Chicago Bulls vs Orlando Magic 7pm on Election Tuesday

By any rationale measure, it's probably a better idea to watch election coverage than to watch one of 82 Bulls games this season. However, if you're like me and somewhat disenfranchised by our political system, then the Chicago Bulls make a nice alternative when all the networks turn off their programming in order to cover the election.

The Orlando Magic are off to a 2-0 start beating the Denver Nuggets and Phoenix Suns behind the sensational play of Glen Davis and J.J. Redick whom are both averaging over 20 points per game with efficient shooting percentages.

Now here's a team that looks like it's facing similar challenges to us. When J.J. Redick and Glen Davis are your primary shot creators, then you're going to run into some problems. Meanwhile, the Bulls are coming off a disappointing loss to the Hornets who were effectively fielding a DLeague roster.

The Bulls couldn't hit the broad side of a barn last game and Boozer, Hinrich, and Hamilton were benched for the fourth quarter due to their poor play.

Carlos Boozer can get this done

Glen Davis is a fatter version of Carlos Boozer. He's got plenty of skills, but he's undersized for his position and isn't bringing a whole ton of defense. In short, he's the type of player Carlos can typically do well against. Boozer can attack Davis off the pick and roll using his speed and also get good looks with his turnaround in the post if he establishes deep position early as Davis doesn't have the length to contest a fadeaway.

On the defensive end, Davis isn't a world beater, but he's active, and Carlos will need to stay active to avoid giving him good looks. All in all, this is the type of matchup I expect Carlos to win handily and give the Bulls a significant advantage, but expectations and Boozer frequently lead to disappointment.

Get it done inside

Orlando has little front court to speak of and will play plenty of small ball which should give the Bulls plenty of room to get things done in the post. Beyond the play of Boozer (noted above), the Bulls need Gibson and Noah to provide some offense down and dominate the glass.

The Magic will play small plenty of times, and Chicago needs to win those matchups by playing big and crushing them with second shot opportunities or mismatches in the post. The Bulls are a great rebounding team and going up against an undersized front court should give them all the advantage they need.

The E'Twuan Moore vs Nate Robinson what could have been

E'Twuan was a hopeful low end signing for many Bulls fans this summer. Chicago didn't appear to pursue him though, and he's gone on to have a very solid start for the Magic. The Bulls signed Nate Robinson to fill the spot on the roster that Moore may have filled instead and has also gone on to have a hot start.

While the battle is sort of silly and irrelevant, Bulls fans who love to complain about anything will have something to talk about if Moore has a big game tonight.

Fundamentals and shooting

When the Bulls are playing well, the formula is fairly simple:
Defense
Rebounding
Sharing
Shooting

The Bulls have a team that can easily fall into a big shooting slump as when the shots stop falling they don't have anyone to lean on to try and get some easy points. However, when they play defense, rebound, and share the ball then they typically generate a fair amount of open looks and capture some easy ones in transition.

The Bulls need to hammer home that formula like they have the first two games but can't afford the lapses they had during the third. They'll also need to improve on their three point shooting as they've been pathetic beyond the arc thus far.

If Chicago hit 1/3rd of their threes last game (still below average for a team) then they'd have beaten the Hornets despite playing quite poorly. They can't afford to have Luol Deng and Kirk Hinrich hoisting up bricks all game long on open threes.

Bulls need a win

After starting the season with four creampuffs (including this game), the Bulls will go on to face much tougher opponents over the next couple weeks. Chicago needs to get this win now. They can't afford to split games against the dregs of the league if they want to keep the ship afloat, because splitting them against the good teams will be much tougher.

If they can't stop a team led by J.J. Redick, Glen Davis, and Aaron Afflalo, there's something wrong. The Magic don't have any more shot creators than Chicago does and lack the defensive presence. This game is right there for the taking, but so was the last one and we saw how that turned out.

Comments

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  • Instead of ranting about past blunders by Paxson in the offseason, I'm going to focus on tonight. The one thing I'm watching is Thibodeau and adjustments. eg. Boozer missing shots and not playing a lick of defense......go quickly to Gibson before the game gets out of hand instead of being loyal and having the damage already done.

    Knock down at least 1/3 of your 3s(use the corner 3 like other teams) and after getting steals which has been a strength this year, go out and finish the fastbreak. Bulls still kind of look unathletic and ugly on the fastbreak.

    The biggest problem is this team relies on long 2s which they aren't even that great at knocking them down and they don't have the athleticism to get to the rim or the shooters to space the floor. It's a recipe for disaster so they need excellent ball and player movement to offset these weaknesses.

  • Warning: classification Rant Level 1(though this is the way it will be regarded by some, not by myself). DO NOT READ THIS if you don't find my comments interesting in general. If you do read and disagree fine, have at it. However, personally attacking, immature cracks then you are a lose, find something better to do.

    OK. All I can say is, I sure am glad we didn't amnesty Boozer, and take on bad contract money from Sacramento to get their pick, ship out Luol Deng, and nab Damian Lillard. Because honestly, that kid sucks.

    Seriously, even if that opportunity didn't exist, certainly sticking with this non-offensive oriented core and signing retread klunks like Kirk, there is no way I'm watching many Bulls abortions this year. At least they could tank and go for Shabazz Muhammad, but honestly the karma or luck of the lottery should not even be there since they already sandbagged the team due to sheer cheapness and blew an amazing opportunity with this year's draft.

    Personally, I think Nate has looked like he's on his best behavior, and his numbers are very good albeit early on in the season.

    Looking at Deng's numbers, if his wrist and numbers are going to be this sub par, then muddling through this season as opposed to a tank job is such a suck ride I can't believe Bulls fans are going to put up with this shit, and watch the upcoming ugly ass offensive trainwrecks. The Portland Trailblazers, yes young and defensively incompetent at times, but talk about an offensively fun, talented team to watch with guys with real presence as well. I just can't see watching suck balls offense all year long rather then an entertaining team when the Bulls starting with Reinsdorf set us up to watch just a suck butt crack offensive sham ripping off U.C. filling idiots.

    One other note: Doug is a great guy, great site, but stating profits are all that should matter to Harden and David Stern is beyond ridiculous. Harden against Portland, showed why he is going to be beyond his own level of competence as "the man," and is going to be unhappy there in the end unless they luck into another star. I don't care what his numbers say, he just gagged and threw that game away with bonehead superstar wannabee plays. And Stern, the guy is a shill for the owners period. If that makes for someone who has the fans best interests in mind or even in their consciousness then you are ignoring the reality. He doesn't make $ 20 Mil a year for nothing.

    And Michael Jordan(now Lebron james) like Magic and Bird before them "grew" the NBA not some foul mouthed greedy slob lawyer. Ratings thy name are Jordan and James not David Stern. Comissioners used to be paid solid money but not bought and paid for money. Same as politicians the money factor i.e ultra-capitalism has taken over. Period. Anyone who thinks David Stern with stifled franchises and disenfranchised fans more then ever before is not the antithesis of fan friendly is just not thinking clearly IMO. And all these young kids coming into the NBA other then day one ready stars like Damian Lillard, it hurts the quality of the league with garbage offense and one on one undeveloped, undynamic, lousy team play.

    Seriously what do you have to watch in the way of great teams today in the NBA or even great stars? Miami.. and who else in the East is a star offense that's terrific to watch? And the West? OKC with two star players yet one greatly flawed with selfish play on many nights in RW. Who else? Maybe the Clippers yet Jordan is a hack a foul playoff liability see Spurs 2012 playoffs. Who else out west is a really offensively entertaining team? Mavs? Old Kavman, Brand?? Spurs fade in the playoffs with Old Man Duncan.

    The league right now is f-ed up IMO, and the guy largely responsible is David Stern as well as misguided greedy, stupid, could care less aboutt the game itself small market owners. Your franchises are not viable. Get out. Consolidate the talent and bring in a reasonable hard cap at $70 Mil with lower limits on max salaries. Wade, James yes you grow the league, but you also are dependent on your teammates. Get off Mt. Olympus and owners cut your ticket prices and lower your profits so regular working people can see NBA games. greed is NOT good. profit yes, maximize with no regard for people/humanity, not the American way. And David Stern sucks donkey kong, just in case I didn't make it clear.

  • In reply to RoadWarrior:

    First of all Road I enjoy reading your commentaries. I like someone with an honest opinion even if it is critical. If I want sunshine blown up my ass and opinions from people who know nothing about basketball then I will go to the ESPN Chicago Bulls Blog.

    This season's Bulls team is an abortion. Just enough talent to keep the North shore dummies coming to the games but not enough to compete for anything. The dreaded middle. With Rose gone the Bulls should have gone completely in the tank, dumped what salaries they could and begin anew next season. Instead they are trying to tippy toe through the next 2 seasons until 2014 when they will pretend like they will be able to clear the books and sign free agents. We saw how well that worked before. For now, I don't know what this team is other than unwatchable. A bunch of unathletic poor shooters who bring zero excitement and long-term potential to the floor.

    And you are right David Stern as well. Adrian Wojnarowski said it the best: http://sports.yahoo.com/news/nba--david-stern-s-final-act--promote-the-myth-of-david-stern-25321709.html. Stern is a self-promoting toad who rode on the backs of future hall of fame players. The NBA is a mess. Too many teams with too little talent. What talent there is has be concentrated to a handful of teams. The salary cap still allows teams like the Heat and Lakers to buy the best teams. The lottery system allows for potential corruptness and seeding of future stars to more marketable teams. I think we will see a much better NBA once David Stern is gone.

  • In reply to Vic Nardozza:

    I think this team is a Paxson special this is exactly what the Bulls would look like had we not lucked into drafting Rose. Front office should be gutted as those fools are clearly in over their heads when it comes to evaluating NBA talent.

  • In reply to Chad:

    You are right about Paxson. I guess the downside of lucking into the Rose pick was the extension of the GarPax regime. I would love to sit in on one of their meetings when they discuss personnel. It would make me either laugh or cry.

    Nothing epitomizes their ineptness then the Asik situation. They waited a few years until he got out of his Euro contract. They develop him. Had the opportunity to trade him for Courtney Lee the help in the 2010-2011 playoff run, but said he was an important part of the future. Do not sign him to an extension and let him become a free agent saying they will match any offer. Get outflanked by Houston's poison pill and don't sign. The Bulls end up with nothing and Asik is starting for the Rockets. Now throw in the striking out with LeBron, Wade and Bosh, trying to save face with the Boozer signing, the Del Negro hiring, the return of can't play Hinrich, the drafting of Marquis Teague who they never evaluated, tying up future $ with non-scoring big men Noah and Taj, getting hard-capped with the signing of the dreadful Bench Mob 2 and their who philosophy of building from the middle out instead of top down and what you have is the current roster of dull plodders.

    Feel to add other points I am sure I missed.

  • In reply to Vic Nardozza:

    That's not really a fair assessment of the Asik situation. They couldn't sign him to an extension beforehand. They had to let it play out the way it did. Also in 2010-11 the new CBA wasn't set so they probably did have every intention of keeping Asik. The new luxury tax changes is what killed that plan.

  • In reply to Shakes:

    They should have, however, at least invested one contract year per 2nd round draft pick traded in Asik's original contract. I.E. they should have signed him to a 3 year deal, or whatever the max allowed was at that time. I think that would have given the Bulls full Bird rights next summer, as well as eliminating that funky Arenas rule.

    Hindsight is always 20/20, but the bulls never seem to have 20/20 foresight.

  • In reply to BigWay:

    Asik was originally reported as a 3 year deal - source: http://articles.chicagotribune.com/2010-07-13/sports/ct-spt0714-bits-bulls-chicago--20100713_1_berto-center-bulls-omer-asik .

    Not sure what changed to make the deal eventually go down as 2 years, but it seems like at some point there was a plan to get him in for 3 years. If anything it's probably the Asik camp that wanted 2 years: easier for him to leave if he doesn't like the NBA, or get paid if he's doing well. 3 year deals for second round picks are pretty rare.

  • In reply to Chad:

    I don't think anyone can do well in the new CBA environment if the owner is putting constraints on you to not pay the tax as well as obviously wanting to stay in the playoffs for the extra money. If you want to compete you pay the tax for established players or you tank it up to get cheap rookie contracts.

  • OJ Mayo has been going off for the Mavs including a 32 point gem last night. He is averaging over 22 ppg including shooting 69% from downtown. Who is glad we got Kirk?

  • In reply to Chad:

    OJ Mayo is looking like the steal of the century at 4 mil/per. Kirk isnt going to be this bad the entire season, but again, hes not going to be that good either. I think Doug had it right in the writeup. Pound it down to Boozer, and hit the offensive glass. Orlando doesn't have the size or rebounding. I'm a little worried about the perimeter defense though. Even though this Orlando team as currently constituted isn't the same Orlando we've seen in years past, they still have strong outside shooting. Afflalo has to be contained, hopefully Hamilton can run him around a bit off of screens.

  • In reply to KingOfCrumbs:

    Davis is going to kick Bozo's lazy ass up and down the court, at least until they have to switch Noah onto him, if they don't start off that way.

    Every pregame, Doug overestimates Bozo's predicted performance, like say when he goes up against Dwight Gooden, who torched him last season, as did that rookie Jon Luor and about 2 dozen other useless vets and unkown rookies.

    I just don't get the constant hoping against hope that Bozo is suddenly going to perform drastically better than the sluglike performance that has been his norm since he came to the Bulls.

    He is such a useless slug that I find myself longing for the days of Ben Gordon or even the Big Bum himself, Ben Wallace.

  • In reply to BigWay:

    Well, they both sucked, was a net wash. You are right though, Boozer was ultimately ineffective.

  • In reply to Chad:

    And he cost $4mil this year, with a player option for next year.

    So let's presume he blows up this year as he's been doing so far, that means he would opt out for next year...which means we would have cleared even more cap space....but no...2yrs $8mil is exactly what we needed with Klank.

    And just to put more shit onto this craphole...here are CJ Watson's 2 games so far...

    vsTOR - 28min, 15pts, 1asts, 2rbs, 1stl, 6-9 FG, 3-4 3pt
    vsMINN - 23min, 10pts, 4asts, 2rbs, 1stl, 4-8 FG, 2-4 3pt

    I could put the numbers down for Aaron Brooks and Jerryd Bayless as well, but there's really no point, since we have Hinrich.

  • In reply to YouBlewwIt:

    What gets me is that everyone on this forum would have agreed that Mayo, Watson, Brooks and Bayless were better players for the same or less money. What the hell did GarPax think they were getting with Captain Klank?

  • In reply to Vic Nardozza:

    There's no excuse for how this team was put together except plain and simple CHEAPNESS by the owner of the Bulls. Doug I respect the work that you put in for this blog but trying to make some of us Bulls fans believe that this years team is a acceptable team is an insult. This Bulls team sucks and any team in the league has a legitimate chance to beat them this year even she Rose returns.

  • In reply to Reese1:

    I disagree I believe it is ineptitude that has built this roster. Kirk signed for more than most the alternatives that are listed above and all would be better scheme fits not to mention are seriously out playing him as well.

    Cheapness isn't the reason we paid double for Boozer and Ben Wallace. Incompetence is. I can't totally blame Reinsdorf for not going deep into the tax when the team is nowhere close to being a contender.

  • In reply to Chad:

    Not sure that anybody thought that Mayo would be available for 2 yrs @$8 million. I think that we all thought he would go for the full MLE at a minimum, and most likely someone would exceed the MLE. Still shocked that didn't happen.

    I don't know if the Bulls even bothered to contact Mayo, but every Bulls fan would have signed him to his current deal. However, that deal didn't happen until after we signed Hinrich.

    I would have gladly offered Mayo the full MLE for 2 years. Not sure if this would have elimanated the ability to use the bi-annual exception which we used on Belly, even if it did, we wouldn't have needed Belly.

    Again, major fuckup/misreading of the market by the Bulls.

    Silver lining, Mayo will be a free agent for the Bulls 2014 plan so we can massively overpay to get him then.

  • In reply to Chad:

    Not wanting to defend Kirk here, it was a bad signing, but enough with the over the top Mayo hype.

    Remember when some people were saying what a huge mistake letting Ben Gordon go was because he had a few good games early in his Detroit career? Maybe we shouldn't play small sample size theatre?

  • The thing that bothers me is that they not only blundered on OJ MAYO who they seriously were thinking of trading Asik for a few years ago and when they could of had him.....you know the rest of the story. They also let Etwaun Moore slip away and to top off the stupidity crown, they give Vlad Rad a guaranteed contract.........what were they thinking? not even scalibrine got a guaranteed deal. Complete scewup fest on the part of Garpax slop mania. Like someone else mentioned, they didn't even bother to work out Teague before they drafted him (hmmm, maybe there was a reason other teams avoided him???) I hate being negative but criticism has to be given out when this could of been a better team even with the self imposed financial restraints. Imagine this team with combo guard OJ Mayo being backed up by Etwaun Moore and having JaJuan Johnson who can shoot and play D instead of Vlad Rad....that would of been one heck of a roster and done on the cheap.

  • Everyone knows that it is only 3 or 4 games into the season, right? To call Mayo the "steal of the century" is a little soon, don't you think? Those who are so upset over the team not tanking and only being average, what good would it do to have Mayo? He's not putting the Bulls into the finals. Robinson is playing just as well or better than Watson and Moore, so he shouldn't be on the list of bad signings. Is Kirk and Hamilton going to be this bad all year? Probably not (Hinrich was really good in preseason and Hamilton was unguardible the night before the Hornets game).
    Maybe all the hatred that some of you have toward this team and its management will prove to be spot on, but give them a few games to prove something. Last year they lost the second game of the year to the Warriors. The Warriors sucked and the Bulls went on to the best record. History of this league proves that teams and players that start hot or cold don't always finish that way. The 91 Bulls started 0-3 didn't they? A few years ago the Hornets were the last unbeaten team in the league and just got to the playoffs as the 8 seed. The 04 Bulls started something like 2-13 and ended up as the 3 or 4 seed in the playoffs.
    Again, I'm not saying you are wrong, just give things some time. It is a long way from the end of an 82 game season.
    One word on Stern. No doubt the big reason for the success of the NBA was Magic, Bird, Jordan. And you can love or hate the way the NBA is right now. But, if you look at it globaly, NBA is the second sport only to soccer. The dream team had a lot to do with it, but Stern has done a great job making basketball a global game. None of the other big sports has been able to do that.

  • In reply to PaBullfan:

    You had to mention that Warriors game. My family was visiting relatives in Northern California and I took my son, nephew and brother-in-law to the game. What an absolute stinker.

  • Bulls are gonna suck all year, i think its best not too take them too seriously to avoid anger.

  • In reply to ixonflex69:

    though its a bit difficult to not be annoyed watching boozer shoot those stupid fadaways...

  • a little logic test for all of you... if you play .500 ball against bottom 8 teams (ORL, NO, SAC, CLE), what does that make you?

  • Interesting lineup that played the majority of the 4rth quarter, a lineup that most Bulls fans would probably say consists of their favorite Bulls, Nate, Butler, Deng, Taj and Noah.

    As it should be, Bozo glued to the bench the entire 4rth, after he "destroyed" Big Baby the first 3 quarters, oh wait, just as I suspected Noah had to guard Big Baby because Thibs was so afraid of what might happen if he let Bozo match up against him.

    Certainly our best athletes all playing together, probably our best defensive lineup except for Nate. A bit of a worry about where the offense comes from, but Taj, Noah and Deng hit some jumpshots when we needed them.

    How good would that bunch look with Rose leading the way, that could/should be the new closing group, I like it, even with Nate, although, I could see why Thibs brought Klank back for the last 2 minutes.

  • I just want to mention that on the Ben Wallace signing, it says in multiple places on the web (via google) (and I vaguely remember this from back then, too) that Reinsdorf pushed for Wallace to be signed.

    Here's one such mention (as well as mentions of other possible instances of ownership meddling):

    ''Yet it never has seemed more obvious that Paxson is getting major interference from above. Some of Paxson's peers insist that the signing of Ben Wallace and corresponding exile of Tyson Chandler, as well as the Bulls' chronic inability to make the big trade splash we've been expecting for years, should go on Reinsdorf's record more than Pax's.''

    ...........................................................

    ''This much is clear: Chicago's inability to close a deal with either D'Antoni or Collins and the selection of untested Del Negro after more than a dozen candidates were interviewed have only raised the volume on leaguewide suggestions that Paxson can't make the moves he wants to make. Ditto for the long-standing assertions that Reinsdorf was willing to spend top hoop dollars only on the likes of Michael Jordan and Phil Jackson, even though the Bulls have remained a money-making cash cow at the United Center since the Michael, Phil and Scottie Pippen dynasty dissolved after Chicago's last championship in 1998.''

    http://sports.espn.go.com/nba/columns/story?columnist=stein_marc&page=delnegrobulls080611

    I'm not bringing this up to try to absolve management of blame or anything, but just to show that in any given situation, you just don't know how much Reinsdorf/ownership is getting in the way.

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