[Thanks to ojousama for today's game preview. -yfbb]
Whoever said that March Basketball belongs to the NCAA couldn't have had the 2014 Eastern Conference in mind. Our top two teams sliding into a pre-playoff malaise before blowing each others' damn domes off in Indiana on Wednesday, the Nets have been dominant ever since we rang in the new year, and of course, our Chicago Bulls are hot, even if sobering losses against the Thunder and Pacers have cooled us off a little. But hey, at least we got a little revenge at home on Monday, with the Bulls defense locking the Naptown Floppers down inside (Roy Hibbert missing, presumed dead). We've had three days to rest up, and should be coming into this game ready to roll.
On the other hand, the Blazer's haven't had such a good March, winning just 6 of 15 this month, due in part due to injury problems for LaMarcus Aldridge. The Blazers looked damn asleep all month with ugly losses to the likes of the Lakers and Magic, not to mention an almost-infamous game against the Bucks. However, last night in Atlanta, fresh from seven games off due to a back injury, Aldridge lit up the Hawks for 25 points, and killed it on the glass, grabbing 16 rebounds. The rest of the Blazers showed up to play as well, with Damian Lillard dropping 21 points (that buzzer beater!) and getting good support all-around from the rest of the team. Over 46% FG percentage and just shy of 39% from beyond the arc, and suddenly what looked like it could be a breezy win for the Bulls looks like it could be some trouble.
Our team had a fairly good performance before losing to the the Blazers the other time we went up against them this year, but of course that was the game that cost us our franchise player, and began another long period of doubt and alcohol abuse for us Bulls fans. The doubt seems to have cleared some behind the fiery resurgence of should-be-DPOY and all around maniac Joakim Noah and a heaping helping of good old fashioned Chicago GRIT have started to paint a pretty picture for this game. If the defensive frontcourt of Taj and Jo can keep things locked up, and if Jimmy can keep Lillard locked up I think the Bulls can keep the Blazers cooled off and grind out a classic ugly win at home. Still, the way Aldridge looked last night, it's shaping up to be a good game. So go pick up some beefs, crack open a brew, and LETS GO BULLS! LETS GO BULLS! LETS GO BUUUUUUULLLLLLLS!
Bulls Projected Starters
G - Captain Kirk/The Craptain (We'll see how it goes, not being national TV and all.)
G - Jimothy T. Buckets
F - DunDun
F - Boozie
C - Lord and Commander Joakim Noah
Bench: TajjyWoo, Old Man Nazr, D.J., SpaceJam Snell, JIMMER(?), Erik Murphy(??), Toko Shengelia (????)
Blazers Projected Starters
G - Wesley Matthews
G - Damian Lillard
F - Nicholas Batum
F - LaMarcus Aldrige
C - Robin Lopez