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Written by Mike Loszach | 07 December 2010

After winning two games in a row at home, the Bulls travel to nearby Cleveland tonight for a quick game before returning to Chicago for 3 more home games. This is the Bulls first game against the Cavaliers since last year’s post-season series and only their second game of the year against a Central Division opponent. The Cavaliers will be playing their second game of a back to back after losing their 5th consecutive game last night in Philadelphia 117-97.

The Bulls have to be feeling good coming off home victories against Houston and Oklahoma City. Many people thought it would take a couple weeks for Carlos Boozer to find his rhythm in the Bulls offense, but it appears to have only taken a couple of games. Boozer scored 54 points and collected 21 rebounds in the two victories. They have the potential to put together a very nice stretch thanks to a pretty favorable December schedule.

The Cavaliers, on the other hand, have fallen on very hard times. They have lost five in a row and 11 of their last 14. Even more embarrassing, they have rarely been competitive in those 11 losses, losing by an average of 17.8 points. They have also allowed more than 100 points in 10 of their last 12 games. Their schedule is a little odd in that they return home for this game after playing 3 road games in a row but then will immediately hit the road again for four more road games.

Probable Bulls Starters

G - Derrick Rose, 24.9 PPG

G – Keith Bogans, 4.6 PPG

F – Luol Deng, 18.2 PPG

F – Carlos Boozer, 17.8 PPG

C – Joakim Noah, 14.9 PPG


Probable Cavaliers Starters

G – Mo Williams, 14.7 PPG

G – Anthony Parker, 7.9 PPG

F – Joey Graham, 7.2 PPG

F – J.J Hickson, 11.3 PPG

C – Anderson Varejao, 8.3 PPG


Prediction:

Opening Line: Chicago (-6.5), Over/Under: 196.5

This game appears to feature two teams heading in opposite directions. The Bulls had their most successful circus trip since the days of Michael Jordan and have since added Carlos Boozer to the fold. Conversely, the Cleveland Cavaliers have fallen on hard times losing 5 games in a row. However, the 6.5 line is a little curious and with this being the Bulls only road game sandwiched around 5 home games I think we could see them come out a little flat and start a little slow. A return home may rejuvenate the Cavaliers a little bit.

Bulls 98 Cavaliers 95



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Written by Marco Radenkovich | 06 December 2010

If Derrick Rose could have picked a night to have a rough game offensively, he sure picked a good one.  

Carlos Boozer scored 29 points and grabbed 12 boards to lead the Bulls to a 99-90 win at the United Center on Monday night.  Boozer's effort made up for a subpar night from Rose, who scored 11 points on 3-13 shooting, nine assists but an uncharacteristic five turnovers.  Luol Deng also added 19 and 8 rebounds and Kyle Korver added 13. no comments

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Written by Mike Loszach | 06 December 2010

Over the course of the season, we're going to have some guest contributors at HttH.  One of those is Mike Loszach, the former sports editor at the Downers Grove South blueprint, and avid Chicago sports fan. I appreciate Mike writing up a few thoughts about the team.  You can catch his comments at the end of most of the posts here. 

Mike is a huge Cubs fan, and an even larger Northwestern basketball and football fan.  He's been following the Bulls since he was young, and has great thoughts on the team.  He breaks down the Central division, through the first quarter of the season. 

Chicago Bulls (10-8, 1st Place)

The Bulls have to be happy with where they are at this point in the season. I, like many other Bulls fans, expected a slow start out of the team. Not only were they without Carlos Boozer for the first 15 games of the season, but they also had to take their annual West Coast circus trip at the end of November. The trip is one that Bulls fans have come to dread because of their past struggles in it. However, the team finally broke through and had their first winning Circus trip since the days of Michael Jordan, which included nice wins at Dallas and Phoenix. Perhaps more encouraging was how competitive the team was in its losses, playing the Spurs and Lakers tough, and taking the Nuggets down to the last possession in a game that they played without Derrick Rose. Make no mistake about it, the Bulls schedule has not been a cake walk so far this season. To be in first place, with the circus trip and the Boozer injury behind them, is very encouraging for the Bulls moving forward.

Prediction: Division Championship (49-53 win range)

Indiana Pacers (9-9, 1 GB)

The Indiana Pacers are off to a nice start to the season, highlighted by road wins against the Miami Heat and Los Angeles Lakers. Danny Granger has led the way with 21.4 PPG and they have also gotten very nice contributions from Roy Hibbert, averaging nearly a double-double with 15.6 PPG and 8.8 RPG. They will be an interesting team to watch going forward. At times, they have looked really impressive, in particular the five game stretch where they won at Miami, at Los Angeles, and vs. Cleveland, while losing very close games to Orlando and Oklahoma City.  However, at other points in the season they have struggled, losing by 26 at Philadelphia and dropping a home game against Houston (granted that loss looks worse now than it did then.) December 13th at Chicago should be a fun test for them.

Prediction: 2nd Place (40-44 win range)

Milwaukee Bucks (7-12, 3.5 GB)

Coming into the season, the Bucks figured to be the Bulls biggest competition for the Central Division crown. However the team has gotten off to a slow start, losing 8 of their first 10 road games. They have lost 7 of their last 9 games, which included a five game losing streak near the end of November. In typical Scott Skiles fashion the team has been very stingy defensively allowing only 93.2 Points per Game, which is good for 6th best in the NBA. However the team has struggled offensively, scoring only 91.6 points per game, which ranks right near the bottom of the NBA. Despite the slow start offensively, Milwaukee does have some nice offensive players, particularly Brandon Jennings (18.6 PPG) and Andrew Bogut (13.1 PPG, 11.5 RPG). Look for them to right the ship and remain competitive in the Central Division.

Prediction: 3rd Place (36-40 win range)

Cleveland Cavaliers (7-13, 4 GB)

Things have gone sour for the Cavaliers pretty quickly. After starting off the season 4-3 they have gone 3-10, which includes a current 4 game losing streak. Not only have the wins been hard to come by for the Cavs, but lately just remaining competitive has been a struggle. First Boston walloped them by 19 on their home court, then Lebron returned home to Cleveland to lead the Heat to a 28 point victory amid a chorus of boos. Cleveland followed that up, with an embarrassing 34 point loss at Minnesota and a 10 point loss at last-place Detroit. Nobody expected anything out of Cleveland given the loss of Lebron James, so I guess it’s fair to say that the team has lived up to expectations.

Prediction: 5th Place (21-25 win range)

Detroit Pistons (7-14, 4.5 GB)

Much like Milwaukee and Cleveland, Detroit has really struggled away from home, starting the season with a 2-9 road record. They stumbled out of the gates, dropping their first five games of the season. I guess that was a fair indicator of how the season would go, because things have gotten too much better for the Pistons since then. They had one nice stretch in the beginning of November where they won 4 out of 5 (including their only 2 road wins of the season) but other than that wins have really been hard for them to come by. Rebounding appears to be a big problem for Detroit, as they rank near the bottom of the NBA in rebounds per game and Ben Wallace is the only player that averages more than 5 rebounds per game. Things won’t get much easier for Detroit in December where they have to go on the road 6 more times where they have struggled big time and have some tough home games against Atlanta, New Orleans, Chicago, and Boston.

Prediction: 4th Place (25-29 win range)

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Written by Marco Radenkovich | 06 December 2010

The Chicago Bulls return to action tonight at the United Center where they host Kevin Durant and the Oklahoma City Thunder.  The Bulls are looking to avenge the 106-95 loss to the Thunder on opening night.  But this Bulls team has a different feel to it, with Carlos Boozer in the fold. 
 
Boozer, playing his third game of the season after returning from a broken right hand, scored 25 points and collected nine rebounds. He's also had good fortunes vs. OKC, scoring 20 or more points in seven of his last 10 games against the Thunder. 
 
The Thunder are coming off a win last night vs. Golden State.  Durant returned after missing two games with a sore knee, and dropped 28 on the Warriors.  Russell Westbrook added 19 points and 13 assists for the Thunder, who improved to 14-7 on the season.
 The key for tonight's game is to keep the Thunder off the line.  OKC is shooting a league-best 85% from the line, and converted 37-of-40 attemps last night. 
 
Finally, this game features three intriguing matchups.  One is obvious, as two good friends go at it in Derrick Rose and Russell Westbrook.  Derrick's improved defensively, can he keep Westbrook out of the paint?  Another matchup to watch is Luol Deng on Durant.  Can Luol keep Durant from going off, while still being heavily involved in the offense?  And finally, Serge Ibaka has been a terror for opposing big men this year.  His athleticism will test Joakim Noah and the rest of the Bulls fowards.
 
I'll be at the game, so let's use this as a game thread. 
 
Probable Bulls Starters | Roster and Statistics

Guard 1 Derrick Rose 6-3 | 190
Guard 6 Keith Bogans 6-5 | 215
Forward 9 Luol Deng 6-9 | 220
Forward 5 Carlos Boozer 6-9 | 266
Center 13 Joakim Noah 6-11 | 232

Probable Thunder Starters | Roster and Statistics

Guard 0 Russell Westbrook 6-3 | 187
Guard 2 Thabo Sefolosha 6-7 | 215
Forward 22 Jeff Green 6-9 | 235
Forward 35 Kevin Durant 6-9 | 230
Center 12 Nenad Krstic 7-0 | 240

TV/Radio Information
 
7:00 Comcast Sports Net
ESPN Radio 1000
 
Prediction
 
Bulls win 104-99.  ESPN Accuscore gives the Bulls a 70% chance to win.
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Written by Marco Radenkovich | 05 December 2010

In an overtime thriller, the Chicago Bulls came back to stun the Rockets 119-116 Saturday night at the United Center, snapping a two-game losing streak.  

Derrick Rose was unreal last night, scoring 30 points, but none bigger than the three he swished at the buzzer to send the game into overtime.  Rose also flirted with a triple-double, adding 11 assists, seven rebounds, and five steals, while shooting 4-6 from the field.

Derrick is turning into the superstar that nobody thought they had this off-season.  All of the LeBron/Wade/Melo talk was centered around the fact that the Bulls needed a superstar.  It was incredibly disrespectful to the best player on the team.  I don't know if that fueled the effort to improve his game, but I wouldn't doubt that it had some effect on him.  You could see how much he has improved just by watching last night's game.  He hit four-of-six from downtown, had five steals, and knew the exact time he had to take over.  

Derrick Rose is not MJ.  He will never be, and he probably won't be close.  But this is the best player the Bulls will have, and will finish as the second best player to ever put on a Bulls uniform.  He's the real deal, boys and girls.

Big game for Boozer

Last night was also the first big game for Carlos Boozer as a Bull.  Nothing against Taj Gibson, but you can see why the Bulls need Boozer going forward.  Boozer finished with 25 points and nine rebounds in 30 minutes.  He is the ultimate safety blanket for this team.  If you get him the ball, chances are he's going to make something happen.  He's also perfect for Rose when Rose drives to the basket.  There were a few times when Derrick got caught underneath the rim, and when the defense collapsed on him, he found Boozer several times for an easy 8-10 foot jumper.  Boozer was a lot more aggressive, and with him in the lineup, it really opens up the floor.

No-Calls

Final thought from last night's game -- Stacey King, a good friend of the blog, was talking about how Derrick doesn't get calls.  From my biased opinion, he doesn't get calls down low, relative to the amount of points he gets in the paint.  There was a quote a few weeks back that asked Derrick about the no-calls, and Derrick said one of the officials told him that he couldn't make the call because the play happened too fast.  Derrick Rose does everything fast (fast don't lie) and if that's the officials excuse for not doing their job, then they need to find a new profession.  Rose has the best body control for a player at his position in the league, and that probably contributes to the no-calls.  Regardless, I want to do some research to see if Derrick actually doesn't get many calls.  I'm thinking the best way to look at it is by looking at the proportion of FTA to points in the paint.  Maybe it will tell us something, maybe it won't.  But Stacey's grip might be a little subjective, so I want to get an bias-free interpretation. no comments

Written by Marco Radenkovich | 04 December 2010

The Bulls try to snap a two-game losing streak tonight as they host the Houston Rockets at the United Center.  The Bulls are coming off a rough game in Boston, where Kevin Garnett dominated with 20 points, 17 rebounds and the Celtics cruised to a 104-92 victory.  

The Bulls shot poorly once again, and were outrebounded once again.  Joakim Noah was worked by the "ugly and mean" Garnett, but Noah still managed to put up 14 points and 10 boards.  Carlos Boozer, in his second game back from a broken hand, scored 12 points, but only managed two rebounds.

"We got outrebounded and they made some good shots," Carlos Boozer said.   "We missed our shots. That was the game right there in the third quarter." 

The Bulls hope to rebound, both literally and figuratively against Houston tonight.  The Rockets put up an offensive show vs. Memphis last night, dropping 127 points, and shooting 59.5% from the field.  Since I don't know a lot about the Rockets, I asked Mike Kerns from Bloguin's Rockets Retro a few questions about the surprisingly struggling Rockets.  Thanks to Mike for answering a few questions.  He also asked me some questions about the Bulls.  Go check out Mike's site, it's a good one.  

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1. Where did you have the Rockets finishing in October?  Where do you have them finishing now?
I didn't really do a month-by-month analysis in my preseason predictions. But I will tell you this; They would have to go 49-15 the rest of the way to hit my preseason prediction and I don't see that happening. I do still contend that they aren't as bad as their record indicates, but they aren't near as good as I projected.
2. With Kevin Martin and Luis Scola playing at all-star levels, why is the team struggling to start the season?
Several things. Coach Adelman's rotations have been questionable. They added Brad Miller in the offseason for some size and Coach elects to play the 6'6" Chuck Hayes over him and Jordan Hill on most nights. Also, two of their three biggest offensive weapons are out because of injury (Yao Ming & Aaron Brooks). But the biggest thing is they don't have that guy that can close a game out. They've been in every one of their losses this season in the the 4th quarter with the exception of blowout losses to OKC & Dallas. But they just can't get the big shot at the end of games.
3. How does Yao fit into the team's plans this year and moving forward?
Hopefully as either a backup or a spectator. I am on the side of the fence that thinks the Yao era in Houston needs to end. They waited two years too long to end the Tracy McGrady experiment and I fear they're doing the same with Yao Ming. Sure, he's a hell of a player and a presence when he actually plays, but the team just can't count on him to stay on the floor.
4. What is the team's biggest strength?  Biggest weakness?
Biggest strength would be their depth. They have 15 guys that could be solid contributors on any NBA team and they're young. But, again, the lack of a superstar or closer to finish up games is costing them big time in close contests.
5. How can they beat the Bulls tonight in Chicago?
First, Kyle Lowry needs to take Derrick Rose out before the game and get him hammered. In all seriousness, just do what they did on their game earlier this year and just execute better in the 4th quarter. And for god sakes, make Rose work for it a little. They made it way too easy for him in their last meeting.

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Probable Bulls StartersRoster and Statistics

Guard 1 Derrick Rose 6-3 | 190 
Guard 6 Keith Bogans 6-5 | 215 
Forward 9 Luol Deng 6-9 | 220 
Forward 5 Carlos Boozer 6-9 | 266 
Center 13 Joakim Noah 6-11 | 232 

Probable Rockets StartersRoster and Statistics

Guard 7 Kyle Lowry 6-0 | 205 
Guard 12 Kevin Martin 6-7 | 185 
Forward 31 Shane Battier 6-8 | 220 
Forward 4 Luis Scola 6-9 | 245 
Center 44 Chuck Hayes 6-6 | 238

TV/Radio Information

Game time 7:00 CT
TV: Comcast Sports Net or ESPN
Radio: ESPN 1000
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Written by Marco Radenkovich | 03 December 2010

The Chicago Bulls travel to Boston to play the Celtics on Friday night.  This will mark the second and final trip the Bulls will make to Boston during the regular season. 

The first meeting, the Bulls fell to the Celtics in overtime, 110-105.  The Celtics have been tough at home this season, winning eight of its first nine.  The Bulls hope the second meeting is different.

Carlos Boozer will start again tonight for the Bulls, and he had a forgettable debut, returning from injury.  The 6'9'' power forward had five points and three rebounds in only 20 minutes. 

"I think our team (is) a lot better than we showed," said Boozer, Chicago's top summer free-agent acquisition. "We're going to move forward."

To be considered one of the league's best, the Bulls need to have a better showing then Wednesday night when the Magic exploded to a 107-78 victory.  The Bulls finished with an all-time low 21 rebounds.

Probable Bulls Starters

Guard 1 Derrick Rose 6-3 | 190
Guard 6 Keith Bogans 6-5 | 215
Forward 9 Luol Deng 6-9 | 220
Forward 5 Carlos Boozer 6-9 | 266
Center 13 Joakim Noah 6-11 | 232

Probable Celtics Starters

Guard 9 Rajon Rondo 6-1 | 186
Guard 20 Ray Allen 6-5 | 205
Forward 34 Paul Pierce 6-7 | 235
Forward 5 Kevin Garnett 6-11 | 253
Center 36 Shaquille O'Neal 7-1 | 325  

Prediction
Celtics win 98-93

TV/Radio Information

Game time 7:00 CT
TV: Comcast Sports Net or ESPN
Radio: ESPN 1000

Discuss Below. 

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Written by Jeff Wolf | 03 December 2010


This site is a Bulls site, and 99% of the time, it will have posts about the Bulls.  But every once in a while, there's that 1% that needs to be talked about.  Today, we celebrate the life of a Chicago sports icon and Cubs great, Ron Santo.

I had a lot of thoughts on Santo this morning, as I woke up to the sad news.  I couldn't find a way to put my thoughts and feelings into one.  That's where my buddy Jeff Wolf stepped in.  I couldn't have said it any better.  Thanks, Jeff.  And R.I.P. Ron Santo.  You'll be forever missed.

- Marco

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With the passing of Ron Santo last night, the call from Cubs fans worldwide for his induction into the Major League Baseball Hall of Fame will be stronger than ever.  People like Mike Schmidt and Joe Morgan – who have said publicly that too many Veterans’ Committee inductions would cheapen the Hall – will become public enemies No. 1 and 1A among the Wrigley Field faithful.

But if Ron Santo is remembered for anything by our generation, it should not be for his protracted struggle with Hall of Fame candidacy. Because Santo was a shining example of so many other things that far overshadowed his achievements in baseball.

Yes, his years at the hot corner and in the broadcast booth did make him a celebrity of sorts. But Santo used that celebrity to do far more than any Cub has ever done before or since.

He raised millions of dollars in the Chicagoland area in support of finding a cure for juvenile diabetes, the condition he played with for his entire 15-year career. (Why he wasn’t the national face of diabetes I’ll never know – he was certainly more lovable than Wilford Brimley…)

But even without his charitable work, Santo stood out simply as someone who lived life the way more of us ought to live it.

He never let any of the significant obstacles he faced deter him from living the life he wanted. And he never used them as an excuse for anything.

Santo never asked for – or received – special treatment as a player or HOF candidate because of his diabetes. He didn’t even reveal the condition until very late in his career.  And he never let if affect his outlook. Even after a quadruple bypass, the amputation of both of his legs below the knee and numerous other medical complications, there was never a moment when Santo wouldn’t be seen smiling, laughing and having a good time.

Sure, it can be said that it was being around the Cubs that kept Santo in such good spirits all these years. But what Ron Santo took from the Cubs and their fans he gave back tenfold in inspiration and as living proof that it’s not what life gives us that matters but what we’re able to make of our life with what we’re given.

Santo was always positive. And nothing could put a damper on his determination.

Nineteen times Ron Santo has been denied entry into baseball’s hall of fame.

But in the hall of fame of the human spirit, he’s always been first-ballot.

- Jeff Wolf no comments

Written by MRad33 | 01 December 2010

The Chicago Bulls fell to the Orlando Magic 107-78 on Wednesday night at the United Center, spoiling Carlos Boozer's debut.  In the loss, the Bulls gathered only 21 miserable rebounds, the all-time low for any game in Bulls history.

This will be short, as I usually don't write post-game articles like you see in the newspaper.  That's what K.C. Johnson gets paid for.  And the Bulls played like shit tonight, so there's not a lot to say. no comments

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Written by Marco Radenkovich | 01 December 2010

The day we've been all waiting for - Carlos Boozer to make his debut tonight.

Tune in to watch tonight's game at 7:00 p.m. CT on Comcast SportsNet and listen live on ESPN Radio 1000

Projected Orlando Magic Starters
G - Jameer Nelson
G - Vince Carter
F - Quentin Richardson
F - Rashard Lewis
C - Dwight Howard

Projected Chicago Bulls Starters
G - Derrick Rose
G - Keith Bogans
F - Luol Deng
F - Carlos Boozer
C - Joakim Noah


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