No Boozer, No Noah, No problem, Bulls stand alone as #1 seed

The Washington Wizards have only won a single road game this season, and they were dealing with as many injuries as the Bulls missing Howard, Lewis, and Blatche.   Is it any surprise the Bulls were able to walk away with this one?

Chicago followed a similar pattern of playing a close half and then annihilating its opponent in the second half with suffocating defense.

The Bulls rolled to an easy victory largely behind outstanding rebounding and three point shooting as the team went 12 of 32 from beyond the arc and put up 18 more shot attempts than the Wizards on the night while shooting two more free throws as well.  

You typically win basketball games pretty easily when you're getting 18 more chances to score than your opponent due to turnover differential and offensive boards, and that happened last night.

There was no real drama in the game outside of whether JaVale McGee would get his triple double (points, rebounds, blocks) which he finally scored with under a minute to go to finish it off.  

It shows you a bit about where Washington is as a franchise, that the team went nuts trying to get him the triple double, and then after he had it there was a big celebration.   You're down by 20 and your team wasted about four offensive possessions trying to get you a score prior to you picking a loose ball and dunking it.

I guess at that point, what else do you have to celebrate if you're Washington though?

Keith Bogans who knocked down 5 of 10 from behind the arc, played especially well for the Bulls.  They're now 8-0 when Bogans scores 9 or more this season (see that, the Bogans anomaly is back).   Derrick Rose continues to launch threes at a disturbing pace knocking down 2 of 7 on the night. 

So beyond the game, the real news is that the Bulls stand alone, for at least 24 hours as the #1 seed, pulling a half game ahead of the Boston Celtics who host Indiana tonight.    The Celtics aren't resting guys in an attempt to go into the playoffs healthy this year, they're fighting their asses off to maintain position, but they're doing so unsuccessfully so far.

Can Indy pull off the upset tonight?   Doesn't seem likely, but not much seemed likely about the Celtics last three losses to the Clippers, 76ers, and Nets, so you never know.   If I'm a Boston fan, I'm scared of tumbling behind Miami if things don't get better soon.

Final thoughts?

The Bulls are primed for a big playoff run.   They're more likely than not to get the #1 seed now, but remember things can change dramatically in a week of basketball, so no counting chickens just yet.   

If the Bulls capture the #1 seed, then they should make their way at least to the ECF.   The first round would be a laugher series, and they should beat Orlando in the second round (even though I'm sure Orlando makes it a tough series).   At that point, I'll hope Boston takes care of Miami for us, and we'll throttle the Celtics on our way to the Finals where the I'll take the Bulls over any team in the West.

I'm not picking out my replica Bulls Championship trophy or pricing 1.7% tattoos just yet, but the #1 seed makes things all the more likely for us to win this year, and at the very least, the Bulls have shed the title of dark horse and moved up to contender.

Comments

Leave a comment
  • Doug, I know that you are "All In" for the Bulls winning it all this year, but I still get surprised when I don't see your usually tempered enthusiasm. I still get nervous that we can beat teams in the play-offs (because it has been forever since we have). I've forgotten, until this year, what it feels like to expect to win games...It's good!

  • In reply to scogo1:

    I think the Bulls take the #1 seed and make it to at least the ECF. After that, who knows, but there's no shame if we get knocked out in the ECF.

  • In reply to DougThonus:

    Not to mention, no shame in missing the ECFs, regardless of the Bulls seed.

  • In reply to DougThonus:

    Omer Asik, Artis Gilmore, and Bill Walton

    Last night was Omer's worst game that I can remember. Bobbled passes, botched dunks. Perhaps the defense was good, could barely stand to watch it.

    Did Omer watch Artis Gilmore training videos? He catches the ball like Artis once did under the bucket (actually, Artis had better hands), then not only gathers himself but sometimes dribbles once to gain momentum under the bucket, gives everyone a moment to block/attack/hassle his shot. Reminds me too much of Artis, and Artis was a fine athlete. But Artis never learned to catch a pass, extend the ball high, turn, and shoot.

    Which brings me to Bill Walton. Walton was awesome in the pivot as I recall. He would catch the ball, immediately raise the ball higher with both hands, sometimes extending it over his head, turn, and shoot. I don't remember anyone ever blocking Bill Walton's shot except David Thompson with his 44" vertical leap (boy, was Walton surprised).

    So here's hoping Omer Asik throws away his Artis Gilmore training films and starts watching old film of Bill Walton. Better still, is Walton or someone like Walton available to teach Asik starting this summer?

    So thanks for reading...

    I do love Omer Asik's defense. But as Coach Thibodeau yanked him last night for poor offense (in my opinion) the coach sent a message: watch some old Bill Walton videos.

  • In reply to rkraneis:

    Thanks Richard, I enjoyed reading. Love any talk about Bill Walton. Boy what could have been if only he wasn't genetically predisposed to breaking down. I wish he would get into coaching & we could sign him as a big man coach for Omer & Jo.

  • In reply to ChiRy:

    When healthy, Bill Walton was an amazing center who was so fundamentally sound in the many nuances of post play.

    This past summer, Indiana Pacers GM Larry Bird arranged for his ex-teammate Bill Walton to tutor Roy Hibbert.
    http://www.hoopsworld.com/Story.asp?story_id=17162

  • In reply to Edward:

    Hire Walton for Asik and Noah

    Loved the article about Walton helping Hibbert. I read the article and it was a two way street of respect.

    If Walton would tutor Noah and Asik in the off season, I'd do it in a heartbeat.

  • In reply to rkraneis:

    If Bill Walton is not available, I know of another John Wooden coached 7

  • In reply to rkraneis:

    If Bill Walton is not available, I know of another John Wooden coached 7

  • In reply to rkraneis:

    I believe that coach Wooden is no longer with us, so that would leave Walton himself.

    Asik has a lot to learn about NBA offense, and hopefully he will, but if he turns out to be Artis Gilmore then we will be winning NBA titles(as long as he does so with the Bulls) and Noah will be starting at power forward, or coming off the bench if we still start(are stuck with)Boozer.

  • In reply to DougThonus:

    I am not taking anything for granted, not the #1 seed nor them beating the Magic/? to get to the ECF. Living in Seattle through the #1 seed Sonics loss to Denver years ago and then seeing the lowly Seahawks beat the SuperBowl Champion Saints in the first round have made me appreciate the Jordan Bulls that much more, when they got to the Finals they won it! I am very excited to see how this Bulls team responds in the playoff and it's nice to think they have a legit shot at the title but I remember how it took the Bulls a couple years to get past the Pistons and realize it pretty tough to win it all without much experience.

  • In reply to UnstopaBull:

    Ditto. I'm hoping for the 1st seed, but Boston and Miami are still in that race. I consider a series with Orlando close to a toss up, with us being slight underdogs to Miami. I think we have the best shot against Boston. I really worry about a disadvantage in officiating against Orlando & Miami. We still really need another creator on offense for this team. I'd love to see Rose drag Noah, Gibson, and Asik to train in LA with him this offseason.

  • In reply to UnstopaBull:

    ESPN insider has a new NBA future rankings, did anyone read this? Where are the Bulls?

  • In reply to ChiRy:

    Bulls are at the top.

  • In reply to walrus:

    Here's what Chad Ford said in his chat regarding the Bulls, "That (defense, Rose, Thibs) essentially explains why we put them No. 1 on the Future Power Rankings. The Thunder are a close second ... but we feel like the Bulls are legit contenders right now for a Championship, still have room for their young players to get better and should have the flexibility to add a two guard to the roster down the road via trade, free agency that makes them one of the most complete teams in the league. It's very hard not to be high on the Bulls' future right now. If they stay healthy, they could have a long, long run in them."

  • In reply to walrus:

    nice

  • In reply to walrus:

    I assume Miami is third now? Love their fall, also love that ESPN is now running "could Bosh be traded in the off season?" rubbish. I don't think there's any chance they trade Bosh, if they trade him after one year when he took less to sign with them it's a really bad look for their "come play with us for less and win a championship" pitch. But the more rumours that might destabilise that team the better.

  • In reply to DontLetsStart:

    I don't know actually. I picked it up in bits and pieces. NY is actually up there somewhere too. And I'm all for Miami dismantling Miami by any means available...even if it's by the hand that once fed them. Our media likes to prop people up at the top, but they equally enjoy knocking them down.

  • In reply to walrus:

    Actually...I may bite the bullet and get insider soon for the baseball season. I feel like I'm selling a part of my soul.

  • In reply to walrus:

    Does anybody wonder that ESPN is so conflicted on the Bulls? One day the Bulls are great, #1, Rose is MVP and the other day they are second round fodder, Rose is a SG and is not even a top 5 player.
    Are they doing this for ratings as they have a big following in Chicago and the more abrasive they get now, they get more ratings.
    I think a couple of them are into that and I am not sure as a fan how to even make real objective basketball sense sometimes if you don't spend reading everything.

  • In reply to schaumburgfan:

    Being conflicted about the Bulls is not a bad thing, it's logical. The Bulls although a good team, is still catching some critics by surprise and they are still inexperienced as a team cause they were pretty much just assembled this past summer. The core of Rose, Noah, and Deng have been together for a few years now but the rest of the team have not been together as a whole. I'm hoping that the Bulls can have major success in the playoffs but at the same time,I will be prepared if they can't bring home the title this year cause the future is bright for the Bulls win or lose.

  • In reply to Reese1:

    That's not the point I am talking about. I understand what you say.
    ESPN has more respect for Westbrook and Durant or even Orlando. And as you write, the Bulls has been here for more than 2 years now. And they have had played together in the playoffs even though a short one. We all seem to base everything on the path MJ took and think everyone has to follow the same path to be successfull which I disagree.
    The bottom-line is it is tough to get a objective national perspective from ESPN for the Bulls because I am not sure they are trying to do their jobs objectively rather than for ratings...like the case for MVP for Rose.

  • In reply to schaumburgfan:

    Well as you stated, maybe it is just for ratings cause we all know the 4 lettered network has been very good at that especially since the free agent bonanza this past summer.

  • In reply to Reese1:

    I think a lot of it has to do with ratings. Also the fact that they went all in for Miami before the season even started and now they're having trouble going the other direction now that their chosen team of primadonas isn't so unbeatable. I don't think they want to admit that they were wrong.

  • In reply to schaumburgfan:

    If you've ever watched SportsCenter over the last 10 years, then you would know they do everything strictly for ratings

  • In reply to ChiRy:

    SportsCenter is more of a news and highlights program(that's their goal)..
    But, what I am saying is the analysis part. I am trying to get an idea of how things are going with the Bulls from a national perspective. You watch NBA.com analysts and ESPN analysts and you get a completely different picture many times.

  • In reply to schaumburgfan:

    I don't think the guys who are fans of other teams really watch enough of the Bulls to have an accurate opinion. There's a lot of lag there, because a lot of them only see a few games they still remember the team from earlier in the year.

    I mean you still hear a lot about how the Bulls have the defense but are a bad offensive team yet since the all-star break the offense has been well above average (and has now managed to push the offense for the whole season to a tick above average) mainly because they're getting a ton of offensive rebounds. I wonder what change to the lineup happened around all-star to make that happen ... ;)

  • In reply to DontLetsStart:

    Good point about still hearing that the Bulls are a bad offensive team. On a similar note, only recently have people stopped saying that Rose has no jumpshot. He was pretty consistent last season from mid-range and has improved more this year. I think you're right, it's the lag time because a lot of the analysts don't watch and follow every team every game like us crazy fans do.

  • In reply to schaumburgfan:

    ESPN in general is a money hungry corporation. I know, not exactly an oxymoron, still, everything about them suggests they are willing to sell their souls for a couple of (billion) bucks. It starts at the top, and trickles down to the highlight shows & analysts.

  • In reply to schaumburgfan:

    Nyets game could be a tough road game vs a streaking team.

  • In reply to ChiRy:

    I agree New Jersey is a totally different team now

  • fb_avatar
    In reply to ChiRy:

    Nyets lol...nicely done :)

  • In reply to Redwhitenblack:

    Followed by the Pacemakers...

    (my wife's joke... So glad I turned her on to Bulls during MJ days...)

  • In reply to schaumburgfan:

    They're not conflicted, there's dozens of people who write articles for ESPN and not all of them have the same opinion.

  • In reply to DontLetsStart:

    Your statement opposes itself. ESPN not having the same opinion is conflicting but you say they aren't?

  • In reply to lmille27:

    I'm saying ESPN can't be conflicted because ESPN isn't a person, it's a company and companies as non-sentient entities don't have opinions. There are dozens of people working for ESPN each with their own non-conflicted opinion.

  • In reply to DontLetsStart:

    I understand that. The point is it feels some of them are lying or doing this deliberately. Not everyone on ESPN is like that...Tim Legler(ex-NBA player)seems to be objective even when he criticizes the Bulls. The point I am making is some of them know that they are lying and knowing the size of the Bulls fanbase trying to create activity like MrHappy does here with his trades.(I know it as a more informed fan this year because of watching/reading more about the Bulls which I will not always do because of time constraints).
    I am just amazed at their non-professionalism.

  • In reply to DontLetsStart:

    Boston wins but Miami loses, at this point the Heat are four losses and a tiebreaker behind the Bulls so it's really starting to look impossible for them to catch up.

  • In reply to DontLetsStart:

    Well, Bulls are now #2 seed as Boston won tonight over Indiana to tie Bulls. Since Boston owns the tie breaker Bulls are now #2 seed. Our Bulls need a win tomorrow over New Jersey!

    But Thunder beat the Heat in Miami. Bulls now up 4 in the loss column over Miami Heat!

  • In reply to DontLetsStart:

    If the bulls win the last game against Boston they would then hold the tie breaker. We would win at number 3 on this list.

    TIEBREAKER BASIS:
    (-) Tie breaker not needed (better overall winning percentage)
    (1) Division leader wins tie from team not leading a division
    (2) Head-to-head won-lost percentage
    (3) Division won-lost percentage
    (4) Conference won-lost percentage
    (5) W-L Percentage vs. Playoff teams, own conference
    (6) W-L Percentage vs. Playoff teams, other conference
    (7) Net Points, all games

  • In reply to dldjr:

    Division win/loss record only counts if you're in the same division.

  • In reply to dldjr:

    Yes, so Bulls will lose number 4 (conference won-lost percentage) if they finish tied with Boston. Bulls must finish with a better record after 82 games to garner the #1 seed. Bulls will lose any tie breaker with Boston.

    Bulls 9 road games are the hurdle that must be overcome.

  • In reply to Edward:

    Oh I see. that sux but I think we'll win anyway

  • In reply to DontLetsStart:

    Corporations have one common interest -- to make money. If that means making a Heat Index, or covering Melo rumors 24/7, or stirring up some controversy about who's better than who, than that's what they'll do

  • In reply to DougThonus:

    The cool aid is getting to you. Over reacting to a win over the Wizards and thier ilk.

    I agree that with the #1 seed we have an excellent shot at getting to the ECF and beating Boston would be easier than beating Miami, and that Boston has a better shot of knocking off Miami than we do.

    The Bulls have no shot against the Lakers in the finals, as long as they(bynum speciifically) are healthy, much like I doubt that they could beat Miami in a 7 game series.

    Truth be told, we have yet to prove that we can beat the Celtics when Garnett is healthy.

  • In reply to scogo1:

    It feels awesome to be in the position we are now!
    If we don't make it past the 1st round it will be very bad but look at our record...we have as many wins now as we did all of last year!
    Things are looking bright for the Bulls!!! :-)

  • In reply to scogo1:

    It just like a dream to see chicago being first of the eastern conference !! Good win bulls ! besides who said Bogans can't score ?? lol. he's got a hidden talent, lol.

  • In reply to deewaves:

    Bogans has been just pacing himself lol

  • In reply to scogo1:

    Is this the Deng from 2007 playoffs? I don't see the reason why he cannot go back to that level(if Thibs doesn't go crazy and play him until he doesn't have any energy in the playoffs).
    As MJ said, Deng is the X-Factor. The point is will Thibs go crazy and play Deng until the last 30 seconds of a blow-out?
    The one thing I like is how Rose is working on his 3 pointers. He is doing the right thing by kind of working on it during a game and that's the best way to make the opponents gameplan for it.

  • In reply to schaumburgfan:

    Thibs is using Deng as his rookie coach security blanket. Deng played 43 MINUTES and gets dinged up with 3 minutes left. That

  • In reply to scogo1:

    Best thing you can say about the Bulls is they're getting good enough to be boring. Hard to really care about home games against crappy teams at this point in the season because you never feel there's much risk at all of a loss.

  • In reply to DontLetsStart:

    I still watch every game with that sense of dread that is the providence of fans of "scrappy teams". If we're like this next season maybe it'll wear off.

  • In reply to DontLetsStart:

    you're right. i'm looking forward for playoffs !

  • In reply to deewaves:

    I'm beginning to feel that way too. Obviously there's some interest right now in that they are fighting for the #1 seed but I'm looking forward to heading into the playoffs and not having to think we need a miracle to win a series. We just have to play well.

  • In reply to walrus:

    Exactly man. My confidence in this team has grown up since the allststar break. I'm starting to think That we can reach the finals since boston looks less good and miami is just talents mix not a team. Go Bulls!!!

  • In reply to walrus:

    The post allstar period is always the boring part of the season, no chances of any trades to change things up and you pretty much know how good each team is. Bad teams are tanking and good teams just want the playoffs to start.

  • In reply to deewaves:

    I hope Noah and Boozer are back for the Nets game. They've been on roll recently, especially Humphries rebounding. The Bulls will need to hit the boards hard to beat the Nets.

  • In reply to efaily:

    Noah's back, Boozer is day-to-day

  • In reply to bpmueller:

    I hope Noah/Boozer play at their max health a minimum 10 games together before the playoffs.

  • In reply to DontLetsStart:

    I sure hope the Bulls aren't getting to that point...

  • fb_avatar
    In reply to DontLetsStart:

    Funny way of putting it. Rose reported in training camp that while they were drilling offense Thibs once yelled at them, "Getting bored yet? Good! I like it when you get bored, that means you're getting good at it!"

    Lombardiesque.

  • More Minutes for Omer

    It's a good point. I read he played only 10 minutes in the newspaper.

    Strange, Omer's was given lots of time against Orlando and Miami, but only 10 minutes against the Wizards.

    When Omer learns how to catch a pass without lowering the ball below his waist or dribbling it once, his playing time will increase.

    Omer has already learned how to limit his fouls in play. Adaptive.

    Here's hoping he can continue to learn, and earn some more minutes.

  • We don't know what is being worked on for Omer in practice. If Thibs has over and over again talked/worked with him on not bringing the ball low and going up stong then it is no wonder he was only give 10 minutes. Playing time is the biggest motivator for most players and I like the fact that Thibs makes you earn it. Sit Omer, sit Boozer, sit the starters, if it sends a message and produces results. Oh wait, it looks like it does #1 East.

  • Bulls took the control of the east but Nate Dogg Died ! RIP Nate Dogg !

  • Now, i don't blame anymore Thibs for anything he does even it looks weird because we always win.

    the end justifies the means !

  • Agreed. This is my new biggest beef with Thibs. With big men down & out of the lineup, Asik needs evenmore time. Heck, he needs more time even when everyones healthy.

  • In reply to ChiRy:

    & would it kill him to start the young guy?

  • In reply to ChiRy:

    I'd also like to see Asik play some more...and simultaneously I'm thinking if our biggest beef these days is with how much we play our backup rookie center, than things must be going very, very well!

  • In reply to walrus:

    exactly! Good times these days. Can't really complain

  • In reply to walrus:

    Remember Doug and KC Johnson were all talking at the beginning of the season that Asik was a project and was not expected to contribute this year. They probably have no time to work on Asik as the focal point. He gets most of his passes around his knees.
    Asik was definitely not himself yesterday. Thibs probably wanted to make sure we don't end up losing this sure-win game when you don't have Boozer/Noah to compensate for any mistakes.

  • In reply to schaumburgfan:

    Absolutely...we don't want to wind up losing games we should win for the sake of developing players. The Bulls are in a different place these days. They can't afford to sacrifice possessions, much less games. It's good to be in that position again -- but hopefully they do get a chance to give Asik some extended minutes here and there, but you're right he still has to play well and make sure he stays on the floor.

  • In reply to schaumburgfan:

    agree with the passes at his knees or waist, a fundamental problem that is not his but everyone else on the Bulls who clearly don't know how to pass to a bigman.

    Look how many fast breaks the Bulls completely blew last night, even a 5 on 1. This has been a problem all year, and even in the past few years before this. Our fast break is certainly not the showtime lakers, or even this years heat.

  • In reply to ChiRy:

    I'm not one to usually complain about the refs, but there were two plays that bugged me in last night's game.
    1. Booker's monster pick on Brewer. I know moving screens happen all the time, but he was not set IMO when Brewer ran into him and got knocked to the ground. Most moving screens in the league seem to happen after the offensive player uses the screen and the screener "moves away from the ball," sticks his butt out to block the on ball defender, etc. In this case, Booker planted his feet as Brewer ran into him and still had his body momentum moving forward which is why Brewer got crushed. I think it's a potentially dangerous play. If he was set and his feet were planted before Brewer got there, then I'd say it was just a hard solid pick, but that's not the case IMO.
    2. The "offensive foul" that Deng got called for when he appeared to get hurt. John Wall stepped in front of/under Deng when he was already in the motion of going in the air. His one foot was still on the ground, but it was the foot he jumped off of and there was no turning back at that point. He couldn't have stopped or changed direction and he shouldn't have had to because Wall didn't have position in front of him when he started to go up. It's a play like that where someone gets hurt and it appearted Deng almost did get hurt.

    I love a tough, physical play and maybe I'm just a biased Bulls fan, but I don't think the right calls were made in these cases. The refs & the league need to watch out more for plays like that. Sorry for the rant.

  • In reply to kayak0109:

    To add to your point, we can relate to the Bosh complaint in the game against the Bulls. I know Bosh was being a wuss but rookies can be ignorant on what "physical" means. Both of your plays can relate to that. From what I remember from the last Wizards game, Kevin Seraphin(rookie on the Wizards) is almost dangerous in how he plays.
    There is no getting away from this but hopefully the Assistant Coaches are doing their job and sending these videoes to the league office to point out what physical/ignorant rookies can do on how they play defense/set screens. That's why some Bulls fans are concerned with Deng/Rose or other important guys playing at the end of blow-outs. A freak injury can occur anytime but it will look downright stupid in hindsight if it happens like what could have happened to Rose or Deng yesterday.

  • agreed, esp with rooks

  • Totally agree, Thibs is a typical chickenshit coach, he needs to get these guys as many minutes as possible before the playoffs. We already know that Thomas will be there when we need him. Asik has already shown(like Taj) that he seems to play better when he gets more minutes.

  • He has his rotation and he tries to stick with it if things are going well. That's why with Gibson starting we saw Scal come off the bench to play PF before we saw Asik, because his rotation normally has the backup PF coming in at that point.

    It's sometimes frustrating to watch but the players talk about knowing their role and seem happy with it, and if there is an actual matchup problem he makes adjustments so I'm OK with it.

Leave a comment