Bulls fans are scared of clowns

Every year the circus rolls into town, and every year the Bulls head out west to get destroyed.   fans then spend months panicking about how lousy our team is until they eat up the soft December and January schedules and get back on track for the playoff hunt.

However, things are different when you have expectations of winning 50 games.   You simply can't go out west, get destroyed, and then recover to 50 wins so easily.

Things aren't made any easier by the absence of Carlos Boozer either.   So far, the Bulls have played well in his absence with Taj Gibson really picking up his level of play and providing some solid offense for the team.

However, with the level of competition ramped up, the games on the road, three of the games  on the tail end of back to backs, and the Bulls missing one of their top players, this is likely the most difficult stretch of the season.

While of course, there will be more detailed analysis to follow before each game, here's a quick look at the trip on the whole:

@Houston
The Rockets are missing Yao, but I doubt that makes much difference since Yao was on a minute limit anyway, and I think Joakim Noah would have a field day running up and down the court against him.   Aaron Brooks is also out for the Rockets, and Chase Budinger might miss the game as well.  

It's not going to get any easier than this on this road trip, so the Bulls better win this one.

Predicted outcome: Bulls Win

@San Antonio
The Spurs are off to a hot start this season, and they have the type of big men who can really bother the Bulls.   The big, bulky kind.   Blair and Duncan will make things really hard on the Bulls all game long, and the Bulls will really need to bring something special to take this game or hope for an off shooting night from the Spurs as it's simply not a good matchup for us.  On top of this game being tough enough, it comes as the second game of a back to back as well.   With Boozer this game would be close to a push, but without him it will be awfully tough.

Predicted outcome: Bulls loss

@Dallas
I think the Bulls can go into Dallas and have a shot at pulling off the upset.  While Dirk is just as dangerous as Duncan (perhaps moreso), he's less likely to physically overpower us.   The Mavs do have a lot of front court depth with Chandler and Haywood, but their guards are older and not that dangerous.   I view the Bulls as underdogs, but I expect a strong showing with a chance for the win.

Predicted outcome: Bulls loss

@Lakers
The Lakers are simply too deep, too good, and at home.  Unless they suffer some injuries leading up to this game, it'd be a rather large upset for us to take this one.   Anything can happen any given night of course, but this is probably the most certain outcome on the trip.

Predicted outcome: Bulls loss

@Phoenix

I like the Bulls matchup against the Suns where Rose has the athleticism to really harass Steve Nash, and he's become a much better on ball defender.  The Suns don't have anyone who can check Rose, and the Bulls should have a large advantage on the glass.  The Suns are at home, and the Bulls are coming off a back to back, but I still think the Bulls match up well and can win this game.

Predicted outcome: Bulls win

@Denver

Well the Bulls already beat Carmelo Anthony and company once this year, and they didn't play particularly well in that effort either.   Whether they do so again probably comes down more to what the Nuggets do than what the Bulls do.  If the Nuggets are shooting well, then I think they're probably better than the Boozerless Bulls at home.  If the Nuggets get erratic shooting then the Bulls should win.  I view the game as a push.

Predicted outcome: Bulls loss

@Kings
Tyreke Evans hasn't taken a step forward this season yet, and DeMarcus Cousins doesn't look so great now that the games have started.   They have gotten solid play out of Francisco Garcia, but the Kings simply aren't all that good.   The Bulls are on the second half of a back to back here, but they should still beat the Kings.

Predicted outcome: Bulls win

Interesting side note, while the Bulls play three back to backs on this trip, not one of the teams they're playing hits the Bulls on the second half of a back to back.  Since the Jordan era, the best the Bulls have ever done on the road trip was 3-3 in 05/06.   They went 3-4 in 08/09 for their second best stretch, and haven't won more than a single game on the trip since Jordan retired outside of those years.

CHICAGO TRIBUNE VIDEO

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  • "After battling the Spurs, the Bulls face the Mavericks on the tail end of the back to back."

    This is the front of a back to back

  • correction not a back to back at all

  • I was just looking at the Bulls team stats, and it appears that they are a plus five points per game over opponents. Also team field goals: Bulls .483, opponents .438. I'd say those numbers bode well for Chicago. Derrick if I'm reading the statsheet correctly has almost six FTA's per game. If he can do that on the road, and get past double teams for 24-25ppg I think the Bulls could possibly end up at five hundred on this trip. Noah and Taj will have to continue their excellent play, and Bogans, Brewer, and C.J. need to bring it. Could be fun if Chicago plays hard every night which most likely they will.

  • In reply to MarkNorman:

    If I am not mistaken, this is a 7 game road trip, so a .500 trip would be a highly unlikely outcome barring a freak accident of some sort.

  • I like the Bulls against the Spurs as well. Bulls match up well and their energy/speed is tough for the Spurs to handle.

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    In reply to bullshooter:

    Ditto that. Against the Spurs I like the matchup, I like the fact that we at least got a glimpse of them in preseason, and that we get them after probably a win against an undermanned Houston squad.

    I like the Bulls better against the Spurs than the Suns. The Bulls usually do well in Phoenix but I don't think Thibs is going to ask the team to hold back against the Lakers (nor should he). So Phoenix is going to be a tough game the next night.

  • In reply to Redwhitenblack:

    I say roll over for the Lakers and save your energy for the rest of the trip. What's the point in going balls out and killing yourself when no one beats the Lakers at home. If we had Boozer it would be a different story. Then I'd say lets go at them hard and see what we're capable of. But it's a loss either way, so why burn so much fuel?

  • In reply to adamlweber:

    This would be a disaster. Even though rationally you've got to expect the Bulls to get soundly beat, all the players are probably excited to play the champs. Not to mention it'll get more attention from media and casual fans than normal. No matter the record coming into the game, they'll be plenty to accomplish.

  • In reply to adamlweber:

    GOTTA HAVE FAITH

    With god all things are possible ...don't be surprised if this team goes 5-2 or even 6-1....call me crazy but I'm praying this team ends up 10-5 or even 11-4....let's go to wrk this week chi bullys

  • In reply to adamlweber:

    Well we beat Houston last year in Houston i believe...an they will be without Yoa...We gotta win that 1, an we beat San Antonio last year too i believe, i think we need to just run them up an down the court since their a older team. Dallas is always tough at home an same with the Lakers. We will be going against the refs too in LA, so that game will be even tougher. Denver an Sacremento are games we could win too...i cant wait to see how we do....hopefully we can get some W's.

  • In reply to bullshooter:

    Great point MW I was thinking the same things...great way for the players to bond on this long trip out West! So many new faces and when they are at home they prob do their own things but on the road they are Bro's! Hope they get the 1st win against Houston and then build momentum as they go. I'm a Kings fans since I lived there for a few years, but the Bulls should be able to take the Kings pretty easily! I'm really looking forward to the Rose/Evans matchup as they came into the league 1 year from each other and both are physical combo guards from the same small school (Memphis). Deng should dominate 2 hopefully but Casspi is high energy as is Garcia.
    Go Bulls!!! The schedule makers really were salivating on scheduling losses with this meany back to backs against good Western teams a double wammy...the annual circus deal being the 1st as well as Boozer not playing yet.
    Time to dig in and come together as a team win or lose and work hard!

  • In reply to bullshooter:

    I got the bulls winning 4 to 5 games.

  • In reply to bullshooter:

    5-2 road trip = 10-5 to start the season. Just saying.

    SIDE NOTE:

    Here's my boy, E'Twaun Moore, in action during Purdue's opener over the weekend.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=F9ifYaIOo1Y

    * He's a local kid from the Chicagoland area. Chicagoland kids can play.

  • In reply to MrHappy:

    Went to purdue. Love etwaun kid can ball. Not sure how his game translates to the pros though. He's a little undersized.. but he has great speed and creates his own shot.

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    In reply to jgingeri:

    E'Twaun's got a very special skill that I'm sure will translate well. If he can see the basket, he can make the shot. Seriously, he's ridiculous.

  • In reply to MrHappy:

    Happy-

    I seem to recall a thread a while back where you predicted a 10-5 start and everyone laughed at you and Doug said that if that happened the Bulls would be the best team in the NBA. Now a 5-2 trip doesn't seem such a stretch.

    Well done optimist-prime.

  • In reply to MrHappy:

    +2 Good Post Doug, I agree

  • In reply to MrHappy:

    just as I predicted(above), just saying.

  • True but there's also that Knicks game skewing things.

  • Unless they don't get along. Sometimes I can't stand people after being stuck with them for a weekend let alone a week.

  • In reply to adamlweber:

    Heard that! Even people you like get annoying after 2 weeks together!

  • In reply to adamlweber:

    Remember the Ice Show road trip last year, Bullies lost first 2 then won the last 5?...crazy things can happen

  • I think even that's too optimistic. They're not going 5-2 on a road trip filled with back to backs when Boozer's out and Korver might be too.

  • Given the nature of this trip, and the condition of the team(no Boozer and maybe no Korver) your breakdown is perfectly logical, and likely the best case scenario for this trip.

    Since all the games are on the road, with all the back to backs, and a 4 in 5 nights as well, the Bulls are more likely to lose a game that they "should win" than they are to win a game that they "should lose".

    If they come back at 8-7 with Boozer set to return we should all be thrilled, except of course, Mappy Pelosi who right about now should be guaranteeing a 5-2 trip, in order to lock in that 10-5 record prior to Boozers return that he predicted/guaranteed.

    5-2, here we come, Mappy Pelosi is never wrong, just ask her, I guarantee that she will tell you, whether you want to hear it or not.

  • Any shot at 10-5 went out the window with Toney Douglas, Danilo Gallinari, and Raymond Felton's 3 point shooting.

  • Really I think there's three groups of games:

    Spurs, Mavs, Lakers: Elite teams, but older and slower, we need to play fast and exploit our quicker guys for a chance.

    Suns, Nuggets: Offensive teams that don't play a lot of defense, we should be looking to grind it out against these teams. Both have awful front courts that we can exploit with Noah & Gibson too.

    Kings, Rockets: The bad teams that we have to win against.

    I think we'd be thinking we're capable of stealing 1 off the elite teams, split the middle tier, and take the two bad team games. So 4-3 would be the benchmark, but 3-4 would be acceptable too, since taking a game from the elite teams will be hard. But even if we blow it I'm not super worried, our best two post Jordan seasons have been in 1 win circus trip years anyway.

  • While I agree that dougs assessment makes for a logical prediction, I also feel it's ridiculous to say we don't have any realistic shot to win 4, 5, or even 6 games. I happen to be a betting man, and theres a reason I never ever bet on NBA regular season games, the underdog wins entirely too often, specifically slight underdogs, which the bulls will be in most of these games. The way I see it the bulls are just as likely to win 2 games as they are to win 5 since they are slight favorites in 2 games, heavy favorites in one, slight underdogs in 3 games and heavy dogs in another. You take the lakers loss and Sacramento win as is, leaving you with 5 games that are virtually flip of the coin games. Chances are we get 2 or 3 of those five, landing us with a 3 or 4 win road trip. Using that same logic, you can't say the bulls could easily only win 2 games without saying it is just as likely they come away with 5, the odds are virtually identical for the two possibilities. Yes, we are "slight underdogs" in 3 of the 5 toss ups, but there isn't enough quantitative difference between being slight dogs or slight favorites to treat them as anything less than a coin flip when you are strictly betting on wins and losses.

  • As previously noted by Doug and others, we really haven't had a great game as of late, I'd go as far to say were due to have a streak of high fg percentage.

    Am I the only one stepping back to realize how ridiculous it is that we have played this well, played this "not poorly" , while boozer sits the bench sporting a suit and tie? With taj moving to the bench we can keep a similar rotation, except now we can always have 2 NBA starting caliber players on the court at all times

  • 43, 43, 41, 50, 50, 60, and 52 for field goal percentages, not bad. And a 5 ppg plus margin, Warriors effect yes, but still giving up .438 and those other numbers are still a good sign. If Rose can up his scoring slightly 24-25 I think we could win 3 min. which would be considered a success.

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