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Bulls vs. Magic Game preview: Joakim Noah a game-time decision with illness

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David Manning-USA TODAY Sports

[UPDATE: after an hour of assholery chicanery, here is the official word. -yfbb

]

[Thanks to RelicUA for today's game preview -yfbb]

Tonight our beloved Chicago Bulls will be meeting the Magic in what is sure to be an exciting game...

I mean it probably won't be close at all, but it should be exciting. The Magic aren't the T-Wolves, we won't be seeing the number one overall pick Andrew Wiggins; nor will be seeing the polished veteran savvy & young talent the Cavaliers have in abundance, or you know, Lebron James. What we will be seeing with the Magic is a surprisingly talented young team that despite losing their best player to a facial fracture & some other starters to various injuries, has been in every game this year, and a possible Rookie of the Year candidate in Elfid Payton.

Match-Ups:

Point Guard: Derrick Rose vs. Elfrid Payton

Elfrid Payton is going to be good, maybe even scary good, but as of now he's a bootleg Rondo with absolutely no jump shot, & a rookie, playing against former MVP D. Rose. There's a possibility Kurt starts tonight & that changes things, but I'm going with the Vets tonight.

Advantage: Bulls

Shooting Guard: Jimmy Butler vs. Ben Gordon

Ben Gordon has played well in Oladipo's absence, but he's not as fast as Vic is, & I doubt he provides the same problems for Buckets that Oladipo has in the past.

Advantage: Bulls

Small Forward: Mike Dunleavy Jr. vs. Tobias Harris

Tobias Harris is young & athletic. He plays a pretty good all around game & I think he has the talent to explode for a big game every once in a while. He's also been shooting really well so far this season (small sample size theater & all).

Advantage: Magic

Power Forward: Pau Gasol vs. Channing Frye

Channing Frye shoots 3's real well, & he's a veteran presence for a young team... Pau is better at pretty much everything else.

Advantage: Bulls

Center: Joakim Noah vs. Nikola Vucevic

Joakim Noah reigning DPOY is great, he's my favorite Bull, maybe ever, but he's not really been himself this year. His knee is limiting him & he's looked... off. Vucevic on the other hand has been a guaranteed Double-Double, he's not the presence at the rim that Pau & Jo are but he's been effective at taking up space in the paint, & occasionally altering shots. He's the focal point of the offense until Oladipo comes back & so far he's held up well under the increased pressure.

If Jo can't play because he's sick, that will move Pau to the 5 & put Taj in the starting line-up. I think the advantages stay the same but for different reasons, Pau's just not the defender Jo is, I think Vucevic plays to his averages, & maybe scores a little more. Taj can bully Frye in the post, & hang with him on the perimeter. I don't think Frye does anything well enough to win the match-up.

Advantage: Magic

Coaching: Thibs vs Jacque Vaughn

Jacque Vaughn is not a good coach... like at all.

Advantage: Bulls

This game probably won't be a complete rout. Considering the difference in talent & coaching for sure it should be, but I think Orlando is better than most of us think, they're just not quite there yet. I know Payton has the Simmons stink all over him, but the kid has all the tools to be great & I really think he'll deserve the ROY at the end of the season.

Prediction: Bulls by 10