Could the Bulls be up for the challenge against the Spurs?

The Spurs are one of the league's elite teams. They crushed Chicago from the three point line in their last matchup despite playing without Duncan, Ginobili, and Parker. The Bulls will square off against the Spurs on the road while Parker misses the game again.

On the surface, there doesn't appear to be much of a shot for Chicago. The Spurs are amazing at home, amazing overall, and the Bulls are missing too many players to put up a challenge. However, over the past few games, we've seen the Bulls start playing like the Bulls again. The hustle is back, the defense is back, and the pride is back.

This is a team playing much better basketball than the last time these two teams faced off despite the fact they're missing Taj Gibson with Kirk Hinrich and Rip Hamilton possibly (likely?) out as well. To win, the Bulls need to ugly up the game, run the Spurs off the three point line, and turn it into a sloppy affair.

The Bulls can't match the Spurs firepower when the Spurs offense is working and generating open corner threes for their plethora of shooters. However, they can hang around, scrap and fight, pick up some offensive boards, and hope to give themselves a chance at the end. It's probably a long shot. The Spurs are likely too disciplined, too good, and too deep. Especially when the Bulls will likely go to the bottom five on the bench again.

However, after playing more inspired basketball over the past three games, it at least feels like anything is possible again, even if it's not likely.

If/When Rose comes back, how much will he play?

Joakim Noah's playing through a painful foot injury and getting 40+ minutes a night. He's admitted how bad it is, and the minutes keep on coming. Tom Thibodeau seems to have no regard whatsoever for the toll it's taking on Joakim. Vinny Del Negro was physically choked for the same decision. Maybe Thibodeau is too tough to choke, I know I wouldn't try it.

Thibodeau's black and white viewpoint when it comes to health (you're either healthy and playing or you're not) shouldn't apply to Rose when he comes back. This likely seems intuitively obvious to all of us, but Thibodeau seems to have no regard whatsoever to Noah's long term health if he can get an extra rebound or put back out of him in the present game. It's worth wondering what controls will be put in place when Derrick returns.

It's absurd to suggest that Rose would play 40 minutes a night within a week of his return, but it's not so absurd to think Tom Thibodeau would allow Rose to do it if Derrick said he felt fine. Nor is it absurd to think that Derrick, once he returns to the court, will only be taken off of kicking and screaming.

With two guys, both maniacal about winning, someone better put controls on this thing for a couple weeks while everyone observes how Derrick's body responds and whether or not he's getting any compensatory injuries. Maybe it's a non issue, but I'd hate to see the joy of a Rose return turn into the heart break of a new Rose injury two weeks later.

No Lou?

The Bulls signed Lou Amundson to a ten day contract recently, but he didn't play against the Pacers. The Bulls went with Vlad and Nazr and both played reasonably well giving the Bulls quality minutes. It's interesting, because it's probably the first time either have played well this season. Given the results, I can't really complain about a lack of playing Amundson, but I think he's better than either of those guys.

He was someone I was rooting for the Bulls to acquire as a reserve big this summer, so I'm hoping we get a chance to see him on the court ahead of a couple of guys we know haven't been able to produce. Amundson's the type of player who can get in the heads of other teams with his hustle and energy. He can't really do much of anything offensively or defensively on the court other than scrap, but at the right moments that can really help turn momentum around.

I don't see Nazr or Vlad ever really swinging momentum with their play.

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  • Seeing how the Spurs handled the Bulls in Chicago the last time that they played, hopefully the Bulls will have a better showing with a win. I'm doubting it with just Parker being out this go around but I guess we shall see 2morrow night.

  • They always say a coach's job is to win today and a GM's job is to protect the team from its coach. Forman needs to step it up as far as protecting injured players.

  • I had jumped the gun and just assumed the game was tonight since I knew it was the next game on the schedule ;)

  • In reply to DougThonus:

    Well now we have almost 2 days to discuss it :)

  • So boozer didn't make trip to san Antonio according to nick freidell. Still no hinrich. No Hamilton. Some good news kinda...d rose status is day to day. So maybe rose will play this year

  • In reply to bullzfan:

    Hmm...interesting...

    So we'll get to see Nazr, VladRad, and possibly Amundson? Or Deng and Noah could play 45min.

    Very interesting to see which scenario plays out.

  • In reply to bullzfan:

    Read somewhere that it was for personal reasons, and he will meet the team in San Antonio. Maybe we luck out and he can't charter a flight from where ever he is hiding out.

    I am sort of hoping that he is riding Jay Williams Motorcycle around Rose's old neighborhood in the middle of the night. Maybe he just disappears for good instead of just during the games against any bigman who isn't a total pussy.

  • I would pay to see Paxson try to choke Thibs. Mostly because of the joy it would bring me to see Paxson get his ass beat. Pax is an ego maniac and seeing him put in check would be sweet. I am sure if it happened the Bulls would quickly release a statement on Thibs behalf saying he fully agrees with management and supports all their decisions. Because that is the kind of guy Paxson is and coincidentally that is how we got six years of Boozer at the maximum despite no other competition. Just so Bulls could pretend he was their choice and we didn't get played by the "Super Friends".

  • Thibs has already been choked, have you heard him talk?

  • I have to agree that I'd rather see Amundson over VladRad anytime anywhere.

    Nazr being a real center makes it a situational call. You certainly couldn't put Amundson on Hibbert. Could he have handled West, who knows. As I said the other night, with the way that West was killing us, I would have gone with Nazr on Hibbert and Noah on West for the last 4-5 minutes of the game.

    You probably can't go with Amundson against either Duncan or Splitter, so we might not see him tomorrow night again.

    Question for you Doug, given your choice between Amundson or the Birdman(who obviously Miami preferred), who do you take.

    With Hinrich in a walking boot and no one to play guard, I expect that the Bulls will get killed even worse than they did a couple of weeks ago. I guess that I will torture myself and watch anyway.

  • In reply to BigWay:

    Even though you asked Doug, I'll give my 2 cents anyway.

    Between the 2, you probably have to go Amundson, since he's been on a team the entire year. Birdman wasn't, and you didn't know how in shape he was.

    I like Birdman though, wanted the Bulls to go after him (since we were going after guys with the vet-min).

  • Hey Doug, since you still don't believe me on that Ben Gordon trade, here is something from Grant Lowe at Grantland.

    "Contracts in general will be shorter under the new CBA, which means more teams will be able to see cap flexibility in the near-ish future — and thus perhaps be less willing to surrender a pick to dump a bad contract and reach that flexibility sooner. (Note: That’s exactly what Detroit did in swapping Ben Gordon and a first-round pick to Charlotte for Corey Maggette’s expiring deal. Which team “won” that deal is a hot topic among league executives.)"

    and that is for a team that had salary cap space to burn, not one that was going to pay nearly $35 million in luxury taxes in addition to the massively wasted $25 million in actual salary.

    An additional tip bit from the same piece which should be viewed as a small dose of good news for Bulls fans.

    "And it’s clear the league is in the middle of a major adjustment in valuing first-round picks — an adjustment that saw buyers holding them like gold, while sellers, or teams with cap space and trade exceptions, were demanding first-round picks as if teams were still willing to give them up willy-nilly. Chicago, for instance, could easily have gotten under the tax line by dumping Richard Hamilton on one of those teams with space, but they were unwilling to give up a first-round pick as the price, per several league sources."

    Now if Brick can just spend the rest of the season locked up in his hyperbaric chamber.

  • In reply to BigWay:

    I think Doug's initial point (in which I agree with) was...IF they were willing to pay the tax, they should have traded for BG with the future lottery pick. BG would have helped us now (3 point shooting, bench scoring), and the future lottery pick is an asset.

    Furthermore, if the Bulls WERE willing to add salary this past offseason, the unguaranteed contracts of Korver+Brewer+Watson ($13.5mil) I believe could have gotten us an even better player than BG (like Joe Johnson for example).

    But obviously we know the Bulls wouldn't add salary to get that much into the tax. I don't think Doug was ever denying the cost of BG. I just think it's sad that as the 3rd biggest market with a team that has earned the owner billions, that we all know going into any FA moves that there is a certain number the Bulls will try everything not to go past...and that's the tax.

  • In reply to YouBlewwIt:

    I don't think they weren't willing to take on salary so much as they just don't make creative deals like that. If they were so allergic to the tax, they would have dealt a first round pick to unload Rip.

  • I love it when people who do this for a living validate my most passionately held positions.

    More from Zach Lowe at Grantland on the baby Bozo, ben gordon.

    "4. Ben Gordon's Defense"

    "Gordon isn't new to the NBA, so he has no such excuse for his total disregard of defense during another losing season for the Bobcats. Gordon's supporters would note that he might play a bit harder on a contending team, but he's not on a contending team, and he should at least reach a borderline acceptable effort level before mounting a childish one-man mutiny against Mike Dunlap. Gordon's too undersized to be anything like a stopper, but his defense — in every phase, half-court and in transition — has reached a new low."

    Even the Charlotte Bobcats, arguably the worst team in the History of the NBA can't stand to have him around. And they are "only" paying him $25 million for this season and next.

    How could any sane person, or one not on massive doses of mind altering drugs think the was worth $55-60 million for those same 2 seasons, even if you were guaranteed the #1 pick in this draft, which of course you were not.

    Someday you will have to overcome your Senile Sam Smith moment and admit how incredibly wrong your were, and still are.

  • In reply to BigWay:

    I'm not sure why you're trying to contribute all the tax ramifications onto Gordon (if we were to get him). Is it just because he would be the last contract added...so it's his fault?

    If that's the case, shouldn't we blame Rose for the current tax penalty? I mean, it's his fault his salary bumped up to $17mil this season. And then we don't even want to talk about the following season.

    Why do you care how much Reinsdorf spends? If he's willing to pay the tax, what does it matter? Obviously I'm only speaking in the hypothetical since Reinsdorf cares about the tax and would never add BG.

  • In reply to YouBlewwIt:

    as any economist or financial analyst will tell you, all taxes are viewed at the margins. That is you start with where you are now, and evaluate the next action on what it's effects will be going forward.

    I am not "blaming" Gordon for anything(other than being a slug as a basketball player), but acquiring his contract with the Bulls already a tax payer means his true cost would have been $55-60 million over 2 years, an insane amount to acquire what might be a middling lottery pick. I would for instance consider trading the BozoHole for Gordon because it would reduce and shorten our tax burden, not massively increase it.

    Obviously I don't really care how Reinsdorf spends his money but even the biggest Reinsdorf hater cannot really fault him for not wanting to spend nearly $30 million per for 2 years on Ben Gordon, especially since more than half of that will be a transfer payment to the people that he is competing against. Obviously, he did that once, but it was for Michael Jordan, so you can't say that he would never do it.

    Your Rose example is simply silly. In a salary cap, luxury tax world, you need to pay people appropriately. Rose, like Lebron is actually underpaid. You could, however, easily "blame" Bozo the Bamboozler and to a lesser extent Deng for causing us to have tax problems.

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