Bulls at Thunder at noon on ABC

The Bulls have won a number of statement games without Derrick Rose, this will prove their toughest test yet. Not only are the Oklahoma City Thunder an elite team, they're an elite team playing well, and playing at home.

Yeah, Derrick is still out

I'm sure Tom Thibodeau has him listed as day to day again, but Rose isn't playing, and I think he's going to be out for awhile. At this point, I have some fear of him missing the rest of the season and potentially the playoffs. Probably overreacting, but there's no true time table on his return, and he's already sat quite awhile.

Nothing can be done but to hope for the best though.

Return of Rip?

Hamilton was widely expected to play last game against the Pistons. He reportedly was pushing to play when Thibodeau overruled him and asked him to sit out another game. Part of me wonders if the Bulls were sensitive to Hamilton coming back too early against Detroit before and didn't want a repeat performance (or the public viewing it as one even if it wasn't).

If Hamilton can go it should be a bone to Chicago to have an extra play maker in the backcourt. Chicago's perimeter players struggled mightily from the field last game against Detroit and will need to play considerably better to beat the Thunder. However, Hamilton is the type of player who can create shots for others and force the opposing defense to move, creating openings for his teammates.

How to slow the big 2?

I'd love Derrick Rose on Russell Westbrook, but since he's out, Westbrook will have a considerable advantage on both of our guards with his size and athleticism. Chicago may be best off putting Brewer on Westbrook and allowing Harden the matchup advantage at SG. Luol Deng and Ronnie Brewer are going to need to get physical with Durant and try to beat him up a bit in order to take him off his game.

Quite honestly, the Bulls will likely struggle badly to contain both players on the perimeter, and the Thunder have enough talent in the starting five to burn the hell out of Chicago if they double team much on the outside. They should try and run Durant off the three point line and provide help down low to force him into mid range jumpers. He'll still probably burn the Bulls, but if they can take away his most efficient looks they might limit the damage.

Guards need to play better, but perhaps they're due

The entire perimeter rotation failed to do anything last game. They collectively shot 22.5% (7/31) for 20 points. Quite simply, that won't get it done against the Thunder. The Bulls defense may limit the Thunder some, but they aren't likely to win a game where they score 90 points as the Thunder have been held to under 90 just twice this season.

They've had hot stretches of shooting the ball and will need to knock down threes and find something off the dribble to stay in the game. Chicago will need to hope to find some offense from their big men as well, a tall task against Ibaka and Perkins down low.

Don't expect another miracle

Anything is possible, but the Thunder are still a team on the rise. Much like the Bulls, they'll be fighting for every regular season win. They'll take this as a statement game regardless of whether Rose plays and unlike the Heat will have seen the Bulls beat a slew of good teams with Rose out.

They won't be lulled into a false sense of security or taken off balance. Could the Bulls still win? Sure. They could win. They could have great shooting, the Thunder could have an off night, the ball can bounce in crazy ways any given day.

We'll all hope for the best, but it's disappointing that we're robbed of having Rose in this matchup to truly test ourselves against one of the league's best teams.

Comments

Leave a comment
  • Once again the Bulls show they are not an elite team with or without Rose, Hamilton. Champions have heart! Rose and maybe Lucas, Gibson seem to be the only ones on this team with heart. Deng, Boozer do their usual disappearing act when its time to step up for big games. Sure we can beat the Atlanta, Philly etc because they are not complete teams as well so they make us look good. So we will put all of the pressure on Rose to carry this team as far as he can because mgmt will need go after the necessary pieces we need

  • In reply to jclass62:

    How did we learn anything about what the Bulls are with Rose and Hamilton by losing to one of the top teams in the NBA while they were out?

  • In reply to jclass62:

    You sound like Chad with a new disguise! Your comment is so toweringly insane, I won't waste my time tearing it apart.

  • It is official, at the 5:49 mark of the 3rd quarter, Thibs is either a hypocrite, an ass, or a moron. He just put in Asik for Noah again while leaving the Mataboozer on the court, as he did in the first half of today's game and in the last game in Detroit.

    Like Noah has been the reason that Durrant and Westbrook haven't had a hand in their faces all day. In fact at least 75% of their open looks have come because the human piece of feces refuses to move his lard ass out of the lane to step up and challenge either guy when his man sets a pick. It is basic pick and roll defense taught since the 7th grade.

    It is obvious, that the Bulls have no shot of beating the vastly more talented and athletic Thunder without Rose, but I guarantee that if Boozer was benched for the entire game the Bulls wouldn't be down 25 or 30. It might be an argument if he actually produced on offense, but as usual against a team that does more than pretend to play defense he is back to being TOAH(useless as Tits on a Whore).

    I just loved that little piece right out of halftime(Boozer miked), what a phony piece of crap, how does anyone he plays with put up with that shit. He talks like Kevin Garnett, or Kobe Bryant, but plays like Brian Scalabrine or Dickey Simpkins. How much longer do we have to pretend that we can even dream to compete for a championship with a gutless pussy as our starting power forward. He is nothing but the highschool bully, exposed as a true pussy. At least Ben Gordon kept his mouth shut(during the game).

    There have been a lot of guys that I have berated mercilessly over the years, Eddy Curry, Tyrus Thomas, Ben Gordon, and even Luol Deng, but the Mataboozer has officially ascended to the top of the Mount Rushmore or the worst Bulls players in history, especially since at least until the start of next season he has the largest contract in Bulls history.

    By the way, can we finally disabuse ourselves of paying lip service to the notion that Deng is the best wing defender in the league. He has virtually no effect on either Lebron or Durant, the 2 guys that we have to get through if we are to even whiff at a championship. Durant would have felt more resistance from the wind if the game were played outside than he did from Deng today.

    What a waste of a perfectly good Sunday morning/afternoon. Well, so much for having the best record in the league.

  • In reply to BigWay:

    Actually, BigWay, I believe the expression is "as useless as tits on a boar..."

  • In reply to MadTown56:

    LOL. I've been wanting to say that as well. It seems to me that a whore would get plenty of use out of her tits ...

  • In reply to BigWay:

    Good points BigWay. I noticed the Asik for Noah substitution while leaving Boozer to do his nice acting job on the floor. I think Reinsdorf is deliberately using that contract situation to tell Thibs that he's not an automatic when he tends to get brain cramps like that. He'll get his money, but he'll wait his turn like everybody else.

  • It's sad. same ol' story : no offense besides Rose.

    As usual overpaid Deng and Boozer didn't step up when needed.
    disappointing.

  • In reply to deewaves:

    Yes, Boozer and Deng are the two problem contracts on Bulls. (and add the insanely punitive Derrick Rose Rule).

    Bulls will have to deal with Boozer's contract and not let it affect resigning Asik this year and Gibson next.

  • Rose or not; I would be curious if anyone has the stats on the Bulls win-loss record with Thibs in a morning/early afternoon game. It seems like they lose these games all the time. Is it the make-up of the players used to staying up late or Thibs's plan requires so much energy than the other team which the Bulls don't have at this time of the day?
    The concern is also if the Bulls get to ECF and play the Heat...some of the games will be early to accommodate TV viewership...that is a bad sign on top of other issues.

  • In reply to schaumburgfan:

    c' mon, which other game did we lose this way at the afternoon ?

  • In reply to schaumburgfan:

    Well morning/afternoon games typically only occur against super elite teams, because they're generally only on Sunday on the national games, so I'm not sure that i fthe Bulls record in these games is mediocre if that means much about the timing of the game as much as the quality of opponents.

  • In reply to DougThonus:

    Agree to your point that most national TV games are in the morning for Eastern elite teams. But, if you look at the stats against the same teams....I am sure the Bulls are better in the evenings.
    Just one example...they lost the early game to Boston but won in the evening game...same with Miami. And, it seemed the same last year too.

  • In reply to DougThonus:

    I seem to remember them having problems with Sunday games in Toronto over the years. In fact, I think I remember reading an article that Toronto schedules all or virtually all of its Sunday homes games as early games, because they believe that players come in the night before and like to party in Toronto.

  • The Thunder are a great team. That said this does not happen if Deng does not loaf all day. I mean part of the reason this guy is even in the league is because of his work ethic. I actually threw the remote today when Durant blocked his shot and Deng loafed back and allowed Durant to throw down that lob from Westbrook. Yeah, I am sure the guy is hurting but Jimmy Butler would have given us more today than Deng did. Also, I hate to blame a game on officiating but this was one of the worst officiated games I have seen in a long time. I know that we were playing a team of superstars with out ours but still it was ridiculous.

    Anyway, that said if Rose is back when we play them again it is a different outcome. I will guarantee that Westbrook doesn't pull that nonsense of dunking on Asik because that is the type of thing that fires up Rose. In my opinion Westbrook is RoseLite and I really can not see him doing much with Rose in the game. But yes, Durant will score, that guy is REALLY good. If there is anyone that deserves comparisons to Michael it is that guy. If his defense continues to develop he has a chance to go down as the best ever. (Wow is that painful to say)

  • In reply to do53:

    Not really sure that Westbrook is all that lite, the difference between the 2 is very slim if any, there are probably statistical arguments to be made that Westbrook has been better, certainly this year.

  • In reply to BigWay:

    Don't believe everything you read. Westbrook is scoring a couple more points a game at a slightly higher percentage but his assist numbers have tanked this year from 8.2 a game to 5.5 a game. How does a point guard playing starter's minutes only average 5.5 a game with Durant on their team! Also, it's easier to shoot a higher percentage with players like Durant and Harden on the floor, something DRose doesn't have. I wouldn't call Westbrook DRoselite, I'd call him Monta Ellis.

  • In reply to Hunter:

    Wow!!That's a telling stat. I think any starting PG who doesn't have 10 assists with Durant as a team-mate shows how he plays the PG position. Even before last year, I think for the USA team...Rose was the PG ahead of Rondo and Westbrook because of his unselfishness.
    Before we crown OKC and Durant...Durant has been in the league for more time than Rose and what exactly better have they done as a team better than the Bulls in the last 2/3 years. Actually, his team sucked in the 1st year to get Westbrook compared to Rose(maybe better teammates) getting the team to the playoffs. And, let's not forget that Memphis didn't have Rudy Gay last year in the playoffs against OKC to slow him down.

  • In reply to schaumburgfan:

    Yeah, OKC was pushed very heard to seven by a Grizz team that didn't even have Rudy Gay. Then OKC got pretty much handled by Dallas. But it was decided after that by the powers that be that last year's playoffs were just a hiccup, a learning experience for OKC, while it was decided that the Bulls were still one player away. No one was convinced Rip Hamilton would be that player and he hasn't done anything to dissuade that feeling.

    I still think OKC should have tried to trade Westbrook to NO for CP3. That would make them the more dangerous team in the long run and CP3 even played in OKC for a bit and loved the fans. Westbrook could be the one and only number one on a team as he desires and throw up 35 shots a night with no one criticizing him. Then Durant could score 30 a game and the big three in OKC would be ready for a championship.

  • In reply to BigWay:

    Westbrook is scoring a couple more points a game on a slightly higher percentage but his assists have been freefall from 8.2 a game last year to 5.5 this year. I'm not sure how a point guard playing starter's minutes can average just 5.5 assists a game with Durant on their team. Floor spacing for a scorer is also pretty good with Durant and Harden on the floor as opposed to Deng and Brewer. I wouldn't call Westbrook DRoseLite, I'd call him Monta Ellis.

  • In reply to do53:

    Westbrook isn't better than Rose. though he has nothing to envy to Rose.

  • In reply to deewaves:

    Rose is more of a true point guard where Westbrook is a natural shooting guard.....he's nearly 6'4" and naturally wants to score, He played shooting guard in college, the OKC forced him to play pg. I get a laugh when people say derrick should play the 2 when he is a great point guard. Anyway OKC looks to be the best team in the league, I'm not sure the Heat could take them out in a 7 game series.

  • In reply to Defense-Rebound13:

    yeah you're right. I really doubt heat can beat them. But it's the same for bulls. I don't think we could beat them even with Rose.
    They simply much more deadly on the offensive end than bulls.
    Nobody can guard KD. if you try to double him, Westbrook and harden will kill you.

  • In reply to deewaves:

    Tell me deewaves, didn't we beat this same OKC team in our only other meeting of the season?

  • Didn't see the game, but I'm not concerned at all. OKC is playing great now, at home, with their full roster. Bulls still have a better record missing two starters. Take KD and Thabo off their team, put them on the road against a fully healthy Bulls team and see what happens. Regular season is just positioning for the playoffs and it all means nothing if one of these teams doesn't get there.

    And BigWay - really? Boozer worse that Eddy Curry or Tyrus? Did you dip into my stash? He might not be worth what they pay him, but he's not worthless.

  • In reply to FriendofJoakimN:

    Tyrus thomas, i'm not sure but Eddy curry at his prime time was better than the current Boozer.

  • In reply to deewaves:

    Nonsense. Curry NEVER rebounded as well as Boozer has, and he only had one year as a Bull where he shot significantly better than Boozer has this year. Boozer isn't worth his contract, but the hate is way out of control.

  • With Rose and Hamilton out this was a meaningless game. Bulls never had a chance and it was known before the game so no surprise.

    However, since Miami lost, the Bulls can subtract 1 from their magic number. Is it now 11?

    All that matters is Bulls getting healthy for the playoffs. Can They?

  • All things considered, did we really expect to march into OKC and win? As it stood a blowout was just about right with top players missing,these early afternoon games, and in Chesapeake arena where the Thunder thrive..

    The Bulls however, will lick their wounds, see Miami took an asswhuppin, and be prepared for Houston on Monday.

  • Looks like Boston may pass Orlando for the 3rd seed - just 1 game back in the loss column. All the more reason to hope Bulls stay at 1st seed and Miami and Boston beat up each other.

    Can another team replace Knicks at 8th seed?
    With Boston and Knicks out of Bulls bracket that would be best case scenario.

Leave a comment