Heat

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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Miami’s Big Three

Bring on the Heat! The Chicago Bulls will take on the reigning NBA Champions, capsule the Miami Heat tonight in South Beach. This is the first of two meetings between the two Eastern Conference rivals this season. Tonight’s primetime showdown is absolutely one of the biggest tests for the Bulls this season as Derrick Rose remains out of their lineup rehabbing and the Heat continue to lead the East.  Lebron James, tadalafil Chris Bosh and Dwayne Wade will be facing a very different Chicago team than in years past.

Both teams are coming off wins on Wednesday, Chicago pulled off a shorthanded win against the Orlando Magic and Miami defeated the Dallas Mavericks in overtime. Which team will prove to be the bigger beasts of the East tonight?

What You Need to Know:

  • King James – aka Lebron James – is questionable for tonight’s match-up. The current league MVP sat out of practice on Thursday with a bruised right knee. However, Bron Bron has played in every game this season and a bruised knee won’t keep him off the court for very long. James is always a threat when healthy, especially to an inconsistent offensive scoring team. Last season James averaged 31.8 points against the Bulls in their conference match-ups.
  • It looks like Carlos Boozer’s new year’s resolution was to be more dominant on offense as he finished with a season high of 31 points and 11 rebounds against the Magic Wednesday. Let’s keep our fingers crossed his offensive mojo is still running high against the Heat where it will be needed the most.
  • The Heat hold the league’s best record at home at 15-2. We’ll see if the Bulls can put a dent in their fancy record at AmericanAirlines Arena. The Heat are also the East’s highest scoring team averaging 103.6 points a game. Thanks to the Bulls’ stellar defense, the Bulls only allow the Heat around 87 points a game when matched up. Chicago’s defense has proven to be a struggle for Dwayne Wade who has only averaged 18.7 points against the Bulls in the last three seasons.
  • Stud center Joakim Noah is expected to return to the Bulls lineup after missing Wednesday’s game due to flu-like symptoms. We need Jo-No healthy and in his fiercest form against this Heat team.

YOur Take Away Piece: 

“Tonight’s game will prove just how well the Bulls can hold their own against the best of the best – there’s nothing like shutting down the defending champs on their home court! The Bulls have defeated the Heat without the talents of Derrick Rose last season (John Lucas went nuts on offense for us!) let’s see if they can do it again. A win will require a collective effort (as always) with Luol Deng, Joakim Noah and Carlos Boozer dominating both sides of the court.”

What’s Next:

Welcome to Miami Bulls fans! This prime-time showdown begins at 7 PM and is covering the national airwaves on ESPN. We all know the Heat are the biggest divas of the NBA on the court, but you might want to tune in a little earlier for pre-game commentary as they’re also the league’s biggest fashionistas and generally put on an excellent fashion show. How could we forget DWade’s pink pants and Burberry belt combo from last year? Fashion aside, it’s time to saddle up and BEAT THE HEAT!

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After almost 2 months of playoff games, healing it’s the Miami Heat and the Oklahoma City Thunder who have survived to compete in the final battle to claim the 2012 NBA Championship title.  If you’re a diehard Chicago fan, viagra a Thunder/Heat NBA Finals is not the match-up you had in mind mid-April, buy but believe us when we say there are plenty of worthy reasons to tune into this iconic match-up.   Here are 10 to consider:

1.  One sexy matchup.  Easily two of the most athletic teams in the NBA, this series will be an amazing display of basketball. The beasts of the East – Lebron James, Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh – are taking on the best of the West – Kevin Durant, Russell Westbrook, and James Harden. The Heat are looking for redemption after blowing it in the finals last year to the Dallas Mavericks and the Thunder are young and eager to get their hands on the Championship trophy.

2.  The “King” Lebron James. We love to hate “Bron Bron”, but he is the reigning MVP for a reason – he’s got game ladies, on the basketball court of course. Even if he makes your blood boil, it’s worth tuning in to cheer on the Thunder and keep King James from getting his paws on a Championship ring.

3.  Kevin Durant’s Seamless Swagger. Durant is playing for his first NBA title at age 23 and just makes the game look so easy. If you’ve ever heard anything about fantasy basketball, you know Durant is a hot commodity because he is the top scorer in the NBA. The Durant-James matchup is perfection in the eyes of any basketball fan. Let the best player win.

4.  The Bearded Warrior. James Harden has quite possibly the most impressive beard the NBA has ever seen and represents “total intimidation”. It doesn’t hurt that this sweet-shooting lefty can score some serious points from downtown (lingo for beyond the 3-point arc) or take it straight to the hoop. The Miami Heat should fear the beard because Harden could easily be the difference maker in this star studded match-up.

Russell Westbrook's Teddy Bear get-up

5.  Fashion Forward Showdown. The duo of Lebron James and Dwyane Wade push the fashion limits in the East, but Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook are demonstrating their fashion swagger in the West. Prepare yourself for some crazy fake-frames, some outrageously bright colors, and possibly something better than a Teddy Bear button up from Westbrook. If nothing else, you could be thoroughly entertained by the pre and post game ensembles.

6.  What else is on TV? Other than the Bachelorette on Monday nights, the summer TV lineup is a little lame, so why not watch some insanely ripped men run around the basketball court? If you’re a sports junkie, it’s still the best option since the LA Kings just won the Stanley Cup, baseball is too early to invest in (we won’t even talk about the Cubs) and football doesn’t start for a few more months.

7.  The celebrity sightings on the floor. Get ready to see the likes of J-Lo, Little Wayne, Drake, Gloria Estefan, the Williams sisters – and God knows who else, sitting in the floor seats during the Finals so everyone can see them.

Lil Wayne

Celebs LOVE the NBA Finals and LeBron and crew have a serious celeb following in Miami, but of late it seems Kevin Durant has the entire rap community following him.

8.  The extra push to head to happy hour on a gorgeous summer night.  Games 2 and 5 are on Thursday nights – the perfect night to hit happy hour.  With a game of this caliber on the big screen – happy hour in the city is bound to be that much better.

9.  A preview of the next Celtics-Lakers rivalry.  Many are already calling the Heat vs. Thunder the next big NBA storied rivalry similar to the famous Celtics-Lakers rivalry of the 80s with Larry Bird vs. Magic Johnson.

10.  You are ‘in the know’.  After reading this list you are armed with key NBA Finals intel – perfect for starting conversations, impressing suitors, rallying friends and anything else that might surface in the next 2 weeks.

What’s next: The madness deemed the NBA finals! Check out the schedule below, this is  basketball you won’t want to miss!

2012 NBA Finals Series Schedule (courtesy of NBA.com):

Game 1 – In OKC – Tuesday, June 12, 8:00 PM CT, ABC

Game 2 – In OKC -Thursday, June 14, 8:00 PM CT, ABC

Game 3 – In Miami – Sunday, June 17, 7:00 PM CT, ABC

Game 4 – In Miami – Tuesday, June 19, 8:00 PM CT, ABC

*Game 5 – In Miami – Thursday, June 21, 8:00 PM CT, ABC

*Game 6 – In OKC – Sunday, June 24, 7:00 PM CT, ABC

*Game 7 – In OKC – Tuesday, June 26, 8:00 PM CT, ABC

*if necessary

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Tonight was not ideal for Chicago fans. The beasts of the east faced off in Miami for the final round of Bulls-Heat in the regular season and this time, despite their dramatic and dirty play, the Heat came out on top. Every loss hurts, but a loss to Miami has an extra sting that we just can’t shake. The loss was simple, the Heat outplayed the Bulls in the final quarter, resulting in their 83-72 victory. They’re definitely partying in the city where the heat is on. Welcome to Miami and Bienvenidos a Miami (thanks Will Smith cira 1998).

What You Need to Know:

  • Tonight marked the Bulls fourth game in the last five days; they just looked tired. They started the game off almost flawless offensively and defensively, but after halftime it was like they hit a hideous brick wall. Chicago could not make a single basket; layup, jump shot, three-pointer, or free throw. You name it, the Bulls missed it. And just like that, they lost their rhythm. The Bulls and Heat are all tied up 2-2 for the season when facing one another.
  • How did the Heat win you ask? Two words: Lebron James. Tonight he showed why he is a candidate for this year’s MVP award. James was the leading Heat scorer with 27 points overall and had 15 points in just the first quarter.
  • After spending the last two games on the bench (wrist injury), Luol Deng came back with 11 points, but then suffered an eye injury later in the game. His bandaid looked extremely uncomfortable. John Lucas III was the top scorer for Chicago with 16 points off the bench.
  • The Bulls were without their MVP Derrick Rose for the 26th time this season – who knew the number would get so high. His most current injury is a sore foot/ankle and we’re hoping he is getting closer to 100% by the millisecond. Otherwise we’re going to need another master plan to stand a chance in the playoffs.
  • Miami got down and dirty on the court tonight. Although they outplayed the Bulls, they also had some cheap shots. James Jones was thrown out early for a flagrant foul. Dwayne Wade shoved Rip Hamilton onto the sideline and Lebron James knocked John Lucas III to the ground with a rough shoulder. Foul play gentlemen.

Your Take Away Piece:

Tonight’s game signified just how important home court advantage will be to these two teams come playoffs. The Bulls and Heat played four times during the regular season. The Heat won their two games at American Airlines arena and the Bulls won both their games at the United Center. There’s a reason they call it home court advantage.

What’s Next:

It’s not over Miami, hopefully the Bulls will be seeing you shortly in the Eastern Conference Championship. Up next, the Bulls take on the defending champion Dallas Mavericks at home on Saturday at 7 pm. Chicago will face Mavericks’ star Dirk Nowitzki in the flesh; he has a tendency to really step things up at the end of the season. We’ll see how well the Bulls stand up to the NBA’s reigning champs.

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Ouch Bobcats! Last night was a matchup of the league’s best and worst teams, the Bulls arrived in Charlotte and easily destroyed the Bobcats,100-68.  It’s what we expected to happen against the Wizards as well, but at least the Bulls performed up to par this time. It was a perfect rebound win for the Bulls and a nice ego boost before their back-to-back game today in Miami. The Bobcats were just a snack, the Heat will be the main course with the probability of some overtime for dessert.

What You Need to Know about Bulls-Bobcats:

  • The Bobcats may be the NBA equivalent to the island of misfit toys. Their fans were so quiet, you could hear coach Thibs (Thibodeau) calling out his plays! Poor Tyrus Thomas (he’s an ex-Bull who ended up in Charlotte).
  • The White Mamba (Brian Scalabrine) made an exclusive appearance! We haven’t seen him on the court in quite a while. Scalabrine might be the most loved player in the NBA, he received a standing ovation in Charlotte when he checked into the game.
  • Rip Hamilton is showing Chi-city what he’s made of! He tied his season high in points and really stepped things up – just in time for the playoffs baby!
  • Taj Gibson and Omer Asik our tandem “Big Guys” of the Bench Mob both had nine points, John Lucas III was throwing up 3-pointers and had 12 points off the bench, even rookie Jimmy Butler got some substantial playing time. Smooth sailing!
What You Need to Know about Bulls-Heat:
  • This is it! Tonight is the final showdown for the Bulls and Heat during the regular season. Chicago has won two out of the first 3 games against Miami this year. If you feel like we were just talking about a Bulls-Heat matchup, we were. Chicago beat Miami at home last Thursday.
  • Since Mr. Hamilton has found his mojo, we’re expecting another big shooting night from him. He’s had back-to-back games with some serious points, we hope he can keep things up at his age (34 is like being ancient in the NBA).
  • Miami stars Dwayne Wade and Chris Bosh both sat out last night to “rest” and will absolutely be ready to go tonight. Lebron James – Bron Bron as we like to call him – has been an animal lately. He’s also a contender for this year’s MVP title (he’s won this twice before).
  • Our All-Stars, Derrick Rose (with a sore foot) and Luol Deng (with his torn wrist ligament) are both “game time decisions” according to Coach Thibs. Teammate Carlos Boozer told CSNChicago last night, “They’re warriors, man. If they can [play], they will.”

Your Take Away Piece:

It’s a battle between the Beasts of the East  and a win for the Bulls is essential in finishing the season off strong, ESPECIALLY since it’s Miami. These two teams are vying for the top spot in the Eastern Conference and it’s going to be a tough fight to the end.

 

What’s Next:

It’s time to get fired up for another Heat-Bulls throw down. The Bulls tip off in South Beach at 7pm CT, be sure to catch the game on TNT (at least it doesn’t start at 8:30). We’re with this guy; Beat the Heat!

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Holy Hot! Get yourself a hose because CJ Watson and Kyle Korver were on fire at the UC. The duo lead the Bulls to their overtime victory, 96-86, against the Miami Heat in tonight’s Eastern Conference thriller. As expected, the game was a total nail biter (in regulation), but surprisingly ended up being a battle between Miami’s starting lineup and the Bulls “Bench Mob”. Rivals better understand – you don’t mess with the Chicago bench!

What You Need to Know:

  • Gimme the Hot Sauce! Kyle Korver – nicknamed Hot Sauce – was like a machine with his 3 point shot tonight. He had 17 points off the bench; it was like he couldn’t miss. When you thought the Heat might take the game, BOOM, there was Korver with the 3-point bucket. The past two games Korver has been a complete animal on offense and defense. Korver joined Chicago in 2010 when we stole his pretty face away from the Utah Jazz.
  • Call him “Mr. Clutch” tonight because C.J. Watson is the reason the Bulls got to overtime (OT) with his 3-point basket to tie the game in regulation. Watson, another member of the infamous “Bench Mob” had one of his most impressive games as a Chicago Bull and 16 points tonight. Who would have thought Chicago’s backup point guard would have such an amazing year when he shares the spotlight with superstar Derrick Rose?
  • Taj Gibson had a spectacular game as well, he was up and down the court all night. Offense or defense Taj was there. He fouled out late in OT and got a HUGE standing ovation from the crowd at the UC.
  • Derrick Rose looked like a lost puppy out there tonight. Rose scored his first and only basket in the 3rd quarter, displaying his worst NBA performance ever. We’ll throw him a bone though. He had a rough week: he came back from a serious groin injury Sunday, sprained his ankle in the same game, rocked a walking boot around town throughout the week, and the fact that he’s going to be a daddy got leaked too!

Your Take Away Piece:

“I can’t say it enough, but I love the Bulls bench. When the games get close, they bring the intensity and can take on any opponent presented to them. Once Rose is comfortable again with the starting 5, the Bulls are going to be untouchable.”

What’s Next:

If you didn’t get enough of the Heat tonight, don’t worry there’s a Bulls-Heat rematch lurking around the corner in Miami next week. But first, the Bulls are heading to the Motor City to take on the Detroit Pistons Sunday at 5 PM – this one won’t keep you up past your bedtime.  Join Stacey King and Neil Funk on WGN, everybody needs a little more Bench Mob in their life.

 

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