[Thanks to Greg for today's game preview -yfbb]
Two nights after raining down his fourth triple double of the season, JoNo and the red hot Bulls host the Detroit Model Ts. On a six game win streak, Chicago's looking to end the season with a proud 50 wins. Tonight's game should be the toughest, followed by three last games against the Knicks, Magic and Bobcats. We're still looking to nab the 3 seed, so ending with a ten game winning streak should hopefully do the trick. Toronto's schedule isn't too hard either, but they play the Knicks twice and New York is doing whatever it can to snatch the 8th seed from an Atlanta team that is happily looking to give it away.
What's there to say about the way we're playing right now? The Bulls are KILLING IT! And there's no reason to think they don't take their momentum through tonight's game. Noah looks poised to take the DPOY, and Derrick Rose seat filler DJ Augustin is averaging a shocking 20.0 points during this win streak. Detroit has surrendered 17 of 19 road games and the Bulls are 2-1 against them this season. The Pistons are a team looking for an identity and it's not going to happen this season. I expect the Bulls to come out tonight and play solid Bulls basketball. They want to go into the playoffs on a run and they're gelling better than they have all season.
As you should know by now, I'm a card carrying member of the cult of Thibodeau. To me Thibs is our MVP, and now after three seasons of constantly defying the odds and turning scrubs into solid role players, I've got complete faith in his system and I hope the front office treats him the way the Spurs do Pop. If you were to put Thibs in the driving seat of a team as talented as Detroit, I think they'd be vying with Indiana for the second seed. This year's playoffs will be fun but I can not freaking wait for Thibs to man a fully healthy team with the addition of Toni Kukoc 2.0: Nikola Mirotic. (I know I know....Mirotic is Montenegrin and Kukoc is Croatian.....relax you Chicago Yugoslavs)
Prediction: Pistons 92 - BULLS 101
Detroit's coming into Chicago tonight after a truly disappointing season. Projected this off season to be a 5th or 6th seed caliber team, Detroit's not even in the play off race now and is looking forward to the off season to make some major management changes. They've already fired their coach Maurice Cheeks, and it looks like GM Joe Dumars is on his way out too. Now let me say first, I like this Detroit team, I like the players they put together and I get why they were composed that way. But, as we've seen with every other under performing team, the problem is a top-down one. Management and coaching haven't been able to find the right formula with the talent they have. For their sake, I hope they don't panic and make some bone headed trades, it's no secret they've been looking to break up the Monroe/Drummond tandem, and if they don't get a solid return for Monroe they risk taking a huge step back.
The end of the Joe Dumars Era
ESPN reported that Joe Dumars is expected to resign at the end of this season, ending what is one of the more fascinating GM tenures of recent NBA history. I have this fantasy where Darko Milicic comes back to the NBA, joins one of the top contenders (Miami, OKC, Clipperland etc..) and wins a championship before Carmelo, thusly vindicating old Joe for what is considered right now to be one of the worst picks in Draft history. Still, despite that blip, he built a team that won the 2004 Championship and made it to the Eastern Conference Finals six years in a row. The team as compromised now isn't perfect, but a core of Smith, Jennings, Monroe and Drummond is in good position to be a top four Eastern team with the right leadership. It's too bad Dumars won't be able to see the final look of his designs, but then again, he's one of the "Bad Boy" Pistons so my sympathy only goes so far.
Kirk "Please don't send me to another team again" Hinrich
Jimmy "Working for that Paycheck" Butler
Mike "Doing my best Korver Impression" Dunelavy
Carlos "Boo boo" Boozer
Joakim "I inherited this gap in my teeth from my Pops" Noah
Brandon "No I'm Brandon Knight" Jennings
Rodney "mini 50-Cent" Stuckey
Kyle "White Men CAN Jump" Singler
Greg "Am I a Piston next year?" Monroe
Andre "Drum N' Base" Drummond