Bulls Sweep 3-Game Series, Prepare for Celtics Battle Tonight on ESPN

Well, the Bulls bounced back, just like we thought they would, proving that the pounding we got from Atlanta was just an isolated egg laid. With Miami dropping two in a row (they need to worry about tonight too, cuz Denver can put the ball in the basket), there is a TOP spot waiting for the Chicago Bulls on these lists come Monday morning:

We ALREADY topped these:

The Bulls just have to outlast a desperate Celtics team playing at home, and the pesky Toronto Raptors coming to the UC on Saturday. The Saturday game has TRAP written all over it and I am guessing it will take every bit of heart and grit the Bulls have left in the tank to hold them off… Relax, its just the Raptors you say? They always play us tough. That was the only game I attended last season at the UC and they shot lights out… They got MVP’d in the end, but still. Remember the big block on James Johnson? Yeah, I saw this in person, I was frantic:

It’ll be fun to watch and see how all this unfolds and I’ll be in-game tweeting for both games! Can’t wait!

First, let’s bask in the three games that the Bulls just won. Each game had a tale of its own, and all three stories mean something a little different now that a few days have passed.

PISTONS 68 at BULLS 92 (Booz’s jumper is falling)

Wow, Bulls have been crushing opponents in the UC so far. They held the Grizz to 64 pts, ATL to 74 pts, Pistons 68 and the Wizards to 64… That’s an average of 67.5 pts people, Bulls are playing some defense during critical stretches if nothing else.

Boozer had a sweet stat line against the Pistons and they had no answer for Carlos. He had 23 pts on 69% shooting, 8 boards, 2 dimes and zero turnovers. Strong game that had everyone smiling at the time, but his performance over the next two contests would show again:

  • This was simply a game where he connected (and was largely uncontested) on those rainbow 17-18 footers of his
  • No significant low post presence and lack of explosiveness in the paint will continue to doom us as we face more elite defenses and athletic 4’s and 5’s.

Other notables:

  • Rip sat out… Was hoping he’d sit out this whole 3-pack of back to back games and be ready to face Boston
  • Derrick was pretty quiet, probably annoyed we couldn’t pull away from Detroit until very late in the game
  • Gordon continues to struggle… What a fall from grace Ben experienced. Feel bad for the guy

BULLS 111 at MINN 100 (Rose/Deng make big shots, D gets injured)

This was an entertaining game that saw the Bulls connect on 14 of 19 shots in the first quarter for a blistering 73%. They would let down defensively and let Minny back into the game unfortunately. Rubio was fabulous, ending with 13 points, 12 assists and four rebounds. I like this little guy and Adelman should start him.

You could say that Minnesota got MVP’d, as Derrick just went crazy in the end, scoring 14 in the 4th quarter to ensure the victory… Unfortunately, we’d learn the next night that Derrick’s toe sprain he experienced while getting tangled up with Tolliver would be bad enough to make him a late scratch from the Wizard’s contest.

Ricky Rubio on Derrick Rose: “He’s great, it’s hard to defense him. Maybe he’s one of the best, if not the best, player I’ve ever played against… It’s hard to guard him. He’s the fastest guy I ever played.”


WIZARDS 64 at BULLS 78 (JL3, nuff said!)

This one was ugly, but it gave us ALL a chance to smile and cheer for John Lucas, III who played 48 minutes, tossed up 28 shots and nearly got a triple-double with 25 pts, 8 reb and 8 assists! Wizards kept things close, but their track record of not closing out games and bad shot selection would help the Bulls put them away in the end.

Great win for a Rose-less team. I only wish Thibs would have given Jimmy Butler some significant playing time.


GAME PREVIEW: JAN 13TH 2012 (BULLS AT BOSTON – ESPN 8P EST/7P CST)

The games don’t stop coming, so after a mere one day break after playing 3 in a row, time for another back-to-back… Starts with a showdown against the Celts at the Garden.

Last time we faced Boston, they looked old, a step slow and Derrick absolutely killed Rondo. This crossover became an instant classic for fans:

Anywho, that was last season and as this season has already taught us, the Bulls have to re-establish their dominance. Especially over teams that we got the best of last season. We actually split our series with Boston, but after that last game there was no doubt, at least among the fans, who we would have liked to meet in the ECF.

Boston is coming off a couple of tough games. One to the Indiana Pacers, a team who’s personnel Bulls fans know all too well. Indy is growing as a team, but Boston’s offensive lulls were horrendous and they couldn’t overcome them. The Dallas game saw them trail most of the way, but Rondo put the team on his back, but the final pass to Ray Allen bounced off his shin so it was an anti-climactic ending… Boston now sits at 4-5 and has enjoyed wins against NJN, the Pistons and the Wizards twice. Not a great resumé of wins, but I’m not counting Boston out yet. They are still a team that has to be played for 48 minutes.

BOSTON STARTING LINEUP AND KEY RESERVES

POSITION STARTER KEY RESERVE 3RD 4TH
Point Guard Rajon Rondo Avery Bradley
Shooting Guard Ray Allen Keyon Dooling Mickael Pietrus E’Twaun Moore
Small Forward Paul Pierce Marquis Daniels Sasha Pavlovic
Power Forward Kevin Garnett Brandon Bass Chris Wilcox JaJuan Johnson
Center Jermaine O’Neal Greg Stiemsma

BULLS PROJECTED STARTERS:

What to watch for:

  • I’m going to assume Rip won’t go. I guess it takes a LONG time for that groin meat to mend… I just knew if he sat out the 3-pack of games he’d be ready to go against Boston, oh well.
  • Sigh, our bigs… You have to think that its time for a break out game for Noah on the boards, some blocks, something. Let’s just wait and see… I still love me some Joakim and want to see him do well.
  • Ronnie Brewer or Rip Hamilton’s defense on Ray Allen… This will be where we miss Keith Bogans. Keith played Ray Allen so physically the last time we met this team, he took him completely out of the game and it was some of the best defense I’ve seen him play.
  • Derrick and his toe. I want the win, but I want him to take it easy too… Hopefully the 3-ball is falling cuz I don’t care if he launches 4-5.
  • Let’s see if Rondo can get his jumper to fall like he did against Dallas. If we are lucky, he might try to do too much.

Ok, I’m ready, you’re ready! One hour til’ the opening tip! Let’s GO Bulls!!!!

–ct

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