Bulls vs Mavericks 7pm on ESPN/WGN

The Dallas Mavericks may not have much to play for. Their playoff spot is locked up leaving them only to jostle for the sixth or seventh seed. The Mavericks have just two games to play and own the tiebreaker against the Denver Nuggets who are presently tied in the loss column, but with four games left to play. Dallas likely locks up the sixth seed and a first round matchup against the Lakers with a win in one of their final two games and may lock it up even if they lose both.

It's possible the Mavericks may elect to rest some of their veterans [Kidd is expected to miss the game at the very least] or limit their minutes due to the workload and age of the team.

Ramp up the pace

The Mavericks are coming off a back to back having played Golden State in Dallas last night and their fifth game in seven days. The Bulls need to push the pace and amp up the energy level of the game. If they attack the glass, push the ball in transition, and force the Mavericks into a track meet style game, then they'll have a considerable advantage over a weary team.

Chicago is coming off a day off after falling to the Heat on Thursday and while Rose and Deng are game time decisions, they should be the fresher of the two teams.

Find a way to get easy hoops

Dallas isn't going to force many turnovers, and they aren't going to hit the offensive glass hard. They get back on defense and focus on playing fundamentally rather than disruptively. Their style of play forces a lower shooting percentage and a half court style of play.

That should fit in well with what the Bulls want to do defensively, but assuming Rose misses the game, it's easy to see the team struggling to score. Chicago will need to focus on clean crisp ball movement to get things done against the Mavericks to generate quality looks as well as knocking down the open jumpers they can generate.

Move off the ball

Chicago can help wear down the Mavericks by making sure their off the ball movement is at its best. When Chicago moves off the ball, they'll pressure the Mavericks to maintain a higher level of energy to play defense. The off the ball movement will also help compensate for a lack of isolation shot creators in the half court and can create some quality looks for the offense.

Need this one

The Bulls have three days off before finishing the season with a back to back against Indiana [road] and Cleveland [home]. The Bulls need all three wins [unless Miami loses] to clinch the #1 seed. The Bulls are still playing with limited health tonight as Rose and Deng are both game time decisions.

After tonight, Chicago has three days off prior to the their game in Indiana in which to rest up and hopefully attack the Pacers at full strength.

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  • Ok I haven't been paying attention do they know or have time they think Rose will come back? This is absolutely the most frustrating Bulls team I've ever witnessed. They're always getting hurt and they haven't been able to find that one damn piece in two years it's just driving bat shit crazy watching CJ Watson try to play point guard and just stand around waiting to jack up threes. So..

  • In reply to souleater7:

    It's unlikely that Rose plays tonight. My guess is that everyone is hopeful that he's ready to go by Wednesday in Indiana.

  • In reply to souleater7:

    Yeah the best record in the NBA has been frustrating to watch. Yes the injuries have been a drag but come on man have some perspective.

  • In reply to UnstopaBull:

    If the best record guaranteed a title souleater7 wouldn't be frustrated. how many times in the last 10 years did a team with the best record win the title? 2. yup thats it just 2.

    http://www.azcentral.com/sports/articles/2011/04/10/20110410heat-index-nba-best-record.html

  • In reply to rob32:

    Best record doesn't guarantee you anything except that you're likely in the mix. That's something to be happy about as a Bulls fan.

    Would you feel better if the team was 38 and 28 entering the playoffs as the three seed? No.

    There are no guarantees no matter what, but you can be happy with the most advantages you can get, an the Bulls should be happy with whatever seeding advantages they can get.

  • In reply to DougThonus:

    This is similar to the thing about how frequently the team with the most chances to win the lottery actually wins it for the draft.

    Sure, being the worst team doesn't give you the #1 pick, but you'll take their odds over anyone elses.

  • I've got a bad feeling about tonight's game. Everyone seems to be looking ahead to that Indy game, thinking we should be able to Roddy Beubois, Brandon Wright, and Delonte West that could give us big time problems.

    Idk, I don't like the way this team has looked. People are giving Miami way too much credit for Thursday's win. Actually, I found it kind of encouraging. We played like complete crap, and were still in the game most of the way. We'd just gotten beat by the frickin' Wizards at home. No, I think that was a matchup between two teams that are playing very poorly. If we come out looking similar tonight, I expect a loss.

  • In reply to Juiceboxjerry:

    Wow, really messed up that first paragraph. Meant to say that people seem to think we could easily handle an older Mavs team, but even if they rest their starters, they have solid backups that could give us trouble.

  • In reply to Juiceboxjerry:

    I for one am not looking forward to the Pacer game cause the Bulls are playing like crap right now letting teams beat them that they should beat at home and literally, ( last Miami game ). The Mavs cannot be overlooked, the Pacers especially cannot be overlooked, and hell at this point with the way the Bulls are playing Cleveland can't be overlooked either. The Cavs may come to the UC and do the same thing to the Bulls that the LOWLY Wizards accomplished, and that's beat the Bulls while they're not FOCUSSED, something that the Bulls are not used to doing as of late.

  • What was most interesting about that loss by the Chicago Bulls to the Miami Heat in Miami was the presence in a prominent courtside seat of John Paxson, the right-arm man of Jerry Reinsdorf.
    When the cameras zoomed in on Paxson, he had the look of a man on a mission. I'm sure he's there paying careful attention to Thibs and the way he's handling this Bulls team. I don't think Bulls management will accept any excuse for the team not winning the NBA title this year.

    There's a reason Thibs hasn't been handed a contract extension ahead of time.
    I think Thibs is on notice and all the drama he's been creating with his handling of Joakim Noah, a key player on the Bulls, will determine his future.
    It seems that Thibs is a guy who has been catapulted from a career assistant to a head coach and is probably believing his own hype.
    As the saying goes, you're only as good as your players. The Bulls are not a perfect team, but any team that is good enough to emerge, record wise, in back-to-back years as the premier team in the NBA's two conferences is a team composed of grit and character. It's now all up to the coach, and don't blame the players!

  • In reply to SlamDunk:

    Yeah, the Bulls should at least pick up Thibs' third year option. Maybe that will calm some of the frustration.

  • In reply to SlamDunk:

    You're ridiculous. This is not a "win it all or else" season for Thibs and the Bulls. The reason he has not been handled an extension is that it is more of a distraction to accomplish during the compressed season than just waiting till the offseason. Thibs has proven himself to be an elite head coach and will surely get locked up with a lucrative deal by management, anything else would be unacceptable.

    There is no drama with Thibs and Joakim Noah other than what you're imagining in your head. Its all about matchups and the hot hand, whether it be offensively or defensively.

    Just stop already.

  • In reply to untitledreality:

    untitledreality, as usual you're proving what a clown you are!
    "Matchups and the hot hand, whether it be offensively or defensively," are you serious? Have you been sleeping through the Bulls' games? I wonder how Thibs pays you? Monthly?

  • In reply to SlamDunk:

    As usual? I comment maybe once every other week and its usually because someone like yourself is babbling on about the sky falling down.

    Glad to see your Thibs v. Noah theory played out well last night. 39 minutes, 8/14/8, a ton of minutes paired with Gibson... yeah Thibs must be out to destroy his career alright.

  • In reply to SlamDunk:

    SlamDunk,
    I also noticed the presence of Paxson and Gar Forman in Miami.
    imo, Bulls management has concerns about Thibs handling of players - much like when Vinny played Noah too much and hurt his foot, plantar fasciitis.

    Thibs has overworked his players this season. He grinds them into the ground routinely playing guys all 24 minutes of halves. Thibs management of player minutes has been atrocious - very amateurish. So Paxson and Gar Forman are now involved in the decision as to how much Rose will play, they are not leaving the decision to Thibs and Rose.

  • In reply to Edward:

    Good observations Edward! This guy (Thibs) is obviously a good coach, but kissing his ass when he screws up won't help him.
    Bulls management smells the finishing line and they're determined not to let last year's mistakes doom us this year.
    Many astute observers of the game are convinced that the Bulls would have beaten Dallas if they had met them in last year's final.

  • Bulls win Miami lost to the Wizards, and I agree with the ESPN guys, look for the Knicks to lose out so they can play the Bulls in the first round since they feel they have a better chance against the Bulls than the Heat.

  • In reply to Reese1:

    The ESPN guys, with the exception of Barry, are a pack of clowns. Magic Johnson was a great player but is a moron as an analyst. Michael Wilbon is either a fake who is afraid to speak the truth because he's from Chicago or an idiot who should be taken off the tube.

  • In reply to SlamDunk:

    I understand the your dislike for the ESPN guys and it sounds like your dislike for them is a little personal, but they do a good job with their opinions and analysis of the teams and the game itself. And Wilbon can't be a total homer on the program but he does show his loyalty to the Bulls and the entire panel knows he's a Bulls fan. It's the homer Bulls fans that have a problem with Wilbon cause...they're homer bulls fans, it is what it is.

  • So the bulls have to win 1 of the last 2 to clinch the 1 seed in the East right?

  • In reply to insertclichehere:

    Yes, Either Bulls must win 1 of 2, - OR - Miami loses 1 of 3.

    However, Miami plays twice before the Bulls-Indiana game, so if Miami loses to either Houston or Washington (again), then Bulls can lose both of their last two games.

  • i was surprised that the heat lost to the wiz untill i found out lebron and bosh didn't play and wade only played 3 minutes then left the game because of a injury. they obviously don't care about home court advantage.

  • In reply to rob32:

    They didn't need it last year. The Bulls key acquisition has averaged 8 points a game on 28.5% shooting against them this season, I don't think the Heat are worried in the least about the Bulls. Resting LeBron is right, he's a Bull-killer for some reason.

  • I'm with the Bulls on Thibs and he's a great coach and all but if they lose again to Miami I think the pressure is on the Bulls to make some bigger moves in the offseason. I wouldn't throw a bunch of money at Thibs just yet. Let everything play out and see what you need to correct. Maybe Thibs is grinding the Bulls down and not playing certain people's draft picks enough. AKA Jimmy Butler, he should have played more this season for Deng. Thats just absurd for work Deng like that. He's starting to age from it. He's looking older every game.

  • I don't know if it's just the camera angles but Rose looks so uninterested in the games these days. I hope the money isn't changing the dude. If I had that kinda money I

  • In reply to SoulEater7:

    I think that he's just hurt, still. He had 8 assists in 32 minutes of play though and shot over 50% which is quite efficient. I hope he's not just playing the El Cid role out there, though. Where his teammates just need to see him out there but really, he's in a lot of pain and not close to 100%.

  • In reply to SoulEater7:

    too many skittles, insulin crash, mopey mama's boy?

  • Thank you Nene, and thank you Eric Spoelstra, Lebron could have played in that game tonight, especially after Wade got hurt, we get gifted the #1 seed.

    Does anyone outside of Paducaville still think that minutes, fatigue and the resultant injuries haven't been the defining feature of this season.

    Playoff teams are basically tanking games regularly to rest 2,3 even 4 starters at a time irrespective of the implications for their playoff seedings. Heck, Carlisle conceded tonight's game by sitting Nowitski the last 5 minutes of the game, when it was still in contention.

    Interesting move by Thibs tonight, playing Noah and Taj the entire 4rth. I wonder if it means anything going forward. The Mataboozer wasn't any worse than his normal self. Maybe Thibs finallly noticed that whenever the Mav's needed a bucket they simply ran pick and roll at boozer and got an uncontested shot every time, as any decent professional team does(would).

    Now that we don't have to sweat the Indy game, it will be interesting to see how the Knicks and 76'ers execute the rest of the season.

  • In reply to BigWay:

    I'm hoping Miami loses another one of their next two games - Houston and Washington (again). This would clinch the #1 seed for Bulls before the Indiana game. That way Bulls could simply rest their key guys all week - Rose and Deng, most importantly.

    Rose looked like an old man against Dallas, and its not his fault. Rose is clearly very far from full recovery from his multiple injuries - the dude is seriously injured. With toe, back, ankle, foot, problems and a groin TEAR(not pull) Rose won't be healthy until September. Playing in the Olympics should be out-of-the-question.

    I hope Rose gets to rest this entire week before the playoffs. And in the first round Bulls should protect Rose by limiting his minutes or possibly even resting him until the second round. Yes, Rose is that badly injured. Don't believe the PR from Bulls, trust your eyes.

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