Bulls vs Magic 7pm on TNT

Bulls vs Magic 7pm on TNT

The Chicago Bulls, riding a season high eight game win streak, welcome the Magic to the United Center tonight. With the recent exception of a Monday loss to the Bobcats, the Magic have been cruising along beating up on the scrubs and losing to the quality teams for most of the season. Chicago received a defensive wake up call last night against Milwaukee when they were in danger of losing to the Bucks. So what happens tonight?

It's tough for any team to go on a streak as long as the Bulls have. Typically, things just don't go your way eventually, you run into a hot team, or you simply get complacent. Does Derrick Rose's big shot last night wake them up or increase their arrogance. With Thibodeau in charge, I'm guessing the former.

Dwight Howard used to scare the hell out of me, but quite frankly, Tom Thibodeau seems to have the answer for him and the Magic. Since becoming head coach, the Bulls have gone 4-1, winning the last four.

Run the role players off the three point line

Chicago was lucky last game because Ryan Anderson had a horrific shooting night. The Bulls shouldn't count on that again and, overall, need to make a conscious effort to run guys off the three point line and not allow open shooters, particularly from the corners.

Playing tight defense on the best shooters on the Magic certainly gives Howard the opportunity for a big night, but that's ultimately less dangerous than getting a strong inside out game going. The key guys to be wary of are J.J. Redick and Ryan Anderson. Richardson, Turkoglu, and Nelson will jack up plenty of threes too, but they're less consistent.

If Carlos Boozer gets down into his low defensive stance five feet off of Anderson like he was with Gooden last night he should get a quick hook for Taj. Chasing Anderson out on the three point line might be the scariest matchup for Chicago, and it wouldn't surprise me to see Boozer play limited minutes or to see Thibodeau switch him onto Howard at times and let Noah tag him on the perimeter.

Abuse these guys on offense

Dwight Howard is worthy of a defensive MVP every season, but the rest of this team simply stinks on defense. The Bulls need to focus on keeping their off the ball movement going, so they don't sit around and watch Derrick. If they do that, they'll find plenty of seams to the basket and open jumpers.

The Magic lack athleticism on the perimeter with Redick and Turkoglu and have no one who can check Rose. If Chicago moves off the ball and makes good decisions with their passing then they'll have little trouble finding open looks.

Nelson can't defend Rose, Anderson can't defend boozer, and Turkoglu can't defend Deng. The Bulls key offensive players all have very favorable matchups on offense tonight.

Can Noah deliver against Dwight?

Joakim Noah has been on a tear, but can he continue it against the best center in the NBA? Does he still get the tip ins? Does he find any offense of his own? Can he slow Howard without a double team?

I won't hold it against him if the answer is no. Dwight's an unstoppable beast, and the Bulls, as a team, should beat the Magic from other areas.

However, they do need Noah to make it challenging for Howard. They need him to charge the offensive glass if Dwight rotates to help, they need him to make him work hard on offense, and they need him to focus on boxing out on defense. Noah may not be in for a great statistical night, but if he makes Dwight work hard for what he gets then Noah will have done his job.

Asik and destroy?

Omer hasn't played all that well recently, but this is the type of game they'll need extra help from him in. He's shown no fear in bodying up Howard in the past, and it's likely that the Bulls center duo will see plenty of foul trouble tonight. I expect Omer to play 15+ minutes tonight rather his typical 10.

Much like Noah, his job is to harass Howard and make his life difficult while in single coverage rather than to try and dominate the game. He's managed the task in the past, and I think this could be an excellent confidence booster for him if he can have some success.

Bulls win?

Great teams are more likely to lose to good teams than lousy ones. As such, this is a game the Bulls certainly could drop. That said, they're the better team, the more focused team, and they're playing at home.

They are coming off a back to back, but they got a wake up call yesterday in terms of effort which will probably serve them well for tonight's game.

Comments

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  • Thibs should just fine Boozer if he has a defensive rebound which means he has probably let Anderson free to shoot.from the perimeter or outside the basket area. Let Noah fight for the rebounds and stop Boozer looking for the defensive rebound and tag his man where ever he goes.

  • Anyone know where I can go to watch last nights game? Particularly the last 4 minutes? I missed it.

  • Let me add that one of the most encouraging things I've been seeing, especially lately it seems, is Taj doing some pretty good work on the low post. He is showing some decent moves down there and knows (or is learning) how to finish. You know, kinda what we thought we were getting with Boozer...
    On the other hand, I remember reading or hearing before the season that Taj was looking to become more of a "stretch four" and I would be very surprised if his shooting percentage from beyond, say, 5 feet is even 30%. He seems to shoot those 15-footers with confidence but they don't go in very often.

  • If Carlos Boozer gets down in his "Roberto Duran" (feet of stone) defensive stance 5 feet or more away from Anderson?

    Really, if? are you dreaming, what else does the ultimate poser know how to do on D, besides scream like a chimpanzee, hyena or banshee.

    This is a nightmare matchup at the 4&5 for the Bulls, Noah cannot compete physically with Howard virtually destroying his ability to play his normal game, and his help defense and rebounding are nearly eliminated when he covers Anderson out at the 3 point line. The Mataboozer is even more useless than tits on whore on either Howard or Anderson.

    Is it possible that Asik and Gibson are actually a better overall frontcourt matchup. I would consider starting either Asik and Noah, or at a minimum Noah aand Taj. Where is that duffle bag when you need it.

  • I'm not worried about the bodybuilder Dwight Howard. He reminds me of Wilt Chamberlain. He won't bring the Bulls a championship if we're foolish enough to break up this team to acquire him.
    Also, like Chamberlain, he can't hit free throws. He's also an overgrown child, and not smart.

  • In reply to SlamDunk:

    If he reminds you of Wilt you should want him: Wilt brought both teams that traded for him championships.

  • In reply to Shakes:

    For al his greatness, Chamberlain won only two NBA Championships!

  • In reply to SlamDunk:

    Howard is a child compared to Wilt, who along with MJ is the argument for the GOAT.

    In fact if Wilt were available, I would include Rose in a trade for him as if he were Carlos the Mataboozer.

  • In reply to BigWay:

    With the game on the line, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar is the Big Man I would like on the line. What did he win during his star-studded career, Six NBA championships?
    I don't know if you did, but I actually saw Chamberlain play an NBA game when he was with the Lakers. I was a kid living in Daytona Beach Florida and me and some friends from New York watched Lew Alcindor, in 1971, his first or second season as the top draft pick with the Milwaukee Bucks, push him around. I also saw what a horrible free throw shooter he was. Some of you have been having a great time making fun of Noah's free throw motion at the line, you would have been stunned at Wilt's comical motion at the free throw line! For those of you that haven't seen Wilt, go back and look at tapes when he was required to shoot free throws. He was one of the worst ever, probably why he won only two champioships. At least Noah is over 70% from the free throw line.

    And another thing, his guts in tight situations have been questioned by those who played with him or coached him. A good example was his stormy relationship with his Lakers coach, the late Butch Van Van Breda Kolff.
    Butch, a Princeton grad and former Marine, took over a 36-45 Lakers team in 1966-67 and led them to a 52-30 record in his first season. This run led them to a trip to the 1968 NBA finals against the much vaunted Boston Celtics. They lost in a tough six-game series to the Celtics.
    The next year (1968-69), with a team boasting Chamberlain, Jerry West and Elgin Baylor, he won 55 games and home-court advantage for the playoffs.
    The Lakers won the first two games, then we had an incident which has left big question marks about Wilt Chamberlain's character.
    Boston came back to tie the series and force a decisive 7th game. Boston took a seven-point lead with just over five minutes to go in that decisive game, when Chamberlain took himself out of the game claiming he had hurt his right knee after coming down with a rebound.
    Van Breda Kolff replaced him with Mel Counts who pulled the team within a point with a 10-ft. jump shot when suddenly Wilt decided he was healthy and told the coach he was ready to go back in the game. But the coach looked at him and said, "we're doing well enough without you."
    The Celtics held on to win the game 108-106, and Van Breda Kolff resigned after the game. The Lakers went on to win the title in 1972.
    So much for all the glossy stories about Chamberlain!

  • So... lets hope the Bulls decide to play some defense soon or this could get ugly.

  • What a lightening bolt of luck that was to end the half.

    Never the less with Deng playing so ghostly, or is it ghastly, no it is actually both, and Noah shitting in his pants at the mere sight of Howard's biceps wrap, does it really take a certified defensive guru/genius to see that the Bulls need to go with a different approach against Howard and the Magic.

    Might I suggest a front line of Asik, Noah and Gibson, with Korver and Rose in the backcourt. Let Asik use his 6 fouls on Howard, while Noah is freed up to be the premiere help defender and rebounder that he is and Taj can use his athleticism to run down the Magic 3 point shooters.

    The added size should destroy the Magic on the boards on both ends, leading to more offensive opportunities.

    Dengs first quarter performance tonight, really his performance since the break is why I have never stopped trying to trade him, and would do so in a heartbeat to get someone who is a difference maker not just a placeholder.

    A guy that you want to claim is your second best player simply cannot regularly disappear and play like Casper the ghastly ghost.

    Unless he has malaria or full blown aids, there is no more denying that minutes do matter, and do have a cumulative effect over the course of the season, even intelligent Bulls fans from Paducah have to realize that by now.

    Unless Thibs changes something up, I don't see how the 3rd quarter isn't a replay of the first, meaning this game will effectively be over despite the miracle end to the first half.

    P.S. Jimmy Butler clearly deserves some more time, at both Deng and Brewers expense.

  • Bulls were so sluggish early that Thibs subbed Jimmy Butler for Luol Deng in the 1st half. Butler responded with 5 points, 3 rebounds, 2 assists in 7 minutes of playing time. Deng had played 14 minutes without scoring.

    With 3 minutes remaining in the half, Deng returns to the game well rested and hits his only bucket of the 1st half - a crucial 3 pointer.

    This is what I've been talking about Thibs NEEDS to include Jimmy Butler in the regular 1st half rotation and reduce Deng's minutes. Butler needs playing time to develop and will prove an asset to the Bulls. Deng needs more rest to stay fresh. Deng played 16.5 first-half minutes, that would be 33 minutes for the game if Thibs plays Butler in the second half. What's wrong with playing Deng 33-35 minutes per game? This would be a far more same approach for Thibs.

    Everyone complains Bulls have few trading assets. Bulls needs to develop more assets. Jimmy Butler is on the roster - play him and develop him!

  • In reply to Edward:

    Excellent points, especially with Deng injured. Hope the coaches are listening (or reading). The assistant coaches need to get in Thibs' ear about this.

    Repeat: Rest Deng more and develop Butler!

  • Deng played the entire 3rd quarter scoring just 2 points on FTs with 2 minutes remaining in the quarter.

    Will Thibs play Jimmy Butler a few minutes for Deng to open the 4th?
    Will Deng play all 24 minutes of the 2nd half?

  • In reply to Edward:

    I agree, Jimmy Butler's development has been mismanaged to where he seems lost and lacks confidence at times. He is good at defending and has a nack for getting to the FT line....something the Bulls struggle with. I was watching CTL yesterday and I saw someone new on the Bulls potential trade list....Wesley Johnson(min), he is athletic and can score even though he is struggling....I would give up that charlotte pick for W. Johnson, somebody that can run with Rose and more importantly finish around the rim. He is also a solid defender.

  • What has somebody roofied Rose now? The last 2 nights opposing points(Jennings and Nelson) have blown by him off the dribble as if they(Jennings and Nelson) were Derrick Rose and he(Rose) were Carlos Boozer.

    What the fuck is up with this, and then Rose can't even score against the former shadow of Chris Duhon.

    Not a fan at all of Thibs matching Orlando going small by going small himself. Front court size is our strength, go strong, go big or go home.

    The game was(is) there for the taking, will Thibs make the right moves.

  • If Boozer played like he's started the 4th more often the idea that his offense makes up for his defense would actually be true.

  • In reply to Shakes:

    and just as quickly that theory gets shot down as Ryan Anderson scores 5 straight points with the game tied(91) and under 1.5 minutes to go while supposedly guarded by the Mataboozer.

    You and he almost had me fooled for a nano second there.

  • Someone is going to have to explain to me how Turkopoo can lean in trying to get contact with Butler, miss him completely and subsequently throw up a wild shot, yet Butler gets the foul called against him.

  • In reply to Shakes:

    And promptly Deng comes back.

  • In reply to Shakes:

    Yea, wasn't that precisely the type of foul that was supposed to be eliminated by that new rule this year.

    Too bad the f-ing refs don't get any f-ing training so that they can actually make the f-ing right call.

  • In reply to Shakes:

    What I dont understand is even how a shitty player like Turk can get that call.

  • Korver needs to make one of those chances. He can goes so cold even in UC...that's bad

  • In reply to schaumburgfan:

    Yeah he normally makes at least one of the wide open looks he's been getting.

  • In reply to Shakes:

    WTF, who is impersonating Kyle Korver tonight ... he even missed it when he was 20 feet open.

  • In reply to Shakes:

    It happens to the best of them I guess. The last 3-4 attempts of his have looked great... just either skipped or rattled out. WTF indeed

  • In reply to Shakes:

    Korver basically destroyed the chance for a win

  • In reply to schaumburgfan:

    Yeah, definately didnt have anything to do with Rose going 6/22 or Deng going 1/9 did it? Especially when they combined to go a pathetic 1/8 in the 4th.

  • In reply to untitledreality:

    Thanks for pointing that out, actually Rose is now 14-44 the last 2 nights, in addition to not being able to stop either of the opposing point guards off the dribble all night long.

    Who the heck knows what is going on with Casper the ghastly Deng. He looks like he aged 20 years over the all star break, turning into Robert Parish overnight.

    Apparently, minutes do have a cumulative effect over the course of the season, even on 23-4-5-6 year old NBA players.

    Maybe someone can take Thibs head out of Paducahs ass and point this out to him.

  • In reply to BigWay:

    Someone should have told Dwight Howard this, he was the best player of the game yet he's played 200 more minutes than Deng and nearly 500 more than Rose this year.

  • In reply to schaumburgfan:

    Korver missed his last 5 or 6 shots consecutively. Rose wasn't hitting tonight. And Deng was 1-9, that's one bucket in 39 minutes.

    It was the 4th game in 5 nights - AND IT LOOKED LIKE IT - for the Bulls. Unfortunate, but it happens. Bulls were lethargic to start the game and dug too big a hole, they looked out-of-sorts most of the night, and didn't have the energy to close.

  • In reply to Edward:

    Agree. Probably Korver will win a game in the future. That said, I understand Deng and Rose being tired after all the excitement and minutes yesterday. Korver and the bench guys have to take care of such games. Korver probably didn't have his rhythm either.
    This loss is a little more on Thibs. It is just not rest in blow-outs but rest in the game. Atleast, he showed some promise of inserting Butler finally and strangely against two good teams(NY and Orlando) but never against Charlotte or some lousy teams.

  • In reply to schaumburgfan:

    Korver has been a disapointment this year, they should definitely think about trading him. It's not like we are picking up his option for next year. We need a little more athleticism and somebody that can get his shot off.

  • Ugly game... almost a very ugly win, but with how poorly Rose and Deng played tonight they deserved to lose the game. When your two all stars combine to go 7/31 with a equally sad 3/11 from three you need to lose the game.

    Everyone is going to shit all over Korver going 1/7 from three, but most of those were good looks that simply didnt fall. Do you want him passing on those shots? He wasnt missing terribly, he wasnt a liability on D... if he hits that corner three to put the Bulls up 94-89 hes the hero, he missed and now hes the goat apparently.

    Regardless of what anyone says, this loss falls on the team D in the 1st quarter along with Rose and Deng have god awful shooting nights.

  • In reply to untitledreality:

    Clearly, if Korver had hit any 2 of those 3's we likely win the game, so maybe he isn't quite as good as little Stevie Kerr after all.

    However, I actually have to agree with you, we lost this game in the first quarter with our attitude or lack there of, which resulted in 37 points on wild 3 point shooting, and Rose and Deng just never seemed to be into it.

    Of course Taj(instead of the Mataboozer) guarding Anderson in the last 2 minutes might have made a difference also(5 points), but really we did lose the game much earlier than that.

  • Why did Thibs play Butler over Brewer tonight? That was pretty random. I missed the first half so... why?

  • In reply to souleater7:

    Thibs played Butler over Brewer because of the matchup. Hedo is listed at 6'10". Brewer is listed at 6'7" but he's closer to 6'5" with no length to frustrate Hedo on the perimeter. Butler's closer to a legit 6'7" with longer arms and that's why he got minutes tonight.

  • In reply to Hunter:

    The pre-draft measurements don't agree with your theory. Butler is only 1/2 an inch shorter than Brewer, and Brewer has the advantage in the long arms department: he has a 3.25 inch wingspan advantage and 2.5 inches of standing reach over Butler.

  • In reply to Hunter:

    Hmm not buying it. I think the Bulls were show casing him. Too random. The kid doesn't see the light of day all season and he randomly plays against the team thats trading it's best franchise player since ShaQ? Something smells fishy.

    Also the Magics GM and Owners were in attendance? Too many red flags makes me think the Bulls were show casing Butler to the Magic knowing they want young players and draft picks.

  • In reply to souleater7:

    The Magic don't want young players and draft picks. They want talent now thanks to their owner who's getting up in age and doesn't want to wait for a rebuilding process. D12 to the Bulls is wishful thinking. Thibs decides the substitutions. He's the coach. He doesn't make trade decisions.

  • In reply to Hunter:

    Ken Berger Magic want a trade like the Carmelo trade (multiple good young players and draft picks)

  • Rose clearly needs someone to help with the scoring load in the backcourt. It doesn't have to be an all star but a younger athletic wing that can get a few easy transition baskets by running with Rose. They should go for Wesley Johnson, a high lottery pick that has been struggling this year but he long (6'7" guard with long arms) and very athletic. I also think he has the potential to be a great shooter if he dedicates himself to it. Having the revolving door of burned out, injury prone SGs isn't working.

  • You know last night Dwight Howard wasn't even on my mind. I'm thinking fuck Howard I like how the Bulls are made up now but how foolish a 8 game win streak can make you think. Watching Howard dominate like that tonight was leaving me drooling for a Howard and Rose pairing... jesus.

    Those dunks he had tonight just shut the building down. Did you see how stunned Noah was?He even fouled him and they didn't call it. He stunned Noah so bad he started to walk back down the court and Thibs had to yell at him to run back on offense. Pretty awesome display of talent right there. I'm jealous.

  • Yep, a Howard-Rose team could challenge Miami but Howard has to much pride to be second banana to Rose. He's like a spoiled child that needs to be cuddled up by a rich spending billionaire owner who will tell him everything will be alright. Unfortunately, winning championships are down his priority list.

  • All I hear is if the Bulls did this or that. The Bulls need to make a trade seriously by the dead line. I keep saying to get 2 shooting guards when they picked up Hamilton. Now they let Mike James go( for what I have no idea). The team is starting to look bad when playing bad and average teams, yeah they squeak out wins but we have no scoring threats at all on this team besides Rose. I wish Gar/Paxson would give the team a chance to win. One true scorer/basket attacker away. Otherwise we have to be in a 16 game zone to win a championship with this team. I dont wanna have to wait to look forward to next season now is the time..

  • In reply to jclass62:

    I blame more of it on the Chairman for being so cheap.

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