Bulls @ Nets 6pm on WGN

What is it with the Nets?  

They always seem to beat the Bulls a disproportionate amount of times even when the Bulls are favored.   Given that history, and the fact that Chicago lost in New Jersey once already, I doubt the Bulls are taking this game lightly. 

However, the battle will be even tougher than the last game we lost to them due to the trade sending Deron Williams to New Jersey.   Last game, New Jersey exploited Carlos Boozer's defense for most of the night getting all kinds of ally oops and easy shots as Carlos was slow in transition defense and didn't bother to defend his man when he was more than 5 feet away from the hoop.

That won't happen again, because Carlos has played much better on defense since, and well, he's not playing in the game.   Joakim Noah will return from flu like symptoms to play tonight though which should give the Bulls front court some added depth.

New Jersey has been on fire lately, so despite their record, they're playing like a team that could win 45-50 games right now after acquiring Deron Williams and having a little time to gel.  They did us a big favor by knocking off the Celtics, let's just make sure they don't even the score tonight.

Keys to the game

Derrick Rose loves to beat up on 'elite' PGs

This season, Derrick has really made it a priority to take it to all the best PGs in the league.  He simply crushed Deron Williams the last time the two matched up in Utah.   The Bulls will hope for a similar result tonight, but great players have plenty of price and Deron Williams will be out looking for revenge.

Derrick has the speed and burst to hurt Deron off the dribble and will need to make sure to stay up on him when he's beyond the three point line to not allow any easy threes.   Derrick has really fallen in love with the three point shot lately, so I hope he's careful not to settle in this game.

Control the paint

It was a completely different cast of characters last game with Favors and Boozer in, but the Nets did a lot of damage on the inside, especially in transition and on ally oops.   The Bulls will need to do a much better job of controlling the glass, getting back on defense and not allowing easy baskets in the painted area [channeled Hubie Brown for that one].

With Noah in and Boozer out, the Bulls won't get as much interior offense, but their interior defense should be vastly improved. 

Don't let this kid get excited


Look, you can't stop mojo like that.

Hope for hot shooting, but don't rely on the three so much

I'm not sure I want to see 32 three point attempts in a game again any time soon, but I do like the Bulls shooting 38% from the three point line as a team.   If Keith Bogans can fill it in like he did against Washington the Bulls are virtually unstoppable. 

That said, the Bulls need to be cautious about throwing up so many threes.  Derrick Rose in particular has developed a habit of taking some off the dribble threes early in the shot clock rather than driving.   Granted, the man can't drive every play, and he needs some shots that aren't much work, but if you need a breather work the ball around the court, don't just launch a three.

Final thoughts

Maybe it's irrational, but I fear the Nets in this game.   The Bulls have struggled all season long on the road, the Nets have often won games they shouldn't against Chicago, and they're playing at a very high level recently.

While the Bulls are still the favorites IMO, this game has upset city written all over it if the team doesn't come out with great energy and effort.

Comments

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  • I agree with your comments, this will be a good "diagnostic" game. That is, the Bulls should win by 10+, if they hope to be a top seed and make it to the ECF as you stated in a previous post. Noah should do well against Lopez. One key is stopping Humphries, who has been hot lately. This game will be a good test for our defense.

  • In reply to MarkOlberding:

    No offense man, but claiming that the Bulls HAVE to win by 10+ points if they hope to be a top seed and make it to the ECF is ridiculous. The Bulls HAVE to have a better record the rest of the season than the Boston Celtics to be the top seed. Then to make it to the ECF they HAVE to beat the 8 seed and the 4 seed 4 out of 7 games minimum. There are no games in this remaining regular season that are microcosms of the Bull's final destination. The Bulls should win this game, and losing it will hurt their chances for the number one seed. But we HAVE to win by 10+ to make the ECF? Come on, man.

  • In reply to jgingeri:

    Wait a minute...you didn't think that I meant that literally, did you?

  • In reply to jgingeri:

    Um, it wasn't meant to be taken literally. Obviously one regular season game has little bearing on playoff seeding. What I meant was that this game would be a good test (which the Bulls passed). Get some sleep.

  • In reply to MarkOlberding:

    I know you don't mean literally, I'm saying that whether or not we beat the Nets by 10 points or 1 point has no correlation to the future of this team. Too often I hear people talk about wins the Bulls have had that were "closer" than they should have been. Every great team in the NBA has tight games with even the worst of teams, and every great team in the NBA loses to the worst of teams. Just look at Boston. I'm just tired of hearing the same wild claims that some small point differential is significant. Goodnight

  • In reply to jgingeri:

    Oh yeah!!!

    ASIK AND DESTROY!!!

  • In reply to jgingeri:

    Rose's assists numbers are down now...Is it possible that Deng is finally creating his own shots??

  • In reply to fsalomon:

    Actually, nobody really notices because we are winning, but his numbers have been trending downward all season. His shooting percentage is off about 10% from his career number, and his assists have been down quite a bit since the break and right before it.

  • In reply to fsalomon:

    The team's assists are up slightly since the all-star break despite Rose being down 1.8. Deng is the one picking up most of the slack at an extra 1.2 a game. It's not so much that Deng is creating his own shot but that he's creating shots for others.

    I suspect it's with the increased attention on Rose it means that he's often getting the hockey assist, when they try to double him the ball often ends up with Deng who makes the pass to the open man.

  • In reply to jgingeri:

    Who needs f-ing Boozer, can't we just trade him for Humphries.

    Actually, come playoff basketball wouldn't we be better off with a big man rotation of Thomas and Asik at center and Noah and Gibson at power forward.

    Sure we give up a something on offense, but we gain size and defense and flexibility.

  • In reply to BigWay:

    I think Miami and Chicago would both like to trade their Power Forwards for some talent right about now. The difference being we already have an excellent PF to fill in immediately.

  • In reply to BigWay:

    I said while he was out to start the season that you kind of wish you could trade him for an equally good SG, because we might have so much depth in the front court we wont be able to use them all as much as they deserve.

    That said I think Boozer is a useful piece given he's the only front court player we have who can really score at an above average rate. One of the strengths of the team is that although some of the players are one dimensional they each fill a role that nobody else on the team does, without Boozer in the long run I think we'd be looking for a scorer at PF to do what he does anyway.

  • In reply to MarkOlberding:

    Boston just lost to the Nets, one of the two of us will likely be the #1 seed, so I don't believe a loss to the Nets means more than any other loss.

    They're a good team right now even if they don't have a good record, and they're playing at home. It's going to be a tough game.

  • In reply to MarkOlberding:

    Asik coming in really helped on the boards and surprisingly he's actually been able to gather the ball and dunk today.

  • In reply to MarkOlberding:

    UNLEASH THE MIGHTY ASIK

  • In reply to davebursill:

    Release the Kraken!

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7SqC_m3yUDU

  • In reply to walrus:

    The Kraken has better hands around the basket but Asik owns him on the boards.

  • In reply to davebursill:

    Lol...nice!

  • In reply to davebursill:

    Ugh, just can not hit shots this half, really fallen apart.

  • In reply to DontLetsStart:

    as doug said, they're playing the nets... this kind of crap has been going on for the last decade for some reason, remember the game that cost the bulls the #3 seed in 2007.

  • In reply to ixonflex69:

    Eventually they've managed to find enough scoring to win it, the luxury of having defense!

  • In reply to ixonflex69:

    Not the greatest game in the world but the 49th win either way. One game away from being able to officially say they're the best Bulls since Jordan, let's hope they get to 50 against the Pacers!

  • In reply to ixonflex69:

    Rose forces the other team's bigs to collapse and creates offensive rebound opportunities so often that he should get an assist every time someone gets a putback off his missed layups.

  • In reply to ixonflex69:

    Great win considering the Bulls always struggle in NJ. I am sure Thibs will be making sure they practice the trapping stuff more. They handled it a lot better and it helps Noah was out there.
    I hope Asik gets more confidence now as he got his first double-double. The advantage having Asik is he matches up well against guys whom Noah struggles against.

  • In reply to ixonflex69:

    "ASIK and DESTROY!"

    CLASSIC!

  • In reply to DontLetsStart:

    broook lopez is a bleached version of rupaul bosh

  • In reply to walrus:

    Turkish Delight needs to focus on blocks now for the big triple double.

  • In reply to davebursill:

    #@$$ that, this game is still too close, gonna make sure to put them away

  • In reply to ixonflex69:

    True, and we don't want him to become the white JaVale McGee

  • In reply to davebursill:

    Who is the #3 playing for the Bulls?
    Wow

    (Joke) Another gr8 game by Omer when he's given the minutes!!

  • In reply to MarkOlberding:

    Man, this team is fun to watch. They move the ball so well and unselfishly. Watson to Brewer to Thomas as they all are running down the court for an easy layup. Beautiful.

    Where are all the gloom-and-doomers these days with the "Bulls suck" game commentary? Must have picked another team to underestimate, I guess.

    Oh, and Stacey King with the "Asik and destroy" paroxysm. Hahaha...hilarious. Good one Stacey.

  • In reply to MarkOlberding:

    good god, that tool humphries needs a kick in the ass

  • In reply to MarkOlberding:

    Playing this game on the road like they're at home which is good to see ... really holding them down defensively, although the Nets are no great offensive team which is helping.

  • In reply to MarkOlberding:

    Just caught the end of the half. We're still wearing the Celtics uniforms? Once was kind of funny I guess, but this is just ridiculous.

  • In reply to Ufficio:

    They're better than the Knicks uniforms at least, whose idea was it to mix green and orange?

  • In reply to Ufficio:

    I wonder if they had played Boston today...they might have been forced to ditch the green.

  • In reply to schaumburgfan:

    i believe they have before! i think boston wore their homes on the road lol

  • In reply to Ufficio:

    Deron Williams 1-9 for 3 points, as much as I'd like to give all the credit to Rose I don't think he's healthy yet.

  • Bulls have to be careful of this game and the Paces game tomorrow. The Nets have been winning as of late especially beating Boston. It's a home game for the Nets which means the Bulls need to play 48 minutes of b-ball. The number 1 seed throughout the eastern conference is on the line so time to play like it on the road.

  • In reply to Reese1:

    +23

  • In reply to Reese1:

    I expect Kurt to start in Booz's stead so will take Lopez leaving JoNo to mark the more mobile Humphries.

    Derrrick v Deron will be fun to watch and so long as Sasha does shoot lights out then I see another nail bititng win for the Bulls

  • I don't know why, but I think this might be "one of those games". Just my gut feeling, but I'm gonna hope we keep these W's rolling.

  • I think the Nets cannot handle prosperity. They probably didn't win 5 games in three months last year. And, Avery Johnson in his "voice" will be nitpicking their faults...who wants to listen to him? They go back to their regular losing pattern so he can pick on the bigger issues.

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