Bulls at Spurs 8pm on ESPN, the tests begin

The Chicago Bulls have a great record so far. They've also played a cream puff schedule. That won't hold the rest of the season, and the difficulty starts tonight with a trip to San Antonio.

The Chicago Bulls are coming off a tough win requiring late game heroics and a day of travel while the Spurs are coming off of a bunch of rest from all-star weekend. The Bulls will get the Spurs A game tonight.

Parker vs Rose

Parker strikes me as a poor man's Rose in many respects. Their games are similar in style, but Derrick is bigger and more athletic which is the difference between being an all-star and an MVP. That said, Parker is certainly capable of putting up big numbers offensively, but Rose tends to defend elite PGs well and certainly ahs the ability to shut him down.

Unfortunately for the Spurs, the reverse doesn't hold true. Parker really has little hope of containing Rose, whom crushes smaller PGs on offense. If Rose struggles with anything defensively it's getting double teamed by multiple length, athletic players. The Spurs don't really have that in the toolbox to throw at him.

As such, I expect a big game from Derrick tonight.

Who wins the front court battle?

The Spurs have some quality depth up front. Tim Duncan's long in the tooth but is still probably the best big man on the floor. Tiago Splitter and DeJuan Blair are the type of big men who can hurt Chicago inside while Bonner is the type of big man who can hurt Boozer's fear of stepping out to the three point line on defense.

The Bulls have as much talent defensively as the Spurs, but the Spurs have specific matchups they can take advantage of to win this battle.

If it comes down to threes....

Both teams bring plenty of fire power when it comes to three point shooting, but the Bulls players strike me as considerably less consistent at it than their Spurs counterparts. The Spurs shoot and make a ton of three pointers every game, and if there's one thing Greg Popovich knows, it's that the corner three is the most efficient shot this side of the dunk.

The Bulls need to be careful with how they gamble and make sure to guard the corners, because the Spurs will spot up there every play and run their offense to generate that look as one of the primary options. They'll also need to make sure Taj is out there to harass Bonner at the three point line or hope that Boozer steps up and stays out of the paint.

What will the Bulls get from the wings?

Derrick Rose always gives the Bulls quality offense. The big men almost always provide quality defense and rebounding. Where the Bulls are most inconsistent from their wing offense. Both Deng and Hamilton can score in volume, but they also both vary tremendously in their efficiency doing so.

The pair both frequently put up 6 for 18 and 7 for 20 games on route to scoring 18. The Bulls need at least one of the pair to step up and have a quality offensive night to keep Chicago's offense running smoothly.

Bulls need this one and a whole bunch more

Chicago's got a nice record at 28-8, but they've not fared well against quality opponents. They've only got two stretches left this season where they play weaker opponents in back to back games. As such, we'll see where the Bulls really are in the pecking order of the league's elite teams soon.


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  • I've made the point about Parker as a poor man's Rose before. Parker's game gives me hope that Rose will still play at a high level when some of his athleticism wears off.

  • In reply to Tyler Soze:

    while I haven't thought about it, it seems about right.

    However, despite his MVP, I still think that Rose is a poor man's Isaiah Thomas, which is no insult to Rose at this point in his career.

    Rose needs to get to the level that Isaiah did in order for the Bulls to win a championship.

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    Tiago is not playing in this game which significantly weakens the Spurs offense inside.
    Parker can always have a big night, and with Rose's back still hurting he might be able to guard Parker as well as he usually does.
    In the end, I think Hamilton's added ball movement abilities will help the Bulls break down the Spurs defense, when Rose isn't going all MVP that is.

  • In reply to Micdiddy:

    Hadn't heard Splitter was out. That definitely helps the Bulls considerably.

    I don't think Rose's back is an issue, he looked at his peak level of explosiveness last game.

  • I'm amped for this one. This will be a nice test for the fellas. I've been concerned about their play against good teams, so hopefully they'll start pulling it together. In a season with blow out after blow out against crap opponents it''ll be good to see where the Bulls stand against the better teams. Also, I always enjoy watching the Spurs. Maybe I'm crazy, but I love Duncan's fundamental play- it's super exciting.

    Nice thought of the day:
    I suspect that if Noah continues to play the way he has the last month, the Bulls could sneak by the Heat.

  • Duncan also whines about calls but I guess playing in a small town helps him. That said, if there is any superstar whom we can compare Rose, it's Duncan. They go about their business and their focus is just getting wins for their team and nothing else compared to Kobe, LeBron, Wade etc..

  • In reply to schaumburgfan:

    Personality wise, Duncan and Rose are probably the most similar supestars in the game, I'd agree.

  • Didn't we beat this team earlier this season on our homecourt?What's the big fuss about? They are beatable and we'll beat them again! Talk to me when it's over.

  • In reply to SlamDunk:

    No, we haven't played them yet this year.

  • In reply to SlamDunk:

    We did kick the crap out of them last year right before the All Star game. Bulls seem to always step up in statement games, except recently when multiple injuries have limited them. The only concern I have is how rusty they looked yesterday, & Hamilton's minutes being limited.

  • In reply to ChiRy:

    We seem to like statement games. It brings out the best in us. Remember all the hype about Miami and how we had them, but for Rose getting a flash back a the freee throw line.

  • Relief...Rose seems ok..!!! I almost cancelled my cable;-)

  • Does Korver pass it to anybody else other than Rose even if he is in trouble? I don't remember seeing him give/pass the ball to anybody else?

  • The Bench Mob had a good run in the 2nd quarter.
    Watson, Asik, Gibson, Brewer. Nice to see!

  • Actually I think Korver's a pretty good passer. Your probably just seeing him reset the offense, which would be giving the ball back to D.

  • Boozer getting KILLED on defense in the first 6 minutes of the 3rd quarter!

  • In reply to Edward:

    I was trying as best I could not to say anything, but since you brought it up.

    You would think that boozer would have found his perfect match tonight in Blair, who is 2 inches shorter than he is, has no ACL in either leg, is a second round pick and even more ground bound than boozer is himself.

    But, its really not so bad, we are only paying "the Mataboozer"(I believe that aptly describes the type of defense he plays, especially on that drive by Parker) $70+ million more than the Spurs are paying Blair, no biggie right.

  • In reply to BigWay:

    Boozer got pulled right at that 6 minutes mark of the 3rd quarter and never saw the court again. Gibson played 25 minutes to Boozer's 22 minutes.

  • In reply to Edward:

    Best thing about the 4rth quarter besides the win, boozer on the bench, Noah & Taj on the floor. Maybe Thibs has finally severed the imaginary umbilical cord between the 2.

  • In reply to BigWay:

    Yes, Bulls would have definitely lost this game if Boozer played the 4th quarter. The Spurs were scoring at will in the 3rd quarter while Boozer was in the game.

  • In reply to Edward:

    The way it should be....

  • News today that Minnesota offered up Beasley for peanuts, but L.A. balked at the additional luxury tax they'd pay if they absorbed him into Odom's trade exception. They may have just provided the sweetener for Chicago to make the Gasol trade happen:

    Chicago gets: Pau Gasol
    Minnesota gets: Luke Walton, the Charlotte pick, (and possibly CJ Watson + LA's or Dallas' draft pick)
    LA gets: Beasley, Boozer, and Watson (or, if they prefer, Ridnour for their best first rounder with CJ going to Minneapolis)

    Minne offered a similar deal today, but in this version get a better draft pick (or two) and a serviceable replacement for Beasley.

    LA gets much needed scoring at SF and PG, with a wash (offensively) at PF (though it hurts defensively), all while trimming an additional $4.5 million off their payroll ($9 million including luxury tax).

    Chicago goes $1 million into the luxury tax and wins a championship.


  • In reply to Gringo Rican:

    What's more of a kick on the balls? That your team offers you up for nothing, or that the other team says no?

    $&@* Beasley.

  • In reply to Gringo Rican:

    Probably make the trade, unless Bulls think Watson can play every night like tonight - which he has not been doing lately. Tonight Watson had 12 pts, 4 assists, in 12 minutes - including 2 of 4 3s.

    Two things tho:
    1) If the Charlotte pick is included, then the trade for Howard will never happen. So the Bulls get only incrementally better instead of a major upgrade. But Howard is likely not coming anyway if he insists on playing with Deron next year. 2) The Bulls will need to pick up another guard somewhere. They were probably planning this anyway with the recent falloff in the play of the 2nd tier guards. What can they get for Asik and Brewer and a pick if CJ goes to LA? As we saw tonight, Gibson is more valuable to the team than Asik.

    It will be interesting what trades the Bulls can swing - they need to do something.

  • In reply to Gringo Rican:

    What is Beasley's salary? He is capable of big games, but not consistently. Could the Bulls get him for Asik? or Brewer?

  • In reply to rustyw:

    Beasley makes too much money for us to take him on easily. We'd have to give up either Korver (bad idea, we need a 3-point shooter) or Brewer + one other player (Lucas, Butler, Gibson, or Asik). For Brewer + Lucas you probably pull the trigger (and then re-sign Mike James). Otherwise, I'd say no.

  • In reply to rustyw:

    Beasley's in the $6 million range, how bout boozer for Beasley & Milicic or Brad Miller and/or another of Minny's bad contracts(Anthony Randolf), we throw in our #1 if need be?

    Beasley never was my kind of guy, almost certainly never will be, but he is a natural born scorer, which we could certainly use in spurts.

    Maybe they go for it if we take back enough crap, especially since they already think that Beasley is crap.

    Virtually certain that Minny won't take boozer unless we throw in Rose, but it doesn't hurt to find out.

  • In reply to Gringo Rican:

    These are two utterly separate trades. The only connection is that LA would like to complete the Gasol trade (for Boozer/Watson) first in order to clear some space prior to snagging Beasley for peanuts. There's absolutely no reason we should be sending the Charlotte pick to Minnesota when they are willing to trade Beasley for the Lakers own first rounder. Luke Walton is not a serviceable replacement. The only reason Minnesota would take him (for two years!) and give LAL free tax relief is if we (or the Lakers) incentivized it by giving them a draft pick.

    Basically what I'm saying is that we should deal with the Lakers exclusively, and if they demand a draft pick in addition to Boozer/Watson, so be it.

  • Bulls offense STINKS!!! It's comical how no one outside of Rose can score when needed.

  • In reply to Reese1:

    The 2nd scorer Bulls so desperately need is not on the roster.

  • In reply to Reese1:

    And promptly the Bulls manage to hit 2/3 of their shots in the 4th against the hottest team in the league on their court.

    The Bulls offensive troubles are way overblown. Every team goes through stretches when they miss shots.

  • In reply to Shakes:

    Say what you will about the Bulls offense, fact of the matter is I believe most Bulls fans know that the Bulls offense as I stated earlier and as it has been displayed plenty of times this season STINKS!!! They need another scoring THREAT!!!... besides Rose that they can go to. Will they trade for that scoring threat?... I highly doubt it. The Bulls however did well in beating the Spurs, good character win. The tests will keep on coming tho and hopefully they will be ready for the next few games.

  • In reply to Reese1:

    The only thing that stinks is your ridiculous warping of common English words. Is the Bulls offense great? No. But it's better than the vast majority of the league.

  • In reply to Reese1:

    Reese1, are you really a Bulls fan or just a clown without shame, masquerading as a Bulls fan?

  • In reply to Reese1:

    so true and its why the bulls won't beat the heat in the playoffs.

  • In reply to rob32:

    Yeah, I'm sorry to say that the inevitable will be that the Heat or possibly another athletic team will beat the Bulls in the playoffs if nothings done by the trade deadline.

  • In reply to Reese1:

    Reese 1, are you and rob32 brothers? You both sound foolish, irrational. You both sound like New York Knicks fans who have lost their way.

  • The Bench Mob played very well tonight!
    I hope in the second half of the season, with the starters all healthy, that the Bench Mob consistently plays together as a unit and Thibs relies on them more. With playing time they will regain their rhythm and become the asset they were last season. The Bench Mob will be an asset in the playoffs as well if Thibs will give them minutes and let the starters get their needed rest.

    Bulls should not shorten their rotation in the playoffs. While that is the conventional wisdom, it does not fit Bulls roster as the starters are not that much better than the bench, Rose aside. Bulls must use their strength, which is depth, to their advantage in the playoffs. Conventional wisdom or coaching cliches be damned.

  • In reply to Edward:

    Excellent point about keeping the longer rotation in the playoffs. Really, if Thibs had used Thomas more and the guard they signed late, the Bulls might have done better vs. Miami. Rose was exhausted. Of course, they also would have fared better if Noah, Boozer, Korver, etc had played better.

  • In reply to Edward:

    Watson should have closed out the 4rth with Rose tonight, especially since he was shooting well, the Spurs were playing 2 point guards and Gary Neal was killing us.

  • Well Bulls kinda went flat in the 3rd but it made for a fun game. Like I said before in order win titles you need clutch shooting from role players. The Bulls of the 90's got it from Hodges, Paxson,BJ, then Tony Kukoc and Kerr.

    Tonight Korver and Deng really helped out Derrick offensively and that was nice to see.

    Kinda disappointing to see Boozer clank bricks all over the place there and Rip join in.

    If the Lakers trade for Howard I wonder if they'd consider that Boozer and Watson for Gasol trade. I know they want Deng but thats completely foolish for the Bulls to do. LeBron would destroy Brewer and Korver.

  • In reply to souleater7:

    If the Lakers get Howard, they will have to give up both Bynum and Gasol to do it. They would love to get Watson then, but what could they offer?

    If the Bulls have Noah playing like he has the last few games, and Gasol, and a healthy Rip, LeBron and Wade will have to work their tails off to go inside on them. That's 3 big IFs tho.

  • In reply to souleater7:

    Lebron destroys deng all the time too, brewer wouldn't be any different.

  • In reply to rob32:

    I wouldn't say that LeBron destroys Deng. I think thats kinda harsh. I would say Deng plays him respectably. I'm sure the number's don't how it.

  • In reply to souleater7:

    Rip will get his shot back, needs time. We know what Boozer can do and usually his shot falls...but I like seein Booze on the bench in the 4th. That should become a Bulls tradition...

  • Can't say the game inspired a lot of confidence in Rip. Other than that though a very solid performance. Loved the Rose to Noah to Brewer to Deng dagger ... shows what a big deal Noah playing well is to the team, when he has the confidence to attack the defense things open up.

  • So, wasn't there someone in these threads earlier in the season saying that Derrick Rose wasn't clutch? As absurd as it was then, given the damning evidence to the contrary the past couple of nights, can we agree that ludicrous line of thought is officially put to rest?

  • In reply to kukoc4cocopuffs:

    most commenters on this site are ludicrous...you'll have to narrow it down :-)

  • Good thing that the zombie that came back from the all star game as Luol Deng his those 2 3's in the 4rth. This might have been the single most somnambulant game of his career to that point.

    His lazy offense in the 3rd single handedly allowed the Spurs to get back into the game by allowing them to get out in transition for easy baskets. He was basically brain dead for most of the game, maybe he caught a case of the boozers.

    Luckily he will never play in another all star game, so we don't have to worry about another post all star game hangover, maybe he caught it from fellow never again all star Roy Hibbert.

  • In reply to BigWay:

    There were a number of times against Spurs that Deng looked exhausted. Just wiped out. I think fatigue is catching up to him.- and that all-star activity didn't help, they say its a very draining long weekend.

  • In reply to BigWay:

    You know what I like about you BigWay, even if we differ at times, is that you can throw a haymaker. You nailed it about Deng's play before he woke up in the 4th, and "never again all star Roy Hibbert."
    I concur about Hibbert because the guy even went and shamelessly kissed ass on ESPN, and other such shows, with people like Stephen A. Smith and Chris Webber to get votes for the All Star Game. We even had jokers on this and the other Bulls blog hailing him as the second best big man in the East. It was not so long ago when he was coming off the bench for the Pacers.
    You nailed it on the play of Deng in this game. He was invisible until he awoke sometime in the 4th. But looking at the reaction on this and the other blog, you would have thought he had one heck of a game! They obviously didn't see the game.

  • In reply to SlamDunk:

    imo, Thibs has been over playing Deng, and now its beginning to show. To the point where out of necessity, Deng coasts during games to avoid total burnout. Not saying Deng is coasting intentionally, rather out of survival.

    Thibs should have developed Jimmy Butler earlier so he could give Bulls/Deng 4-5 minutes 1 or 2 times per game (not counting garbage time).

  • In reply to BigWay:

    I agree Deng's had his token career achievement all-star game, but if Howard goes to Dallas in the off season then there's a big chance Hibbert will get to be an all-star just through lack of competition.

  • In reply to Shakes:

    "Hibbert will get to be an All-Star just through lack of competition?" So in your insane world, Joakim Noah doesn't count? People like you should be arrested!

  • We should feel so blessed that the lotto balls went our way and we drafted a super stud, local, humble, team 1st PG in Derrick Rose!

    There was lots of talk about Beasley going #1!!! Aren't we happy we picked Rose instead! Just think how Portland feels not picking Durant when they had the chance!!!!

    We need more scoring and Boozer, Deng, RIP can do it but aren't very consistent. Stephen Jackson hardly plays and is in a major slump in Milwaukee and Beasley was offered up for a 1st rounder and the Lakers said no! We should get 1 of those guys! Even if it means taking on a character risk! Look how good the Rodman experiment worked next to Jordan and Pippen! I'm not saying we are there and I agree that you can't compare this Bulls team to the domiance of the Bulls in the mid 90s with Jordan/Pippen/Rodman/Co but we are very close to having a team that can compete for multiple championships!

    Heck if we had a healthy RIP last year and had a few clutch plays at the end of the game that cancelled out Lebron we could have won!

    Rose played out of his mind! He also had to inorder to give us a change like Jordan did before getting reenforcements!

    Rose/Deng/Noah are the heart of this team and Rose obviously is untouchable even straight up for Lebron.

    I was mad when NYK picked up JR Smith but he is from that area!

    We need to go into the tax to win, not crazy into it but if we can get Beasley at $6M/yr and/or S. Jackson at that price then lets do it and not look back!

    We are eventually going to have to go into the tax to keep Gibson and Asik if we choose to do it even with amnesty Boozer!

    It takes $ to win but also being smart, but now that we are so close and have a super stud in Rose and a good supporting cast!
    Let's go all in JR!!!

  • In reply to smiley:

    "Heck if we had a healthy RIP last year and had a few clutch plays at the end of the game that cancelled out Lebron we could have won!"
    I agree, but that was last year. It will take more this year to take down the Heat. If the Bulls could get Howard for Noah and Deng, that might do it, but it's no sure thing, either getting Howard or then taking out Miami.

    Gasol for Boozer and Watson likely upgrades the Bulls, tho not a huge amount. But coupled with a strong SG (for Asik and the Charlotte pick, for example), that might be enough. At that point, if the Bulls could get Beasley for Lucas and Butler and a #1 pick, their chances against Miami will have vastly improved.

  • Sorry I get carried away with !!!!! LOL

  • In reply to smiley:

    No problem, we are all here just playing around a bit and having fun. Unless we take sports too seriously. It's not world peace or a cancer cure, but it is a nice diversion.

    It will be very interesting to see what trades go down between now and March 15. A few teams should have a good SG for sale. Maybe the Bulls will buy one!

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