Rockets

Alright my fellow Bulls fans, prostate I know this hasn’t been the easiest of seasons for Chicago and many of you have probably given up altogether (I get it, here it’s no fun watching your favorite team suffer through losses), but it may get uglier as the Bulls attempt to claw their way back up the standings. Get ready for a bumpy ride.

Lets start with the good. Jimmy Butler who had missed 11 games with a knee strain returned on Saturday and helped the Bulls defeat the Houston Rockets at home. Buckets looked good, just serving up defense and making some beautiful baskets. Then this week, his knee weirdly swelled up on him and he had to go make a special visit to some guy named Doctor Andrews to get a second opinion on what’s going on. Luckily, Jimmy got the all clear by a second doc so hopefully he should be back in the lineup soon.

Next up on the agenda, Doug McDermott is finding a bit of a rhythm in his sophomore season. Things looked a bit shaky for McBuckets earlier this year. He had struggled to find minutes under old head coach Tom Thibodeau in his rookie season and was expected to really thrive under offensive minded Hoiberg. Until, he didn’t. In February, Dougie had his absolute worst showing of his professional career against the Cavaliers, but has seemingly used that performance to harness some kind of mojo. The following night he put up a career high 30-points over the Toronto Raptors. He admitted he’s just too tough of a critic on himself.

I’m really hard on myself. That can be a good thing, but it can also be a bad thing. I think in college it’s a good thing because you have a week between your next game. In the NBA, you have a game, and then you have another game the next day. So if you’re constantly down on yourself, being mad about a play the night before, it’s going to affect the way you play the next night. So I kind of just let some things go, focus on the moment and just keep moving forward.

Seems like our guy just needed a bit of a confidence boost. Just keep doing what your doing Doug; attack the rim, make those mid-range shots, take more than just 3-point-shots and get aggressive.

Now, on to the UGLY. So the Bulls are currently holding onto the 8th and final playoff spot in the Eastern Conference and the Detroit Pistons are hot on our trail. Normally, I would say “So what, we’ve got this,” but this season has been rough.

The schedule ahead isn’t necessarily the easiest either and Chicago has no room for stingy losses. The Bulls face the Spurs in San Antonio tonight and then head home to take on the Heat on Friday in back-to-back games. The Spurs are sneaky good, I swear there’s a fountain of youth Coach Popovich keeps for his guys, and have gone under the radar in the West with all the hub-bub about the Golden State Warriors. The Spurs are 30-0 at home too people. So two back-to-back tough opponents, then the Bulls still have match-ups with the Pacers, Pistons, Rockets, and Cavs left on the schedule. Not to mention, two months worth of games that could result in more injuries. It’s going to be a tough few months friends. I would say, don’t hold your breath for a crazy playoff run, but the Bulls could always surprise us.

 

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Melo UC 2

The United Center on Tuesday tweeted by @espn

Ready, pilule set, find let the Carmelo Anthony courting begin! Free agency started at 12:01 AM Tuesday morning and the Chicago Bulls got the first shot at securing the restricted free agent.

Mother Nature seems to be on our side giving Melo a beautiful Chicago summer day for his Tuesday tour, now we just need GM Gar Forman and the front office to pull out all the stops because this dude is definitely the belle of the free agency ball this 2014 off season. His list of possible suitors seems endless and the money is flowing.

After his visit in Chicago Tuesday, Anthony will head to Texas to meet with the Dallas Mavericks and the Houston Rockets and later to Los Angeles to hear out the Lakers. He will be wined and dined by each ball club and after his travels could ultimately crush some hearts and re-sign with his Knicks in New York for a fat contract.

Despite the risk, it looks like the Bulls are all in on Sir Anthony after decking out the UC with the “We want Melo” signage and pictures. Chicago drafted and traded for Doug McDermott to clear cap space last week, head coach Tom Thibodeau is on board for bringing in the small forward with the hot shot, Joakim Noah has been recruiting the sharp shooter since January during the All-Star game and the city of Chicago has been wishing for a scorer since the Michael Jordan-Scottie Pippen era.

If you’ve missed the rumblings about Carmelo, here are some important factors to consider:

Why Should Carmelo Come to Chicago? 

  • For a better lack of words, the Bulls have been scoring challenged over the last two seasons. They are desperate for a superstar scorer and Anthony could be that guy. He’d be an instant offensive savior for this Bulls team. He averaged 27.8 points, 8.1 rebounds, and 3.1 assists last season.

    Melo at the UC

    Melo in a Bulls uniform outside the UC

  • Melo understands legacies are made by championship rings and not necessarily how many points you score a game. The Bulls want to win a championship right now. They don’t want to wait a year to clear out cap space to bring in better players. They have a strong core and know they need a solid scorer to complete their puzzle.
  • The Bulls are in the Eastern Conference – the Mavs, Rockets and Lakers are all in the Western Conference which is most definitely a tougher crowd. Think the reigning champion San Antonio Spurs, Kevin Durant and the OKC Thunder, Blake Griffin/Chris Paul and the Clippers – the talent is honestly ridiculous. Other than the Miami Heat, the East is up for the taking. Your odds of at least making it to a NBA finals is far more likely in the Eastern Conference.

What Could Hold Melo Back?

  • More money more problems – Under the collective bargaining agreement, the Knicks can offer Melo a maximum contract of $129 million over five years. Any other potential teams can offer Anthony a maximum of $96 million over four years. Thats a hefty pay cut.

    Melo United Center

    Melo with Championship trophies around the UC

  • Derrick Rose has been injury prone over the last two years. It may be difficult to sell a team with an uncertain superstar piece of the puzzle. Rose could come back stronger than ever this upcoming season, or he may not. It’s all up the air at this point and we know Melo isn’t interested in hanging around to wait and see.
  • Stroke the Ego: Other stars have openly recruited Anthony. Dirk Nowitzki and Tyson Chandler are ready for Melo in Dallas, Dwight Howard and James Harden are waiting in Houston and his good buddy Kobe Bryant is ready to chat man to man in LA. Melo and Lebron James even have a bro-mance happening that could hinder his decision. The Bulls superstar, (who hasn’t suited up in quite some time) Derrick Rose, thinks it’s not “his job” to recruit star players. However, he may not have been openly recruiting Melo, Rose did attend today’s meetings in Chicago.
  • Brooklyn Born: New York is Melo’s hometown and I’m sure he feels a connection to his city. It would mean more to win a championship in “his city” rather than some other location. It’s going to take some serious schmoozing for Anthony to move his family out of his fancy life in the Big Apple and run with the Bulls.

Melo Medley

Be prepared to hear quite a bit about Carmelo and his free agency journey across the US over the next few weeks. This is only the beginning as there are quite a few quality free agents available this off season.

Just remember, it’s only speculation until Melo officially accepts an offer – hopefully he’ll keep things classier than BronBron’s “The Decision” on ESPN a few years back. No need to nationally broadcast your choice, but if you take your talents to Chicago Melo, I promise we’re better fans than you’ll find in NY. #letsgo #Bullieve

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Happy New Year Bulls fans! With 2012 behind us, help the Bulls look to take January by storm. Chicago finished off the calendar year at 16-13 and 9-6 for the month. December was a bit of a roller-coaster for the Bulls as they were able to defeat some of the Eastern Conference’s top teams, but also choked against one of the very worst.

The Bulls were a team held to very few expectations entering the 2012-2013 season, but our Bulls are fighters and have proven many of their haters wrong. It hasn’t been an easy ride thus far as every win has been a collective team effort of heart, sweat and intensity.  Let’s take a look at the good and the bad of the final days of 2012.

The Good: The Bulls did some Eastern Conference damage in December. They beat the New York Knicks twice (once at home and once at Madison Square Garden), they locked up a home win and a road win against their playoff rival Philadelphia 76ers, and to top things off they also beat the Brooklyn Nets and Boston Celtics.

The Bulls reserves are proving that this new crew is just as powerful as the “bench mob”. Marco Belinelli came out of his shell producing some extra offensive power when Rip Hamilton was locked down due to a foot injury and Belinelli took his starting slot.

Nate Robinson has done his fair share and is an obvious spark-plug off the bench. His additional scoring power has kept the Bulls alive in many of their close games. Jimmy Butler plays less than 20 minutes a game, but makes every minute count.

Rookie point guard Marquis Teague has shown promise with his excellent court vision and decision-making. Teague has appeared in 16 games as Kirk Hinrich has suffered a string of injuries.

The Bad: Despite the positive wins, they also had some rough losses. Chicago rode the struggle bus Christmas Day getting blown out by the Houston Rockets 120-97. Don’t get me wrong, since the addition of James Harden the Rockets have been playing well, but it’s always embarrassing to lose by 20 plus points. Apparently Charlotte has Chicago’s number, because the 8-23 Bobcats defeated the Bulls 91-81, a 10 point deficit.

Overall Assessment: Finishing 9-6 on the month is definitely a positive for the Rose-less Bulls. The last few games of December were rather rough to watch as they got spanked by the Atlanta Hawks, trampled by Houston on Christmas Day, and defeated by the lowly Charlotte Bobcats.

If only Carlos Boozer and Kirk Hinrich could get their offensive mojo flowing consistently our Bulls could consider themselves a playoff contender. It’s still quite early in the season for any serious predictions, but the Bulls are in decent shape starting out 2013.

December’s Most Valuable Players: 

Joakim Noah

Messy Bun Swag is taking over Bulls nation. It’s still early, but it looks like Noah is having the best season of his career playing at an All-Star Caliber and making his presence known as one of the most elite centers in the league.

Noah’s biggest improvements come offensively where he is lethal in the low post, but he is now dangerous from the outside sinking jump shots (funky motion and all).  Jo-No scored 30 points and racked up 23 rebounds against the Detroit Pistons early in December and had a game winning triple double against the Celtics mid-month.

Luol Deng

Deng. He. Still. Good. Deng is a player who makes his impact on both sides of the court averaging 40.3 minutes a game. Offensively he leads the Bulls with 17.5 points per game.

In comparison to other elite teams the Bulls lack fire power which leaves much of the offensive load resting in Deng’s hands. Defensively Deng shuts down league superstars such as Carmelo Anthony with stifling defense.

Marco Belinelli

Boy oh boy can things change in a month! In November Belinelli was barely getting playing time and 30 days later he’s starting in place of an injured Rip Hamilton and averaging 10 points a game.

What to Watch in January: 

1/4 at the Miami Heat: Chicago heads to the city where the Heat is on! This is the first Bulls vs Heat match-up of the season and is definitely worth watching. Will our guys be able to defeat the Eastern Conference leading Miami Heat?

1/9 & 1/30 vs Milwaukee: The Bulls will face the Central Division chasing Milwaukee Bucks twice this month; one home game at the UC and one road game at the Bradley Center.

1/11 at New York Knicks: They’ve got another Bulls vs Knicks match-up at Madison Square Garden. Can they our men in red go 3-0 for the season against NY?

1/14 vs. Atlanta: The Bulls have a shot at redemption against the Atlanta Hawks who are standing in 3rd in the Eastern Conference. Hopefully the cards will be in Chicago’s favor the second time around at the UC.

1/19 vs. Memphis: Chicago will take on the Memphis Grizzlies (who have been dominating the Western Conference) for the second time this season, but this time the show will go down at the Madhouse on Madison.

1/21 vs. LA Lakers: Kobe Bryant, Dwight Howard and the Lake-Show are heading to Chicago. Although the Lakers aren’t have their greatest season hopefully they’ll get their coaching debacle figured out and put on a good show against the Bulls.

Bring it on 2013 – we’re going to keep on Bullieving!

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Rip Hamilton

The Chicago Bulls very own masked-menace, help discount Rip Hamilton, click was back on the floor of the United Center tonight. After being served an ego shattering loss to the OKC Thunder last night, for sale the Bulls needed a big win Monday, but the Bulls suffered a back-to-back loss to the Houston Rockets 99-93. Chicago was able to put one of it’s missing pieces of the injury ridden puzzle back into their starting lineup tonight, but they’re still not complete.

What you need to know:

  • Richard “Rip” Hamilton, is the newest edition to the Bulls this season, but has missed what feels like the majority of the season due to injury. He missed the past 14 games because of a right shoulder contusion.
  • Rip Hamilton’s “signature look” of a protective face mask and a matching sweat-band is a result of breaking his nose one too many times back with the Pistons.
  • A veteran of the NBA, Hamilton started tonight as a “two-guard” otherwise known as a “shooting guard” – he’s supposed to be the player on the team with a consistent jump shot as well as excellent ball handling skills, but it looks like he was a bit rusty with only six points, three assists and five turnovers after playing 20 minutes.
  • Tonight’s loss was the first time the Bulls have lost two consecutive games since February 7, 2011. C.J. Watson, who started the game at point guard, only had two points – not great.

Your Take Away Piece:

“Although Hamilton returned to the starting lineup tonight, the Bulls seem to be struggling without their super star Derrick Rose. I’m not sure how long the Bulls can hold the number one spot without their MVP, the “Bench Mob” can only take Chicago so far.” The Bulls are going to need to be healthy and get back into their rhythm as a team to take on power houses like the Miami Heat in the playoffs. 

What’s Next:

Bulls fans are anxiously awaiting the return of reigning MVP Derrick Rose, who missed his 11th straight game tonight because of a groin injury, his return date is still up in the air. With the playoffs creeping around the NBA’s corner, can the Bulls keep the best record in the Eastern Conference? The Bulls will face Rajon Rondo and the Boston Celtics on Thursday. Rondo is going to give C.J. Watson a run for his money this week!

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