Bulls

Derrick Rose has been pulling on our Bulls-fan-heartstrings since 2012 when our NBA Finals hopes and dreams were crushed by his first crippling ACL injury. Over the years, viagra we’ve stuck with Rose through additional season ending injuries as well as the minor ones. Ever since the heart wrenching ACL tear, pharm Rose has never returned to his MVP self, medical rather Bulls fans have seen glimpses of the explosive Rose of years past. This year, news that Rose has returned to “MVP form” has been making headlines.

Since Derrick’s Christmas Day performance against the OKC Thunder, he seems to be playing with a renewed sense of confidence. It’s almost like he’s having fun playing basketball again. Don’t get me wrong, the guy has been through quite a bit. Even this season he suffered that horrible orbital fracture which required him to play with basically one eye and a protective face mask, but 2016 has shown DRose in a far better spirit. The boost in confidence and performance comes at the perfect time for the Bulls who are currently without All-Star Jimmy Butler who suffered a sprained left knee. Butler has at least a few more weeks of recovery and Rose is needed to take the Bulls under his wing and right some serious wrongs – like the Bulls playing like total garbage most of 2016. Chicago has fallen from the No. 2 seed in the Eastern Conference to the No. 6 seed.

I don’t know how good I can become. Nobody knows . . . I think it’s an unknown ceiling. The way that I’m playing right now, the shots that I’m taking I didn’t take when I was younger. I’m shooting off glass now. Defense could get a lot better, but I love the way I’m playing offensively – Rose told ESPN

And then moments later we see news like this flooding twitter feeds:

I swear, Rose’s hamstring must be the tighest in all the land. Lets get yourself a membership to a hot yoga studio and STRETCH. IT. OUT. Now, Tuesday night’s game at the United Center against the Wizards wasn’t the most crucial, but was it necessary to sit out the entirety of the game? Maybe don’t play 30-40 minutes, but give your teammates some jolts of energy from time-to-time within the game. I know Rose is also being cautious due to his history with injury, but I’m not sure he’s ever going to be the dependable guy the Bulls can lean on. Maybe Bulls fans have severely high expectations (me, specifically) having had players like Michael Jordan who literally played no matter what because he was a monster competitor, but Jordan never injured both knees. Who am I to judge?

Here’s what I know to be true. When Derrick Rose shows up to play, the Chicago Bulls instantly become more exciting to watch. He alone can set the entire tone for the team in that particular game. Now, the question is, can this aggressive and successful DRose last? I’m going to take the road of least expectations over here, so if I’m proven wrong I’ll be pleasantly surprised.

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Sunday was one for the books at the United Center as the Chicago Bulls hosted Kobe Bryant for the very final time. Earlier this season Kobe announced his retirement and the Bulls made sure the correct homage was paid to the NBA superstar in his final visit to the Mad House – with the exception of a win, viagra the Bulls went ahead and took the 126-115 W over the Lakers. Sorry to spoil the special moment Kobe.

The Black Mamba has been consistently compared to Chicago’s Michael Jordan as a candidate for ‘Greatest Player of All Time.’ From his style of play, to his competitive drive, to his championship pedigree, even down to his tongue-wagging ways, many say Bryant is the closest thing to Jordan since Jordan (definitely a compliment). Kobe even passed MJ on the all-time scoring list, but won 5 Championships, one fewer NBA title than the Goat. I’d like to give a shout-out to Phil Jackson, who coached both legendary players during their prime-time domination years.

Did you know Kobe almost even played for the Bulls back in 2007 after Chicago and LA tried to negotiate a big fat trade between the Lakers, Bulls and Kings? Fun fact right? It obviously didn’t work out and would have completely changed the landscape of the Bulls (they would have never had a high enough draft pick to snag Derrick Rose in 2008 with Kobe on the team). Bryant did say, that Chicago had been his top destination aside from his Lakers.

The night started with PJ Rose grabbing a quick fist bump with one of the greatest players to ever play the game of basketball. Despite PJ’s overwhelming cuteness, Pau Gasol really stole the show giving his former teammate and friend quite the tribute. Gasol introduced Kobe Bryant in the starting lineup with a personal video that had the fans on their feet. Truly humbling kind of moment between two former teammates feeling all the love and respect for one another.

Kobe put up 22 points in his final game in Chicago and was provided plenty of hugs and admiration. Other than a loss for the Lakers, Bulls fans gave the former NBA MVP an honorable send-off. With 45 seconds left in the game, Bryant checked in at the UC for the final time and fans gave the guy a standing ovation, I’m talking lots of applause here. It was a beautiful thing.

The Bulls actually put on a good show Sunday night, which is unusual as of late. E’Twaun Moore and Derrick Rose led the Bulls with 24 points each. Gasol was right behind with 21 points and Bobby Portis and Doug McDermott combined for 33 points off the bench. The Lakers aren’t currently the best team in basketball, but it’s always nice to see your team play well after some rough games.

Farewell Kobe Bryant. It was an honor to watch one of the greatest of all time play the game. The Lakers will never be the same without you.

 

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The NBA All Star break couldn’t come soon enough for Bulls fans (Pau Gasol just missed a layup as I write this), drugstore but for those whose teams are rolling this time of year, a weekend of outlandish events, more focused on Kevin Hart and over the top fashion than basketball, is not always welcome.  Lucky for them, despite taking the game north of the border to -8 degree Toronto temperatures, All-Star Saturday night delivered for everyone.  The big stars were still missing from the court, but Zach LaVine and Aaron Gordon almost made us forget about the team dunk format of 2014 by putting on a true dunk contest reminiscent of the old school battles that featured the likes of Michael Jordan and Dominique Wilkins.

In the last 5 years, the dunk contest has lost the luster of those late 80s battles and the nostalgia of Vince Carter‘s prolific performances by serving up sub par dunks from role players while the All-Stars sat in the stands with their kids stealing most of the attention.  But this year,  Minnesota’s LaVine and Orlando’s Gordon took the NBA’s ultimate power move to new heights by pushing each other to perfect scores, round after round, forcing dunks even they had never seen or tried before.  LaVine and Gordon went beyond high flying dunks and 360s to new and improved moves like grabbing the ball from Stuff the Magic mascot while he spun on a hover board.

While LaVine came out victorious after perfect scores forced a bonus round, the most reality-defying dunk of the night came from Gordon when he leaped over Stuff (my second favorite mascot to Benny the Bull), grabbing the ball off of the pink wings on the side of his head, tucked his legs to a fully seated position and pulled the ball under them before slamming it down.

It’s hard to believe that didn’t seal the deal, but LaVine finally ended the night and took home the trophy with a spur of the moment decision to try a windmill dunk from the free throw line that he’d never even seen himself do.

The 2016 All-Star Weekend was a major stop of the Kobe Bryant retirement tour, with Saturday’s dunk contest coming 19 years after Kobe won the event in 1997.  Earlier in All-Star Saturday, Bryant expressed displeasure with the state of the contest, longing for the days when the NBA’s biggest stars participated.  And he wasn’t wrong, with the last All-Star caliber player to participate in a true dunk contest (disregarding whatever the NBA tried to do with the team format in 2014) being Blake Griffin in 2011 who won amid controversy that the league rigged the event to allow him and Kia, a major NBA sponsor, to win when he jumped over the hood of the automaker’s sedan.  And don’t ever forget that Lebron James has never shown his face on the court in the Dunk Contest for fear of injury or failure.

Nevertheless, the big stars weren’t necessary on Saturday, just the best dunkers, who were dedicated to bringing back an NBA tent-pole event by paying homage to those who brought it to prestige in the first place.  Zach LaVine said he came back in 2016 to defend his 2015 Slam Dunk title as a nod to the days when stars like Michael Jordan and Dominique Wilkins would compete year after year.  Aaron Gordon, born in 1995, still managed to throw it back to a staple Wilkins move from the late 80s, with a between the legs reverse dunk in an early round.

Dominique Wilkins has been another outspoken critic of the dunk contest in recent years, so if he says it, it goes…

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I’m so thankful for the All-Star break because I currently sound like a broken record. I hate to say this, drugstore but the Chicago Bulls are bad. They’re not the perfect storm combination of offense and defense we had all hoped for at the beginning of the season. Instead, in their last 18 games, the Bulls are 5-13. The season has gone from inconsistent Bulls still sprinkled with hope, to literally holding on to the last playoff slot for dear life – in the Eastern Conference no less.

Things are getting relatively hostile on the fan-front. The majority of Bulls fans have completely given up on the season. There are plenty of reasons for the Bulls disastrous season, the laundry list of injuries hindering the team the is most crucial. Should we take a quick minute to layout everything that’s happened?

Jimmy Butler who had been single handily powering the Bulls defense/offense is out with a knee strain, second-year forward Nikola Mirotic is recovering from an appendectomy, Derrick Rose has sat due to “general soreness” and don’t forget about Joakim Noah’s season-ending shoulder injury that has left a gaping hole in the soul of Bulls basketball. So now we have a team that’s left with Taj Gibson and Pau Gasol to speak on behalf of the Bulls.

Gibson chatted with the press after Wednesday night’s loss to the Atlanta Hawks and honestly it was depressing. He said the Bulls had lost their spirit – so basically it’s like the team is dead inside and honestly that’s how they played so it makes sense. He also may have inadvertently trash talked new head coach Hoiberg again,

“We had straight defensive guys, hungry dogs. Now we have guys coming in, offensive-minded, shoot the 3. … We used to be scrappy. Now we’re trying to mold these guys into getting scrappy. … Right now a lot of teams smell blood; you just got to figure out a way to get over it. In this league, nobody’s going to feel sorry for you.”

Hey coach, why don’t we tell the guys to quit loving the three so damn much and make some easy layups? And then after some points are scored, the players run down the court and play actual defense. Two sides to this magical game of basketball.

All that’s left to wonder is whether the Bulls front office is going to make some real moves before the February 18 trade deadline. I would advise you not to get your hopes up, but there has to be a light at the end of this dark 2015-2016 Bulls season tunnel.

Ideally, the Bulls are coming up with some new strategies, heavily incorporating defense into their game-plan as the next opponent on the schedule are the Cleveland Cavaliers and Lebron would love nothing more than to slaughter his Eastern Conference foes and continue the Bulls mockery. Come on guys, we have got to get it together. Otherwise, let’s start PJ Rose.

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President may be a bit extreme, doctor but Jimmy Butler is absolutely running this year’s Chicago Bulls team. I do feel like we, ask the fans, viagra owe the guy an apology. He was awarded a spot on the 2016 All-Star roster, but he didn’t make a starting slot because we didn’t give the man enough votes! We failed ya Jimmy. Here is your 2016 Eastern Conference All-Star lineup.

Starters:
Lebron James (Cavaliers, Forward)
Paul George (Pacers, Forward)
Carmelo Anthony (Knicks, Forward)
Dwyane Wade (Head, Guard)
Kyle Lowry (Raptors, Guard)

Bench:
Jimmy Butler (Chicago, Guard/Forward)
DeMar DeRozan (Raports, Guard)
Paul Millsap (Hawks, Forward)
Andre Drummond (Pistons, Center)
Chris Bosh (Heat, Forward)
John Wall (Wizards, Guard)
Isaiah Thomas (Celtics, Guard)

Despite our lack of NBA All-Star votes, Jimmy will yet again get to showcase his talents among the best of the best in Toronto on February 14th.  He’s our do-it-all player leading the entire league in minutes played per game (38.3 minutes) – he’s earned it. He’s the kind of guy who puts in work on both ends of the court, racking up around 2.74 miles a game. If you’d like to whip out your handy dandy calculator 47 games at 2.74 miles is literally just under 5 full marathons. Jimmy isn’t messing around.

He’s also becoming a stand-out leader off the court. He had a sit-down with Derrick Rose last Wednesday to make sure the two stars weren’t just coexisting on the team, but rather playing to each other’s strengths and weaknesses. The following day the Bulls spanked the Los Angeles Lakers. Mission accomplished.

We had a long conversation. That’s the type of guys that we now are. Just checking in, wanting each other to be successful. Making sure we’re both healthy because as a backcourt, it’s important that we’re both doing OK and on the same page – Jimmy Butler, Chicago Sun Times

Now, don’t get me wrong. One sit down doesn’t solve all the Bulls problems, but two stars working towards a better relationship is definitely a plus. I can’t imagine it’s easy for Derrick to know he is no longer the best player on the team and no has to share his limelight with a kid drafted way late from Marquette.  Butler went as far to say he’d like to train with Rose over the off-season and take his “camp-Jimmy” to Rose wherever he likes to train with his family nearby. Whatever Jimmy’s been doing during the offseason has worked for his game, couldn’t hurt Derrick to jump on the Butler-bandwagon.

Something noteworthly that Jimmy mentioned in his interview with the Sun Times last week was that he believed that Rose would also be a part of the Bulls team for many years moving forward. Seems very interesting since Rose will be an unrestricted free agent after next season. Did Jimmy accidentally give us a look into the future?

One thing is clear, Jimmy is trying to make the most out of what he’s got to get our Bulls more wins. Thank you, Mr. Buckets.

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The Bulls are like a box of chocolates, and you never know what you’re gonna get. If there is one perfect word to describe the Chicago Bulls this season it is unpredictable. Each time we’re close to giving up on the season because they look lifeless against a team like the Brooklyn Nets, store Minnesota Timberwolves, no rx or the Phoenix Suns they go and perform like champions against a team like the Cleveland Cavaliers. The Bulls have done just that yet again.

Saturday night the Bulls showed their potential by beating the Cleveland Cavaliers 98-83 on the road. It’s not an easy task taking up Lebron James in his element on his home court, but our Bulls played tough defense and got the win. Fast forward to Monday night and the Bulls can’t handle the Miami Heat at the United Center…umm excuse me? Dwayne Wade is getting old, why could’t the Bulls put a stop on the guy?

So what does this information mean exactly for the potential of a mid-season trade? Will the Bulls buy or sell come time for the February 18 trade deadline? The unpredictability of the team makes it a difficult prediction for sure. Sometimes Chicago looks well equipped to handle the elite teams of the Western Conference and sometimes they look like a junior high basketball team (okay, that was dramatic). Regardless, the Bulls absolutely have some issues to address if they’d like to consider a long playoff run.

First off, Derrick Rose. We’ve seen glimpses of the star player we once knew, but more or less we’ve watched the point guard struggle on both ends of the court this year. He has missed six full games this year, including three in January with knee troubles, and sat out the second half of Monday’s game with a back and hamstring injury. Rose picked up his stats during the games he played in January, however opposing guards are getting into the lane too often leading him to the worst defensive rating on the team. Has the time come we try to trade our superstar that didn’t pan out?

Pau Gasol has been rumored to be a potential trade target. His offensive numbers have gone down a bit, but the NBA veteran All-Star is still productive. He’s a free agent at the end of the season and may be just the bargaining chip for the Bulls to pick up a player that can produce more offense from the small forward position.

Taj Gibson is another name on the chopping block. Joakim Noah’s season-ending shoulder injury not only was devastating to the Bulls depth, but has moved Gibson from his influential Sixth Man off the bench position to the starting power forward. Off the bench, Gibson was able to split time between small forward and power forward. Gibson is a good player, he’s just more effective off the bench. Also, rookie Bobby Portis has shown he may be ready for a larger roll on the team, which would make Gibson a very likely candidate to trade.

So far, Luol Deng and Joe Johnson are potential pick-up targets for the Bulls as well.

It’s tough to tell which way the Bulls will swing come the trade deadline. The answer will be more obvious after the seven-game road trip beginning  in Los Angles against the Lakers on January 28, and ending February 8 in Charlotte. Stay tuned my friends, I’m sure the ups and downs of the season will keep us on our toes.

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