2011 Archives http://www.hornstothehardwood.com/table/2011-articles/may/ Wed, 24 May 2017 09:58:25 +0000 Joomla! 1.5 - Open Source Content Management en-gb Why nobody likes the NBA http://www.hornstothehardwood.com/2011-articles/may/why-nobody-likes-the-nba.html http://www.hornstothehardwood.com/2011-articles/may/why-nobody-likes-the-nba.html
1. Dancing - It's everywhere.  LeBron James dancing on the sideline, dancing after he makes a shot, dancing on stage with Chris Bosh and Dwyane Wade on their introduction to Miami.  It's nuts.  It's not cool, you look like an asshole.   And don't use some bullshit that "they can do whatever they want, because they're that good."  No they can't.  They still look like assholes.  And if you like it, Dancing with the Stars - ABC at 8 ET.  Even Michelle Obama thinks dancing is part of the goddamn sport!  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nI3y9jH8FXY

2. LeBron James - See above.  Whine some more, Baby Bron Bron.  Find one Miami Heat foul that he didn't bitch about.  

3. Officiating - The referees single handedly are altering the series.  The game is NOT called the same for every player.  The fact that you can say "(Insert Superstar) has earned those calls over the years," is a joke.  The game should be called fair for both teams.  It clearly hasn't been in the Bulls Heat series.  Noah's charge on Haslem, Boozer's finishes inside, Derrick not getting calls at the rim (BUT HE'S THE MVP, ISN'T HE SUPPOSED TO GET CALLS?)  Over and over, the Bulls had to play five on nine - Heat plus the refs and Stern.

4. David Stern - He's Vince McMahon Jr.  Honestly, he controls every game.  I know sports are a business, and for me even to think that's not true is my fault.  I shouldn't be that naive and neither should you.  The NBA has put Good vs. Evil in this playoffs.  The Bulls are everything that is great about sports.  Humble players, leaders on and off the court, as well as a great coach.  The Evil are the Heat, the team that came together to win 7 championships.  Game 1 got 11.5 million viewers.  Games 2, 3 and 4 got similar numbers.  The longer you keep the Heat in the series and in the playoffs, the longer people are going to watch and be interested.  So keep the game within the Heat's reach and you're in good shape.  Game 2's second quarter, and all of game 4 were so incredibly one-sided.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ujl9rx-RURo

Shaq, I couldn't have said it better myself.

What David Stern doesn't realize is that his ass is going to lose a LOT of fans after this playoffs.  The NBA was back, and he took control.  Now look at it?  A lot of people are going to go back to watching other things, like Dancing with the Stars.  Just as fixed, same story lines.  I hope they lock out next year just so he can't get his greedy fucking hands on any of his money.  What a fool.

5. LeBron James - Who really refers to themselves as the King?  "What should I do?"  I think you should go fuck yourself, LeBron.

6. Money

7. Greed

Feel free to add in the comments.

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marco.radenkovich@gmail.com (Marco Radenkovich) May Wed, 25 May 2011 03:51:58 +0000
Eastern Conference Finals Game 4 – Heat lead series 2-1 http://www.hornstothehardwood.com/2011-articles/may/eastern-conference-finals-game-4-heat-lead-series-2-1.html http://www.hornstothehardwood.com/2011-articles/may/eastern-conference-finals-game-4-heat-lead-series-2-1.html Well, since Carl couldn’t get us a W in Game 3, I’m back. It’s the biggest game of the season so we’re trotting our Ace out there for HTTH. Just kidding. But seriously.

The Bulls are going to win tonight, boys and girls. Usually I let the suspense build before finally revealing my selection at the bottom of the thread. Sometimes I even throw you a bit of a curveball like in Game 2. Not this time. The Bulls win. Joakim plays better, Derrick plays better, we shoot the ball better, and Chris Bosh plays a lot worse.

I’ve got to think the Stern factor will be working for us tonight too. I don’t like to ever blame the officials, and to make it clear I’m not doing that here, but I thought Miami got the majority of the calls in Game 2 and 3. That being said, we still played very poorly, and didn’t deserve to win either game, but I said what I said. Tonight the Bulls are going to get the calls. The Mavs also deserve a big pound and explode from us for the way they came back against Oklahoma City last night. Winning 2 in a row in Oklahoma City means that series is done in 5. There is no way that Stern wants to short series in the Conference Finals, especially when he was a great matchup with the MVP of the league going against the Big 3. We get the calls tonight. That doesn’t mean that we’ll win, but it helps. That being said, we’re not going to win tonight because we’re getting the calls. We’re going to win tonight because we outplay the Miami Heat.

Stat of the Day:

The Bulls haven’t lost 3 games in a row all season

Probable Miami Starters:

G – Mike Bibby, 3.8 PPG

G – D’Wayne Wade, 24.7 PPG

F – Lebron James, 25.2 PPG

F – Chris Bosh, 18.2 PPG

C – Joel Anthony, 3.5 PPG

Probable Chicago Starters:

G – Derrick Rose, 27.6 PPG

G – Keith Bogans, 5.1 PPG

F – Luol Deng, 16.6 PPG

F – Carlos Boozer, 12.6 PPG

C – Joakim Noah, 9.1 PPG

Prediction:

Current Line: Miami (-5), Over/Under 179

The Bulls are going to play a lot better tonight. Joakim is going to go for 10 and 15 while using whatever slurs he pleases. Luol Deng is going to score 20. Derrick Rose is going to find his rhythm with a lot of help from his teammates who are going to knock down shots off of his assists. The defense will be a lot better tonight too. Chris Bosh will come down to earth and Miami will have to work for every bucket.

Bulls 92 Heat 85

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marco.radenkovich@gmail.com (Mike Loszach) May Tue, 24 May 2011 19:04:05 +0000
Game Three Preview Bulls at Heat http://www.hornstothehardwood.com/2011-articles/may/game-three-preview-bulls-at-heat.html http://www.hornstothehardwood.com/2011-articles/may/game-three-preview-bulls-at-heat.html
Wednesday's contest was the kind of game that Chicago would have won in the first round against Indiana, which lulled me and others into a false sense of security.  They showed well in the first quarter which was capped off by Luol Deng's scintillating half court shot.  After that, it wasn't a night and day drop off in performance on defense or effort, but merely incremental breakdowns.  Chicago still played their typical brand of basketball on defense, while Miami's offense was much the same throughout.  There were times when Chicago's defense looked the strongest we've seen this post season.  In spite of 9 more trips to the foul line, Miami still only scored 3 more points - its not as though they ever ran away and hid with their offensive production.  Whatever steps Wade and James took in offensive production were given back by Bosh's relatively small 10 point effort.  Chicago simply didn't hit shots.  Low post scoring did not happen in the same kind of regularity or efficiency, the Bulls posted a miserable 61% effort from the foul line, and the 3's didn't fall.  Part of it was poor luck, much of it was timely defending by Miami, including a critical double team on Luol in the 4th.  Spoelstra deserves a cookie for playing LeBron on Rose. The lane wasn't as open for Derrick, and the outside shooting he deferred to wasn't clicking.  Likewise Udonis Haslem went from throw-in scrub to impact bench player, contributing 13 and 5 in an unexpected 23 minute relief appearance while providing the kind of spark Taj Gibson gave the Bulls earlier in the series.  Give credit where it is due; Miami played enough defense to earn the victory.  Still, I can't help but feel that if Chicago and Miami both play with that kind of effort and focus 7 times, Chicago wins 4.

Now Chicago finds itself on the road with the task of taking back home court advantage.  Miami's crowd is notoriously sporadic, so it will be interesting to see what kind of energy and vibe is in the arena tonight.  Bulls fans have traveled well throughout this year; will Miami's crowd be "late arriving" per Reggie Miller's assessment throughout the year, or will they clamp down with the so-called "White Out"?  Likewise, which Boozer is Chicago getting, and just how healthy is he with this toe injury?  He's had moments where his jumper is on, and he put together a pair of solid performances dating back to game 6 in Atlanta, but its clear that he's not the strong presence we signed him to be down low right now.  Whether that is due to health, age, or player psychology remains to be seen, but flaws or not, Chicago plays better when he's a double digit scorer, and needs more 18+ point efforts from him going forward.  Furthermore, Korver is due to rekindle some of the magic we saw from him in the first round.  Eventually his rim outs will start to fall.  We just can't afford that eventuality to be 2-3 more games down the road.  The defense will be there, and this team's demeanor is such that they'll take Miami's best shots, whether its driving the lane or trying to run the floor with flashy oop plays.  Its time to start hitting shots, and take some of the load off of Rose and Deng, who are showing signs of wearing down.

Stat of the Day:
Chicago avoided being called for a defensive three second violation Wednesday night, snapping an 8 game streak.

Probable Miami Starters:

G – Mike Bibby, 3.6 PPG

G – D’Wayne Wade, 25.3 PPG

F – Lebron James, 25.4 PPG

F – Chris Bosh, 16.9 PPG

C – Joel Anthony, 3.5 PPG

Probable Chicago Starters:

G – Derrick Rose, 28.2 PPG

G – Keith Bogans, 5.2 PPG

F – Luol Deng, 16.8 PPG

F – Carlos Boozer, 11.6 PPG

C – Joakim Noah, 9.8 PPG

Prediction:

Current Line: Chicago (+4.5), Over/Under at 178.5

Somehow, I expect Miami to try and intimidate Chicago again by trying to run the court, and again I expect it to fail.  They'll get a couple easy buckets, but Chicago is too sound and too rested to get burned.  Thibs really seems to have this group plugged into the team concept more than Miami, and I expect Chicago's field goal percentage to have a 4 in front instead of a 3 thanks to ball movement and better luck with the rim.  I'll push conspiracy theories aside when discussing why the Western Conference finals crammed two games in between the East's and instead be thankful for the rest for #1 and #9 in particular.  Don't have a particularly strong conviction in this one.  Gut feeling is a "L" thanks to home court and a pervasive sense of drama; brain tells me this is the kind of game Chicago wins.  Expect this one to be the closest game yet, and the physicality to take another step.

Bulls 94 Heat 91]]>
marco.radenkovich@gmail.com (Marco Radenkovich) May Sun, 22 May 2011 17:35:43 +0000
Eastern Conference Finals Game 3 Preview - Series Tied 1-1 http://www.hornstothehardwood.com/2011-articles/may/eastern-conference-finals-game-3-preview-series-tied-1-1.html http://www.hornstothehardwood.com/2011-articles/may/eastern-conference-finals-game-3-preview-series-tied-1-1.html
Wednesday's contest was the kind of game that Chicago would have won in the first round against Indiana, which lulled me and others into a false sense of security.  They showed well in the first quarter which was capped off by Luol Deng's scintillating half court shot.  After that, it wasn't a night and day drop off in performance on defense or effort, but merely incremental breakdowns.  Chicago still played their typical brand of basketball on defense, while Miami's offense was much the same throughout.  There were times when Chicago's defense looked the strongest we've seen this post season.  In spite of 9 more trips to the foul line, Miami still only scored 3 more points - its not as though they ever ran away and hid with their offensive production.  Whatever steps Wade and James took in offensive production were given back by Bosh's relatively small 10 point effort.  Chicago simply didn't hit shots.  Low post scoring did not happen in the same kind of regularity or efficiency, the Bulls posted a miserable 61% effort from the foul line, and the 3's didn't fall.  Part of it was poor luck, much of it was timely defending by Miami, including a critical double team on Luol in the 4th.  Spoelstra deserves a cookie for playing LeBron on Rose. The lane wasn't as open for Derrick, and the outside shooting he deferred to wasn't clicking.  Likewise Udonis Haslem went from throw-in scrub to impact bench player, contributing 13 and 5 in an unexpected 23 minute relief appearance while providing the kind of spark Taj Gibson gave the Bulls earlier in the series.  Give credit where it is due; Miami played enough defense to earn the victory.  Still, I can't help but feel that if Chicago and Miami both play with that kind of effort and focus 7 times, Chicago wins 4.

Now Chicago finds itself on the road with the task of taking back home court advantage.  Miami's crowd is notoriously sporadic, so it will be interesting to see what kind of energy and vibe is in the arena tonight.  Bulls fans have traveled well throughout this year; will Miami's crowd be "late arriving" per Reggie Miller's assessment throughout the year, or will they clamp down with the so-called "White Out"?  Likewise, which Boozer is Chicago getting, and just how healthy is he with this toe injury?  He's had moments where his jumper is on, and he put together a pair of solid performances dating back to game 6 in Atlanta, but its clear that he's not the strong presence we signed him to be down low right now.  Whether that is due to health, age, or player psychology remains to be seen, but flaws or not, Chicago plays better when he's a double digit scorer, and needs more 18+ point efforts from him going forward.  Furthermore, Korver is due to rekindle some of the magic we saw from him in the first round.  Eventually his rim outs will start to fall.  We just can't afford that eventuality to be 2-3 more games down the road.  The defense will be there, and this team's demeanor is such that they'll take Miami's best shots, whether its driving the lane or trying to run the floor with flashy oop plays.  Its time to start hitting shots, and take some of the load off of Rose and Deng, who are showing signs of wearing down.

Stat of the Day:

Chicago avoided being called for a defensive three second violation Wednesday night, snapping an 8 game streak.

Probable Miami Starters:

G – Mike Bibby, 3.6 PPG

G – D’Wayne Wade, 25.3 PPG

F – Lebron James, 25.4 PPG

F – Chris Bosh, 16.9 PPG

C – Joel Anthony, 3.5 PPG

Probable Chicago Starters:

G – Derrick Rose, 28.2 PPG

G – Keith Bogans, 5.2 PPG

F – Luol Deng, 16.8 PPG

F – Carlos Boozer, 11.6 PPG

C – Joakim Noah, 9.8 PPG

Prediction:

Current Line: Chicago (+4.5), Over/Under at 178.5

Somehow, I expect Miami to try and intimidate Chicago again by running the court early, and again I expect it to fail.  They'll get a couple easy buckets, but Chicago is too sound and too rested to get burned physically or mentally.  Thibs really seems to have this group plugged into the team concept more than Miami, and I expect Chicago's field goal percentage to have a 4 in front instead of a 3 thanks to ball movement and better luck with the rim.  I'll push conspiracy theories aside when discussing why the Western Conference finals crammed two games in between the East's and instead be thankful for the rest for #1 and #9 in particular.  Don't have a particularly strong conviction in this one.  Gut feeling is a "L" thanks to home court and a greater sense of universal entropy/story writing, brain tells me this is the kind of game Chicago wins.  Expect this one to be the closest game yet, and the physicality to take another step.

Bulls 94 Heat 91

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marco.radenkovich@gmail.com (Carl Mayer) May Sun, 22 May 2011 17:30:51 +0000
Eastern Conference Finals Game 2 – Bulls lead series 1-0 http://www.hornstothehardwood.com/2011-articles/may/eastern-conference-finals-game-1-bulls-lead-series-1-0.html http://www.hornstothehardwood.com/2011-articles/may/eastern-conference-finals-game-1-bulls-lead-series-1-0.html Well Game 1 went just about as well as we could have hoped for, right? That game was an absolute joy to watch. After a jittery start the team settled down and played a great game. We landed a couple of nice jabs in the second and third quarters before delivering the knockout blow in the 4th quarter.

Not to toot my own horn too much, but they really executed on my keys to the series. I said that we had to limit the turnovers to avoid fast break buckets for Miami. Well, after a free early turnovers from Derrick he really settled in nicely and took care of the ball. Secondly, I thought we had to win the rebounding battles consistently. Well, as simple glance at the Stat of the Day (yes we have one this time) tells us that we dominated on the offensive glass. I was a little nervous about this one in the first half when we gave up a few second chance buckets, but we sure dominated the glass in the second half. Third, I said we our bench had to show up. I think it’s safe to say they did. Taj Gibson was trending on twitter for a reason. Lastly, I said we had to put the pressure on Miami by winning Game 1. Well, not only did they win but they won by 21 points. Now the Heat have to think about that for two days. How will they respond?

If Lebron and Wade have any kind of heart at all they’re going to come after us with everything they have in Game 2 after getting embarrassed on Sunday night. I mentioned in an earlier post how I thought Luol Deng was our MVP Sunday night. Not only did he play well offensively, but he did a wonderful job defensively on Lebron. It wasn’t just Lebron, though. We did a great job with our team defense. Our bigs were unbelievable. We kept switching on pick and rolls and Noah and Gibson did an amazing job of keeping those guys out of the paint. I even saw Asik do it once, forcing Lebron into a 3-point attempt. Granted, he made the shot, but that’s the shot that we want Lebron taking. We’ll see what, if any, adjustments Miami makes offensively to try and improve in this area.

Stat of the Day:

The Bulls outscored the Heat 31-8 on second-chance points in Game 1

Probable Miami Starters:

G – Mike Bibby, 3.5 PPG

G – D’Wayne Wade, 25.5 PPG

F – Lebron James, 25.1 PPG

F – Chris Bosh, 17.5 PPG

C – Joel Anthony, 3.8 PPG

Probable Chicago Starters:

G – Derrick Rose, 28.8 PPG

G – Keith Bogans, 5.2 PPG

F – Luol Deng, 17.1 PPG

F – Carlos Boozer, 12.0 PPG

C – Joakim Noah, 9.8 PPG

Prediction:

Current Line: Chicago (-2), Over/Under 181

I hate Steve Stone’s guts but one thing he says that I absolutely agree with is “you’re never as good as look when you’re winning, and you’re never as bad as you look when you’re losing.” We need to keep that in mind when looking at Game 1. It was just about the perfect game for us, but don’t go crazy Bulls fans. Miami is going to play better than they did on Sunday night. I can’t imagine we will shut down Lebron and Wade the way that we did in Game One. I still like us to win the series Bulls fans, but it’s not going to be easy. This is going to be a series. Hope I’m wrong about tomorrow night.

Heat 88 Bulls 86

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marco.radenkovich@gmail.com (Mike Loszach) May Tue, 17 May 2011 23:29:09 +0000
An open letter of apology to Luol Deng http://www.hornstothehardwood.com/2011-articles/may/an-open-letter-of-apology-to-luol-deng.html http://www.hornstothehardwood.com/2011-articles/may/an-open-letter-of-apology-to-luol-deng.html I owe Luol Deng an apology. I was not a fan of Luol prior to this season. In fact, if we’re being honest, I disliked Luol Deng. I called him “soft” on multiple occasions, and I believed it. I thought he was another overpaid player like Ben Gordon and Eddie Robinson. I thought all he wanted to do was hang out in the corner and let someone else do all the work of driving, drawing in the defense, and kicking out to him for a 3-point shot. I always saw potential in his ability to slash to the lane and wanted him to do it more often.

All of that has changed this season. Luol Deng has won me over. It was a slow process at first. When he started fast I was hesitant to give him too much credit. Hell, even at the end of the regular season I think I gave him a B+ grade. I was wrong. Clearly he has deserved an A. He was our player of the game last night and that has been the case several times this season.

He has been so huge for us this season. He has hit several big shots. He hasn’t relied too heavily on the 3-point shot like I thought he had done earlier in his career (only 29% of his shots this season have been 3-point attempts.) He has done a great job with his shot selection. When the 3 is there, he takes it, but he’s not afraid to put his head down and attack the rim either. He has shed the soft label in my eyes too. He sticks his nose in there and grabs about 6 rebounds again, he guards each team’s best scorer on a nightly basis and does a great job of it, he fired up the crowd late in Game 1 against Indiana which perhaps ignited the huge comeback, and he came back from a vicious elbow to the back of the head in Game 3 against Indiana like it was no big deal. He’s not soft.

Also, he never comes out of the game. He average 39 minutes per game this year, leading the team. In years past he seemed injury prone, and I was waiting for it this year, but it hasn’t happened. When we finally got Boozer and Noah back and healthy, I was convinced it would be Luol’s turn to miss some games. But it hasn’t happened. He has stayed healthy all season long, playing hard every night and playing just about the entire game night after night. The statistics have been good (17.4 PPG, 46% FG, 5.80 RPG) but they don’t tell the whole story. His defense has been absolutely huge and the fact that he has shown up every night has been even bigger. He was amazing last night, and we’re going to need more of that if we’re going to win the series. Keep it going, Luol!

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marco.radenkovich@gmail.com (Mike Loszach) May Mon, 16 May 2011 17:57:47 +0000
What Now ESPN? http://www.hornstothehardwood.com/2011-articles/may/what-now-espn.html http://www.hornstothehardwood.com/2011-articles/may/what-now-espn.html
The Bulls take a 1-0 lead in the Eastern Conference Finals with a convincing 103-82 win over the Miami Heat tonight.  Derrick Rose led the bulls with 28 points, but it was the role players who told the story.

Taj Gibson had 9 points and 7 boards in 23 minutes, and gave the Bulls a spark off the bench.  Luol Deng, my player of the game, had 21, and held LeBron to 15 points on 5-15 shooting.

Taj had the two plays of the game, and some of the best plays I've seen all year.  The dunks were huge, as was the block on LeBron.

But allow me to go into a rant about the World Wide Leader in Sports - ESPN.  

  • All goddamn year, they did not give the Bulls a chance to win the title.  62 wins later, nothing changed.  "Oh, they're a one man show," one headline read.  "Big 3 vs. 1" was an ESPN headline today.  
  • Well ESPN, there is your fucking receipt.  Derrick had a quiet 28 tonight, as quiet as 28 can be I suppose.  Second chance points and bench scoring were the difference.  So, it really wasn't the 3 on 1 that you predicted, was it?  
  • The Bulls lock EVERYONE down on defense.  The Bulls outrebound EVERYONE on both ends of the floor.  Oh, and they have the MVP to do all of the rest.  
  • Normally, I would ask for respect from opposing fans and media, but I really don't give a shit.  The Bulls have been the underdog all season.  
  • When everyone else is taking imaginary pictures of LeBron and celebrating a semi-final series win, the Bulls are getting better.  
  • Take your dancing and your theatrics and go home, LeBron.  How can anyone cheer for that asshole?

This feels great.  See you Wednesday, Miami.  CAN'T WAIT.   ]]>
marco.radenkovich@gmail.com (Marco Radenkovich) May Mon, 16 May 2011 04:10:04 +0000
Eastern Conference Finals Game 1 – Miami Heat (58-24, 28-13 away) @ Chicago Bulls (62-20, 36-5 home) http://www.hornstothehardwood.com/2011-articles/may/eastern-conference-finals-game-1-miami-heat-58-24-28-13-away-chicago-bulls-62-20-36-5-home.html http://www.hornstothehardwood.com/2011-articles/may/eastern-conference-finals-game-1-miami-heat-58-24-28-13-away-chicago-bulls-62-20-36-5-home.html This is why we watch. This is why it means so much to us. Moments like this. Talk about a dream scenario for us Bulls fans, this is it. I’ll admit I remember watching “the decision” and hoping Lebron would tell the Nation he was coming to Chicago. But once he didn’t, I found myself that night dreaming up a possible scenario where the Bulls took on the NBA’s newest villian’s in the Eastern Conference Finals. Did I believe it would happen? Hell no.

I’ve mentioned it before on this blog, but coming in to the year I was hopeful the Bulls would win the Central Division and win one playoff series. I thought those were very fair expectations, and would be a great step in the right direction. But this team wasn’t ready to beat the Miami’s, Boston’s, and Orlando’s of the world. But then something awesome happened. We just kept winning. Our homegrown point guard just continued to amaze us, and before we knew it, he was the front runner to win the MVP. Different players kept hitting big shots for us in the big games. First it was Kyle Korver against Miami. Later, it was Deng’s turn against Miami. Then it was our center, Joakim Noah, defending and shutting down Lebron James on the final possession. And wouldn’t you know it, the Bulls were 3-0 against the team that had assembled itself to win “not one, not two, not three…. You get the idea…. Championships.”  We became the #1 seed in the East and then the #1 team in the NBA. We did it with teamwork. We did it with defense. We did it with clutch play. We did it with effort. We did it with our bench. We did it with great coaching. And we did it with #1. The league MVP who has a bigger heart than anyone on that Miami bench.

This is why we watch. This is why we stay with the team through thick and thin. This is why we continue to watch the team on a daily basis even when that means watching guys like Ron Mercer, Eddy Curry, Fred Hoiberg, and A.J Guyton. Because when things go good, it means all that much more to you. We’ve seen a million bandwagon jumpers every time a Chicago team makes the playoffs. We’re seeing it with the Bulls now. We saw it in embarrassing fashion last year with the Hawks. And we saw it in 05 with the White Sox and 03 with the Cubs. Well hold your heads high, true Bulls fans. The rest of this season is going to be why it means so much to us. We’re back in the Eastern Conference Finals and we’re playing the NBA’s biggest villains. It’s going to be an amazing series and I’m pumped. We’re playing a great team and it’s going to be tough but I believe in the Bulls. Win or lose, I’m proud of the way the team has played this year. GO BULLS!


Stat of the Day:


Probable Miami Starters:

G – Mike Bibby, 3.4 PPG

G – D’Wayne Wade, 26.2 PPG

F – Lebron James, 26.1 PPG

F – Chris Bosh, 16.3 PPG

C – Joel Anthony, 4.2 PPG

Probable Chicago Starters:

G – Derrick Rose, 28.8 PPG

G – Keith Bogans, 5.4 PPG

F – Luol Deng, 16.7 PPG

F – Carlos Boozer, 11.8 PPG

C – Joakim Noah, 9.9 PPG

Prediction:

Current Line: Chicago (-2), Over/Under 181

I really don’t know how this series is going to go. There are so many “ifs” in this series that make it tough to predict. I mentioned what I thought the “keys” were for the Bulls in my last post so I don’t need to rehash those. I think Loul with do a solid job guarding Lebron. Of course he won’t stop him, but hopefully he can make things tough for him. Bogans/Brewer on Wade isn’t an awful matchup (granted, I’d love to switch places with Miami on that one). The point is, I don’t think those guys are going to back down defensively. That being said, they still will need plenty of help and team defense will be key.

Offensively, I like the some of the matchups for our guys. Rose against Bibby and Chalmers is a matchup that I really like. However, I would expect Miami to switch Lebron on Derrick late, and I’ll be honest, that is a matchup that makes me nervous. Lebron’s length is tough for Derrick. Korver also has a much better matchup than he did against Atlanta. He will have a much bigger role than he had against Atlanta and he will have some nice games. Finally, I like Boozer and Taj against their bigs. They both came on strong in the final games of the Atlanta series and I’m hopeful that they will stay hot heading in to this game. We’ll need them.

The Bulls are playing at home, where they have a posted a dominant record all season long. It’s going to be a close game and we have an MVP closer in Derrick Rose. The Bulls have played their best basketball of the postseason the last 5 quarters of the Atlanta series. I’m hopeful they will stay hot. Bulls get game 1 in a thriller.

Bulls 88 Heat 86

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marco.radenkovich@gmail.com (Mike Loszach) May Sun, 15 May 2011 01:24:45 +0000
2011 Eastern Conference Finals – #1 Chicago Bulls vs. #2 Miami Heat http://www.hornstothehardwood.com/2011-articles/may/2011-eastern-conference-finals-1-chicago-bulls-vs-2-miami-heat.html http://www.hornstothehardwood.com/2011-articles/may/2011-eastern-conference-finals-1-chicago-bulls-vs-2-miami-heat.html

This post is meant to preview the entire series. It will be slightly different than the game preview threads that you see from me frequently on HTTH. You will see those threads for the postseason too, but this one is meant more to look at the entire series.

Regular Season Matchups

1/15/2011 – Heat 96 Bulls 99 (Rose CHI 34 pts, 8 ast)

2/24/2011- Heat 89 Bulls 93 (Deng CHI 20 pts, 10 reb, 5 ast)

3/6/2011 – Bulls 87 Heat 86 (Rose CHI 27 pts, 5 ast)

Chicago Regular Season Leaders:

Scoring: Derrick Rose (25.0 PPG, .445 FG%, 2026 PTS)

Assists: Derrick Rose (7.7 APG, 623 AST)

Rebounds: Joakim Noah (10.4 RPG, 498 REB)

Blocks: Joakim Noah (1.50 BLKPG, 72 BLK)

Steals: Ronnie Brewer (1.31 STLPG, 106 STL)

Miami Regular Season Leaders:

Scoring: Lebron James (26.7 PPG, .510 FG%, 2111 PTS)

Assists: Lebron James (7.0 APG, 554 AST)

Rebounds: Chris Bosh (8.3 RPG, 641 REB)

Blocks: Joel Anthony (1.24 BLKPG, 93 BLK)

Steals: Lebron James (1.57 STLPG, 124 STL)

2011 Team Stats

PPG: Bulls 98.6, Heat 102.1

RPG: Bulls 44.2, Heat 42.1

APG: Bulls 22.3, Heat 20.0

FG%: Bulls .462, Heat .481

FT%: Bulls .743, Heat .769

3PT%: Bulls .361, Heat .370

My Bulls Keys to the Series

  • Limit the Turnovers – If you let Miami run in transition, you’re going to get hurt. We need to be smart with the basketball and limit the turnovers. Also, we need to knock down our outside shots when we take them. Long rebounds can lead to fast breaks. Everybody needs to hustle back on defense following missed shots.
  • Rebound – This is an area where we should have an edge. Bosh is soft. Anthony only averaged 5.7 RPG. We need to try and keep Lebron off the glass too. But I think Joakim should get his hands on a lot of boards. We need the rest of our guys to really rebound the ball well. This is an area where we have to be successful to win the series.
  • Put the pressure on Miami – Nobody front runs like the Miami Heat. When things are going well, they’re head and shoulders above everyone else in the league. But in the past, when the going as gotten tough, they have struggled to respond. We’ve got the home court advantage, and that’s huge. We need to protect it. If you win Game 1, Miami gets a little nervous. If you win Game 2, Miami gets a lot nervous. Play them tough on the road. I still don’t think they’re great in close games. Keep the games close and maybe you can steal one late in Miami.
  • Role Players – They’re huge for the Bulls in this series. 1 through 3 Miami has a huge edge against us, but after that I think we have the huge edge. Our bench needs to be much better than their bench. I think this is a much better matchup for Korver than Atlanta was, and some other guys like Taj, Omer, and Bogans seemed to really come on at the end of that Atlanta series. They need to stay hot.

Prediction

Current Line (Series) – Miami -200, Chicago +170

Everybody and their mother on the National circuit are picking Miami. 12 of the 14 ESPN “experts” are picking Miami. I think it will be a very competitive series. There are so many variables in this series that are just so hard to call, but I think it will be a very entertaining series. There is value with the Bulls at +170, I’ll tell you that. In a close series like this Home Court Advantage is huge. The Bulls were 36-5 at home this season, don’t forget that. I’m picking with my heart in this one.

Chicago wins the series 4 games to 3.

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marco.radenkovich@gmail.com (Mike Loszach) May Fri, 13 May 2011 17:04:42 +0000
Eastern Conference Semifinals Game 5 (Series Tied 2-2) http://www.hornstothehardwood.com/2011-articles/may/eastern-conference-semifinals-game-5-series-tied-2-2.html http://www.hornstothehardwood.com/2011-articles/may/eastern-conference-semifinals-game-5-series-tied-2-2.html Game 4 sucked. I’m still upset about that game. The game was right there for the taking in the 4th quarter and the Bulls laid a giant egg. The bench play was terrible, Luol Deng didn’t show up, the defense allowed way to many dunks and layups, nobody but Derrick seemed interested in scoring, the refs didn’t do us any favors, and we even took a timeout we didn’t have. It was just an ugly, ugly end to a game. Thank goodness for the short turnaround because I need to move on from Game 4.

I loved Joakim’s comments right after the game. I’m too lazy to look it up and quote him exactly but he didn’t sugar coat it. He basically said that they got their rear ends kicked because they didn’t bring the intensity in Game 4. After Game 3 they got overconfident and played another bad basketball game. This is really getting old. I know this is a fairly young team, but come on guys. You should get it by now. In the postseason you have to bring it. You have to do things like keep Jeff Teague (who barely played in Round 1) out of the lane, make fast break layups, and play a little defense on Josh Smith so that he can be reminded that he sucks.

Obviously this is the biggest game of the season to date. Hopefully there will be several more bigger games in the next couple weeks, but if we don’t get this one that may not be the case. We’ll find out what the Bulls are made of. They are the better team. We saw in Game 3 just how much better they are. This game will be played at the United Center. They won 36 out of 41 regular season games in that arena. They need to come out and remind the Hawks who the better team is. And I’ll say it again… START FAST. The two games this postseason the Bulls started fast in? Game 5 vs. Indiana and Game 3 at. Atlanta. I don’t think it’s a coincidence that those were the two easiest wins of the postseason.

Like everyone and their mother has been saying all postseason long, we need more out of players that aren’t named Derrick Rose. Boozer played better on Sunday but a combination of foul trouble and poor defensive play limited him from having a great game. Luol Deng didn’t show up. We need a lot more out of him. Joakim was active but by now we know he isn’t much of a scorer. Everybody else on the team was terrible. Somebody needs to help us out. Korver and Bogans knocking down some shots would be huge. C.J needs to play better when he’s in there too so Thibs doesn’t have to play Derrick all game long again.

Stat of the Day:

Luol Deng and Kyle Korver were a combined 1-for-11 from 3 in Game 4.

Probable Atlanta Starters:

G – Jeff Teague, 11.5 PPG

G – Joe Johnson, 19.2 PPG

F – Marvin Williams, 5.5 PPG

F – Josh Smith, 14.7 PPG

C – Al Horford, 11.7 PPG

Probable Chicago Starters:

G – Derrick Rose, 29.4 PPG

G – Keith Bogans, 5.0 PPG

F – Luol Deng, 16.4 PPG

F – Carlos Boozer, 10.7 PPG

C – Joakim Noah, 10.9 PPG

Prediction:

Current Line: Chicago (-8.5), Over/Under 181

When you think about the fact that just about everyone but Derrick was pretty bad on Sunday and we we’re still right there midway through the 4th quarter is kind of encouraging. What are the odds everyone sucks again? Korver is going to knock down shots. Luol is going to play much better. The bench mob will bring the energy. And I can’t imagine the defense being so bad again. I’m nervous about this game, but when I think about it rationally the Bulls really should win it.

Bulls 91 Hawks 85


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marco.radenkovich@gmail.com (Mike Loszach) May Tue, 10 May 2011 03:50:34 +0000