Derrick Rose

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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The Cleveland Cavaliers and the Chicago Bulls are without question two of the favorite contenders when it comes to the Eastern Conference this season. Generally because of the Lebron James factor, sovaldi analysts lean towards the Cavs to take the East and I get that whole “best player in basketball thing.” This week the Golden State Warriors took a road trip to the Midwest and literally wiped their sweat with the Cavs on Monday and then the Bulls on Wednesday. Now, thumb don’t get me wrong, check the Warriors led by Stephen Curry are undoubtedly the best team in the league (the Spurs are in the hunt though). Most days they look unstoppable, but generally when the best teams in the two conferences face-off it’s an exciting game to watch. Not the case here, it was more-or-less straight up depressing as both games were basically over by halftime leaving fans with not a damn thing to cheer about.

First came the 132-98 beat-down of the Cavs in Cleveland on Monday. The Warriors got a little sleep and traveled to Chicago where they gave the Bulls a 125-94 loss on Wednesday night. OUCH, that’s a combined margin of victory of 65 points, on the road no less! It doesn’t say much for the Eastern Conference I can tell you that much. Suddenly, Eastern Conference fans may find themselves rooting a little harder for teams like the San Antonio Spurs, or the Oklahoma City Thunder because these Warriors have proved they can blow out the East’s big dogs.

Generally speaking, I’m excited when a team trounces the Cavs because I am not a Lebron fan. When that same team comes and beats up on my Bulls I get angry. I mean Golden State scored on Chicago while two of their players were literally in the backcourt tying their shoes – embarrassing.  Now now, there were plenty of factors that fed into the Bulls horrific loss.

  1. Derrick Rose was the only player to show up on Wednesday with 29 points (the Bulls still somehow lost by 31)
  2. Pau Gasol was literally no where to be found. He had ONE point.
  3. People are talking smack about Jimmy Butler being quiet, but he had 23 points. The guy can’t give 51 points EVERY game there are other players on the roster than need to produce as well.
  4. Defense, what’s that?
  5. The Bulls lost Joakim Noah to a season-ending shoulder injury just last week. I know he wasn’t doing much on the floor this season, but I believe he’s a huge factor in the Bulls mental toughness when they’re preparing for a game. They’re definitely missing their leader.

The next few games the Bulls are sticking to the East heading to Boston to face the Celtics Friday and then a big potential Eastern Conference Finals preview against the Cleveland Cavaliers Saturday. Hopefully our guys can find a quick bounce back and play to win some basketball.

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The holidays are here and that means food, drugstore family and football.  No wait, this is Christmas and that means food, family and BASKETBALL.  It’s easy to get confused because Christmas is to the NBA what Thanksgiving is the NFL.  An annual tradition that dates back to 1947 of all day basketball folly.  In 2011, the slate of games grew to 5, tipping off at 11am, and has stayed as large and as long ever since.

This year we’re looking at anything and everything from coast to coast match ups, a Finals rematch (or preview), East vs. West face-offs, and a Staples Center showdown, all complete with the requisite NBA Christmas uniforms, which I am not mad about this year.

If you’re looking to pick and choose when to watch vs. when to eat, sleep or spend time with the fam, here’s the game by game rundown.

11am CT New Orleans at Miami

A match up of the somewhat surprisingly intriguing Heat vs. the under performing Pelicans.  The Brow is always a fun watch and seeing him take on Hassan Whiteside in the paint shouldn’t disappoint.  But New Orleans is ravaged by injuries and an inability to adjust to the new coaching staff.  While I’m much more partial to New Orleans for eating, drinking and dancing, I’d pick Miami in this one.

1:30pm CT Chicago at OKC

The NBA so wanted Derrick Rose vs. Russell Westbrook to mean what it used to.  Unfortunately three knee surgeries has taken its toll on one much more than the other.  Despite this, the Bulls beat the Thunder earlier in the season behind a great game from Rose, who has since lost his facemask, the height of his hair, and his shot.  Both teams are playing under new head coaches who made the jump from college ball, but OKC is surging, while the Bulls count their lucky playoffs stars that they’re in the East.  I want to take the Bulls to turn it around and bring this one home because they always seem to surprise me on Christmas but without Joakim Noah, I have little faith this holiday season.

4pm CT Cleveland at Golden State

Get out the eggnog early because this is going to be good.  You can call it a Finals rematch or a Finals preview, but the top teams in each conference are at full strength with Cleveland seeing the return of Kyrie Irving this week, and they’re about to go at it.  Golden State boasts one of the best crowds in the NBA, who have been getting to games an hour early just see Steph Curry warm up.  And Lebron, well he’s mad.  Golden State makes history with every win so I’m picking the Warriors, if only to hope for a Riley Curry sighting at the post game press conference.

7:00pm CT San Antonio at Houston

Eat dinner quickly so you can be on the couch for an in-state battle of two completely opposite teams.  The Spurs quietly have the second best record in the NBA with only two less wins than the Warriors.  Pop is still sitting during games since it’s not April, and Kawhi Leonard shows us nightly how much bigger, stronger and faster he is than other top shooting guards in the league.  He’ll face another one in James Harden on Friday, but Harden’s Rockets have not done anything quietly this season.  Already working with an interim head coach and Dwight Howard trade rumors, the Rockets have been incredibly mediorcre so far, and outright bad at times.  They are however coming off of a 3 game win streak and have the talent to put on a show at home.  But if NBA fans know one thing, it’s to never bet against the Spurs.

9:00pm CT Los Angeles at Los Angeles

Many family Christmas gatherings may be able to relate to this match up – two passive aggressive siblings, living under the same roof, cut from the same cloth, with so little in common on any level.  On one end of the floor, the Lakers are a mess.  In the midst of the Kobe retirement tour, they boast two young stars in the making in Randle and Russell, who go in and out of the lineup for no apparent reason.  Kobe may score 34 points, or he may have 3 or 4 air balls.  Meanwhile, the Clippers are as good as they’ve ever been, but it doesn’t look to be good enough.  Their team is filled with controversial players who have never made it quite as far as they should have, and it doesn’t look like they ever will after the first few months of the season.  Kobe will be looking to go out with a bang in his 16th Christmas game, but I’d still take the Clippers to use the holiday to get their season back on track, as they continue to chase the shadow of the Warriors.

And that’s a wrap on Santa’s gift to all NBA fans this year.  Wishing you a very merry NBA Christmas, from our SDI family to yours!

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The Chicago Bulls are helping us get into the holiday spirit with Christmas quickly approaching. The Bulls organization invited 70 members of the Chicago Youth Symphony Orchestra to play a live rendition of the Christmas classic ‘Sleigh Ride’ during a Bulls scrimmage.

As I played this video I had the urge to breakout the old show choir holiday dance moves and start signing “let’s hear those sleigh bells jing-a-ling, treat ring-ting-ting-a-lin too.” Any body else feel the same?

Basketball is considered an art form and the producers wanted to juxtapose something never-before-seen for the fans. The end result, viagra a bunch of super huge dudes playing basketball with rather tiny humans surrounding them playing a lovely holiday tune. I’m guessing the producers had a quick chat with the guys before filming started to keep things relatively calm. If Joakim Noah or one of the other seven-footers ran into one of those cellos it would be done for. Not to mention the tiny violinists!

My personal favorite was Mike Dunleavy, still sidelined due to an extended recovery from off-season back surgery, conducting the guys under the hoop. Just a silly little tid-bit.

I’m sure the holidays are a bit different when you’re an NBA star. There’s no such thing as PTO for Christmas and for our Bulls they’re heading to Oklahoma City to take on Kevin Durant, Russell Westbrook and their Thunder squad. They’re also millionaires, so don’t think I’m over here feeling bad for the guys.

In other news, the Bulls are giving us another holiday gift, a four-game winning streak. Umm yes please! Overall the guys are still struggling to find their team identity under new head coach Fred Hoiberg. However, it’s not all bad. When Derrick Rose gives 100% the team is completely different as his speed sets the tone for the game. It’s just kind of hit or miss when he’ll be on his A-game. Sometimes he looks incredible, sometimes he looks lethargic. Jimmy Butler is having a SEASON and generally carries the team towards victory. Most recently, we’ve been blessed with some Doug McDermott three-pointers, let’s build up that boys confidence! And we finally got a glimpse of what could be from rookie Bobby Portis against the 76ers on Monday. They’re not perfect, but they’re improving and at this point that it absolutely fine with me.

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WHAT is going on with the Bulls?

Despite their depth, viagra height advantages and overall talent, the Bulls have lost two bewildering back-to-back games at home (woof).  Monday night’s 103-101 loss to the Suns was extra sour, as the Bulls crumbled in the 4th quarter and gave up a 16 point lead to a team they should have absolutely defeated. It seems as though, the only thing our Bulls can do consistently is be inconsistent. Why oh why, can’t our Bulls figure it out?

No one seems to have any answers. When asked about the Bulls ‘killer instinct’ swingman Jimmy Butler said,

“Hell, I think you either got it or you don’t. Right now we don’t have it.”

It’s been apparent thus far into the season Chicago comes out ready to destroy teams of higher calibers (Cleveland Cavaliers, Oklahoma City Thunder, San Antonio Spurs). When it comes to the less elite opponents, it’s almost like the Bulls just show up and play carelessly. They need to be consistent with their drive to win. So what can the Bulls do to find it?

Derrick Rose sure doesn’t have the answer, “If I could put a finger on it, I wish I could, but I can’t. I don’t have an answer for that.”

Pau Gasol thinks it’s time for a team meeting. I’m 100% with the big guy, communication is obviously an issue out on the court. There was a lot of head shaking and angry looks when players weren’t where they needed to be during Monday’s game.

Gasol told the media, “We got to understand what’s going on. How bad do we want this? Because games like this and games like Charlotte you just can’t afford to lose. It’s a big difference winning those types of games and then losing them at the end of the season. We’re putting ourselves out of the playoffs right now — the Eastern Conference is too tight. It’s wide open but you got to go for it. If we want to be up fighting for something, we got to change things up a little bit.”

New head coach Fred Hoiberg was also a bit confused. He explained during the Suns post game interview that the Bulls had played their best defensive game in the 3rd quarter only giving up 10 points, and then played their absolute worst defense during the 4th allowing the Suns to score 42 points. Talk about an identity crisis.

Time to lock it up guys. We can only use the “it’s still early in the season” excuse for so long. The Bulls have Tuesday off and then have the Boston Celtics on Wednesday and the LA Clippers on Thursday.

Updates:

In other news, Mike Dunleavy needs an additional 4-6 weeks of rehab before his return to the court. Definitely a bummer, since Dunleavy brings more experience to the team than Doug McDermott and Tony Snell at the shooting guard position. Also, Pau Gasol shared that he will “very likely” opt out of his Bulls contract at the end of the season and test the water of free agency.

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Our Bulls wrapped up their first entire month of play on Monday with a huge win against the San Antonio Spurs. Despite moments of brilliance, sovaldi sale this Bulls team is what I’d like to call a ‘beautiful basketball disaster.’ Chicago sits third in the Eastern Conference behind the Cleveland Cavaliers and Indiana Pacers with a 10-5 record. The Bulls’ standings and record doesn’t warrant any panic, doctor but there have been some inconsistencies that kept fans shaking their heads in disbelief.

Under new coach Fred Hoiberg the Bulls anticipated amping up their offense and loosening up the focus on defense. Surprisingly, here the Bulls have been the fifth worst offense (according to NBA.com), but have been the leagues sixth best defense. They’ve had some embarrassing blowout losses to lowly NBA teams, but have also beaten some of the top teams in the league.

Derrick Rose has been playing with double vision after suffering the orbital fracture during training camp. He hasn’t been able to consistently put up offensive numbers, but his presence on the court is absolutely noticeable. He’s still quick and can create plays for his teammates to score. There are a lot of Rose haters out there these days after all of his injuries, but the Bulls are a better team even with a cross-eyed Rose. His vision is only going to get better.

Overall, our Bulls are where most analysts predicted they’d be. They have a deep roster, they struggle to find offense occasionally, but when they play team basketball they win big games. We can call them fabulously flawled?

Best Moments:

  • Monday’s 92-89 win against the Spurs was one of my favorites for the Bulls. The Spurs are a red-hot Western conference force, only trailing the undefeated Golden State Warriors. The Bulls came out ready to play both ends of the court. The entire team played well and Joakim Noah finally looked like himself (thank goodness).
  • Bulls started the season with a big home opener win against the Cleveland Cavaliers (it was technically October, but we’ll let it slide).
  • They stole a big game from the Oklahoma City Thunder with a 104-98 game at home.

Woof – lets just forget about these games:

  • The Bulls got spanked 105-130 to the Charlotte Hornets – this one still makes me cringe.
  • A 102-93 overtime loss to the Minnesota Timberwolves also was a tough one to swallow.

November’s MVP:

Easy peasy – that would be Jimmy Butler. He may just be a top 10 player in the league and is absolutely the most consistent player on the Bulls roster. He’s averaging 20.3 points per game, 2.5 assists and 5.1 rebounds. Now he’s no Stephen Curry putting up 34 points a game, but Jimmy Buckets is the guy the Bulls can count on this season. He’s like a nice wine, he just keeps getting better with age.

The Bulls have to be cautious with Butler as he is obviously one of the most crucial players. Reports confirm Butler has been playing through the pain of a sore heel since November 20th’s game against Golden State. He says he’s going to play through the pain, but lets not push things – there’s still a lot of season to play.

I’m also going to give an honorable mention to Pau Gasol. His stats are not quite as amazing as seasons past, but the big man has been crucial to the best Bulls wins. Let us applaud the game winning block he had against Lebron James in the home opener.

Must Watch December Games: 

  • December 10th the Bulls host the LA Clippers at 7 PM
  • December 25th the Bulls head to OKC to face the Thunder on Christmas Day – games at 1:30 PM
  • December 30th the Bulls close out the holidays with the Pacers at the United Center at 7 PM. This is a big one as the Bulls and Pacers are 1-1 this season and both conference and division rivals.
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