Well, it seems like its been a mini-vacation for the Chicago Bulls. They bounced back from a Memphis smackdown, rebounded well to beat the Suns convincingly at home and then got TWO whole days off. They also finally got to have their second full practice of the season. They are now initiating yet another back-to-back… At Cleveland and then back at home vs. the Bobcats on Saturday…
Unfortunately, D.Rose’s toe still can’t bend and Derrick has admitted that the injury is worse than his first bout with it during his second season. He also regrets playing on it vs. Boston. Its enough to make a die-hard fan sick to their stomach. Not only because the season is arguably in jeopardy, but because Derrick is so focused on winning, improving and competing, you know he’s miserable right about now.
I am actually ok with how everything is unfolding. The Chicago Bulls have leaned on their more than willing and competent MVP for some time now and its time to exercise the winning “muscle” that the Bulls do possess. Like Derrick stated in response to Granger’s comments about wanting to play the Bulls vs. the Celtics in the Eastern Conference Quarterfinals last season, “…That’s his opinion, I got winners on my team.” What a teammate… While us fair weather, fickle fans will back a truck up over players without hesitation, Derrick has a great belief in and respect for his fellow Bulls. No they are not superstars, but they are great, fundamental players, with a healthy respect and dedication to carefully defending their opponents. The commitment to defense and rebounding the ball will keep them in almost every NBA contest.
Unfortunately, we won’t be able to see D.Rose vs. Kyrie Irving (glad I didn’t create a cool graphic), but they are in our division so we’ll see them twice more. Again at Quicken Loans arena on March 2nd and they will come to the United Center on the last day of the season, April 26th.
Kyrie Irving is averaging 17 pts and 5 assists and like Minny’s Ricky Rubio, has just been flat out fun to watch. He can finish with either hand and has a strong dribble. He’s crafty in the lane and is an “under control” penetrator. Not out of control, or insanely explosive, just highly competent. I like him and hope to catch more of his games. Nice pick up for Cleveland after all their franchise has gone through.
Cleveland’s schedule has been surprisingly easy so far, but will get tougher starting tonight against the Bulls. After Chicago, they face Atlanta, Miami, NY, NJN and Boston twice. Great that they managed a 6-7 record so far after going 19-63 last season. They are fiesty enough to go 3-4 or better in these next 7 games. Let’s see… I’m thinking losses to CHI, ATL and MIA, wins vs. NYK, NJN and one of the BOS contests.
Kyrie is averaging 3.5 turnovers a game, which he has to get under control, but that could bode well for the Bulls, who will look to push the ball up and down the floor. Anthony Parker is thought to be out tonight with a sore lower back.
CAVS PROJECTED STARTERS
|Point Guard||Kyrie Irving||Ramon Sessions|
|Shooting Guard||Anthony Parker||Daniel Gibson||Christian Eyenga|
|Small Forward||Omri Casspi||Alonzo Gee||Mychel Thompson|
|Power Forward||Antawn Jamison||Tristan Thompson||Luke Harangody|
|Center||Anderson Varejao||Semih Erden||Samardo Samuels||Ryan Hollins|
BULLS PROJECTED STARTERS
C.J. has shown that he can put the ball in the basket as a starter, if not consistently as a backup. Rip’s passing continues to be more exciting than his FG%. Luol will find a way to produce, even if his shot is not falling. Cleveland is 20th in the league in points allowed at 96.15 and 19th in opponent FG% at 45%. I’m thinking that will allow Boozer to have a nice game, we’ll see. As for Noah, I’m hoping that the monster game he had vs. the Suns will be just the kick start he needed. Jo looked good in that game (and Boston) and I’m hopeful that he’s getting into basketball shape. We need him in the worst way.
Alright Bulls fans, the game will tip off on CSN at 6:30P CST… About an hour from now.
I’ll be in-game tweeting from @ChiTwnBullsBlog LET’S GO!!!