Chicago's last stand 8:30 on NBA TV / CSN

The Chicago Bulls pulled Philly into their game twice in a row in Philadelphia, but they came up empty both times. Joakim Noah is out for game five officially and almost certainly out for the rest of the series if the Bulls manage to continue it. This team is still saying the right things, they're still playing hard, they haven't quit. Can they give Chicago one last good feeling before the season ends?

Chicago is certainly capable. The past two games came down to a couple of plays at the end. Game three could have been won if only John Lucas hadn't pounded the ball for 18 seconds on 10 straight possessions. Game four could have been won if the refs didn't make back to back ridiculous calls in favor of Philadelphia. Chicago was right in those games and so it'd be silly to sit here and say Chicago has no chance.

Of course, they have a chance to take a game. That said, I can't even imagine the psychological effect on the team at this point. The sudden end to this season couldn't be any more heartbreaking than it was and dropping three straight can only add significantly to the misery.

Also, despite forcing Philly into exactly what Chicago wanted, they still lost both games. It's going to be difficult to get Philly to play as badly as they have in a third game in a row, and the Bulls have no obvious way to increase their offensive output. They're down too many men, too much talent. We've grown to believe this team can do anything, but this team now looks exactly like we thought it woudl when missing its two best players.

In order to have a chance, Chicago will need the following:

Better shooting

Without Derrick Rose, this becomes a pure jump shooting team. Carlos Boozer, despite often being described as a low post player, is a jump shooter. All of our remaining perimeter players are jump shooters. Asik has no offense, and Gibson's post game isn't so amazing that we'll ride it for any length of time [though Chicago did a nice job of it in game four].

If the Bulls are to win, it will be because they finally start hitting jump shots. The problem, of course, is that once a team knows you're shooting jumpers they defend them much better. Philly is trapping and doubling our perimeter players with incredible efficiency and forcing very difficult shots.

Attack the trap

In order to break the trap, Chicago needs to do a few things.

First, they need to continue to push the ball up the court faster to give themselves more time to play out of the trap. John Lucas did a much better job of that last game which was nice to see. It's clear that it was a talking point amongst the team.

Next, they need to stick in anti-trap plays where as soon as a player leaves his zone to trap the four bulls without the ball all start in motion in such a way to attack that zone with the goal of then moving the ball prior to the trapper getting to the point guard.

This will create seams in the defense that Chicago can attack for easy points. A jump shooting team should be able to attack a trap easily and get quality jumpers if they are proactive enough to attack it before it arrives and while a passing lane still exists.

Another possibility is to run straight at the defender who is coming over to trap, by charging at him while he's running at you, he needs to immediately stop or pick up a defensive blocking foul, at which point his momentum will make it difficult for him to react laterally to your next move.

Either way, the Bulls need to find a way to stop the trap from completely killing their offense. Not an easy feat considering how well Philly runs it.

Continue the great defensive play

Chicago has done very well on the defensive end the past two games, and they need a similar effort tonight. They've kept Philly outside and have swarmed them when they've gotten inside the paint to make their lives difficult.

After a game two embarrassment, Chicago hasn't let the 76ers run roughshod over them on the fast break either. Chicago needs to continue these efforts to force Philly into difficult shots since they're not a particularly good shooting team.

Our leaders need to step up

Carlos Boozer and Luol Deng need to bring it, and they need to bring it in the fourth quarter. Quite simply, they're not doing it right now. Boozer has scored plenty of points, but he hasn't done it in the fourth while Luol Deng, after being clutch much of the season, has completely disappeared.

As fans, we're sitting there hoping for C.J. Watson, John Lucas, or Taj Gibson to come in and make a difference, but that's ridiculous. Our best players need to play much bigger than they have rather than us hoping for our 6-10 guys to come in and beat the starters of a playoff team in crunch time.

Does a win have meaning?

To me it does. This team needs to show some pride even if they eventually fall to the 76ers in the first round. No one expects them to win without Rose and Noah, and they clearly are no longer the better team. Their odds of winning three in a row? Not so good. That said, getting swept out of the first round once Rose goes down?

That's an embarrassment. This team can do better than that and needs to do better than that. This is their last chance to do it. Let's see if they can pull it off and keep off-season discussions of O.J. Mayo and Ben Gordon trades at bay for at least another few days.

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  • if the bulls do get KO at the 1st round. the first thing to do is to re-evaluate thibs. I don't like the guys because he is too stubborn and make some head scratching coaching decision. Such as : Playing Rose with 1:20 left despite a 12 points lead, Playing Deng 40+ minutes despite torn wrist, Heavily favored Keith Bogans last season, Benching Hamilton at every 4th Quarter since shoulder injury, Unacceptable of just 24+ minutes of Hamilton's minutes, a DNP status of Ronnie Brewer against 76ers, Letting John Lucas waste 18 seconds on 10 straight possessions against Philly, and many mores......

  • In reply to CoolWind:

    This is not on Thibs!!! It's the players that the Bulls have left, they need to find someway to score in the 4th until the final buzzer. Someone need to try abd draw could in the post, who that will be us yet to be known cause these guys just want to shoot jumpers. Do or die tonite, somebody need to step up.

  • In reply to CoolWind:

    Not Thibs fault at this point the Sixers are a more talented team. Bulls only had one major talent and he is out. Iggy and Deng cancel each other out and that leaves Philly with major backcourt advantage.

  • In reply to CoolWind:

    CoolWind, how could you forget Thibs' decision to put Noah back in the game against Philadelphia, on two occasions, after the world saw the horrible twist of Noah's foot when he was driving to the basket for a dunk.

    Here in New York the incident was all over the sports talk shows where many said that had Thibs been a coach here of the Knicks, and did that, there was no way he would have retained his job.
    What Thibs did was simply ABUSIVE, and that vulgar decision by Thibs will decide his fate. He could have killed Noah's career.

    By the way, the news here is that the Knicks are working on an extension of Mike Woodson's contract.
    That means that Phil Jackson is available for a return to the place that set him on the map. I think the Knicks' decision to renew Woodson's contract signals that Jackson turned them down. I think the Bulls have been on the phone to the game's winningest coach.
    The New Jersey Nets on hearing of the Knicks' failure are said to have applied a full-court press to get Jackson and as a result lure the mercurial Dwight Howard to their new stadium in Brooklyn.
    They feel that they have to go big, and by getting Howard they would be assured of the staying of Deron Williams their elete point guard.
    They also have the man with the cash to back them in their Russian billionaire owner. If this happens Madison Square Garden could be in trouble.

  • In reply to CoolWind:

    After two years have we finally realized the #1 seed and best regular season record is ABSOLUTELY MEANINGLESS?!? Have we realized pushing the team to exhaustion to achieve this meaningless distinction leaves the team unprepared for the playoffs? Will Thibs concede he takes the wrong approach?

    It's Fools Gold, and I said so months ago on this blog.
    Bulls were never the league's best team - this year or last. Thibs has his head up his ass with his drill sergeant regular season mentality. Over-achieving during the regular season is not the path to a championship. But Thibs and the Bulls front office will never admit their mistaken approach and the damage it caused this team by exhausting the players and not allowing players to properly recover from injuries.

  • In reply to Edward:

    Come on now, you said this was fool's gold months ago meaning what?

    That if we didn't have Derrick Rose and Joakim Noah the team would lose in the first round? The results of this series are somewhat meaningless in validating or invalidating anyone's view of what the healthy version of this team may have done.

  • In reply to DougThonus:

    Meaning the regular season record is Fool's Gold because it comes from over-playing key players into exhaustion and not allowing players enough time to recover from injuries. This overzealous approach to the regular season leaves the team unprepared for the playoffs and at a disadvantage because they're injured and exhausted while their opponents are better rested.

    Charles Barkley said it best 2-3 months ago on ESPN AM-1000 Radio. When asked about the East playoffs he said it will come down to Chicago-Miami and it's all about getting to the playoffs healthy. Don't over-extend your team trying to better your seed, cause you have to be able to win on the road anyway to get an NBA Championship. Just protect your team during the regular season and get your team to the playoffs rested and healthy.

    Thibs did the exact opposite... and the team is paying a stiff price for it.

  • In reply to CoolWind:

    The coach is only as good as the players, they can't work miracles ... look at Vinny, everyone thinks he's pretty much the worst coach in the NBA yet his team is up 3-1 because he has a healthy Chris Paul and Thibs has an injured Derrick Rose.

  • Bulls lose tonight. I predict another embarrassing loss, as a result the fans will boo

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    I think the bulls will pull of a win tonight and have the best chance to come back down 3-1 this year out of all the teams. i wrote all about it here so come check it out http://nbawagers.com/2012/05/do-or-die/

  • In reply to Jacky Moon:

    Shameless plug. J/k.. I agree if (big if) the bulls win tonight they have a good chance to win the series. Simply because they would have the formula for how to win without Derrick in the postseason. They have to win though and not have Philly lose. I mean that they have to come out and dominate the game. That will give them the confidence they need. I still think its a long shot they win but we will see

  • Please no Ben Gordon trade senarios! He was clutch but that was atleast four years ago... That was back when Brandon Roy was a up and coming star and he is already out of the league.

    I know some are blaming Thibs but its not his fault if anything it goes to show what a good job he did during the regular season compensating for injuries. I thought Boozer has been playing good although he has missed some shots in the fourth that he normally would make. Maybe if Deng could actually give them some offense they would have a shot although Deng isn't going to step up that is about as likely to happen as the Bulls coming back and winning the series.

  • In reply to Chad:

    No, actually Mr Offense(boozer) made some shots that he normally makes in the first quarter, and missed a bunch of shots in the fourth quarter that he usually misses. In the mean time the Bulls defense led by Mr Offense gave up 53 points in the 4rth quarter of the last 2 games against a team shooting under 40%.

  • Just found this on Blogabull... Hilarious! This might soften the blow a bit before tonight's game... BTW, if we DO win tonight, I won't bet against us in game 6...

    "Hitler Reacts To Derrick Rose Tearing ACL"

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=JNZW4K3Y_SA

  • In reply to petert23:

    Saw that on realgm earlier as well and thought it was pretty hilarious.

  • In reply to petert23:

    Hilarious, even Hitler thinks that boozer is a piece of crap.

  • Excellent piece by Hollinger(who I don't always agree with) over at ESPN. Since some of you don't have access to the insider feature, here is the whole article.

    We all look for reducing explanations, so with the Bulls' first-round flameout against the Sixers, the explanation everyone offers is "No Rose, no Noah, no chance."

    I'm not sure it's that simple. For starters, the Bulls lost Game 2 soundly even with Joakim Noah. Moreover, there's this little nugget: The Bulls, without Derrick Rose and Noah, were plus-210 in 1,048 minutes this season, according to NBA.com -- a shockingly good plus-9.6 points per 48 minutes. The Sixers, with everybody, were plus-3.9.

    On a per-minute basis, the Bulls were still substantially better on paper. In other words, even without Chicago's (arguably) two best players, this should be a fair fight -- one in which Rose had already staked the Bulls out to a 1-0 lead.

    Instead, Chicago has dropped three straight in fairly convincing fashion, being outscored by 29 points over the course of the three games. "Why?" remains something of a mystery. Dig deep into the numbers and you'll see one big reason that's directly related to losing Rose and otherwise a lot of problems that are either completely unrelated or, at best, tangentially related.

    Chicago, quite simply, lost the last three games in ways it never did in the regular season, and remember it had Noah for all of Game 2 and most of Game 3. Its defense has been shredded, its secondary scorers haven't delivered, its bench isn't winning the second-unit battle, and the Sixers -- who deserve more than a little credit in all of this -- have stepped up their game.

    Offense
    Let's start with the biggest factor first, and the one that is largely attributable to losing Rose: Chicago's offense has gone off the rails. The Bulls only produced 91.5 points per 100 possessions in the three defeats, and only four playoff teams have been worse; those four are a combined 3-13 in the postseason. Clearly, the Bulls need to get their offensive efficiency closer to the century mark for their vaunted defense to have a chance of winning the game for them, like they did without Rose in the regular season. Chicago played more than half of its regular-season minutes without Rose on the court and still was a league-average offense in that time. Give Philly some credit here, too -- the Sixers were the league's third-ranked defense in the regular season; an average offense against an elite defense is going to struggle, although to this extent is a bit of a surprise.

    However, this also shines a harsh light on Carlos Boozer and Richard Hamilton -- the alleged solutions to the "we need another scorer" problem in Chicago. Hamilton brutalized Philadelphia on floppy cuts in Game 1, as our Sebastian Pruiti pointed out afterward, but hasn't produced a peep since -- he's 11-of-34 in the past three games, as Rose's absence has allowed the Sixers to put the smaller Jrue Holiday on Hamilton and chase him through screens.

    Boozer, meanwhile, has come closer to living up to his end of the bargain, but only with a huge cost in turnovers. He's had 10 miscues in the past two games and has drawn just four three throw attempts the entire series. As a result, his superficially solid numbers in the three non-Rose games don't look so hot overall: 50 points in 52 shot attempts, with 12 turnovers and just six assists. Again, credit Philly, too -- Elton Brand's defense has been vastly underrated this season.

    But the most effective Chicago offensive players available for Game 5 have been subs Taj Gibson, Kyle Korver and John Lucas. Interestingly, that grouping was the single most effective 3-man unit the Bulls used all season for more than 300 minutes, according to NBA.com, outscoring opponents by a whopping 152 points in just 392 minutes together. In fact, that grouping nearly had the best plus-minus of any Chicago trio despite how rarely it played together.

    In the playoffs, alas, they're minus-4 in 31 minutes. Again, the stuff that worked for the Bulls without Rose in the regular season isn't working right now.

    And that's where we get to all the secondary problems. Start with this one: Chicago's bench isn't outplaying Philly's. With a shortened rotation and two outstanding reserves in Louis Williams and Thaddeus Young, Philly has been able to eliminate what was a major Chicago advantage in the regular season.

    Rebounding
    Chicago led the NBA in Rebound Rate in the regular season and the Sixers were 19th; one could fairly assume that the Bulls would have a major rebound advantage this season.

    They don't. Chicago has rebounded 27.4 percent of its misses; the Sixers 24.9 percent of theirs. It's been an advantage, in other words, but not one that has swung the series; the Bulls have a grand total of three more offensive boards than Philly. This has held steady with or without Rose, which is what happened in the regular season too.

    Simply put, the offensive boards that gave the Bulls a lot of easy second-chance points in the regular season haven't been there with regularity against the league's No. 4 defensive rebounding team. Conversely, although the Sixers were awful on the offensive glass in the regular season they've rebounded somewhat competently against the Bulls. This has nothing to do with Rose, and it was the case with and without Noah as well. It's a puzzling departure from both team's norms, and one that lacks an easy explanation.

    Defense
    The biggest story in the Bulls' failure, however, is that their elite defense has sprung leaks all over the place. The most shocking part is the Bulls' sudden proclivity for fouling; again, it's difficult to pin this on Rose's absence.

    The Sixers were last in the NBA in free throw attempts per field goal attempt in the regular season at just .217 -- in fact, they set an NBA record for fewest made free throws per game. Chicago's defense, meanwhile, rarely fouled -- the Bulls had the third-lowest rate in the league. Combine the two and we should be seeing single-digit free throw attempts from the Sixers in a lot of these games.

    Hasn't happened. In fact, the Sixers have suddenly become the Denver Nuggets in this series. Philly has 110 free throw attempts in the four games, the fourth-most of any playoff team; and the rate was just as high in the one Rose played. Even normally free throw-averse Sixers like Spencer Hawes and Jrue Holiday are getting to the stripe with regularity; the seven primary rotation players for Philly all average at least two free throws a game on the series.

    Again, the opponent needs some credit. Philly's offensive approach in this series has been to unshackle Holiday and Evan Turner, and both have drawn more fouls with aggressive drives than we saw in the regular season -- when each had among the lowest free throw rates at their respective positions. Holiday and Turner have combined for ten freebies a game in the playoffs; Chicago can't win like that.

    Unfortunately, stopping the surprise free throw avalanche isn't the only solution. The Sixers are also shooting 49 percent on 2s, with their quick transition game seeming a perfect elixir for Chicago's crash-the-boards mentality. And while the Bulls have defended the 3-point line exceptionally well -- partly because the Sixers aren't playing any 3-point shooters, having mothballed Jodie Meeks -- allowing the Sixers to have even a decent true shooting percentage is murder because they never turn the ball over.

    Chicago wasn't good at forcing turnovers in the regular season and the Sixers nearly set a record for fewest turnovers this year; not surprisingly, the Bulls have turned over only 10.4 percent of Philly's possessions this series, the least of any playoff team. To win, they have to stop fouling and force misses, and they have to get nearly all the rebounds.

    Sum it up
    So basically, Chicago can't score, its go-to guys have played more like go-away guys, and it has inexplicably begun fouling like the Jerry Sloan-era Jazz against a team that normally can't find the foul line with two sherpas and a Garmin.

    Prescriptions for all those woes aren't easy, but allow me to offer a few suggestions, which I would basically put under the heading "play smaller." Chicago is offensively weakened enough that it can't afford to play Omer Asik for his defense. The Bulls have to start Taj Gibson -- who is one of their best players anyway -- and play long stretches with Luol Deng at the 4. This frees up minutes for Korver, spaces the floor for everybody, and may even allow some small looks with C.J. Watson and sharpshooter John Lucas on the court together.

    Defensively, the cost should be minimal. The Sixers virtually never post up and aren't going to hurt the Bulls on the offensive glass, so Asik's value is more limited in that environment. Deng can guard Thaddeus Young whenever he is in the game, and could probably handle Brand in stretches as well.

    Second, there's Lucas. Chicago has played dramatically better with him on the court all season, and save a brief stretch of Game 4 Watson has really struggled. Lucas is tiny and may struggle in some defensive matchups against Holiday in particular, but Chicago needs his offense and floor spacing.

    All this may not be enough. Philly matches up well against Chicago and is playing like the January version of the team that came screaming out of the gates. Nonetheless, one has to think the foul numbers are going to tilt back toward the Bulls and that the Sixers will cool off a bit on the long 2s in particular. If so, Chicago just needs to find a bit more offense and it can get back in this series, even without Rose and Noah.

  • In reply to BigWay:

    The Bulls should have been able to beat Philly post Derrick, but at this point history tells us this series is over.

  • In reply to BigWay:

    I'm down with any analysis that concludes Deng should be playing the 4 more. ;)

    I agree with Hollinger on a lot in that really, Boozer and Hamilton have stunk and are a big reason we're in the hole we're in. But I think just looking at the Bulls minus Rose/Noah is a little myopic: Noah was healthy during the year so a lot of those minutes without either of them are against second units and garbage time. Also Deng's productivity has bounced around a lot, at the moment he looks like the wrist is in a bad way but he's been through periods of the season where he's seemed to be able to do a bit more with it.

    I also agree the Sixers are playing more like the team making a claim for 3rd best in the East early in the year than the one who almost fell out of the playoffs at the end. If they keep this level of play up then they could upset Boston next round.

  • Does anybody really believe the Bulls will come back to win this series? Tonight's game is meaningless. No one will remeber or care about this game come next fall.

    During the free agent Summer of LeBron, we kept hearing that if all else failed with the Big Three, Carlos Boozer was a sure thing or in Gar/Pax's "back pocket" were the words I believe K.C. Johnson used. Shouldn't that have told us something?

    The Jazz were more then happy to do a sign and trade for a sizable trade exception netting Al Jefferson(18-19ppg 50% shooting the last two seasons). Boozer scored 23, 20, and 19ppg on 50% shooting in three of the four playoff runs for the Jazz. He was a good offensive player at one time. Now Jazz fans and management were more then ready to dump him post "injuries" and verbal barbs. Enter willing patsies aka the Chicago Bulls Gar/Pax.

    Similar to the misguided Ben Wallace signing whose age and numbers all pointed towards decline, the Bulls made a poor decision signing Carlos Boozer. Period. Why would Utah fan's so villify him if there wasn't a major down side? Fans "demanded" a FA signing in the wake of the traumatic Wade/LeBron cabal so they had to sign Carlos... If that is the logic you operate with fan decision making you are likely to fail in champion building.

    Now we have Asik, Noah, Taj who all have been or need paid yet none have a real offensive game. And Gar/Pax's answer at SG? 34 year old oft injured Richard Rip Hamilton whose numbers were in serious decline to match his physical condition.

    You could argue that Thib's defensive genius and sound offensive fundmanetal ball movement and passing game created a mirage hiding the offensive deficiencies of this team. Last year's playoffs saw Derrick and the rest of the team with historically low and troubling offensive numbers across the board.

    The answer was not acquiring a has been Hamilton or insulting Memphis(though their G.M. and owner are D.B.'s) with a Ronnie Brewer for Mayo offer when they clearly were only talking for an interest in Asik. Gar/Pax can be disingenuous and tedious to deal with when it comes to honest communication in player personnel matters, injuries, and yes trades.

    Now who wants to do business with them? They needed a restructure of the team for that second scoring force as Doug and everybody else proposed Iggy to Ellis(not that they were the answer per se) trades. Now Noah and Deng's value have likely fallen with injuries and the Bulls charade laid bare for all to see. You trade when the value is high as with a league leading wins franchise. Deng with enough expirings, the Charlotte pick, maybe Mirotic if you can get a really potent scoring guard say an Eric Gordon. Or Joakim Noah with expirings and a similar package of picks and players. Maybe no such opporunity was there. Yet now we are left with damaged goods and a window of opportunity likely closed.

    K.C. "Company Ho story supressor Johnson" now says there is nothing "Tom or Jerry, Gar/Pax etc." can do. The constant use of first name only basis in referring to supposedly seperate and accountable figures of power and authority is telling. K.C. as an advocate for hard working, loyal fans you suck. I doubt the Lakers or Mavericks would be "tied down' so to speak.

    The Bulls have tradeable assetts, but likely with their injuries, stonewalling trade partners and potential coaching hires etc., and misguided signings in Boozer and Hamilton they probably will have a difficult time finding the trade for a big time scorer they need. The smarter play would have been not signing Rip(off) or Boozer(or Deng) and waiting for better opportunities to come along. Scoring wings are the most plentiful commodity why reach and hamstring yourself with Deng?

    The league would have welcomed and encouraged a trade for a second scoring force for Rose had the Bulls stayed lean and mean instead of fat(and stupid) and happy with Boozer etc. They did it with Gasol for Kobe and with enough short term languishing a popular figure like Rose would have begged a scoring partner.

    But the Bulls don't think like that. They overspend on Deng for "loyalty's" sake and the theory that "you can't lose somebody for nothing." In reality not overspending on Deng, not signing a declining Ben Wallace, not signing a downward headed Boozer would have left a smart hungry team wtih Rose and Noah as the core to wait for greener pastures. But that is not the "Chicago Way."

    This team is likely headed nowhere for the forseeable future. No Derrick, No Lu next year with Thib's abrasive unsophisticated approach wearing thin. Not good Bulls fans. Not good.

  • In reply to RoadWarrior:

    Wallace only shows a history, and is obviously not a part of the current payroll or personnel crisis.

  • In reply to RoadWarrior:

    As I have argued any number of times, if the second that you sign a player he becomes "untradealbe" because of his contract(Deng, Boozer, Ben Gordon) then you should not have signed that player to that contract in the first place.

    Unfortunately, except for the "true max" players, Lebron, Durrant, Rose, etc everybody else is essentially overpaid. In order to keep your own player without losing him for nothing you must overpay, and in order to attract a free agent you must by definition overpay since players always go for the most money and it only takes one team to over value a player and set the market too high.

    Not sure that pure luck isn't the only way to avoid overpaying for mediocre players. The Thunder for example get to "overpay" Durant, Westbrook, Harden and Ibaka. Whereas, the Bulls got Rose, Deng, Boozer and Noah.

  • In reply to BigWay:

    I think Ibaka will end up being considered overpaid when he gets a new contract, and maybe get dumped a couple of times ala Tyson Chandler because of it.

    Harden will be interesting too, if this was his contract year he'd be getting the max from someone, so we'll have to wait and see.

    Really you're damned if you do, damned if you don't when it comes to paying players, you can't compete by just letting everyone walk so eventually you're going to have to pay somebody, although it's probably best to have at least one true max player in place before you do. If you end up only overpaying a little like with Deng (who is not untradeable) you've done pretty well, there have been a lot worse contracts than that. Boozer on the other hand, well, at least there's the amnesty.

  • In reply to Shakes:

    I was more or less saying that you are damned if you do and your damned if you don't, it just depends on who you end up overpaying.

    I would however, say that if Deng's contract wasn't untradeable he would have already been traded, because the worst is yet to come, nearly $28 million over the next 2 seasons.

  • In reply to BigWay:

    I consider untradeable players to be guys you'd probably have to add in incentives to even get someone to take their contract, ie Boozer, Amare, etc.

    Deng hasn't been traded because it's really hard to construct a trade that improves the team centered around him. I still think you could trade him for productive players if you wanted to, I just don't see what you'd get back making the team better.

    Contracts never get worse, having fewer years remaining on them makes the contract better and the player easier to trade, even if the per year value is more. If Deng had 5 years remaining at this year's wage he'd be tough to move, 2/28 is heaps better. There's a reason why the owners have negotiated the maximum number of years down from 7 to 6 to 5.

  • In reply to RoadWarrior:

    It gets worse, from the tidbits I've read from KC and Smith, its seem the grand scheme of the offseason is hoping Chauncey Billups signs for cheap to reunite with Rip and they already are pouring cold water on spending into the luxury tax or making big trades. So in typical Bulls fashion, they will stay put and hope to catch deals on minimum contracts and probably draft some 6'9" powerforward with no offense......

  • In reply to Defense-Rebound13:

    Yeah, Chauncey and Rip just like the good old days.. bring back Big Ben too!

    I agree Deng is not per se untradeable with the right incentives possibly in a three way trade. He could help a team like the Lakers, but Gar/Pax will never make that move or will be too inept to pull it off

  • Reading some of these comments really put this teams future in perspective. The Bulls will be back to a mediocre team as I predicted a while back. I said back then that the Bulls would be a middle of the road team if Rose ever got injured and I'm sorry to say it has come true. And just thinking that the Bulls managememt won't do basically anything as far as trying to change this roster is very disheartening.

  • In reply to Reese1:

    Do you think they should break up their core? Deng, Noah, Taj? Personally i think they should keep them together and piece together pieces here and there. The one constant that iv'e found on any championship team is that They have a core of guys that have been together for a while.

  • Wow i came on here looking for some glimer of hope somebody giving me a reason to believe the bulls have a chance..Guess not. I personally don't agree with Holinger, maybe because i Hate him but lets see. No rose (MVP) No Noah (best defensive player on the team) Deng (playing one handed) No chance...That seems about right. Listen basically out of all the major sports isn't rocket science. If you can't put the ball in the hoop you Lose, cant explain it any better than that. You can play great D all you want, but if you can't score on the other end what chance do you have? NO chance. I really don't want to get into how rose creates offense for everyone on this team..Its beating a dead horse, CJ isn't really capable of doing that, he can to some extent but not enough or for long periods of time. The bulls have no one that can create their own shot, boozer has never really been able to. His game is predicated on pick and pop or a fade away jumper. That's not creating your own shot..putting the ball on the floor being able to create contact and score. Who does that for the bulls? Deng has never and will never be that guy. Last season the bulls ran that flex offense and he was slashing and scoring, HELL he deserved to be an all star last year, he looked great. What were any of us expecting from Hamilton? What has he shown all year that convinced any of you so thoroughly that he would step up and deliver? Don't over think this series..it's not that hard to figure out. It really is "No Rose, No Noah...No chance"

  • This may be Hyperbole...Carlos boozer is the worst player in the NBA rotating on screens.

  • iggy is having a pretty bad series but I still would trade deng for him in a crackheads heartbeat

  • i dont think its a stretch to say Taj is one of the best interior defenders in the league. If he ever becomes a starter and cuts down on his fouls i could very easily see him winning DPOY.

  • The injury curse continues.

  • In reply to Shakes:

    Call it MataKarma.

    Everybody has been "complimenting" boozer on staying healthy all year, but it is obvious that he made a deal with the devil and the price was everybody else who matters getting injured.

  • with 6:42 left it begans..where the bulls fall apart

  • Hold on Bulls ,put the pressure squarely on the Sixers to win game 6 back in Philly

  • Ugly game from both teams, can't imagine anyone who wasn't a fan of the Bulls or 76ers bothered to watch it to the end, but good win. Quality games from Deng & Gibson (hopefully he ankle holds up and he can play game 6).

    CJ Watson must have decided he doesn't want to play for the Bulls next year and he's shooting his way out of the team picking up his option. Either that or he has a side bet with Iggy on who can shoot worse.

  • Good Defense tonight..Hopefully Jo and Taj can play thursday night. If CJ continues this play we dont have a chance..Also he may be playing his way out of a contract. (a decent one anyway)

  • In reply to insertclichehere:

    Noah shouldn't play, and Taj probably won't be able to play his game.

  • To me the MVP of the game if it isn't Deng(who was just as lucky as he was good banging in a bunch of 3's) is Ronnie Brewer.

    Hamilton has been a disaster on defense the entire series, which is why Thibs hasn't played him in the 4rth quarter. Brewer almost single handedly knocked Turner, Williams and Holiday off their games.

    The first thing I checked in the box score was his plus/minus, Brewer a bulls high plus 12 and Rip the only bull in negative territory at -6.

    I can't wait for all the victory parades lauding boozer who scored 19. BFD, isn't that what he is paid to do on average day, he shot under 50% and committed 5 turnovers again, actually 6 if you count his offensive foul. And played his usual statuesque defense after his(and anybody else's) turnovers, not even bothering to make an effort to cross half court, leading to what a dozen easy baskets for Philly.

    We still basically struggled to beat the worst offense in the playoffs, even though they only managed to score 26 points in the first half, not much to hang your hat on going to Philly for game 6.

    Watching the post game, Collins just spent half the time talking about Brewers physicality, especially on Turner.

    I am glad to have one more game to watch, and hope to be watching again on Saturday, not sure that Philly can play this ugly again.

  • In reply to BigWay:

    That Deng was even taking shots was a change though. Making the circus shot threes was just a bonus.

    Brewer was good, but he's been better than Rip at everything but chucking shots all year, so no surprise there.

  • In reply to BigWay:

    If thibs had played Ronnie Brewer in game 4, Bulls may be up 3-2. Simply put, the Bulls front line manhandled Philly's front line. Brewer ability to defensively play the 2 and the 3 complicated Philly's backscourt as well. While Boozer carried the Bulls in he 3rd quarter, I felt his unforced turnovers and CJ Watson's inability to convert layups and make free throws kept this game from being a blowout for the Bulls.

    Game 6 pressure is squarely on the Sixers. However, Thibs has got to find some offense from Rip Hamilton, or there may be no game seven. Hamilton's "D" has been terrible but his offense is AWOL.

    Somebody tell me please...When Philly goes small, why doesn't Thibs put Debg at the four and run him into the post on offense? This one I don't understand...

  • Welcome to the 2012 nba playoffs luol deng, we've been waiting for your to show up. if you would have shown up in games 3 and 4 like boozer did(18 and 23 points), your team may have been advancing to the second round tonight.

    nice win tonight bulls, deng and boozer(bigway must be pissed lol)came through big tonight. if they both continue playing this way the bulls have a shot at stealing the series.

  • In reply to rob32:

    Boozer played AWFUL tonight. Just like he did in games 3 and 4. The guy would probably have 4 fewer rebounds if he did not steal them from teammates and it took what 20 shots to get 19 points? He turned the ball over a ton last game too.

  • Finally the Bulls win one and remind us that Philly has played terrible basketball for three games in a row. They're a pretty bad team that's probably heading for a sweep or close to it in the next round.

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