plenty of garbage time later this month). Both teams are on the second night of a back-to-back, so energy shouldn't be a factor. The game is in Chicago, confidence is at a season-high, and the media buzz is growing, so I wouldn't be a Bulls fan if I didn't fully expect them to lay an egg. But it's a very winnable game.
I could go on about matchups, but since I'm still celebrating the Heat victory, how about a special edition of Buzzed Picture-Time with paddyfairview instead? [Note: regular host SoulEater unavailable due to one-car accident at Navy Pier] Here we go!
Visibly intoxicated following a Cleveland bar crawl and a post-victory beach party, respectively, point guards Chris Paul and Derrick Rose stumble around and make pirate faces during Monday's matchup in Chicago.
David West, who spent the night in an abandoned Cleveland warehouse with teammate Paul, gathers himself before bursting into "God Save the Queen" at midcourt. In the background, Ronnie Brewer tries to focus both eyes on the scoreboard and determine who is winning.
Carlos Boozer looks around frantically for a non-Keith Bogans teammate to bail him out of the double team, while the ref tries to look away and avoid seeing a foul that might benefit Chicago.
Bulls guard O.J. Mayo blocks a shot during Monday's contes...wait, what? The trade deadline passed and the Bulls kept Taj Gibson, and all your bitching can't help? Someone send word to Blog-a-Bull!
Terrified that Tom Thibodeau will unleash Joakim Noah to defend him during the closing seconds of Sunday's game, Heat forward LeBron James peeks around Luol Deng to see if the coast is clear for a layup attempt
"Tim Tebow my ass," said Derrick Rose after the game. "I'll give them humble. I'm going to humble the shit out of them. Just wait till the playoffs."
OK, I'm done. Visit At The Hive and express sympathy that this fun-to-watch team may be playing in Seattle before we see them again.