Bulls at Bucks at 7:30 on WGN

The Chicago Bulls head into Milwaukee after a statement win against the Heat.  You'd figure this game is a lock for Chicago, but the Bulls are a mere 13-13 on the road and just lost to the Raptors on Wednesday.

How can this team be so different on the road than at home?   It primarily comes down to defense.   The Bulls have been better on both ends of the floor at home, but their offensive output is fairly close on both ends, while the Bulls give up an additional 10 points per game on the road.  

Can Chicago stop the Bucks?   In theory, this shouldn't be all that difficult.


Keys to the game

Play with energy

The Bulls get into the most trouble when they come out flat on the road.   Typically they have a lack of energy, especially defensively.   Players fail to make rotations, and they give up a ton of points in the paint.     If the Bulls play with a high energy level, they should win this one fairly easily.

In particularly, Derrick Rose and Carlos Boozer need to keep their energy levels high on the defensive end of the court.   Boozer is always a challenge to get to rotate, but Rose can play great defense when the effort is there and fairly subpar defense at times on the road.

The key here is to avoid the let down after the emotional win against Miami.

Don't be afraid to use Thomas in this one

I was a big fan of Omer last game because we needed his athleticism and length to protect the paint.   I think going forward, Omer should play the majority of the minutes as backup center as well.  

However, in this game we can use Thomas's toughness inside and post defense.   Kurt is probably the best post defender on the team, and if Bogut gets it rolling we should try throwing him in the game.  I'd probably only use Thomas if Bogut has it going on, but I'd have that adjustment in my back pocket if we need it.

Get back on defense

The Bulls frequently have struggled when they play a one way up and down team against opponents.   The Bulls will let the other team get out on the break and leak out, but will play a slow down game on their end of the court.    The Bulls have better offensive and defensive execution than the Bucks in the half court, so they can slow down the game and make sure the Bucks don't get anything easy.

The roll players need to knock down shots

The Bucks will likely do what everyone else does, crowd the paint and build a wall of defenders in front of Rose.   This means lots of open jumpers for our role players, we'll need them to knock them down.

Final thoughts

I expect the Bulls to win, but I'm never overly confident with road games due to their road record this season.  We've lost some clunkers, so anything can happen.

Comments

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  • Bulls as Road Warriors? Not

    Sour Grapes and Sweet W(h)ine: I like having Omer and Taj both going forward(and in the playoffs), but it's going to be tough as teams "crowd the paint, and build a wall around Rose." I hope I'm wrong and we could not have won a championship this year if gave up one of our bigs, and had a real scoring guard(Mayo, Lee).

    Get Over It: But It's time to move on. Thibs has been playing Booz on most of the slower centers while Jo's being swithced to the fleet power forwards Bosh etc. Great move by Thibs. I will say when Joakim comes back to full strength(hopefully in about two weeks), and then they have a few games to adjust to that, the Bulls could be awesome anyway. It's just been a shame guys they picked up like C.J. haven't shot the ball better. If C.J. could have become more of an offensive factor(as some thought he possibly could) and Korver could get a little more production playing with Derrick, then maybe we wouldn't have been in the position of clamoring for a legit SG.

    It still could work out pretty well. I think November Jo was playing like an All-Star and beyond. That guy comes back, and C.J., beyond backup point duties(of which he's gotten better and better all year), is allowed to play some SG when Korver's off, and he gets into his drive and score game off of Derrick's doubles and triples, and we might be looking pretty good. There's no doubt the offensive production from C.J., Kyle, and even Ronnie is going to have to pick up if we're going to start winning on the road, and in the playoffs. Sure the D has been the real problem on the raod, but nothing helps your overall game energy like being a part of things/an offensive factor as well.

    I do believe in this team. But I also do believe other then the terrific adjustment/move of having Booz guard the slow centers, we are going to have to find a way to get more offense out of a potential scorer in C.J.(taking advantage on drives, which is really C.J.'s game, off of the ridiculous space available with Derrick's doubles and triples). It can happen. And if so this team could explode come playoff time. And we will know if they will be for real on the road in the playoffs if they can start winning these games on the road now. That's the next step.

  • In reply to MarkNorman:

    I also think maybe they can squeeze more offense out of C.J. Depending on matchups (smaller guards), he could help the team get through some scoring droughts. The problem sometimes with C.J., though, is he's a little streaky, takes some bad shots, and might need more minutes than available to get into a rhythm.

  • Classic game that the Bulls should win....but who knows if they will. Good teams beat bad teams. Bulls need to take that step an beat these teams. Maybe we can get a look at Michael Redd (whos a FA this summer) and see if he will be worth chasing after this summer. Omer Asik....lets see you continue to get better! Keep it up bigman, i aslo agree, Kurt should see some time tonight too.

    Bulls win this one.

  • I hate watching the Bulls on the road this season. Its no good for my stress levels. Games like these SHOULD be over by the third quarter but somehow we like to let the weaker team to stick around and either force Thibs to play the main players too many minutes or we get beat by the odd basket. All the players say they love Scal on the team but they don't show him enough love to win the game early to allow him his 5 mins at the end. I hope we see Scal and see him early tonight!! Last time we played the Bucks we were 16pts up at the half but only one by 9. Bulls need more of a killer instinct and to get the game done and dusted once the starters head to the bench in the 3rd quarter.

    I agree use Kurt on Bogats if he starts to get off. Kurt did well to push him off the block last game and was hitting the mid-range jumper ALL night lol.

    I think the Bucks will have to double Booz because Ilyasova and Luc BM don't have the strength to keep him out the paint, (they can't use Bogats this game because JoNo will kill them on the cut/off board) so I will hoping for loads of hockey assists. I think it is one part of the offence that we still haven't utilised as much as we should - force the double team of Booz and get the second pass open 3 for Bogans, Luol or KK. The Spurs are brilliant at it and would hope that Thibs would integrate it more into our game plan.

    CDR had a good game against us last time but I don't expect him to do it again; I've always liked his game but is even more inconsistent that Luol (one for you there Deewaves!!) Maggette is a handful because he just attacks with head down and draws fouls - read somewhere he has one of the best % of points scored by free-throws. This is where we have to be savvy; don't slap at the ball he's just too strong and take the charge. Booz should be brilliant at taking charges cos of his size but is reaction to play help defence means unfortunately he arrives a few minutes late. I'm would hope that Thibs runs sessions for Booz as too how to take the charge like Kurt does. Its a dying art in the league but the refs are very lenient (too lenient in my view) with defenders sliding under the offensive player on the drive so why the players don't look to take more of them is beyond me.

    Well thats long enough - will be challenging RW for post length award other wise lol

    I expect a win; but am not looking forward to the expected stress!

  • In reply to Jersey66:

    I agree about the stress of road games man. Uhh, I don't know what else to say. I guess I hope Noah ends up turning it around, we definetely need to get better on away games. 1 thing working in our favor tonight, can we stay undefeated within the central division?

  • In reply to ChiRy:

    Does anyone know how the tie breakers are set up for playoff seeding. I know head to head match-up is used first (which we now own over Miami!), but what if we beat Boston on April 7th. We would be 2-2 against them this season. What determines the tie break then? Is it division record? Conference record? Something else?

  • In reply to bcz1980:

    1st actually goes to divison winners, which won't come into play unless Orlando or Atlanta become closer to us.

    2nd is head to head

    3rd win % within the division if same division, N/A

    4th CONFERENCE WINNING %

    5th winning % among conf playoff teams

  • In reply to ChiRy:

    So right now Boston has the edge on us because they are 29-7 in the conference and we are 22-10.

    Wow, those losses to Charlotte, NJ, Philly might bite us more than we thought.

  • In reply to bcz1980:

    you're right, Boston is 5 games ahead of us in the conference standings. And all that success against the West was less important.

    Bulls just need a better record than them straight up.

  • In reply to ChiRy:

    Bulls need a win streak! How awesome would it be to come now during this tough stretch?

  • In reply to ChiRy:

    Corey Brewer would actually be a really nice fit for us. Hes like 6'7 good athlete, decent shooter, good defensive player, long arms, Thibs would love this guy. If he does get bought out....that would be a very very big pickup for us imo. Plus the Bulls wouldnt give anybody up for him.

  • In reply to Csharp:

    On buyouts, according to ESPN Detroit was going to trade Hamilton to the Cavs where he'd have the option of either being bought out now or in the summer and he refused to consider either. Seems like he's happy just sitting at home swimming in his money pit.

  • In reply to DontLetsStart:

    Woj from Yahoo wrote that Hamilton likely would have signed with the Bulls. There was almost a deal to Cleveland, who would have bought him out but it fell through because Hamilton didn't want to lose any money. It's not likely the Pistons will buy him out with the uncertainty over ownership.

    http://sports.yahoo.com/nba/news;_ylt=AlzbHJtxdA5Pt90DKaDB6.e8vLYF?slug=aw-hamiltonpistons022611

  • In reply to walrus:

    Hamilton has basically worn out his stay at Detroit. I don't know what difference a ownership will do because they are not taking on extra salary and it is highly probable that they will not be able to make a deal where they will save money(although NJ supposedly almost did it). I am not sure how buy-outs work...Do they have to pay the player all that owed money in one-shot(I then understand for not buying out) or it is distributed over the length of the old contract?
    Otherwise, it seems like Hamilton wants to get paid upto the last dollar and maybe he loves Detroit somehow like Ben Wallace whether they win or lose.

  • In reply to schaumburgfan:

    You can agree to pay a player however you like in a buyout. For cap purposes the buyout amount is distributed through the years of the contract as a ratio of the original contract. So if Rip agreed to being bought out for 80% of the remaining value of his contract up front the Pistons would have 80% of what they owe him next year on their cap that year.

  • In reply to schaumburgfan:

    I'm no finance guy, but 80% of that kind of money up front would be awfully tempting. It gives you the chance to invest it now, accrue interest, etc. over the next couple of years - add whatever salary teams give you over the next two years and you'd have to think you wouldn't lose a whole lot of money.

    Maybe somebody who knows more about money than I do could answer the question of whether Hamilton would be wise to take a crapload of money up front...

  • In reply to walrus:

    He's only getting the rest of the money in a year, so that's not enough time for investments to pay out.

    Today, what's really the safe return on an investment? 3-4%? So he could make an extra 3-4% on the money he'd be owed next year and 6-8% on the money in two years.

    That doesn't really add up to a whole lot, maybe 90% of his contract, bu the Pistons are then losing that 10% by paying him out early in terms of money too, so it doesn't help them any.

    Hamilton probably could make 2/5 from two years after this year though which would vastly make up any difference in time value of money.

  • In reply to DougThonus:

    Thanks...that answers my question!

  • In reply to walrus:

    Yeah, it's pretty hard to formulate a buyout where both sides want to do it, usually that's why it's only expiring contracts that get bought out after the deadline where a player is willing to give up a little money in the hopes of catching on with a team, showing they can still play and earning a new contract next season.

  • In reply to DontLetsStart:

    Agreed. It's hard to give up money that's already in the bank.

  • In reply to Csharp:

    How much is he an improvement, though, over Brewer? I've seen stats of his 3-point and overall shooting and they're not that impressive.

  • In reply to zentastic:

    Over Ronnie Brewer, that is.

  • In reply to Csharp:

    Corey Brewer shoots a much worse percentage both at the rim and from mid range than Ronnie. Yeah he's got a better three point shot but at 26% he's not a guy who has any business taking nearly 2 a game. Basically Corey is an abysmally bad offensive player.

  • In reply to ChiRy:

    I am not sure how Bogut was injury wise when we last played Milwaukee but he seems like his elbow/shoulder is not 100%. Thomas might have played well on defense because of Bogut not pressing on offense due to his poor free throw shooting. And also Rose probably took Bogut's attention on offense leaving Thomas free. But now with Noah playing with Rose, I don't see the need for Thomas to play instead of Asik although Noah is not that great when he plays Bogut.

  • In reply to schaumburgfan:

    I wouldn't go with thomas first, just if Bogut is going off.

  • Lets hope they win to keep their undefeated streak against the central division (11-0) alive!

  • Well, as I mentioned in another post, I'll be at the game tonight, so the Bulls damn well better blow the Bucks out. This will be my first time seeing DRose, Noah, Boozer, etc., in person...the last time I saw the Bulls in person was 2005 or so, again in Milwaukee, when Ben Gordon and Michael Redd both went off for 50+ in an OT win for the Bulls - loved it!
    Plus, I agree, we've gotta keep our Central Division unbeaten streak alive!

  • In reply to MadTown56:

    Enjoy the game, man. And represent Chicago :)

  • That is a very interesting (and alarming for Bulls) statistic about the difference in points allowed on the road vs. home.

    Doug, what is typical for NBA teams? Do most teams allow more points on the road and how much more? In a comparison of all NBA teams where do Bulls fall in the difference in points allowed between home and road?

  • In reply to Edward:

    The Bulls have a worse differential than most teams, but it's certainly common for most teams to be vastly better at home than on the road.

  • In reply to Edward:

    Average this year is about 3 points difference (which I believe is fairly constant most NBA seasons that as a rule of thumb home court is worth 3 points). The Bulls are major outliers in being so much better at home than on the road.

  • Oh man +1000

    I think he needs 15-20 mpg, even when Noah gets up to speed. He would have changed the outcome of the Toronto game you have to believe.

  • MADTOWN...have fun tonight man! Bring us some good luck.

    But ya, im looking forward to seeing Micheal Redd. Hoping he plays. If the Bulls are looking for a SG that can nail a open 3. Micheal Redd could be perfect for the job an come at a cheap price. Im sure he would probably be looking to get out of Milwaukee as well. The guy use to be a All Star an played on our national teams. With the Bulls looking at Josh Howard last summer and Tmac, im sure Redd will be on our list for the summer.

    Rose,Watson
    Redd,Brewer,Bogans
    Deng,Korver
    Boozer,Taj
    Noah,Asik,Kurt Thomas

  • In reply to Csharp:

    Aren't Bulls going to look for a SG who plays both ends of the court - defense as well as offense? And also someone younger who has a future to play alongside Rose for a number of years?

    With those bad knees Michael Redd may soon be on his way out of the NBA.

  • In reply to Edward:

    I'm in the "meh" column with Redd, as well. He's on the backside of his career, with his best years behind him, and his knees are a big concern. The Bulls should get a young, multi-dimensional player that can be relied upon for several years. I have faith that management will be able to obtain one eventually, as in this offseason.

  • In reply to zentastic:

    I would take Redd on a buyout if he's healthy, but I wouldn't be all that confident in him solving our problems either.

  • In reply to Csharp:

    To Edward- Ideally yes thats deff. what we want. But if we dont have a lot of money this summer so if Redd's knees are better then expected...i wouldnt mind him. Amare has bad knees, Nene does, Kenyon Martin as well....theres a lot of players with bad knees that still can get it done. Im really interested to see what Redd is like now after the injury.

  • In reply to Csharp:

    But if we dont have a lot of money this summer AND if Redds knees are better....Correction

  • In reply to Csharp:

    I hope Boston falls apart, Allen opts out, wants to play for Thibs & win another title, signs for the vet min

  • In reply to ChiRy:

    Man, that would be sweet. He has an opt-out after this year?

  • In reply to zentastic:

    a player option yes

  • In reply to ChiRy:

    Yeah, don't hold your breath on Allen opting out of 8 figures to sign for the vet min.

  • In reply to DougThonus:

    Dammit. I had gotten excited there for a second. Thanks for the cold dose of reality, Doug :)

  • In reply to DougThonus:

    Allen's made enough money over his career, and at this point lost seasons are very valuable, might not be many more for him, but its certaintly a long shot

  • In reply to ChiRy:

    and all bets are off if there is some form aof a MLE in the CBA, again a long shot however, but I can still dream Doug

  • In reply to ChiRy:

    Problem is when a player might not have many seasons left they're also valuable for making more money.

  • In reply to DontLetsStart:

    damnit! ok I get it, he's not coming here

  • In reply to Csharp:

    Bulls usually don't take risks on injury prone players like Redd. Bulls need a shooting guard that is durable cause we all know that's their weakness. I for one hope they don't even consider Redd.

  • In reply to Csharp:

    Reese....what if Redd finishes out this year pretty well and is willing to sign with Chicago for a cheap price? Would you consider him then?

    I mean obvoiusly we would have to see how hes moving around, but if he looks good an can move then I wouldnt mind him. Playoff tested too i believe.

  • In reply to Csharp:

    He'll be 32 next year and he's played 41 games the last 3 seasons. What are the chances he has anything left to offer? I'd say pretty low.

  • In reply to Csharp:

    Yeah I get what you're saying but he would have to be a last resort. It's kind of hard to see what's going on with him cause the Bucks wont even put him on the floor. If RIP isn't bought out I would think the Bulls would take a look at Kapono. I just feel like Redd's knees are like straws, too fragile and probably wont last if he has to put some serious pressure on them.

  • In reply to Reese1:

    I'd be surprised if the Bulls were interested in Kapono when they already have Korver. What does Kapono do that you don't already get by playing Korver?

  • In reply to DontLetsStart:

    If Korver is hurt, not on his game Kapono can take his role. I doubt they can ever play together because of their defense but maybe we can put them together with Noah, Asik and Rose.

  • In reply to schaumburgfan:

    None of these buyout guys want to sign on for a only play if hurt role, they're looking to get playing time so they can try to earn a new contract next season.

  • In reply to schaumburgfan:

    Who has the real home court advantage in this game?

    Seems about even based on cheers so far.

  • In reply to DougThonus:

    bulls doing a good job of playin the road team part

  • In reply to DougThonus:

    So much for that fast start huh?

  • In reply to DougThonus:

    this is probably how it felt to play the bulls when skiles was coaching them, annooying no-talent scrubs hustling their ass off

  • In reply to DougThonus:

    This makes it sound like we may have already gotten lucky that Rip turned down this trade and didn't end up in Boston.

    http://sports.espn.go.com/nba/news/story?id=6161438

  • In reply to DougThonus:

    We always seem to make at least one scrub look like an allstar - tonight it's Mbah a Moute doubling his season average in the first quarter.

  • In reply to DougThonus:

    Noah is an offensive rebounding machine.

  • In reply to DontLetsStart:

    thats also because the bulls offense looks like shit tonight

  • In reply to DontLetsStart:

    we're a 2nd half team.

    also shooting 50% at the line.

  • In reply to DontLetsStart:

    OK... somebody needs to slow this Moute guy down...DAMN!!!

  • In reply to DontLetsStart:

    Deng's just been super solid lately, the three has kind of deserted him but he's finding ways to score.

  • In reply to DontLetsStart:

    Agreed. He's had a pretty solid all-around game tonight. He's only 1-4 from behind the arc, but he's made some tough shots, gone to the rim aggressively, and played good defense. I wish people would get off his back a little.

  • In reply to DontLetsStart:

    This game's in the bag. I like that Asik is getting some quality minutes. He's very active and makes plays that don't necessarily show up on the stat sheet.

  • In reply to DontLetsStart:

    bogut is a big sack of crap, he was totally overrated last year. I remember when he said he shouldnt even be compared to longley.

  • In reply to DontLetsStart:

    bulls are making this way too interesting... say it with me, BOOZER SUCKS

  • In reply to DontLetsStart:

    I wish the Bulls had signed Boykins instead of CJ in the off-season. He is perfect of the bench for 10-15 mins.

  • In reply to schaumburgfan:

    I don't think a 4 foot 1 point guard really fitted in with the defensive team we were putting together.

  • In reply to DontLetsStart:

    Boykins gets abused - terrible defensive player. CJ is wayyyy better.

  • In reply to schaumburgfan:

    pretty boring win... but a win nonetheless

  • In reply to schaumburgfan:

    Really ugly last quarter but who really cares they just had to hang on to the lead they built. Solid road win.

  • In reply to schaumburgfan:

    Watching the 2nd half now, already know the outcome, but didn't get to watch it live.

    This has been an ugly game and judging by the final score it stayed that way.

  • In reply to schaumburgfan:

    Excited to see how the offense plays once Noah gets confidence in the Tornado again. I noticed he's passing up shots from the foul line that he was taking and making pretty consistently pre-injury. It's great to see his energy out there again though, it's pretty contagious.

  • In reply to kayak0109:

    his energy could be the cure to the road blues

  • In reply to DontLetsStart:

    BTW, off-topic..
    Is there something to Bosh and the Bulls..
    1. He starts blaming Asik for a small injury and talks about family, livelihood..
    2. His flop in the last game was hilarious
    3. He shot the worst percentage in a decade or longer.
    It will be interesting to see what other weird thing will take place with Bosh in the next game.
    BTW, his value in a trade was James Johnson for Toronto. Isn't that what Happy was trying to say in Summer 2010;-)

  • In reply to schaumburgfan:

    The Raptors got their own pick back for Bosh as well. JJ isn't their total haul for him.

  • Ian Thomsen thinks these are the other likely buyouts besides Troy Murphy:

    "The Heat have long been rumored as a destination for former Knicks center Eddy Curry, who had played 10 games over the past three seasons before New York packaged his expiring contract to Minnesota as part of the Anthony trade. Miami will also be interested in point guard T.J. Ford, should his wish for a buyout be granted by the Pacers.

    Other buyout candidates include three-point shooters Rasual Butler and Jason Kapono; big men Joel Przybilla (who will be coveted by all the contenders if he is interested in continuing his career after being dealt to Charlotte) and Darius Songaila; defenders Jared Jeffries (who is expected to return to New York) and Leon Powe (who could return to Boston); and recent Knicks pickups Corey Brewer, Renaldo Balkman and Anthony Carter."

    Do we want to go after any of these if they become available? Are there any difference makers for us or the other contenders?

    Energetic Defense and Attacking Offense all night Bulls. We need these.

  • In reply to mikemuadib:

    I meant potential buyouts.

  • In reply to mikemuadib:

    Not really interested in any of these guys.

  • If Corey Brewer becomes available...the Bulls better go after him. With he an Noah being college teammates...i bet we would have a good shot at him too. Brewer is all about Defense an isnt a bad offensive player as well. I would love that pickup. Rasual Butler is a solid player that can nail the 3 ball too. I wouldnt mind him as well.

  • In reply to Csharp:

    I would take either of them as well

  • In reply to bcz1980:

    I would take any of them in an effort to cock block Miami

  • I think it depends on what the team needs. If it's a big, physical presence that can deter drives to the lane, grab offense rebounds and tips around the rim, and block shots in the paint, then dial up Asik. If they want to run a little more, or it's against a smaller, more athletic lineup, then Gibson should get minutes.

    The good thing is that the team has versatility, which will be a big plus come playoff time.

  • In reply to zentastic:

    I think Asik is just as good on the physical guys given the chance, and better on help/pick n roll

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