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Posts Tagged ‘Luol Deng’

Chicago Bulls Pull One Out On The Detroit Pistons

Posted by sportsmaven on May 13, 2007

Game 4 of the Chicago BullsDetroit Pistons playoff series was about one thing, and one thing only: Did the Bulls have any heart? I think the answer to that question was a resounding yes. As we have been reminded time and time again, no team in NBA history has come back from a 3-0 deficit to win a playoff series. None, nada, zippo. Heck, teams with a 3-1 defecit have come back to win the series a total of 8 times in 162 tries. So, nearly impossible?  Today’s 102-87 victory over the Pistons is a good start.
Bulls Beat Pistons 102-87

(AP Photo/Nam Y. Huh)

Logic is telling me that the Bulls will meet their demise in Game 5 of this series, as the locale moves back to Detroit, but there is a growing part of me that thinks, “Someone has to be the first team to win a series being down 3-0, why not the Bulls?” So what will it take for the Bulls to win this series? Well, frankly, a miracle, but miracles do happen, but the Bulls need more. They need to:

1. Keep moving through the Pistons zone defense – The Bulls did this quite effectively today, but inexplicably, they stopped doing it during most of the 4th quarter. When they stopped being aggressive with their cuts, Detroit came back. Same thing happened in Game 3, and before we knew it, 19 point lead and the game were history.

2. Limit turnovers – The Bulls must drastically limit the amount of turnovers, with the main culprit being G Kirk Hinrich. Hinrich’s drive and dump passes have been sloppy, with the Pistons taking advantage to run their limited fast breaks. The Bulls did much better today in limiting the amount of devistating turnovers, and will need to continue this trend to have a chance.

3.  Ben Gordon, Hinrich, and Luol Deng need stellar performances — not one of the three, not two of the three, but all three need to step up and lead for this team to have a chance.  Deng dropped 25 pts. on the Pistons today with Hinrich and Gordon netting 19 each.  If the Bulls can get the same amount of production from their Big 3, that will go a long way towards getting back in this series.  If even one falters, go get the golf clubs.

4.  Play with energy, emotion, and intensity for 48 minutes – this is the Tyrus Thomas  rule, for he is the only Chicago Bull that has faithfully followed this rule whenever he steps on the court.  The Bulls need to, at minimum, match the Pistons intensity and more like exceed their intensity and energy to have a fighting chance.  The Bulls came out today and did that for most of the 48 minutes today.  They will have to continue this trend to continue playing on…

5.  Play for today, don’t look beyond today’s game — have to take it game by game, even quarter by quarter.  Small victories, win each quarter.  Look beyond any of that and y0u are dead in the water…..

So maybe the Bulls don’t have a chance, but maybe they do.  Which team will show up in Detroit on Tuesday.  The Bulls have nothing to lose at this point, so play all out and play hard.  Don’t leave anthing on the court.  That’s how you get back into the series.  It’s not going to be easy, but nothing worthwhile ever is….

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Chicago Bulls Win Again In the Drive To 50 Wins

Posted by sportsmaven on March 26, 2007

It may be highly improbable that the Chicago Bulls win 50 games this season, but it’s not for lack of effort if it doesn’t happen. The Bulls played tough defense tonight and got a great scoring game from F Luol Deng tonight in beating the visiting Portland Trail Blazers, 100-89.

Bulls Win Again Vs. Portland Trail Blazers

(AP Photo/M. Spencer Green)

A couple of things to note from tonight’s game:

1. A New Bulls Scoring Machine: F Luol Deng had a career scoring night with 38 points. This is a good sign that Deng’s game is peaking as the Bulls drive to a first round home court advantage in the playoffs.

2. Big Ben Tolls: C Ben Wallace had 16 rebounds and played all over tonight. He looked pretty good. He will be announcing tomorrow at Steve & Barry’s in Mt. Prospect, IL that he will be launching a new $15 basketball shoe a’la Stephon Marbury. I knew I liked this guy’s game both on and off the court.

3. Defensive once again: The trademark Bulls defense made a guest appearance tonight, forcing 22 Trail Blazer turnovers, 7 steals, and 6 blocked shots. The close your eyes Bulls defense also made a guest appearance, allowing the Blazers to shoot 52.5% from the field, 50% from three point land, and narrowly outrebounding the Blazers 39-37. The game was tied late into the third quarter until the Bulls pulled away late. The Bulls gave away a 14 point lead at one point tonight.

4. Duel of the Rookies: LaMarcus Aldridge had a very nice game for the Trail Blazers. His line: 34 minutes 20 points, 8 rebounds, 1 steal, 0 free throws. He hit some nice jumpers and showed some strong moves to the basket, possibly letting the Bulls know what they were missing by trading him to Portland for Tyrus Thomas. As for Thomas, 22 minutes, 2 points, 4 rebounds, 2 assists, 3 blocks — decent, but not spectacular by any means. Thomas is a work in progress, although I like what he is showing now and his playing time is increasing.

The Bulls are barely winning games, but that’s not all that bad. This team needs to learn how to win the close games because for the most part, the NBA Playoffs are all about fairly evenly matched talented teams. Close game experience will be key in the playoffs and the Bulls are getting a ton of it now. Keep it coming. At 42-30 with 10 games to go, the Bulls need to finish 8-2 for the 50 win plateau.

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Chicago Bulls Absorb Yet Another Terrible Loss

Posted by sportsmaven on March 21, 2007

Tonight, I was able to watch most of the Chicago Bulls game versus the Los Angeles Clippers and at the end, I was not sure exactly what happened or why the Bulls lost to this sub-.500 team that is barely in playoff contention in the NBA’s Western Conference. All after the previous day, Scott Skiles lit into this team for potentially being too young not to recognize that good playoff teams that have title aspirations need to win games like this game and the Memphis game on Saturday night.

Bulls Absorb Yet Another Terrible Loss
(AP Photo/M. Spencer Green)

The Bulls team that I watch mystified me in many ways tonight. First off, G Ben Gordon had an off night, which happens to players over the course of an 6-8 pre-season games, 82 regular season games, and if you’re lucky, more than a few playoff games. What I didn’t see is Ben Gordon adjusting his game, contributing in other significant ways, attacking the basket when his jump shot left him. Ben Gordon didn’t step up tonight and that was one of the reasons the Bulls are sitting at home wondering what happened.

Another reason to look back upon is the sloppy play, too many turnovers once again, and virtually no defense played, especially in the 4th quarter. Coach Scott Skiles virtually implied that the Bulls didn’t follow the game plan, which is absolutely amazing to me at this point in the season. The Bulls are a talented team, but will only go as far as their defense takes them. The lapses in these past two games, including losing at home tonight to a Clippers team that won only 9 road games all season, is inexcusible. Was it only 3 days ago that F Luol Deng made his now infamous proclamation that the Bulls could win every remaining game on their schedule? I believe since that comment was made, the Bulls haven’t won a SINGLE game, losing to the dregs of the NBA. The Bulls goal of a 50-win season seems far fetched. They wil have to finish 11-2 to do that. Avoid double digit losses at home? The Bulls will have to go 7-0 in their remaining home games to accomplish that.

My suggestion for the Bulls is tighten up that defense and play hard for 48 minutes. The Bulls looked like they tried to turn it on and off in this game and they are not nearly good enough a team to do that. The Bulls were terribly dominated in the 4th quarter of this game. They gave up 20+ points to three different players on the Clippers. They lost a chance to pick up a game on the Cleveland Cavaliers in the standings in the quest for home court advantage. Now they face a dangerous Denver Nuggets team on Thursday at the United Center. The end of this season gets tougher and tougher….

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Chicago Bulls Welcome Chandler Back With Open (More Like Closed) Arms

Posted by sportsmaven on March 4, 2007

Last night was Tyson Chandler’s first game in Chicago since he was traded by the Bulls to the New Orleans/Oklahoma City Hornets during the past offseason. Believe it or not, Tyson is actually giving Kevin Garnett a run for the NBA rebounding title this season averaging 12.2 rpg this season. He also entered last night’s game with 10 double doubles — not for the season, but in a row. That’s impressive production for a guy who couldn’t do a thing last season for the Bulls. Glad Tyson is finally thriving, now he just needs to learn to shut up and play basketball and he wouldn’t be so misunderstood or misquoted in his interviews. By the way, is it just me, or are the Hornets trying to rebuild with former Chicago Bulls during the Bill Cartwright/Jerry Krause heyday loaded their roster with ex-Bulls Jannero Pargo, Linton Johnson III, in addition to Chandler. This can’t be a good sign for the depth of the Hornets bench.

Tyson Chandler Returns to ChicagoChicago Bulls Kirk Hinrich Torches Hornets
(AP Photo/Nam Y. Huh)

Tyson did pretty well last night for Tyson, scoring 10 points and grabbing 13 rebounds, statistically outplaying Bulls C Ben Wallace. Tyson did get to watch his three former amigos, Ben Gordon, Kirk Hinrich, and Luol Deng put up 27, 22, and 24 points respectively in the Bulls 104-93 win. The other notable of the game was that F Tyrus Thomas of the Bulls logged his 4th start of the season and finished with a decent line of 10 points, 7 rebounds, 3 blocks and a not so good 7 turnovers. He did have the sequence of the game though with a second quarter shot block followed by a one handed flying jam on the other end. I like that the Bulls are giving Tyrus Thomas a chance to play more, even to start, looking more and more like F Michael Sweetney is a goner at the end of the season.

One final note, providing a little bit of reality as a reminder of the past, Tyson did attempt a one handed jam with 44.2 seconds left in the game — and whiffed. Now that’s the Tyson I know and remember. Thanks for the memories, big guy.

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Chicago Bulls Bring Big Ben Back to Detroit

Posted by sportsmaven on February 26, 2007

It was a homecoming of sorts for Ben Wallace yesterday in a rare afternoon matinee as the Chicago Bulls fell to the Detroit Pistons 95-93. The Bulls had a 16 point lead in the third quarter, but as history has reared it’s ugly head, the Bulls have blown yet another 2nd half double digit lead (note the 2 18 point leads lost in back to back games against the New Jersey Nets eariler this season). This game had all I love and hate about the NBA and pro basketball. The love: good intense physical basketball with two solid contenders in the Central Division, good mix of athletic, inside/outside play and a good matchup. What I hate: Chris Webber getting away with a blatant push to put back the game winner ( I didn’t realize that Chris Webber got the same respect from the refs as say a Kobe Bryant), the Bulls allowing Detroit 20 offensive rebounds (any one of which cost them this game) and the fact that Ben Gordon still can’t hit a game winner (4th one he’s missed as of late).

Ben Wallace Returns to Detroit
(AP Photo/Gary Malerba)

This game, shown to a national television audience, shows how far apart the Bulls and Pistons are as the class of the Eastern Conference. The Pistons seem like they haven’t missed a beat in losing C Ben Wallace, while the Bulls haven’t closed much ground in acquiring Wallace. The Bulls were content to let the trade deadline pass without making a deal, which I believe was the smart thing to do given the outrageously high price that the Memphis Grizzlies put on C Pau Gasol and the apparent unavailability of Minnesota Timberwolves C Kevin Garnett. F Luol Deng is emerging as a budding superstar in his 3rd year in the NBA and he definitely would have been a part of a Garnett trade scenario, but wisely, wasn’t part of a Gasol scenario.

The Bulls are on pace to finish between 44 and 47 victories this season, which would probably put them between a 4 and 6 seed in the Eastern Conference playoffs. The New York Knicks have been playing improved basketball as of late, so their pick may just fall out of the lottery. This offseason will be key for the future direction of the Bulls. They need an inside scoring threat/skilled big man to move to the next level….will it be too late?

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