Chicago Bulls deliver a welcome home win against the Heat

Chicago Bulls deliver a welcome home win against the Heat

It's no fun returning from sunny Cancun to a yard that still has no visible grass, but Joakim Noah, Jimmy Butler, and D.J. Augustin sure did their best to keep the festivities rolling for me as the Bulls beat the Heat this Sunday.

ABC doesn't seem like they'll ever need to worry about booking a Heat/Bulls game as a Sunday event. It's appears like it's almost always a classic, and the same Bulls team that got annihilated by Miami sans LeBron just defeated them with LeBron. It's the fourth season the big three are together, and the Bulls have won at least half the match ups each year.

Beyond that, almost all of those wins have come without Rose (and one of them with Rose barely playing and not playing down the stretch). All in all, the Bulls are 9-6 against the Heat in the regular season since the big three came to town.

Unfortunately, while that 9-6 record had yielded many memorable moments (Lucas game, the Watson game, the streak end, the Thibodeau fist pump etc..), the Bulls are just 2-8 in the playoffs against Miami. Until they do something when it matters, these games almost feel like guilty pleasures where you wake up the next day with a "we won't do this in the playoffs hangover" after enjoying the victory.

Sadly, the game occurred on my flight home from Cancun, and my DVR didn't cooperate, so I've only read about the game and have seen the highlights. It sure looks like Joakim Noah continued his impressive play, not surprising given he always has something extra for the Heat, and the Bulls got hot shooting D.J. Augustin.

It frequently feels like the difference between good Bulls basketball and bad Bulls basketball is how well D.J. Augustin shoots, similar to last season when the Bulls would frequently go with the way Nate Robinson was shooting. Hopefully D.J.'s got a playoff gear.

Melo denies Noah recruitment talk, Noah denies the chance to discuss it

According to the New York Daily News, Carmelo Anthony denies a recruitment talk by Joakim Noah over all-star weekend.

“No, not at all,” Anthony replied when asked if there was any truth to the report. “I can’t have that conversation.”

During All-Star Weekend, ESPN reported, Noah told Anthony that if he’s serious about winning a title, he should join the Bulls after he opts out of his Knicks contract on July 1.

Anthony reportedly told Noah that Derrick Rose is his son’s favorite player and asked what it’s like to play for Bulls coach and former Knicks assistant Tom Thibodeau.

However, this is the type of story which would obviously be denied by both parties if brought up, so there's really not much to take from the denial. It's not any sign of proof (he'd also deny it if it really didn't happen). Joakim Noah's response was more interesting though.

The normally talkative Noah refused to discuss the story at the Bulls shootaround on Friday.

“You want me to address that?” he said, according to ESPNChicago.com. “I don’t feel like addressing it. I really have nothing to say about it.”

Noah didn't deny the discussion, but rather the opportunity to comment on the discussion. The most obvious read of this is that it happened, and Noah doesn't want to talk about it. It could also be read as "this is so ridiculous I won't dignify it with an answer", but I think that's kind of a stretch.

Put two and two together, and the idea this discussion didn't take places comes up as a three as far as I'm can read between the lines.

If Phil Jackson takes Knicks role will it sway Anthony?

Another wrinkle in the Carmelo saga is that Phil Jackson will take the Knicks job where he'd land complete control of basketball decisions and possibly coach.

While a decision has not been made, Phil Jackson is leaning toward taking a front-office job with the New York Knicks, a source close to the team tells ESPN's Stephen A. Smith.

Jackson's role would be president of basketball operations, in complete control of all basketball-related matters, according to the source.

It is unclear whether the decision would include an agreement to coach the Knicks next season, the source said. A decision is expected sometime next week.

Jackson has a lot of love for the Knicks. He spent his playing days there, won two titles there, and loved his time there. This isn't a pure money grab for Jackson as he's long talked about going back to New York.

Would he step into a situation that's really made to be a loser? Hard to say, but I guess we'll find out soon.

Would Jackson want to keep Carmelo? Probably. Melo may be a flawed superstar, but he's better than no superstar. Would Melo think that getting Jackson is enough of a big move to have a shot at a championship?

That's the real interesting question. Jackson alone isn't going to upgrade the Knicks all that much. New York doesn't have tons of assets around them to rebuild, and I question how much any GM could do to make this a championship team in the next four seasons.

If he's not coming in as coach, then I'm sure his 11 rings on the table will make a nice recruiting pitch, but Jackson doesn't have loads of experience as a GM. There's no guarantee he'll have anymore success there than Michael Jordan did.

That said, if Jackson were to coach, it'd have to be a powerful lure to keep Carmelo Anthony in New York, and while I still think the Knicks would have a very limited chance to really compete at the highest level, they'd almost certainly be more relevant than they are now.

We'll have to see what happens, but I'd be surprised if Jackson decided to coach the Knicks.

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    DJ's clutch shooting is one of the keys to success, but he doesn't play defense either. I can't understand Thibs refusal to insert Jimmer Fredette into the lineup. He could provide 3-5 mins of instant offense if allowed to play.
    Tony Snell is becoming more and more useless on offense by the game. Man! It is so annoying to watch him pass up the open shot. He is so passive on offense.
    Jimmy Butler can't shoot worth a darn, but he's a hell of a great defender. I can't think of anyone around the league who has a greater impact on the defensive end. If he doesn't make 1st team all defense at the end of the season somethings wrong with the selection committee who chooses these things.
    Joakim Noah's leadership has won over the fans of Chicago. During the tank-talk not only was he the 1st to dismiss the notion publicly, but he was the 1st to back it up by playing out of his mind for the next 3 mths. Great Job Jo!
    For all of the glory the Bulls received for defeating the Heat, there were equal concerns for how they lost to the 9th seed Grizzlies. Size kills and a team with size enough to keep the Bulls from scoring inside seem to be the Achilles heel for the Bulls this season. Once the playoff starts either the Bulls must hit the open 3's or risk an upset in the 1st rd. Play Jimmer more!
    I'm beginning to believe the Bulls can win it all, or at least make it through the Eastern Conference. I'm getting tired of hearing and reading the Indy vs Heat talk. Indy is fading fast and when the playoffs start don't expect Paul George to be the top dawg he was last year. I don't feel he's quite ready. If they should meet the Bulls in a 2nd rd matchup, I fully expect the Bulls to beat them 4 gms to 2. If the Bulls should meet the Heat in the 2nd rd I think they can get past them too. Miami is great at drawing fouls in the playoffs, as LeBron travels his way to the hole (Man that guy takes 2 steps everytime he drives to the basket and no call from the refs). The Heat looks great now but in 2 mths they will suffer from fatigue especially if Lebron continues to play for the MVP trophy. That will be to the Bulls advantage, and I see a contested battle much like the Spurs/Heat series.
    These are Michael's opinions and he's sticking to them. Thanx for allowing me to vent on your site.

  • In reply to Michael Cunningham:

    Even Bulls fans are laughing at you.

  • In reply to RichG:

    Love the enthusiasm........There is no way we can make it past both Indy and Miami without a healthy D-Rose, and even in that hypothetical and implausible situation I still have my doubts. Here's what a typical Heat / Bulls playoff game will look like.

    Hinrich, Butler and Augustine combine for 7 / 30 shooting.
    Heat set record for most free throw attempts in game.
    Jo, Thibs and Taj each get technicals.
    Lebron and referees go out for pizza and hookers after the game.

    .....and I'm a die hard bulls fan.; We're not only playing against the Heat in the playoffs but also the refs.

  • In reply to Michael Cunningham:

    Good post and I gotta say, you're a more optimistic Bulls fan than I am. I have been known to be more pessimistic then a realist at times so it's good to see a fellow Bulls fan be this positive.

    Still, I'm not with you on the play Jimmer more in place of DJ. You say DJ doesn't play defense then follow up with 'play Jimmer more'. Do you think he will be a better defender? DJ has has basically been that 'instant offense' you think Jimmer will be. I doubt Jimmer's minutes will increase significantly in the next 5-6 games as those will be against playoff teams but give Thibs more time on the Jimmer front. I believe he'll find time integrate him a littler later in the season when they play more lottery teams.

  • In reply to Michael Cunningham:

    Like others have written, I love the enthusiasm. But come on. We've seen the Bulls beat the Heat in the regular season before and we all know by now not to draw conclusions from it. The Heat find another level in the playoffs that the Bulls simply don't have the talent to match.

    I don't blame you for being tired of Indy vs. Miami talk because it's all anyone has had to talk about all year in the East, and that's no less true today. Paul George has returned to Earth as Doug predicted he would, but Indy is still head and shoulders better than every team in the East other than Miami. The Bulls could threaten them with Derrick but not without.

  • In reply to Roman F:

    Totally agree, even yesterday when they weren't at their best, there were stretches, heck for most of the game, that they played phenominal defense, defense that the Bulls don't have the talent or scheme to overcome. The Heat were just a little short on the offensive end last night, something that they always overcome in the playoffs, especially against us.

    I loved the win last night, but the only thing it proved to me is that Miami is still the best defensive team in the league when they want/need to be.

  • In reply to Michael Cunningham:

    I think hoping to play Jimmer more is merely backup quarterback syndrome. Maybe he's good, maybe he helps, but I wouldn't expect much, especially relative to Augustine.

    Also, the Bulls don't have a real shot of beating Indy/Miami in the playoffs, not as constructed. They can probably annoy them, but I think that's about it.

  • In reply to DougThonus:

    That's why I want the Heat to be in the opposite playoff bracket the Bulls are in. Miami will win for sure, but I don't want them getting beat up before they play Indiana.

  • In reply to DougThonus:

    I got the sense that he wanted Jimmer to get some run instead of Snell, which at this point I would whole heartedly agree.

  • Melo has to give up so much money to leave the Knicks that he's probably looking for a good reason to stay. If Phil Jackson comes on board in any capacity, that's probably good enough reason for Melo to stick around and maximize his earnings, even though I agree his chances at a championship are extremely slim if he does.

  • In reply to Roman F:

    I agree, Melo just needs a reason to take the money. Melo loves NY, its his hometown, his wife loves NY, he went to college at Syracuse.

    And if NY makes the commitment to Phil Jackson, I don't see them agreeing to a trade of Melo as some of the discussion here has centered. Melo would likely have to walk as a FA.

  • In reply to Roman F:

    I'd be amazed if Jackson coached the Knicks. His health has been pretty uncertain. His sideline days are likely a thing of the glorious past. Riley didn't need to coach to get two rings in Miami. He just had to find a good vessel for his philosophy in Spoelstra. I'm sure Phil can do the same.

    I'm sitting here thinking of how Phil going to NY changes Melo's mind and I just chuckled to myself because any scenario where Phil being there convinces Melo to stay in NY assumes Phil wants Melo there. But what if Phil decides the first thing he wants to do is dump Melo's salary for a bunch of picks as soon as possible? That would be hilarious.

  • In reply to Redwhitenblack:

    Phil's never done rebuilding, but that's what NY needs, and Phil's a smart guy, so he might try it there.

  • I tell you one thing, the Bulls (Noah, Taj, etc..) need to keep their composure just like the Spurs did in the finals last year. I think it kept Miami at bay because they almost lost interest. The Spurs came off as business-like, very like-able. Miami did not play with that edge until later in the series and were lucky to pull it out.

    Yes, if Phil is coming to NY, it would be hard for the Bulls to overcome. However, Phil's legacy is amazing right now with all those rings. Would he risk it by possibly failing with NY? Phil is old and it will take time to rebuild the Knicks because they don't have much talent to work with and no pick this year. And, his girlfriend's in LA. I think that Phil would have to seriously consider trading Melo for as many picks as possible.

  • First let me say, welcome back, hope that you and your family enjoyed your vacation. Thanks for posting while you where on vacation.

    Now, I am shocked, shocked I tell you, that you didn't include carlos boozer in your welcome home surprise package. Didn't you notice how awesome he was yesterday sprinting up and down the court like Usain Bolt on a Pot binge, especially when getting back on D.

    He displayed at least as much effort as and intensity as you likely did laying on the beach this past week. What an absolute piece of garbage, how can any human being blessed with the talent to be an NBA player have so little true pride, as opposed to the false pride that the he is full of.

    If anything could spoil your return more than your pathetic lack of grass, being forced to watch the GarbageHole would have to rank right up there. Thank you JVG for again pointing out how useless boozer truly is.

    How do Noah and Thibs restrain themselves from strangling that useless bastard everyday, all day. Thank god, that Thibs basically retires him for the day at the end of the 3rd quarter, despite his crying about it.

  • In reply to BigWay:

    I didn't get to see Boozer (not) running up and down the court, but he didn't look too impressive in the box score.

  • In reply to BigWay:

    Yes, Boozer was and is the softest PF in the league and it is only getting worse. Can anybody ever remember a bball player with a build like Carlos that was weaker around the rim? Birdman was knocking Boozer's sh*t into next week, repeatedly. I just hope for my own viewing pleasure that he is gone by next year. I feel like all the frustration from his Bulls tenure is just waiting to explode and he'd be better off anywhere but here. Addition by subtraction.

    Also agree completely with your 'false pride' comment, if he really had pride he wouldn't play such disinterested and lazy ball at all times. Total buster. He really isn't ever physical with anybody, not even cheap hard fouls or anything. Only time I can remember him mixing it up was when he kind of sucker bitch-slapped JSmoove in the playoffs a couple years ago and even that was pretty weak.

  • In reply to JC 2012:

    Speaking of Birdman, despite his questionable personal quirks is there anybody who wouldn't trade boozer for Birdman's neck tatoo even if they switched salaries? Is there anybody who still thinks that getting rid of boozer isn't addition by subtraction, just rewatch the last 2 games. The only evidence that boozer was even alive during either game were the fouls he got for the only "effort" play he knows how to make, the 2 hand shove in the back of the opposing player as he backs away from any attempt at making a basketball play.

    I wasn't happy when Miami picked up Birdman off the scrap heap last season, and he has been a huge difference maker for them. You could argure that they don't win the title last year without him, although if they didn't have him, they would have tried to find somebody else like him. Wouldn't he be the perfect backup bigman for Noah and Taj. Kind of the white's mans Dennis Rodman, just not nearly as crazy, or with that beard he's got going now, the white man's Tyson Chandler.

  • In reply to BigWay:

    Chris "Birdman" Anderson was a godsend for the Heat last year. I agree, the Heat may very well not have won the title last year if not for the Birdman. Thank you Eric Spoelstra. He was the one who convinced Pat Riley to sign Birdman.

  • I have to offer a slight apology to Taj Gibson, just found out that he has had food poisoning and supposedly hasn't eaten for the better part of 3 days. I pointed out that he has been morphing into boozer, especially on transition D, and shosed a lack of desire to compete and get physical with people the last 2 games. So maybe this is the reason that he looked sluglike.

    However, I still stand by my premise that he has gotten a little arrogant about his offensive game and it has affected his effort level at the defensive end, especially transition D after a turnover. He needs to humble himself a bit and get back to being the hardworking guy that got him to where he is today. He's just not talented enough to do it any other way.

  • Just out of curiosity anybody think that we could be the Heat in the playoffs(with a healthy Rose) along with Asik and Mirotic as our bigs instead of boozer and Nazr. Heck we might be able to take them without Rose with those 2 guys instead to the other 2 stiffs.

    Plus if we had those things going for us we'd probably still have Deng, although I never thought he made any difference against Miami. Deng never did to Lebron what Butler did to him yesterday.

  • If you really think about it, I think we deserve to have 3 players on the NBA All-Defensive 1st team. I think Joakim & Jimmy are a lock. Paul George has not played better than Jimmy on the defensive end this year, and I believe it is pretty evident.

    And who plays better D at the PG spot than Kirk?? I'll wait... And don't give me this Chris Paul garbage! He gets steals but he is not a great on ball defender. The only player I can see getting it over him is Avery Bradley and he has been injured quite a bit this year. But the award goes to the top two gurads not PGs so they'll prob give it to Paul George b/c the Pacers are the #1 D statistiaclly.

    I'm enjoying the energy, hustle and tenacity the whole team is playing D with this year (minus Boozer). I think Jo, Jimmy & Kirk should be recognized for it. Kirk should at least make the 2nd team.

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