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Posts Tagged ‘New Jersey Nets’

Chicago Bulls Commit A COLOSSAL Blunder Tonight

Posted by sportsmaven on April 18, 2007

I can’t even begin to explain how disappointed I am in the performance of the Chicago Bulls tonight. The game just ended and I am completely stunned that the Bulls lost to what I consider a very beatable New Jersey Nets team. This game was billed as the most important game of the post-Michael Jordan Bulls and this team came out flat tonight. Flat, listless, without energy on the defensive end of the floor and it will now cost the Bulls dearly. The Bulls fell from the 2nd seed and a series with the Washington Wizards to the 5th seed and a series with the Miami Heat. IF the Bulls somehow make it past that series, they will most likely face the Detroit Pistons in the next round. This is not the formula for success in the NBA Playoffs.

Bulls Lose to Nets

(AP Photo/Bill Kostroun)

I believe that the Bulls failed the most colossal test tonight that all high seed playoff teams learn and that is how to win the big game. It appears that the Bulls have still not learned that lesson. The psychological damage that tonight’s loss will leave a huge scar on the Bulls psyche. Big enough that the Bulls are most likely facing a one and done situation yet again, which is what I am predicting for this team.  And if that happens, yet another season down the drain…….

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SportsMaven Returns With A Flourish — Chicago Bulls Crush the Washington Wizards

Posted by sportsmaven on April 16, 2007

Hello loyal readers! The SportsMaven is back from a break and ready to catch you up on all things Chicago sports! In my absence, a lot of things have happened in the Chicago sports world, but I wanted to kick off my return post beginning with the Chicago Bulls. I attended today’s Chicago Cubs game against the Cincinnati Reds this afternoon. I actually attended the entire three game series this weekend, but today’s game was on one of Wrigleyville’s famous rooftops (thanks to the folks at Beyond the Ivy). More to come on the Cubs, but one of the cool things about going to a rooftop game is the fact that I was able to watch both the Cubs game live and the Chicago Bulls play the fading Washington Wizards in an all important game for the #2 seed in the Eastern Conference.

bulls-beat-wizards-4-15-07.jpg

I’m happy to note that the Bulls looked OUTSTANDING again today. They are peaking at the exact right time of the season. After today’s 101-68 blowout of the Washington Wizards, the Bulls are on track to finish their season with 50 wins and the #2 seed in the Eastern Conference. The beauty of the situation is that the Bulls are getting better and better as the season goes on. With each passing day, the Bulls are proving that they are a strong contender for the Eastern Conference championship and a shot at the NBA Title.

A win on Wednesday against the New Jersey Nets will seal the #2 seed in the East and a date most likely against the same Nets team or possibly the Wizards, who are in a free fall and predicted to be a quick exit from this year’s post-season. I LOVE the Bulls chances to get to the Finals this season. The Eastern Conference is wide open and the Bulls have beaten the conference’s top team, the Detroit Pistons three of four games this season. If all things hold true, look for a classic Bulls-Pistons matchup that has more sub-plots and drama than a good Shaquille O’Neal – Kobe Bryant feud.

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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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Chicago Bulls Limp Into All-Star Break

Posted by sportsmaven on February 15, 2007

I wanted to write this post last night immediately after the Chicago Bulls game ended last night, but I decided to wait before expressing what I thought about the Bulls performance and the loss to the Charlotte Bobcats, 100-85. The Bobcats are one of the league’s worst teams, entering the game with an 18-33 record. Again, I note that this is a team that the Bulls should beat 9 times out of 10, but the problem is that when the Bulls plays these teams, they tend to play them on the 10th time, typically getting saddled with a loss.

Bulls Lose to Bobcats, 100-85
(AP Photo/Rick Havner)

The Chicago Bulls are not playing with a lot of confidence at this point and are limping into the all-star break on a low ebb. Even teams like the Charlotte Bobcats, on any given day when your confidence is low, can take the wood to you. Now, I know that the Bulls flight was delayed due to weather in Chicago and they didn’t get to their hotel until 3am, but that is how life in the NBA works. Life poses situations where it’s not always ideal and cozy. It’s called adversity and the Bulls are getting it in large doses. Yes, it would have been nice to get into town earlier, especially after coming off a the first night of a back to back situation. It would have been nice for the Bulls to get their rest, do their shoot around and be mentally and physically in peak performance for a game against a weak opponent like the Bobcats, but the Bulls again, came out sluggish and forgot how to play defense and gave less than maximum effort, from all appearances.

The margin of error for the Bulls is very small. They cannot afford to take nights off, even against weak teams. They are simply not that good that they can turn it on and off and cruise to victory after victory, yet this is how they approach key games in their season. The Bulls need to win as many games as they can against the weaker opponents in the league and yet they don’t. Their record against quality opponents is actually pretty good, as I outlined in an earlier post at the beginning of the week. It’s games like the Bobcats loss that could make or break a season, especially in a weak Eastern Conference. This is very reminiscent of the NFC vs. AFC in the NFL. The Bulls could emerge from the weak Eastern Conference and to face any number of stronger teams from the Western Conference and get swept out of the NBA Finals, like the Chicago Bears in the Super Bowl. (Although, unlike the Bears, the Bulls are not the class of the conference)

Another thing to note, the Bulls were snubbed once again when G Joe Johnson of the Atlanta Hawks was named as a replacement for injured G Jason Kidd of the New Jersey Nets for the 2007 All Star Game this Sunday in Las Vegas. Not to discount Joe Johnson’s production or resume (he is scoring 25.1 ppg this season, but for a team with a 21-31 record.) This should be a wake up call for the Bulls, who have some decent talent on their team, but no real breakout talent (although I believe Luol Deng is developing into breakout talent. He must develop more consistency, but he beginning to do that on a nightly basis now.) Whatever is ailing this team needs to be fixed immediately and the All-Star Break is a good place to start that deep reflecting.

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Chicago Bulls Crush The Hapless Phoenix Suns?

Posted by sportsmaven on February 12, 2007

Our road weary Chicago Bulls finished their 7 game road trip on a very strong note by beating the Phoenix Suns 116-103 tonight. I was shocked to see that this was the Suns first double digit loss this season, after 51 games played. This bested the record of longest streaks to start a season without a double-digit setback held by the 1995-96 Chicago Bulls record of 45 games.

Bulls Beat Suns 1Bulls Beat Suns 2
(AP Photo/Tom Hood)

Of course, the Suns were playing without G Steve Nash and F Boris Diaw, which makes playing this game a bit easier, but the Suns still rolled out a strong lineup with Amare Stoudamire and Leandro Barbosa each racking up 26 points. Amare also had 10 boards to go along with those points. The Bulls came out HUGE tonight with Kirk Hinrich scoring 29 points, and Luol Deng having another monster night with 29 points and 12 rebounds. Ben Gordon added 27 points. Tyrus Thomas also started the game tonight, scoring 9 points and grabbing 4 rebounds. This win was a bit of a shocker to me. This is a good Phoenix Suns team and the Bulls were coming off very poor losses to the Sacramento Kings and Golden State Warriors and playing 3 games in the last 4 nights.

Another couple of factoids for this game: G Jalen Rose played 6 minutes and scored 3 points in this game, his average for the season. This was Jalen’s second game in the last 15 the Phoenix Suns have played. Also, this game marked a reunion of another ex-Bull, G Eric Piatkowski. Eric logged a DNP – CD (Did Not Play – Coaches Decision for those acronomically challenged). Eric has played exactly 1 game this season for the Suns, 4 minutes on 11/11. This guy must be worn out from those tough Phoenix practices that wore out Tim Thomas last season.

This is yet another maddening chapter in this season’s version of the Chicago Bulls. The inconsistency of this team is unbelievable. If they ever put it together, get some consistent scoring, and play at another level offensively, this team is a leading contender in the Eastern Conference. The Bulls have beaten the Dallas Mavericks, San Antonio Spurs, Detroit Pistons, Miami Heat twice, Washington Wizards, and the Los Angeles Lakers, all strong playoff contenders. Their losses? They have lost to the Philadelphia76ers, Sacramento Kings twice, the Minnesota Timberwolves, the New York Knicks, and the New Jersey Nets twice, blowing 18 point leads in both those losses. All these teams are well under .500. Consistency, consistency, where are you, consistency?

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