Saturday, March 31, 2007

Ben, Ben, Ben

First, a little congrats go out to our boys. With the win on Thursday over the Pistons, the Bulls clinched a spot in the playoffs for the third straight year. Excellent news, even in the terrible East.

Saturday was just an incredibly entertaining -- and eventually frustrating -- game. Tyrus was great, finishing with 27 and 8 and only three misses all day long (including 9/10 from the stripe). It was just about this time last year, after a slower start once conference started, that he really hit his stride in the Bayou. Let's hope he keeps this pace up. Kirk was also great. It's painfully obvious that the Bulls lose most of their offensive flow when Kirk has to sit. It happened against the Pistons and it happened again today at the end of the first and into the second. While he is a tough on-the-ball defender, it might serve him well to cool off a little bit early on, so as not to draw those ticky-tack fouls. But in the end, it was Ben, who put up 37 (37 dicks!) but couldn't get it done down the stretch. When Wallace doesn't force the defense to look at him, the lane gets really clogged up. Gordon just didn't recognize that on a few places and started forcing it. You'd like to see him hit one of those game-winners to get the monkey off his back. Oh yeah, James is decent, too.

A few other thoughts. Someone should tell Gooden that he missed a spot on the top of his neck, there's no way that Pavlovic got that timeout called at the end of regulation and it doesn't matter, Walton, whether Salvatore or Zarby calls a charge on Lebron; all three of those were good calls.

Even with the loss, I think the Bulls are in decent shape to secure the second spot. Of the big three in the Central, I think the Bulls have the easiest road to hoe. The Pistons will need to pick up some tough wins against Toronto (twice), Miami, Cleveland and the Bulls (although four of those five are at home). Cleveland has a trecherous five game stretch (@ Bos, @ Min, vs Miami, @Wash and @ Det). The Bulls, in their last eight, have two tough roadies (Pistons, Raptors) but nothing else too intimidating. That second seed is really important too, no matter what Hanley tells you. Playing the Heat, with a healthy D-Wade, is a MUCH worse option than any of the weenies fighting for the last two spots. We don't match up so well with Howard and Co. for whatever reason, but Shaq is a much bigger problem. Plus, you avoid a second round match-up in Detroit.

On to the final four. Hoya saxa.

Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Roy Willliams is a d-bag

The Tar Heels needed a T.O. baby!

I have a sneaking feeling that a few lottery picks will stay in school, especially those from teams shouldn't have lost as early as they did. So maybe no Hansborough, (God please don't let the Bulls pick him, even if he turns out to be a good pro) Wright from Kansas, and a few others.

But, good news! The Knicks are more beat-up than that Ferrari Eddie Griffin drove into a wall. If they end up with say, 31 wins, they should finish in the 6 to 8 range. Hello Jeff Green! If Yi Jianlian or Tiago Splitter gets picked before Green, I say that the GM stupid enough to perpetrate this fraud on their fan base has to go at it UFC style with Bill Simmons. Except Simmons gets a rusty knife.

In other news, the Rapts Euro big men are hurting, could make for an easy first round victory.

Also back-to-back eighty degree days in March! Climate change my ass.

Ya basta!

Thursday, March 22, 2007

T-Time doing work

What a great effort from Tyrus. In only 20 minutes, he pulled down 11 boards and made three huge plays in the fourth: the hustle play to get Deng the loose ball lay-up, the catch and dunk in the lane on a tough pass behind him and the put back at the buzzer. Overall, a good balanced win against a streaking club.

Speaking of Ty, it reminded me of this inexplicably goofy and homophobic clip a friend sent me right before the draft. Apparently, someone wasn't a big Tigers fan.

While we're at it, check these out, too.
The last play of O.J. Mayo's college career. Notice that there is still a minute left on the clock.

Conley and crew just squeaked by UT. Maybe they could have used Deion, Griff, and Conley's Dad.

Top 10 Jordan dunks, for good measure (and with corny music/graphics to boot).

F-ck It

The Galapagos Islands... not get Comcast Sports Net, or even (its SuperStation status notwithstanding) WGN. When I arrive back in Chicago in a week and a half, me and my smuggled iguana are going to want to read all about what happened in the Bulls' World while I was away. Noce and Coach: It would be nice if you two could give Sweets a hand here in my absence. He and I have been fucking carrying this place lately.

Tuesday, March 20, 2007


The one area of Ben Gordon's game that definitely needs to improve. That said, him being whistled almost twice as many times for double dribbles than any other player in the league seems very fishy. I'm not saying his handle doesn't need to get better, but my guess is as he becomes more of a vet, and makes a couple All-Star teams, a lot of those whistles will be swallowed.

Also, over at Blog-a-Bull, Hot Shit kindly points out that T2's Roland Rating is now on the plus side, with a score ranking him above every rookie except Paul Milsap.

Speaking of which, has everyone checked out Tyrus Thomas' Web site? It's pretty hilarious, particularly its opening crunk rap song with the lyric: "SEC Defensive Playa Of The Year!" Also, he says his nickname is "T-Time."

T-Time?! That's ridiculous. Way too genteel. I've been going with T2, but now that I think about it, the T-1000 is far superior: A perfect killing machine whose technology (like his athleticism) is state-of-the-art and ahead of its time. Yes, the T-1000 is definitely where it's at.

Monday, March 19, 2007

Agent Weirdo: partly obnoxious, partly hilarious

Passed on by a friend, courtesy of Weirdo's blog.

Sinbad Rumored to be Dead
Stuff like that is nothing to joke about. Especially for someone who has kids.

But, you know, he's not dead so it doesn't matter.

That's how this world works, off the internet.

Know what it reminds me of? In Season One of Dave Chappelle he had a skit where he was like, "I had a show once before, it got cancelled. It was called Zap."

It was like a Punk'd show and he was a doctor and he told the little kids, "Yeah, you know your parents died in a car accident…" And this and this and this, and the kids are sitting there crying and he is like, "Psych! You have been Zapped!"

The kids are crying like, "Why would you do that to us!"

And he's just sitting there laughing.

That's what this reminds me of. But it's not a joking matter.

Good times.

Saturday, March 17, 2007

A Weak Week

Sorry for the lack of posting lately. It was a Work Week From Hell, and I've spent the last two days recovering on my couch in front of the Tourney (which was decisively more awesome today.) It seems like it's been a weird week for the Bulls too. I caught Tuesday's game live at the UC and it wasn't just the new extra-revenue-generating jerseys that were uninspired (Ty's 33 or so alley-oop dunks, notwithstanding). Missed the Philly game completely, but it seems like the same (shitty play, but a win) was true there; and then I missed all but the last two minutes of tonight's loss in Memphis, where the Bulls furiously battled back to almost hide what I assume must have been another piss-poor showing behind yet another W. So I ask those of you who may have caught all of these games: What's been the problem?

A few other random thoughts:

**Ty has been really something lately and I guess there's been rumblings of him becoming a starter. I'm sure Skiles reads this blog regularly and factors its kindly imparted wisdom into his decisions, so let me just say this: I'd keep him on the bench at least until Noce comes back healthy. Right now, he's the only one giving us any type of lift on a regular basis. Griff, Du and Thabo are all capable of giving us a lift, but they're too inconsistent. It's a cliche, but Ty is giving us energy consistently and it seems to me like he's starting to harness it much, much better. The other night he had a sick dunk, and then got a steal, but when the breakaway wasn't there, he actually pulled up instead of just forcing the issue like some excitable teenager about to touch his first boobie. It was a very good sign: When he starts regularly picking his spots with his freak-ocity--as opposed to just letting it rip full bore--he could be Stoudemire scary.

**Whoa, what is up with the Heat? Shaq being revived is one thing. He didn't play for the first 4 months and, y'know, he's still fucking Shaq. But Shaq, Eddie Jones, Antoine Walker and Gary Payton?! As I told my friend from South Florida last night, it's like fucking Cocoon down there!!!

I don't think their run is going to effect the Bulls too much, though. Despite this weird week, I still expect them to finish with a better record than the Heat, and I don't think we're going to be catching Cleveland for the 2nd spot the way that they've been playing lately. So that still leave us as the 5th seed, hopefully with home court against Toronto in the first round. It would be nice getting the 2 seed, as that would mean feasting on a plummeting Pacers team (right now at any rate; the way they're going, they could be lottery-bound), but again, I just don't see it happenin'.

Passing thoughts

I've been busy and I haven't watched many games (nor have I gotten them on WGN or national broadcasts) so the posts have been light. But I watched a little tonight, so here are a few Bulls/basketball-related musings.

-Terrible fourth, but I suppose that's going to happen. You just hate to see it happen against a team as shitty as the Grizz. I blame it on the hideous jerseys.

-Via to the Sun-Times, the Bulls have allowed the second-lowest field-goal percentage (43.5) in the NBA, and their 94.26 points allowed per game is sixth-lowest in the league. Do those stat surpise anybody else? It just seems like the d hasn't been nearly as solid this season -- in stretches at least -- as it has the last two years.

-For all the talk of Wallace's improving play as the playoffs come closer, I wonder how much of a liabilty his free throw shooting is going to be.

-Winthrop will beat Oregon and Wisco. Mark it, Dude.

-The good teams in the East seem to be distancing themselves from the pack. The Bulls have been playing solid ball since the break, Cleveland has won eight straight, Miami nine (sans Wade) and the Pistons five, all out West. I don't think Detroit will knock off the Mavs tomorrow, especially with Chauncey out, but the roadie out to Cal-ee-for-neee-aa was impressive. The folks over at MGoBlog have a long post about the Pistons not missing Ben, which we will have to revisit during the playoffs.

-My eight Elite Eight teams are still kicking. Are yours?

Saturday, March 10, 2007

Tourney goodness

I'm giddy with the news that Chauncey might ditch Detroit and relocate to his hometown out west, but it's hard to concentrate on the NBA this weekend with the Bullies off and the conference tourneys winding up.

My pre-bracket final four predictions (which are mostly chalk) . . .

UCLA-Even with the early Pac-10 exit, the Bruins are a solid defensive club (led by Afflalo) with experience and Collison has played great ball all year.

Florida-I just can't pick against these guys. Yeah, the LSU loss was brutal, but Vandy has a good team and a silly gym and they lost to KU in a "nuetral" but heavily-leaning Jayhawk gym. Let's not forget the dismantling of Ohio State, their run through the SEC tourney and , oh yeah, their title.

Georgetown-Jeff Green is unreal, Hibbert is a load inside and Wallace is under-appreciated at the point. This team is well-coached and they rarely give up leads because of their discipline and field goal percentage (seventh in the land).

Ohio State-You win in the tourney because of guard play and that is exactly why the Fuckeyes are so dangerous. Conley, Cook and Lewis make Oden unstoppable because it's tough to throw a double-team down there. I feel dirty picking this team.

Close calls
UNC-Only GU and UF have better front lines, but I don't trust Lawson quite yet.
Kansas-Brandon Rush with KILL the Jayhawks at one point in the tourney. Mark my words.
Wisky-Same with Kam "Pootietang" Taylor.
TAMU-Law is money but call it quits when Jones gets in foul trouble (which he will at least once).
Memphis-Not enough big game experience.

Who is going to cut down them nets?

Friday, March 09, 2007

In(different) Defense of Skiles

So over at FD, Billups has a post up lambasting Skiles. Some of it is indeed pretty fucking hilarious:

Scott Skiles could have been many things. I mean, with that court vision, that sense of floor leadership, that never-quit attitude? And with that personality!? Sheeeeeeeit, String! He could have been a credit card collections agent, a Department of Corrections officer or maybe even a semi-professional animal torturer. He’s got that look, right?


[Skiles'] kind of hands-on, up-in-the-mix, aggro, micro-management, I-was-never-good-enough-for-dad-and-you'll-never-be-good-enough-for-me bullshit is just a waste of time, oxygen and cap room.

That said, some of the shit he's spitting is just stupid. He gives us the whole "Tyson Chandler-Is-Blossoming-As-A-Hornet" spiel, which, as Pax Jax pointed out some time ago, is just garbage. Compare Tyson's 04-05 stats to his stats this year. They're almost identical. (I'd link to you baby, but Taurine Dream's down. What up with that?)

He adds the "All Eddy Curry Needed Is Love And Now That Isiah Rubs His Balls Nightly And Stares Coquettishly Into His Eyes, He's On His Way To Being A Dominant Center" hokum. (Although even here, Billups has to note that he "probably" will be a dominant center. Why the hedging, Bill? Could it be that hard work might actually have something to do with maximizing one's innate potential? Or maybe it's that Eddy could keel over at any moment, which (ahem) is the reason that the Bulls got rid of him.)

Then at the end he pops off on some Skiles quote in which he praises Gordon, but notes that he's not a complete player yet. For some reason, this sentiment offends Billups deeply, who notes all-hard-like that "Ben Gordon wins fucking games." Well, no shit. Maybe that's why in the quote you consider so damning Skiles explicitly says, "Ben is a very good offensive player" and then adds amidst his criticisms of other aspects of Ben's game, "It’s not that he’s not a very good player for us or anything."

I think my feelings for Ben Gordon are well known. I wouldn't trade him for anybody. (Except, possibly, D-Wade.) But he's in his third year and the fact is, he's not a complete player yet. But another fact is, he's becoming one. His defense is noticeably improving. He's a much better passer this year. He's getting to the line a lot more. Hell, at 6'2, he's even becoming a serviceable rebounding guard. Some of this is because Ben's getting older and learning the league and maturing. But some of this is because Skiles is making him work hard. What's so offensive about this?

But maybe I'm taking this too seriously, because like I said, the post is really fucking funny, and quite frankly, I think Skiles probably is an asshole. Quite a bit of what Billups says is totally valid and I sure as hell don't want to work myself into a frenzy defending everything Skiles does. (The 3-Guard Lineup appears to have died recently, but you never know if he'll resuscitate that shit or not.) But since he's taken over as coach, the Bulls have gone from laughingstocks to being respectable, and there's a decent chance they can make some noise in the East this year. Does Skiles deserve all the credit for this improvement? Of course not. But he deserves some.

Thursday, March 08, 2007

The difference a day makes

The big three came to play tonight. Hinrich looked much more like himself early on and I'm glad his foul trouble in the third didn't come back and bite Skiles in the ass. Gordon hit some big shots when we needed them and Deng was solid on the glass.

Do you think Skiles motivated them on that short flight from Miami? After the terrible outing against Skiles' old mates last week -- in which we got dominated on the glass -- it was good to see the Bulls hit the boards and then beat the bigger and slower Orlando squad down the floor. Good defensive energy too; Howard was decent but they couldn't establish any offensive flow, especially down low.

The rest of the month's schedule is so choice, at least until we see Detroit and Cleveland near the end. Hopefully, they can win at least six of eight and move up a few spots in the East.

Wednesday, March 07, 2007

Draft Day Dreams (and Nightmares)

So Chad Ford has a Draft Day Lottery Generator up (it's No. 8 on the linked Daily Dime) and, uh, I hope it's wrong. I tried it 10 times: Julian Wright (who doesn't sound like he's even going pro) came up once with the third pick. The other nine times it was Josh McRoberts with either the 11th or 12th pick. I just don't see how he helps this team at all, in any way, shape or form. I mean, bitch looks like he might start crying if he had to carry too many bags (although I suppose whooping his ass everyday in practice might boost T2's confidence). But if anyone disagrees, I suppose I'm open to argumentation.

They've also got two fairly high picks in the second round. I'm hoping that with one of them they go with Loyola's Blake Schilb. My roommate works for Loyola so I've gone to a bunch of their games and this kid can definitely play. In a lot of ways he's similar to Thabo--a great passer with a good outside shot, probably not as quick, but stronger in the post and with a better handle as well. It seems to me point forwards are a pretty rare breed who can add a lot of flexibility to your lineup. If you can get a true one (which Schilb is) in the 2nd round, I think it's a mistake not to. Any other players under the radar that y'all think could be a late round steal?

Return of the Repressed

That's how I'm willing to write off what was, if not the worst loss of the season, certainly the ugliest.

But if your best scorer gets 48 one game, he's almost certain to struggle in the next. (Just ask Michael Redd: He went 3 of 15 after torching us.) If you beat the defending champs by 42 on opening night, you're almost certain to get your ass kicked by 30 later in the season. If your most hated opposing player got thrown out the last time you met, he's almost certain to appear to break an NBA record for charges taken in a half the next time you meet. (By the way, Posey's a free agent next year: I'm not sure if we can afford him, but I think he'd be interesting coming off our bench. Thoughts?)

The fact remains, if we beat Orlando tomorrow night (and Lord knows, we've been repressed against them), this loss doesn't matter much. And after that, we've got four consecutive games against the three worst teams in the league. (I know, I know, Philly's won five in a row and Boston's playing better. We should still kill them.)

All in all, this stretch is still the Bulls' time to make their move. They can't allow this ugly loss to change that.

UPDATE: Matt has the box scores of our Big Three up at his place. It's even worse than I thought. Hinrich's assist to turnover ratio? One to SIX!!!

Sunday, March 04, 2007

Thank God (a.k.a. Tyrus Thomas)...

...that Taurine Dream put up the sickest one-man sequence I've ever seen. It's two days later and I'm still juiced about this one.