Kevin C. Cox
[Thanks to Orange Juice for today's game preview. There are still some openings left this month if you're interested. And if you're interested in going to the actual games, use our partners if you want Chicago Bulls Tickets.
No update yet on the possibility of Deng and/or Taj being out tonight. And check out Peachtree Hoops for their take -yfbb]
It's that time of year again, Bulls are in Hotlanta (Coldlanta past couple of days .. temps dipping below freezing!) to play the new look Hawks, just half a game ahead of the Bulls in playoff seeding. Having
dominated fended off the current #2 seed Knicks last night, Bulls have a chance to knock off the current #3 seed Hawks tonight as well!
While it's still relatively early this season, I think each game is crucial for us because we need all the wins we can get. I'm still dreaming about a glorious DRose return, so if we can give him a #2 or #3 seed heading into the playoffs, we can give him more games to work with and avoid Miami until the conference finals. But I'm getting ahead of myself here ...
Tonight's game has some interesting storylines. As I alluded to in the headline, first time we will see Kyle Korver this season, one of three former Bench Mob players starting for their new teams (he's still shooting well from three). Kirk Hinrich also will play against his former team. And Thibs has a chance to match up Marquis with his brother Jeff. And there's always the Gator reunion of Noah against Horford (he's back to playing center).
But as with most games, it will be about matching up with Josh Smith. With possibly no Taj off the bench tonight, how is Carlos going to handle guarding Josh. Will he be cross-matched at times with Al? And if no Deng, will Jimmy Butler start? Would be good matchup for him, as the Hawks are starting shooters Deshawn and Korver at the wings. Hawks got another sixth man of the year candidate again with Lou Williams and still have the native Georgian Zaza off the bench (who may be starting now?)
Should be good game .. while the Hawks have lost the last couple games, overall they're playing better as a team after getting rid of Joe Johnson and Marvin Williams (addition by subtraction). Still stuck in playoff mediocrity, and remains to be seen if Hawks can land a big free agent next year (i.e. Atlanta native Dwight Howard), but seems like fans down here have a little more optimism now with new GM Danny Ferry. Would be good win on a back-to-back for the Bulls tonight. Go Bulls!