Bulls at Magic 7pm on TNT - Rose out

Tom Thibodeau attempts to become the fastest coach to reach 100 wins. A record sure to set him on the HOF path just like current record holder Avery Johnson [/sarcasm]. If he manages to break the record tonight, he'll have earned it coaching his team to wins against Miami, Philly, and Orlando without the help of superstar Derrick Rose who will miss tonight's game.

This game depends more on the Magic than Chicago

The Bulls just recently lost to Orlando at full strength and without their star, they'll be heavy underdogs tonight. That said, they've won plenty without Rose and even have a few marquee wins during his absences this season. However, if the Magic play their game, they should win.

Can the Bulls find shooting?

With Dwight Howard likely making the Bulls lives difficult in the paint, Chicago will need to rely more on outside shooting than the drive in order to score. Like all teams, the Bulls can be streaky with their three point shooting. Without the threat of the drive, the Magic will likely pressure the three point line in order to limit the Bulls quality three point looks.

Watson, Lucas, and Korver may need to shoot more off the dribble rather than just kick outs.

Noah has been on a tear but can he continue against Howard?

Joakim Noah has been great on the glass and has done a nice job attacking the basket. Now he gets to attempt to continue the trend against the best center in the NBA. Howard can rip down boards better than just about anyone in the NBA, and he should have little trouble containing Noah's offense.

Joakim will also have a tall task on defense attempting to corral Howard and stop him from destroying the Bulls. No one expects Noah to win the matchup, but if he can do what he normally does (give the Bulls 12-12 on nice efficiency) then it will help considerably.

Can Carlos do it again?

Carlos Boozer was about the only thing the Bulls had going for them last game against Orlando. I'm always hesitant to expect much out of Boozer, but Ryan Anderson is the type of player he matches up pretty well with. Chicago needs quite a bit from both Boozer and Deng who've been up and down without Rose in the past.

Defend the three point line

The Magic jack up tons of threes. There offense is to toss the ball into Dwight, let him get deep position then toss it back in or throw up a three. The Bulls need to find a way to bring help without exposing the defense to too many open three point shots. They need to particularly watch Redick and Anderson as well as anyone in the corner.

Last game it was Jason Richardson who did them in behind the three point line going four of six.

Tough to see a win

Not only is Orlando the favorite without Rose in, but they're also likely as mentally cohesive as they've been all season with Dwight Howard definitely coming back for one additional season. Chicago will need a few bounces to go their way as well as excellent shooting in order to pull off the upset.

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CHICAGO TRIBUNE VIDEO

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  • With Deng's numbers swooning lately and his injury getting aggravated by slappy(LeBum and Co.) will there be a game and an opportunity to see what Jimmy Butler can do?

    Butler hit a three in his last brief appearance, and has barely missed a few others. Not saying he's good shooter or we want him launching a lot of threes, but he hasn't proven he can't score, and his defense has been very good including steals.

    It's very possible he can't score off of picks or curls effectively, but are we sure we want to rule that out already? We need some offense from somewhere, and we can't just go to the well with C.J. or hope Lucas gets going aagin every other night.

    Butler may not be the answer, but I'd at least like to see him get a solid block of time early on to guage his effectiveness. Otherwise, C.J. or one of the other guards is going to have to step up with some scoring. And obviously Taj and Jo are going to have to rebound against Howard. I doubt Boozer has a repeat performance, and any inside scoring is going to have to come from Jo and Taj. I'be really surprised if the Bulls pull this one off.

    Unless somebody like Butler steps up, or Lucas and C.J. can really alternate as soemwhat prolific scorers then I think the Bulls momentum is in trouble. Derrick's void and their correlating vulnerability must surface sooner or later.

  • One other note: everybody blew off the Derrick Fisher idea, but I would certainly take his playing time over JL3. His playoff scoring numbers and shooting percentages have still been good the last two years. he shot .448 on 10 ppg two years ago, and .412 from three last year on nearly two attempts per game. Plus his assist numbers and boards were not bad either. The dude is flat out clutch. And his defense in the playoffs is very good.

    I doubt the Bulls would pick him up if they could, highly doubt it, but if they did I would be quite pleased. We need a a new infusion right now anyway with all the injuries.

  • In reply to RoadWarrior:

    Who's games is it? JL3's game!

  • In reply to RoadWarrior:

    John Lucas III now has a guaranteed contract. So he cannot be cut. Plus Thibs loves the guy - and he has played very well as of late.

    But I could see Derek Fisher over Mike James who is not guaranteed.

  • A little note on a guy that some here have called the worst player in the NBA, but I would call the "Frugal Man's" (i.e. smart man's)Carlos Boooozer.

    The National Basketball Association announced today that Bucks forward Drew Gooden has been named Eastern Conference Player of the Week for games played March 12-18. The honor is the first of Gooden’s career and follows Ersan Ilyasova’s win from last week, marking the first time two Bucks players have been awarded Player of the Week honors in consecutive weeks since Dec. 24 and Dec. 31, 2006, when Mo Williams and Michael Redd each won. Gooden recorded his second career triple double against Cleveland last Wednesday with 15 points, 10 rebounds and a career-high tying 13 assists. Gooden and LeBron James are the only front-court players to tally 13 assists in one game this season.

    Over the three games played by the Bucks last week, Gooden averaged 18.0 points, 9.7 rebounds and 8.0 assists.

  • In reply to BigWay:

    Who called Gooden the worst player in the NBA? He's always been talented but wears out his welcome with coaches since he's dumb as a box of hammers and can't remember the plays.

  • John Lucas tearing it up!

  • In reply to DougThonus:

    And a lot of people wanted to cut him...Forget Fisher. Even if he plays badly in the future...he has one thing not many guys on the Bulls have....create a shot and shoot from anywhere without any fear. He definitely can have the same effect as JJ Barea had for the MAVS...I am sure he will suck some time in the future and everybody will be on him but I think Thibs has seen him enough to put him in if the offense is stagnant and let him go off for 5/10 mins.

  • In reply to schaumburgfan:

    He's like Jannero Pargo but without the sucking at basketball part!

  • Is this Boozer's best game as a Bull? Usually when Boozer puts up numbers it is against losing teams.

    Boozer seems like the only Bull among the starters who can do anything on offense. 8-10 first half, 3-6 second half. Even Deng's tip-in came because Boozer created a shot when no one else could.

    Booz just dealt on Dwight Howard...

  • Why is Deng still playing? He's over 40min. Put. In. Butler.

  • In reply to bzoooty:

    YEAH. Maybe now with 2 min left and a 26 point lead This willl sit Deng.

    I didn't realize Deng had played so much as he is rather invisible on the court lately. There was no good reason to play Deng so many minutes. Butler should have had 10 minutes tonight.

  • In reply to Edward:

    Definitely agree - there must be some factor we just don't see. After, Thibs is a pretty smart guy. Or maybe he just has a blind spot, but that's where the other coaches need to injcet some reality.

  • In reply to Edward:

    Especially since Deng has quietly been slowing down on defense also lately. I counted 4-5-6 dribble drive layups that he allowed from 20 feet away.

    If this is all that Deng can give us right now, then sit him until he can give us more. Healthy players are going to give us more than an injured Deng now, and a healthy Deng has to give us a lot more in the playoffs.

    After shooting a career low last season, Deng is smashing that record with a new career low below 41%.

    Thibs seems to posses the typical coaches fears, playing rookies, and playing rookies on the road.

  • In reply to BigWay:

    It may very well have something to do with fears or insecurities. Because playing Deng so many minutes is entirely illogical.

    Combined with Deng's injury, greatly reduced performance, and Jimmy Butler proving to be certainly adequate - its borderline insane.

  • I bet Dwight Howard is feeling real good about being "loyal" to this bunch of bricklayers right now.

  • Two records by Thibs tonight. Fastest coach to 100 wins in NBA history. And lowest points allowed by Bulls team at 59.

  • In reply to Edward:

    Regular season points allowed. They held the Jazz to 54 in the finals during the Jordan years.

  • I'm having much respect for how the Bulls are stepping up their game without Rose. The way Orlando handled the Bulls the last time they played in Chicago, I surely thought without Rose that the Magic would beat the Bulls tonight. This is the type of play I want to see the Bulls come with during the playoffs. They have to be focused since everyone already have them penciled in to meet Miami in the ECF. The Sixers, Pacers, Knicks, and Hawks will not be easy outs for Miami or the Bulls IMO.

  • In reply to Reese1:

    I wish Boozer played this well until playoffs.

  • In reply to deewaves:

    Hey, how about in the playoffs? Boozer has had a number of really strong games for the Bulls. He has laid a few eggs, but who on this team hasn't? He's outscoring Pau Gasol. He'll be better in the playoffs this year than last (he'd better be better!). He is working a lot more.

    And John Lucas is the kind of piece that can make enough difference to bring home a championship! Yeah, he's a streaky ball hog, but he's had 2 big games against playoff teams! That's when the Bulls will really need him. What would have happened if the Bulls had had him playing like tonight even every other game in the ECF last year? He is definitely not intimidated by the Heat! Go JL3.

  • In reply to rustyw:

    I really hope you're right because we want boozer playing at this level in the post-season.

    I totally agree agout JL3. This guys can really be our 6th man ! He defenitely has a jump-shot. Moreover like you said, he is not afraid of taking big shots. He looks a lil bit too confident but it is what we need.

  • I don't care what people says but

    LUCAS SHOULD OFFICIALLY BE THE PG BACK UP !

    As for Watson, bulls must let him play his position namely SG.

  • In reply to deewaves:

    It might work ... but only because the Bulls ask their SG to shoot less than their PG. That's what the problem is with Watson, he's being asked to shoot too much and is taking shots he's not capable of making as a result. You look at his last two years with the GSW and he took 10.6 and 10.7 attempts per 36 ... this year the Bulls have him up at 14.3.

  • "Edward said 10 hours, 3 minutes ago
    Two records by Thibs tonight. Fastest coach to 100 wins in NBA history. And lowest points allowed by Bulls team at 59."

    That's so awesome to set those 2 records and in 1 night against the Magic in Orlando and without the reigning MVP Derrick Rose!!!!

    Also Thib's tied the record for most wins by a rookie coach last year!

    Every team has problems and very few will ever be like the Bulls with Jordan, Pippen, Rodman, and company BUT this Bulls team has great chemistry and if we can somehow have a healthy or relative healthy roster come playoff time...I love our chances to win it all! :-)

    Awesome game by Boozer and Lucas...and Noah really tearing it up!
    I wish Thib's played Butler more especially with the blow out tho and rested Deng more! I hope that when...hopefully not too much longer when Rose and RIP come back Thib's will sit Deng and play Butler more since we will have our much needed offense with those 2 guys back!

    GO BULLS!!! All the way to the Championship! :-0

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