Hanging on to third is now critically important

I've long feared the Heat.   Even when they were 9-8, I thought they'd get it together and be there at the end of the season.   At 30-9 that looks like an even greater possibility, especially given the injuries they've had.

The Heat have now climbed into the #1 seed spot, and I don't expect them to lose it any time soon.   That said, becoming the third seed never became so important before.

It comes down to matchups.

The Bulls, IMO, don't matchup well with Miami.   We don't have the dominating inside presence or the overall offensive balance to exploit them on offense like Boston or Orlando do.  Both teams have plenty of shooting and big men who can bully people in the post.

The Bulls are largely a two man offensive show with Boozer and Rose, and while Boozer is good down low, he struggles with length and Chris Bosh will probably be able to contain him to a large degree.

However, the Bulls can defeat Boston or Orlando.   When both teams are fully healthy, the Bulls have a speed advantage against Boston, and despite getting drubbed by Orlando earlier, they contained Howard fine and played a terrible game.  

The Bulls could obviously lose to any of the three, but I view their odds as best against Boston, then Orlando, then Miami.  

Miami's odds are probably best against Chicago, then Boston, then Orlando.  

As such, it's critical that the Bulls hang on to 2nd or 3rd, and they have to hope that Boston stays ahead of Orlando.

The ideal season finish (assuming Chicago can't get the #1 seed)
Miami
Chicago
Boston
Orlando

Chicago gets a cakewalk first game, plays Boston in the second round, then Miami has to go up against Orlando, their worst matchup.    I give us 50/50 odds against Boston, then hope Orlando takes out Miami for us, and I give us 40/60 odds against Orlando.

Unfortunately for the Bulls, hanging on to 3rd is going to be extremely difficult, and the most likely team for them to pass is probably Boston which is suffering injuries and isn't as inclined to care what seed they have anyway.

Still a Orlando/Chicago 2nd round matchup isn't as bad as a Miami/Chicago, and Boston still has a shot at knocking off Miami as well.   Either way, if the Bulls make it to the finals this year (an event I consider unlikely) I think it takes Boston or Orlando to topple Miami for them.

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  • Doug, what would you estimate is the minimum amount of wins Chicago would need to get the second seed?

  • good point, if they get #3 we can enjoy two rounds of playoff basketball, if they get to the ECF and the heat are there, I guess i'll just turn off the tv to make sure i don't chuck it out the window during the series.

  • I have to disagree about Orlando being a worse match-up than Miami. Carlos Boozer has not struggled against Chris Bosh in the past, posing game scores (single game PER) of 19.1, 14.9, 17.2, 11.2, 29.1, and 21.2 in the past 4 years. Looks like pretty much normal production from him. Although Bosh is long, he is weak, and Boozer can overpower him. Also, Noah can dominate whoever the Heat throw out at center, and Rose should be able to blow past his man into a relatively weak interior defense. Deng and Brewer (please no Bogans by playoff time) match-up as well as possible against Lebron and Wade, not that I think the Bulls are going to stop them, but at least make them less efficient.

    Orlando has given the Bulls a lot of trouble (2-6 during the Rose years). It's a very hard match-up because of Howard's strength against Noah, and his interior defense when Rose drives.

    I think we're all hoping for a 2nd round series against Boston, but after that the odds will be against us whether we play Orlando or Miami. I agree with you in general about the Bulls playoff odds, I just think Miami (though a great team) is not too bad of a match-up, while Dwight Howard terrifies me.

  • In reply to npr1998:

    I think the Heat actually have the second best defense in the league--second only to the Bulls. (Based on points per opposing teams 100 possessions)

  • The notion that Bosh would easily contain Boozer seems a little absurd, Bosh isn't a great defender, at all. And remember it will be Boozer and Noah.. I actually think we match up well with Miami.

  • In reply to jgingeri:

    Boozer & Noah, good point
    Let's not forget what Noah did his last playoff series:
    15ppg on .528 shooting, 13rpg, 3.2 blk+stls, & 18/19 FT shooting

  • In reply to jgingeri:

    I agree. Orlando is a much worse matchup for the bulls than Miami. Miami has nobody to guard Rose or Noah. Orlando however has great matchups against the bulls best players and Boozer doesn't like to play inside against bigger stronger players like Howard.

  • Frankly with the way Atlanta and New York are starting to look, I'm more concerned with dealing with the first round match up first. Neither will be push overs, the Bulls ideally need to push for the 2nd seed. I think they can perhaps pass Boston who seem to be petering out like they did last year, but staying in front of Orlando now they've worked things out will be a problem.

  • I agree with Shakes here. Atlanta and NY look pretty good. The advantage of finishing 2nd would probably be no Atl or NY in the first round.
    I also disagree with Bosh being a nightmare matchup for Boozer. We need to see how Bosh does in this match-up with both Noah and Boozer inside. Also, I think Boozer will be a little more motivated with Miami going for Bosh rather than him.
    If LeBron helps on defense, we need Deng to be hitting his shots(Which he normally does in the first 3 quarters) and play good defense, leave it to Rose in the 4th quarter.

  • Doc Rivers feels that the home court is key,
    "This year's not like last year, where you can coast," Rivers told ESPN.com. "You don't have home court this year, you could go home."

  • I wouldn't be too concerned about Bosh defending Boozer. After all, this is the guy that said, "we just want to chill in practice."

    I'm not too worried about ATL but the way the Knicks have been launching the 3 ball against us this year, I'm more worried about them.

    I like our odds against Boston, especially come playoffs. I'm a little more uneasy with Orlando and Miami, but I do think our big men would light up Miami.

  • In reply to bpmueller:

    I'm definitely in the camp that likes the Boozer vs Bosh matchup.

  • In reply to thegreatlie:

    Count me in too. I bet Boozer is licking his chops waiting for Bosh. Also, Noah is quite the beast when he's focused into playoff mode. Huge, huge mismatch there at center. I bet Wade would take on Rose at points, maybe even LeBron some like last year. Its going to be difficult to stop their 3pt shooters, most importantly James Jones, while protecting the paint. I like Deng as the 3rd option on offense, last year with LeBron guarding him he still averaged close to 19 ppg.

    I don't care about how they matchup, I still think Boston is the team to beat, particularly when they get Kendrick Perkins back.

  • In reply to ChiRy:

    I think in the Boozer vs. Bosh matchup those two players are going to cancel each other out. There both going to give up some points to the other. We're going to struggle against Miami at the two guard position because Dwayne Wade does not have to respect Keith Bogans or Ronnie Brewer on defense.

    All of a sudden, Wade becomes a roamer/"free safety" on defense and can get into the passing lanes and double team wreaking havoc on our offense.

    Also, Rose will be going against multiple defenders over the course of the game, with Arroyo, Chalmers, James and Wade all getting a crack at some point. I feel Chalmers will get most of the time on him because he's always done a decent job defending him.

    I'm just interested to see how the real thing looks because I've tried to play through the matchups in my head a hundred times.

    Also, I do agree with you. At the end of the day, when fully healthly Boston is still the team to beat in the East.

  • In reply to Bulls986:

    Wade better be careful leaving Korver open, or Ronnie open as he cuts to the basket.

    I would imagine Wade plays on Rose some & their 5th guy guards Korver/Brewer

  • In reply to ChiRy:

    I think this is a game and matchup where Thibs is going to struggle to find someone for Korver to defend in the Heat's starting lineup. I'm not really seeing much success with Korver trying to stay in front of Wade or LeBron on defense no matter how hard he tries.

    Whenever James Jones/Mike Miller are on the court is when Korver will see most of his playing time.

    Brewer's going to be huge in this game more so because of his defense against Wade and LeBron.

    I predict Bogans will be subbed out less than three minutes into the game.

  • In reply to Bulls986:

    help defense would be crucial, I would hope Noah is out there a lot with Korver

  • In reply to ChiRy:

    Most crucial though, have to play D as a team. Everyone on a string. Once Noah comes back we will have roughly 28 games to get everything running like a well oiled machine.

  • In reply to Bulls986:

    Doug, I'm sorry to break the news to you but the Bulls have ZERO chance to stay as the 3rd seed with the current team. Unless the Bulls wake up, smell the Bogans and make a trade for a SG, we will be playing Miami in the 2nd rd. And that is assuming we beat either ATL or NY in the 1st rd and that isn't a shoe in!

  • In reply to Dajody1:

    Great comment SUGRAD09, this current Bulls team has some flaws that need to be addressed but everyone wants to wait to take care of them.

  • In reply to Reese1:

    every team has flaws. Getting impatient won't solve anything

  • In reply to ChiRy:

    Every team ain't one piece away from being a true contender either.

  • In reply to Reese1:

    If anyone can design a defensive scheme to contain Miami it is Coach Thibbs. I dont think it would be a great mismatch facing the Heat. Yes Bosh may be longer than Boozer, but Boozer is stronger and more playoff experienced. Keep in mind, Miami's scoring off transition like crazy right now, but it will be cut off most of the time in the Playoffs which may make their offense struggle. Miami can be beat in a half court game. DRose may make either Lebron or Wade have to guard him because of his dominance which will take away from one their offense (due to fatigue). Finally, do not underrate Joakim Noah in this match up. He will be running circles around Big Z, and his skill set will be on full display in that series. Also a side note, the Bulls bench kills the heat reserves.

  • In reply to argie2333:

    If Thibs is looking for a game to see if the Bulls defensive rotations are in sync, this is the one. Saturday's Heat game is not a fair indication of how we will necessarily play them on defense because Noah is out. The thing I worry about out of the starters is no athletic basket protection at the rim from our bigs (Boozer, Thomas) Wade and LeBron are going to be licking their chops whenever they get past their man on the perimeter and come charging down the lane.

    The one thing I will say is the teams who have given the Heat trouble this year have a great point guard who can control tempo and a big who can slow the game down in the post.

    We have that with Rose & Boozer, but I just feel like talent disparity at shooting guard is so great, we can't make up for it. In the end, you have to have a shooting guard who is a threat on offense and is going to make Wade/LeBron pay for gambling on defense.

  • In reply to Dajody1:

    I agree.
    With Orlando retooled and Noah out Orlando will surely pass the Bulls. I don't see how we can be so confidant about a 7 game series with NY or Atlanta.

  • In reply to Dajody1:

    Doug,
    I would like to know the effect winning the Central division has on Bulls seeding and home court advantage if they end the season with the 4th or 5th best record in the Eastern conference.

  • In reply to Edward:

    The new rule is that the division winner gets at worst 4th seed, but home court goes off your record, so if you finish with a worse record than the 5th seed they have home court.

  • In reply to Dajody1:

    I had the same question. Didn't the NBA change the rule a couple of years back, where if you won your division it didn't guarantee a top 3 seed? Can't remember exactly how the rule went.

  • In reply to Bulls986:

    If you win your division you are guaranteed at least the 4 seed

  • In reply to bcz1980:

    OK Thanks Guys,
    IMO Bulls will win Central and finish behind Miami, Boston, Orlando. That means they would play the 5th seed, and homecourt advantage is a tossup depending on how Atlanta and NY finish.

    But if any top team slips below Bulls I think it will be Boston not Orlando who is looking very good after their big trades.

    I don't think the 1st round is at all a gimme against Atlanta or NY. Only the 7th or 8th seeds are gimmes in the first round.

  • In reply to bcz1980:

    Bulls getting dominated by a bad team yet again.

  • In reply to Ufficio:

    Unfortunately the Bobcats haven't played like a bad team since they "mutually agreed to part ways" with Larry Brown, 5-2 since they got rid of him.

  • In reply to DontLetsStart:

    Well, I haven't seen any the games, so perhaps they are playing well. It's worth noting that all of those wins are against poor to awful competition, though.

  • In reply to DontLetsStart:

    Miami will eat this team alive.

  • In reply to Ufficio:

    Boston would eat THIS team alive as well ... but as we've seen, apparently the Bulls like to take things easy against easier competition. Not a good thing to do, but we've seen them play much harder against the better teams.

  • In reply to Silverwulf:

    Yeah, hope you're right. The performances over the last five games aren't exactly confidence inspiring, though. And one would think that a decent coach would have identified and fixed the problem(s) by now.

  • In reply to Silverwulf:

    I've been busy doing other things, and haven't been able to watch the game. But I just checked the box score.

    Shocker: Bogans has 14 minutes and C.J. and Kyle have about six minutes each or less. And gauranteed Taj is shooting jumpers rather then receiving the ball down on the low post/making post moves to the basket.

    It's either one of two things: 1) Kyle and C.J. don't deserve the time/can't get it done, or they haven't been put in positions and encouraged to play the game they have suceeded with in the past. C.J. has been a driver inside out scoring kind of guy. Kyle yes he's run through screens, but he's also a perimeter threat/bomber.

    C.J. is not allowed to play alognside Derrick much as a slasher and driver, and Kyle does not play alongside Derrick at the two either to bomb threes and make teams pay for the double or watch or dish to Derrick on the drive if they don't.

    These guys are simply not being put in roles they are accustomed to to score/play their game. And Taj needs to post up and score and then the jumper will come. He's not a prolific scorer that can just hit jumpers. His energy shooting wise has to come from scoring inside out.

    Of course as I'm typing this the Bulls are coming back. But these problems will still drain them until they are corrected. Keith Bogans: 15 minutes zero steals, zero assits and two points. Enough!!!!!!(sorry exclamation tantrum - but true).

  • In reply to MarkNorman:

    CJ just missed a fast break layup, got the rebound and missed again. You don't want him playing tonight other than to rest Rose, he doesn't have it.

    On the other hand Korver is finally starting to drain threes!

  • In reply to DontLetsStart:

    No idea why Thibodeau took Korver out right after he hit two big threes. I'm starting to think that our coach is a complete idiot.

  • In reply to Ufficio:

    Thibodeau is an incredible assistant coach.

  • In reply to DontLetsStart:

    OH WELL... Another bad loss to another bad team.

  • In reply to DontLetsStart:

    I'm starting to worry about the Bobcats pick, the Bobcats are on a roll and might make the playoffs this year with the East being so bad at the 7/8 spots. Meanwhile Tyrus is playing very well now, and is earning his contract. What seemed like an awesome trade a month ago is now looking like one we may have lost.

  • In reply to DontLetsStart:

    I really don't think that pick will have that much worth to it which is why the Bulls should think about using it as part of an asset to make a move.

  • In reply to Reese1:

    It doesn't have much worth to other teams either though. Given it becomes a pick this year if the Bobcats make the playoffs we might not be able to get anything worthwhile for it. Our best use might be combining it with our own pick and trying to move up on draft night.

  • In reply to DontLetsStart:

    Er, should read becomes a pick next year.

  • In reply to DontLetsStart:

    How do you beat the Celtics 1 night an lose to the Nets,sixers an Bobcats? Tyrus freakin Thomas killed us today. This team is terrible.....

    OH LOOK! Tmac is having yet another good game! 6'8 SG that could spread the floor.....he would of signed for the minimum too but we wanted nothing to do with him....because we have KEITH BOGANS!

  • In reply to DontLetsStart:

    Don't worry people.

    Doug Thonus told all you people that the Bulls would compete for a #1 Seed.

    And that James Johnson is a stud draft pick.

  • In reply to MrHappy:

    There must be two people named Doug Thonus who write about the Bulls, the one here and the one you've been reading. Pretty big coincidence, I didn't think Thonus was a very common name.

  • In reply to MrHappy:

    The Keith Bogans hate is like a broken record, but as bad as it's hurting the team you can't avoid it.

    The last three years Keith bogans: 5.6, 4.4, and 3.5 ppg, FG%'s .372, .403, and .368, and he's shooting 30 percent from three this season with .393 FG's for his career.

    C.J. Watson the last two seasons: 9.5 and 10.3ppg on .457 and .468 FG's on about 25.5 minutes a game. This year C.J. is playing 13.8 minutes a game(out of position at PG instead of at the two where he's had his success) shooting .374 from the field.

    Kyle Korver shooting 43% for his career with 40% from three on 4 plus attempts. Career minutes 24 pg. 21mpg two of the last three years. Kyle has gotten his minutes overall, but mostly having to fight through screens often with bench players. But lately his minutes have evaporated though granted his shooting has been horrible.

    So you've got Bogans who career wise is a train wreck versus two viable players. Tonight: 15 minutes with two points, two rebounds, zero assists, and zero steals! Granted Rose stats look like a part of the problem/off night for Derrick. But still Bogans abyss of production. It's just like wearing kryptonite every time he plays he's draining your team or put another way you're handicapping the other team what six or seven points a game production minimum. And look at Bogan's assists for minutes played. Most years he had 1.something assists. But a high I.Q./team player?

    Get Bogans off the FUC-ING COURT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • In reply to MarkNorman:

    Rose was pretty much doubled teamed for much of the night because of the Bogans starting debacle and this is just a preview of how the playoffs will be if the Bulls don't do something about the shooting guard position.

  • In reply to MarkNorman:

    I didn't see the game, but Derrick has been a "scoring guard" of late. If they double they need to to give it to the big, dash, and then get the pass back to Derrick. Not to mention gettting all the guys out two the three and spacing like they do for Wade. There's no way as good as Derrick's been that an extended double should stop him.

  • In reply to MarkNorman:

    The Bobcats are a team whose set up makes it easier for them to guard Rose: quick point guard and good help defenders. If they want to double Rose then that's where you should just let them and have Boozer be the #1 option.

  • In reply to DontLetsStart:

    By the way I know the pick is for 2012 and so the Bobcats making the playoffs this year doesn't change it, but it does alter the perceived value, and the Bobcats playing better certainly increases the chances they decide to win rather than tank next year.

  • In reply to Ufficio:

    is there a stream of this game anywhere?

  • In reply to Ufficio:

    Yeah, this is a really bad attitude they are falling into.
    They seem to think that they'll just turn it on later in the game and win. But it's not so easy sometimes and sometimes it just doesn't work.

    Lack of focus, intensity and aggression.

  • In reply to Ufficio:

    i disagree.

    boozer would own bosh on offense. in the playoffs, boozer has only gotten better with 20.3 ppg, 12.5 rpg and 50.3% shooting. for whatever reason boozer had a bad year in 2008. if you take that year out, you get fantastic averages of 21.9 ppg, 12.7 rpg and 53.3% shooting. that's far opposed to bosh who averages 20.5, 9 and 43.3%.

    on defense, noah can shut down bosh effectively. he won't get outmuscled by bosh and he will be put up against him because there's no one else on the whole team to worry about in the frontcourt.

    you've got carlos arroyo going against rose. that's not going to end well. plus you've got no good post defenders. maybe wade can take rose on defense, but then he takes the risk of drawing a plethora of fouls and using a ton of energy.

    then we have deng matching up on lebron with help from rose and brewer taking wade. deng has historically played relatively well on lebron. lebron would score his points but he would have to work for them and take bad shots. they just sometimes went in. brewer is a great physical and disruptive defender, so he could mess around with wade. plus you have noah inside if they get into the lane.

    i don't think that miami is as bad of a matchup as you think it is.

  • In reply to Bulls986:

    Going to have to completely disagree with the premise of this article.

    I believe that the Bulls are the very best option to take out the Heat. I think we matchup better with them than anyone else in the East.
    We'll see how we play this weekend. It won't be a great indicator without Noah, since he's a big part of the reason I feel we matchup well, but it should still show us a thing or two about the two teams.

    I'm not going to go into all of the reasons, but here are one or two ...

    Miami's weaknesses are point guard and center ... two of our very best. It's going to take quality PG and C play to beat that team.

    I have no worries about Boozer being able to win his matchup against Bosh ... probably pretty handily.

    Deng and Brewer have to be one of the best possible defensive duos to try and slow down Wade and Lebron. I know they aren't going to come close to stopping them, but who else out there has a better defensive SG and SF to try to keep them in check?

    I don't give us better than a 50% chance to beat them in a series (probably not even that high), but I still see that as the best chance to knock them off this year. Orlando won't do it. Boston might with one last great push, but we'll all have to see if they have one more of those in them.

    I'm more worried about us facing Boston than facing Miami. we do have advantages over Boston, but I still think they are a tougher opponent for us than Miami will be.

    Having said all that, I agree that I'd prefer for us to have a top 3 seed in the conference. And that it's going to be tough to do without Noah for another month.

  • In reply to bpmueller:

    The Bulls can defeat Orlando? Interesting. Call me when they actually do it.

  • In reply to bpmueller:

    I JUST GOT DONE VOTING FOR DROSE ON THE ALLSTAR BALLOT WHO STILL NEEDS TO DO IT TODAY?????

    I JUST GOT DONE VOTING FOR DROSE ON THE ALLSTAR BALLOT WHO STILL NEEDS TO DO IT TODAY?????

    I JUST GOT DONE VOTING FOR DROSE ON THE ALLSTAR BALLOT WHO STILL NEEDS TO DO IT TODAY?????

    Sorry for going happy on you guys just trying to make sure everyone sees this

  • In reply to UtahBullsFan:

    Its cool. You wrote it 3 times, and its important for everyone to know they can vote 3 times a day. 1 text, 2 link from text & 3 NBA websire

  • In reply to ChiRy:

    Do you get a text back from the NBA thing?? I never do I have verizon

  • In reply to UtahBullsFan:

    I have verizon and yeah I get a thank you for voting when I vote for Rose...don't do DRose ok! :-)

  • In reply to smiley:

    I dont get anything back

  • In reply to smiley:

    Ya i thought if you won your division, you got home court?

    Bulls need a SG....BAD. I wonder if they are looking in the D league at all? Theres tons of SG's there. We just need a guy that can knock down a 3 consistantly...a James Jones type. Some one you have to respect, not like Bogans. Rodney Carney was just waived. CJ Watson came from the D League as well....theres good players down there. They just need a chance.

  • In reply to smiley:

    Go to NBA.com everyday and vote for Drose and Noah for the Allstar Game!!

  • In reply to UtahBullsFan:

    yes but its the same link every time:
    http://m.nba.com/
    Make sure all the players you voted for, or just Rose, are confirmed & then it will ask for your phone #

  • In reply to bpmueller:

    I'm reserving judgement of how we matchup to the Magic and Heat until we actually play them at full strength. I'm interested to see the Bulls defense against Miami on Saturday, but it's really not a great litmus test without Noah.

    I'm more interested to see how we matchup with the new look Magic because I think the trade they made actually helps us. I didn't like our matchups with them before the trade, but I think they are much weaker along the frontline since making the trade.

    Sorry, but Brandon Bass at the 4 doesn't strike fear into me like the strectch shooting 4 they had in Rashard Lewis.

  • In reply to Bulls986:

    True that, and Vince Carter had some of his best games against us for some reason.

  • In reply to jgingeri:

    Yeah, that and the fact we now have someone on the floor we can double off of and not get seriously burned. I'm content with leaving Bass open to shoot spot up 15-18 footers all night long, if I can consistently send a double to Howard.

    This dynamic changes when Ryan Andersen enters the game, but just the fact that you can double Howard consistently at some point in the game and not get hurt is huge.

    Plus, the Bulls now have depth along the frontline to combat Howard with athleticism, length, and fouls. Those factors come in handy when you get into a grueling 7 game series.

  • In reply to Bulls986:

    Derrick's new found ability to get to the line at will, whenever he wants will come in handy at beating the Magic. He has been afraid of attacking the rim against Howard, now he knows how to force the issue. This will also result in Howard getting into foul trouble, at which point Rose can go back to avoiding contact looking for the bucket.

  • In reply to Bulls986:

    I just don't like this mentality of wanting to avoid certain matchups, there is this underlying element of fear inherent in that thinking. Kind of like all the Bear fans who were afraid to let the Packers into the playoffs. Just get you game face on and beat them. I know none of the Bulls core players are afaid of the Heat. Bring 'em on.

  • In reply to ChiRy:

    Absolutely. At some point you have to beat the best to end up where you want to be. Avoid certain matchups? I have to the believe the players don't really care who they play if their ultimate goal is to compete for a championship this year.

    At some point the Bulls are going to have to beat the Orlandos, Bostons, and Miamis in the playoffs to advance, so it really doesn't matter what round it's in.

  • In reply to Bulls986:

    I agree, I think the trade actually helps us, I think Rashard Lewis was great, and Vince Carter played well for them too.

    Having Joakim out *may* be a blessing in disguise. With him out, we're forced to play Thomas and Asik more minutes, which allows Asik to develop and Thomas to get some of the rust off. Come playoffs, that will be huge, especially if Jo gets into foul trouble against Dwight Howard or Amar'e.

    I just wish we could give more time for Gibson to find his shot again, his confidence is shaken up along with Korver.

  • In reply to bpmueller:

    There also is a silver lining in that everyone has to be more accountable on D without Noah

  • In reply to Bulls986:

    I'd say 3rd seed is highly unlikely, and would have to be happy with fourth over Atlanta.

    To me, the way the offense is struggling, specifically with Korver and C.J with poor shooting and low ppg(and Taj's production down/replaced because he doesn't play much with Boozer) that unless that changes or Derrick goes into true killer mode with 26ppg and up say after Feb 1st then I think the Bulls will lose some steam and some games to several above .500 teams, and some below as well. Though Derrick is looking like he's capable of almost anything offensively right now so who knows?

    Look at Boston, L.A. etc., and they have five players in double figures while the Bulls have four. And they have three or four guys beyond that at 6ppg or above. I know Miami has less balance, but then again with three all-stars and two top of the league players then what else do you need? Plus Haslem and Miller coming back.

    Unless Korver starts producing(gets put in the right situation), and C.J.'s FG% more then points go up I think offensively we're not really a contender type team. But obviously Jo will help a lot when he returns and gets back to game speed. If it's November Jo and Derrick keeps playing like he has recently(basically most of the season), and Booz stays healthy then I think the Bulls could upset just about anyone except maybe Miami. But to me right now offensively with lack of depth at guard/wing I'd say we are somewhat vulnerable.

  • In reply to MarkNorman:

    Wow - I get the impression here that everyone thinks Miami will walk all over us. They are playing great and really have not lost the past month or so, but there are plenty of teams taking them to task. Milwaukee took them to OT a few nights back. I know a 7 game series is a whole different story, but we have a very good team. I would pick the Heat to beat us as well, but I would not be overly surprised to see a game 7 if we had to face them.

  • In reply to Bulls986:

    We have yet to see how this Bulls team will fair against the Heat.

    However, we already have ample evidence that the Bulls cannot beat Boston with a healthy Garnett, or Orlando with Howard. So unless either of those guys is missing come playoff time I don't see the Bulls have much of a chance against either of them. We don't know about Miami, but it doesn't look promising on that front either.

    Regardless of our seed, even if it were #1, we are almost certain to be a second round out, assuming we don't get shot out of the first round by Galinari, Felton and Toney.

  • In reply to BigWay:

    Or if the Knicks have Melo by then.... NJ is starting to fall out

  • In reply to BigWay:

    How can you conclude that we "Cant beat Boston with a healthy Garnett"? Because we lost in overtime once and had a pathetic game the next? Not to mention one of those games had no Boozer, and was still meshing(still is) against a team that has played together for 3 years. The other Boozer was playing what, his second game back? And now that they have Garnett out and we beat them handily without our defensive and motivational rock suited up you want to discount it? Weak

  • In reply to jgingeri:

    I agree..Boston is a good matchup for the Bulls. Their centers are just big men more than skilled big men. Asik, Thomas can handle them for the most part. And, Ray Allen does not beat you of the dribble like a Wade and would be easier to handle for Korver, Brewer etc..
    I would be more worried about Orlando. They have just different skillsets which can be tough to match up.

    I don't even know how we will handle Miami. We will not know much in the next month either with Noah missing.

  • In reply to jgingeri:

    lets see...

    Noah - seriously injuried 3 of the 4 years hes been in the league, injury prone,cant be trusted.
    Deng - even worse injury history than Noah, cant be trusted.
    Boozer- just as bad as Dengs, except dating back even further. Injuried off the court several times,can't be trusted.

    stop with the pipe dreams. this team is NEVER going to the finals as is it built. management has done a horrible job putting together a team that can actually get on the floor together more than 10 times a season.

  • In reply to sabixx:

    Wade, Bosh, Garnett, Arenas, Kobe, Miller are all examples of super health;-)

  • In reply to sabixx:

    all of those guys have been healthier in their Career than 3 of our starting 4. I dont know why you even list Miller hes a meaningless role player. also Kobes been incredibly healthy in his career considering the minutes hes played.

  • In reply to sabixx:

    as long as there are no leg problems everything will be fine

  • In reply to jgingeri:

    We need a SG really really bad. Brewer isnt a good enough shooter an Bogans is terrible. Having Korver out there helps space the floor for us...we need to find another shooter or like someone said....Wade will just play free saftey against us.

    Bulls vs Atlanta or Knicks in the 1st round isnt a good thing either. Lets not forget we just got beat by the Nets an 76ers. Were not a very good road team. Younger athletic teams usually gives us troubles.

  • In reply to Csharp:

    Lets not forget the teams we lost to we are not at full strength. Noah was out, Boozer is doing great but will look even better by season's end, Korver and CJ are is a "slump." We are the 3rd seed for a reason right now. I will take the Bulls as the favorite in a 7 game series against anyone in the east except Miami and Orlando (and Boston probably a push).

  • My mistake. But still, with Noah alongside Boozer don't you think between them they would easily have the edge against Bosh and whoever they have at C?

  • I've had the Bulls right there around 58 wins. With those 2 loses to inferior opponents, that estimate took a bit of a hit, but a couple big wins against elite teams or a nice win streak and their ship can be sailing right back on course.

  • Doug how many do you think we could have won if at least our starting 5 stayed healthy....

    I think so far we haven't been with All of our starting five for close to 30 games and we have played 37

  • In reply to UtahBullsFan:

    even those other 7, Noah was playing through the thumb injury & Boozer was working his way back and Bulls still on 55 win pace currently

  • Yeah, I think so long as the Bulls have home court they should win against them, but you'd much rather play a team from the Bucks/Pacers/76ers group. The Knicks are especially risky, if they get hot they're hard to stop because they shoot a lot in transition before the Bulls defense really kicks in.

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