- vs. NYK W 110-103 – The Knicks controlled the game for most of the night, but a 15-0 run by the Bulls in the 4th helped them overcome a mediocre game for the win. Kirk came off the bench and added 25 points. Gordon, Kirk and D-Rose combined for 60 points. Salmons had a great all around game scoring 19 points, 6 rebounds, 6 assists and 5 steals. Tyrus had 4 blocks and 18 points, but most notably had only 6 rebounds. While he is playing well, he is going to need to keep guys like David Lee (13 rebounds) off the glass in order for the Bulls to steal a game or two in the playoffs.
- vs. PHI W 113-99 – Yes! While Tyrus still was not crashing the glass like he should be, he is finally attacking the basket. He went to the line an astounding 14 times and converted on all 14 attempts. The Bulls were 2.5 games behind Philly for the 6 seed going into this game, but with the win and the subsequent Philly loss to Cleveland the next night put the Bulls just 1 game back. The Bulls defense has looked especially suspect down the stretch here, allowing nearly a triple-double for Iguodala on this night. Thankfully the offense is clicking on all cylinders, and not just from hot shooting as in years past. Regardless of anything else this was Tyrus’s night, and if he can play with this sort of attack the basket mentality the Bulls will be very dangerous.
- vs. CHA W 113-106 – At some point the realization that the Bulls have been playing mediocre basketball, but feeding off the crowd against bad teams has led to some wins. It’s a good thing that they are able to win at home, but victories like this do not make us good. It just means they aren’t as bad as the competition. Gordon is definitely playing his best contract year basketball, pouring in 39 points on 25 shots. Ready for some Deja Vu? After playing uninspired basketball for the first 3.5 quarters, the Bulls went on a 10-0 run to put the Bobcats away. Rose also contributed 22 points and 7 assists, and in one of the strangest almost-triple-doubles ever, Joakim Noah (no joke) had 11 points, 10 rebounds, and 7 assists. One question: Who was covering Boris Diaw? I know he’s a tough matchup, but he should not be scorching the Bulls to the tune of 24 points.
Player of the Week – Ben Gordon
It was a tough call this week. Everyone contributed offensively and was just okay defensively. Hinrich came through against the Knicks, Rose and Salmons had steady weeks, and Tyrus had that great game against Philly. But Ben’s 26.7 points, 5 rebounds and 4.5 three-pointers per game were just overwhelming statistically. He is going to get paid this summer, and unfortunately I don’t think it will be the Bulls paying him.
What it Means
Basically it comes down to this. The Bulls can either play the Cavs, Celtics, or Magic in the first round. They are tied with the 76ers for the 6th seed, and if the Bulls can pass them, that would pit them against the Magic. If they can hang onto the 7 seed they will play the C’s. Obviously the worst-case scenario would be a matchup with the Cavs, where we all assume LeBron would eat them up. I personally subscribe to the theory that an old, tired Boston team would give the Bulls a better chance to steal a few games. Most people want to see the Magic, but I think they are underestimating how badly the Bulls match up with Orlando. Howard eats them up inside and even though the Bulls guardplay has the edge, Hedo and Rashard spread the defense out too much. Regardless the Bulls are great at home and should be able to win at least 1 game against any of those teams.
The Bulls only have two games remaining. The crucial matchup at the Palace against the Pistons will probably determine whether the Bulls are a 6, 7, or 8 seed. Then they wrap it up against Toronto at home, which should spell victory for the home-loving Bulls.
Bulls Weekly Grade: A
Fine, they can have an A for winning all three, but it wasn’t against anyone good and they didn’t play all that great. It would be nice to see them gain some steam in the last week instead of winning softballs against crappy teams.