Can the Bulls pull off an upset tonight?

Can the Bulls pull off an upset tonight?

Some would say the Bulls have problems getting up for lousy teams but play well against the good competition in the league. There's probably some truth to that. There are games where the energy level is really low. However, what hurts them just as much are teams that can own them athletically.

Are the Warriors such a team? I'm afraid they are. Andrew Bogut isn't an athletic beast but the rest of the starting five are Stephen Curry, Klay Thompson, Harrison Barnes, and Draymond Green. Obviously, every team struggles to contain Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson.

However, given they'll likely get their points, the match up I think might kill the Bulls will be Noah defending Draymond Green.

Noah hasn't looked particularly spry, and Green's a true tweener with the speed of a SF out there. It's the type of match up Jo might have defended well last year, but he's struggling with considerably this year. On top of that, he'll have to guard Green out to the three point line which will keep him away from the glass where he's most productive rebounding and altering shots.

Even if Green doesn't score a bunch of points on his own, his impact in pulling Noah away from the basket will put a ton of defensive pressure on Pau Gasol and Derrick Rose. Rose will need to stay in front of Curry while Pau will need to rotate and help.

At his peak, Derrick might have been up to the challenge. This season? We haven't seen him put forth the defensive effort necessary to slow Curry with any frequency. The one thing I'll say about Rose though is that he loves to get up for games against the elite PGs.

This could prove a strength or a weakness. While the match up might bring out Rose's best, if he's not having a hot shooting night then it may also induce him to playing hero ball. I'm not sure a shooting competition between Curry and Rose ends well for the Bulls.

Replace "not certain" with "no way in hell" to improve the accuracy of that last statement.

Jimmy Butler would seem to have what it takes to slow Klay Thompson, but quite honestly, he hasn't been bringing it lately. We'll have to hope Butler finds his inner bad ass again, because his January has been fairly abysmal.

How can the Bulls win?

So pretty much no one wins in Golden State these days. To be quite honest, I'm not expecting the Bulls to buck that trend, nor do I think anyone else is. However, the Bulls have the talent to match up with Golden State when playing well, and any team relying so much on three point shooting can have an off night.

If the Bulls win, I see it going down something like this:

Don't get caught in a run and gun scenario

Golden State can score points in a hurry, and there will be a tremendous temptation to up the pace of the game all night long to match what they want to do. Instead, the Bulls need to focus on bringing the Warriors down to their pace.

The Bulls bigs aren't set to play a fast pace game effectively and attempting to do so will play into the Warriors hands.

Taj "the ISO" Gibson might fare better tonight

TaJ Gibson wasn't giving up the ball no matter what happened against Miami, he's played like that his whole career. It's just more apparent that it sucks occasionally when he gets stuffed six times.

There's no Hassan Whiteside on the Warriors. They don't have any springy, long, athletic big men to throw at Taj. Taj will likely play a bunch of minutes against Green or Lee in the post. These are times where he can likely score at will down low.

Beyond that, Taj in a slow ISO possession is likely to slow down the GS offense even if he misses, because there won't be along rebounds and the Bulls guards will be out on the perimeter for kick outs so should have little trouble getting back defensively.

This type of offense frequently sucks, but it might work quite well against the Warriors, especially if Taj has it going on and gets good match ups.

The same goes for Gasol in the post, but I'd suspect he'll struggle against Andrew Bogut more than Gibson against his match ups.

MVP Time

There's no reason Derrick Rose shouldn't be able to out muscle and dominate the hell out of Curry while on offense. He just needs to get a half step in either direction then use his physicality to get wherever he wants on the floor.

Bogut's a quality big man in the middle, but he's not so fast and deadly blocking shots that Rose should be deterred. Derrick needs to get in the paint early and often and put the Warriors in foul trouble if he can.

The best shot for the Bulls to beat the Warriors might be to take their stars out of the game with foul trouble.

The same goes for Jimmy Butler. He's struggled in January, but he can drive and get to the line. Much like Rose, he'll have a big physicality advantage against whomever guards him. He'll need to take advantage of that by using his body to drive.

Redemption time

You just got triple doubled by a d-leaguer. It's time to show something out there. The Bulls had better come to play with a chip on their shoulder. The team they're playing could be in the NBA finals. The Bulls better come out and play like a team that could be there too.

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  • I don't think the Bulls win this match because for one, Thibs is gonna play Hinrich for 25 minutes and he's gonna get destroyed no matter who he guards. Also Gasol is gonna kill us defensively because he just doesn't have the quickness necessary to make an impact in this kind of game, yet he'll play 37 minutes. This isn't the kind of team you can beat by making too many silly turnovers but with guys like Hinrich and Snell seeing a large chunk of playing time it may be unavoidable. My prediction is the bulls lose this game do to points off turnovers and as Doug stated, Draymond Green looking like an MVP against the slower Noah and Gasol.

    I think the best starting lineup for this contest would be Noah, Gibson, Butler, E'twaun and Rose. With Mirotic, McDermott, Brooks , and Dunleavy ( if he's ready to go ) off the bench. Gasol, Snell, and Hinrich are all DNP for this game. That's the only way i see the Bulls having a chance at winning.

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    In reply to ajaychitown:

    Well, that was wrong on pretty much every count.

  • In reply to Steve Merritt:

    Your right about that. Good thing I didn't put any money on this game. Good Win.

  • Easy win

  • In reply to 5stringking:

    For who? You can't possibly be referring to Chicago.

  • Stephen Curry is one of the few guards where even when Rose was "in his prime" so to speak Curry would still get the better of him. I'd be shocked if the Bulls hang in this game unless G.S. is just having an off night(which at 36-6 isn't likely) or for some crazy reason they don't(flash an extended) double with a big to shut down Rose.

    And Karma wise, how do you expect to have a winning edge when your coach sandbags you with 25 minutes of Kirk Hinrich? Not to mention your team's "leader" who sucks at shooting threes jacks up 6 going 0-6 against Miami? And Noah forget about defense, offensively around the basket he just looks awful - as a big you're shooting .439?? Yikes. All together a recipe for disaster.

    I just wonder if you took the Bulls offensive talent and plugged in Pop, Rick Carlisle, Terry Stotts etc.if Hinrich would get kicked to the curb. Brooks and Niko would see the consistent minutes they need to thrive. And Derrick would play more off the ball attacking weakside and through moving screens or "/motion"(like S.A. does with Parker) to score in the paint where he kills. Answers: yes to all.

  • I am just wondering how long it is going to take until I turn off the TV tonight. Maybe the Bulls can hang on for the first 5 minutes, that's the hope. But this is one of the match ups that the Bulls will get shredded due to high turnovers, terrible shooting and getting killed by the best 2 guards in the league. And given the upcoming schedules for the top 5 Easter teams, I do foresee the Bulls dropping to 5, Cavs to 3 and Raptors to 4. My best hope is that the Bulls come out healthy after this upcoming circus trip, that's all.

  • In reply to BullsDynasty:

    Circus trip is long gone. This is the "Frozen Trip", or "Disney Trip" .. and the Bulls will wind up with the 2nd seed in the EC when it's all said and done.

  • In reply to BullsDynasty:

    I'm not even turning the TV on for this one. A late game, against the best team, and without Butler...should be a good night to catch up on some much needed sleep.

    And you're right...walking away from this road trip healthy will be a major accomplishment.

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    In reply to BullsMan:

    You're not a real fan. You should change your handle to Fair-Weather BullsMan, or BullsManIfTheyWin.

  • In reply to Steve Merritt:

    hahaha exactly, what a troll with that name

  • I thought Rose played very well defensively against San Antonio and Miami. I noticed how tight he was playing Dwayne Wade at the end of the 4th quarter on Sunday. I thought he was very disruptive, but Wade was just knocking down his shots.

  • In reply to Jmax:

    Does anyone remember if Thibs switched Rose onto Wade at the end of the 4th quarter on Sunday? I think that might have been how it played out. If we hadn't lost so many games already, I would think this was a good strategy at the end of games to force Rose back into his A game. Also, I like seeing him cheat occasionally on help defense by trying to strip opposing bigs when they get the ball in the paint. He did it once versus San Antonio and took the ball down the court. If Gasol is going to be stripped by opposing guards and turn the ball over multiple times during each game from being too clumsy, we have to get the turnovers back somehow.

  • butler out for the shootaround today and may not play tonight. he has not looked very explosive lately. all those 43 minute nights might be adding up

  • In reply to piggy7:

    That could mean 48 minutes of the corpsedog instead of the usual 25, how many additional heart attacks would that cause in Chicago.

  • In reply to BigWay:

    It's not looking too good with butler out. That means your looking at a starting lineup of Noah, Gasol, Snell, Hinrich, and Rose to take on the best team in the NBA. With Gasol, Snell, and Hinrich likely getting 30+ minutes on the night, this game has blowout potential. I'll try to make it through the 1st quarter and see how it goes.

  • In reply to piggy7:

    According to KC Johnson it's due to illness

  • In reply to ChiRy:

    And as Bulls PR man KC should now.

  • In reply to Vic Nardozza:

    Bulls obviously not very upfront on injury situations, but usually when they report illness, that's what it is. We'll see but doesn't appear related to any 43 minute games.

  • Look for a 13-2 Golden State start before Thibs calls his first time out. This has disaster written all over it. Actually looking forward to seeing Hinrich getting clowned tonight. But not to worry. No matter how the Bulls lose tonight Thibs will say it's because they got out worked. What a nice fall back excuse to have every night. Keeps everyone from pointing to his horrible coaching and rotatations. Oh, wait. I can't say that. I keep hearing from the media and fans what a great coach Thibs is. Great coach.

  • Some interesting comments from Zack Lowe on Pau Gasol who he picks as a reserve for his eastern conference all star team. I would agree with most of his analysis, except for his contention that Gasol's post game is better because of the brilliant passes that he zips all over the court. He has mostly been a turnover machine in the post, dribbling and passing out of it, or feeding in to it. He is living off his reputation in this regard.

    Pau Gasol — Chicago Bulls

    Gasol has been fabulous, but count me among those who sense at least a slight dissonance between his killer numbers and actual level of play. Something just feels off. Gasol creates a ton of shots, but a lot of them return a middling bang for the buck. The Bulls have used him as a high-volume hub on the block, but Gasol is shooting just 40 percent on post-ups — including a ton of midrange jumpers, per Synergy.

    That understates the value of Gasol’s inside game, since he draws help and tosses brilliant passes all over the court. Still, it’s unclear how much of a hit Chicago’s offense would really take if you gave all of Gasol’s minutes and touches to other players.

    Even Gasol’s career-best rebounding numbers feel a bit inflated. Gasol is hoarding uncontested boards and snatching relatively fewer up-for-grabs rebounds, per The Bulls manage much better on the defensive glass when Gasol sits. He can’t jump, but Gasol has long arms, and he’s done a nice job protecting the basket. Gasol has struggled with the parts of defense that require more mobility, but he has owned the restricted area.

    That’s in part because Chicago’s drop-back scheme1 plants him there. That used to be Joakim Noah’s territory. A lot of Gasol’s discrete skills, save for his passing, seem replaceable to at least some degree.

    The sum total of Gasol’s skills — having one player capable of doing all this stuff — is not replaceable. That’s why Gasol is on this list. He might not be having the type of no-brainer All-Star season his surface numbers would suggest, but he’s been damn good for a Bulls team in need of an offensive stabilizer as Rose regains his feel.

  • Boozer also had a respectable stat line of 15/9; and we know how that worked out.

    And I agree...the most effective way to commit a turnover (aside from giving the ball to Hinrich), is for Gasol to put the ball on the floor in the post.

  • In reply to BullsMan: reply to BigWay.

  • In reply to BullsMan:

    24 TOs against Dallas. It was a TO fest! Amazing the Bulls won.

  • Losing by less than double digits would be a moral victory here.

    I hate playing the Warriors because I'm still bitter the Bulls didn't salary dump Hinrich/Gordon/Deng and tank another season after drafting Rose. They could have easily had Steph Curry. The Boston series wasn't worth it in the long run.

  • Watching the Cavs-Pistons game while waiting for the Bulls game. Even though Detroit is behind I am really enjoying watching DJ Augustin. He is getting into the lane at will, scoring and dishing. Now, will someone out there who is smarter than me please tell me why the Bulls would want a washed-up toad like Hinrich over a younger, more dynamic player like Augustin? I know that Augustin got a decent contract, but it strikes me that if the Bulls stayed away from Klank, Nazr, Moore, etc. they could have made it work. Could one of you capologists enlighten me?

  • In reply to hgarbell:

    The way that I heard it was that the bulls went to the corpsedog and asked him to play for the veterans minimum while hoping to offer the room exception to Augustin. The dog was insulted and absolutely refused, the Bulls caved and gave him the room exception thus losing Augustin. Augustin eventually signed for a bit more than the room exception, but even he indicated that he would likely have taken that from the bulls if offered.

    The is simply no explanation on the value judgement of Augustin vs the corpsedog, that is just plain stupidity based on some deranged sense of loyalty and Thibs blindsided belief that the dog is still a capable defender.

    I imagine that if we had retained Augustin we would not have gone after Brooks, tough call there.

  • How the hell do you beat the best team in the league when your PG has a ast/to ratio below 0.1? No idea what just happened. Masterful stroke by Hinbrick, he knew passing up that open shot would result in an even more open one a few seconds later.

  • In reply to Shakes:

    Mostly luck on that last GS turnover along with Bogut being out, and GS not hitting a single three in the second half, thats usually how you end up beating a great shooting team, they don't have a great shooting night.

  • Haha, sounds like you all have a lot of egg on your faces after that win.

    But, seriously how does Rose turn it over ten times and only have one assist? Rose needs to be a facilitator with all the offensive power on this team.

    Also, Jimmy Butler was out but so was Andrew Bogut so it might have been a wash and we probably would have gotten killed down low.

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