Well Pippen Peoples, the Bulls get back into the saddle tonight trying to bounce back from the Toronto Raptors earlier in the week. It’s no rest for the weary and the more the opponents change, the problems stay the same. The Bulls are going to have to find a way to start taking care of their home court. The advantage has gone to anyone that walks into the United Center these days to a 1-6 record in the last 7 games for the Bulls. For a team that is on the outside of the playoff race looking in, this is not the blueprint for success.
If you have not seen the Celtics lately you will see that this is not your Daddy’s Celtics or your brother’s, nephew’s, ex-girlfriend’s or the dog named Spike’s Celtics. Boston is in an unapologetic rebuilding mode. Gone are Coach Doc Rivers who didn’t feel like dealing with the reconstruction. Gone are Kevin Garnett and Paul Pierce who got traded with single engine plane Jason Terry to Brooklyn. (If you’ve seen Jason Terry play this year in Brooklyn you will know that the “Jet” has ran out of fuel.) Rajon Rondo is still out rehabbing a ACL injury to his knee. Still they have treaded water very admirably at 13-18. You might look at the record and see something different, but don’t be fooled. This team was openly accused of tanking to get a high lottery pick. New coach Brad Stevens has done a masterful job of working with players that you will not see next year. They play hard and stay competitive.
The key to the Bulls tonight is simple. They need to make shots. Gerald Wallace, Kris Humphries, Brandon Bass along with Jared Sullinger clean the backboard. If the Bulls want to continue to shoot like they have recently, they may never see a rebound. Carlos Boozer is going to have to come back from his night off against the Raptors to play better. Missing your first seven shots is not going to get it tonight. Boozer will have to make a positive impact tonight if the Bulls want to win. Jimmy Butler will have to get points on the board as well. Not only because the Bulls obviously need it but because he needs to cancel out Jeff Green and his scoring impact. Luol Deng has an iffy Achilles. Even if he plays, he is still trying to get his rhythm and legs back accustomed to a NBA game. Don’t consider Deng as the quick fix, because he is not. This will take a team effort.
The backcourt has been documented as an issue for the Bulls. It does not get any easier. Boston will bring out Avery Bradley who is starting to get very comfortable at the point guard position. He struggled mightily last year to the point that his confidence waned a bit. That has not been a problem this year. He’s big and quick. The Bulls need to pay attention to him. Jordan Crawford can flat out score. The Bulls cannot let him get off tonight. He is capable of giving you 30 points if that three starts falling. Kirk Hinrich and DJ Augustin will need to come together and stop penetration from the point guard slot and make shots on the other end. I’ve been saying for a while that the Bulls might need to speed the game up. This is not the game to start. If the Bulls get into an up and down game with these guys, Boston will run them out of the gym.
Finally, the bench will have to make an impact. Boston has the advantage. The aforementioned Gerald Wallace and Kris Humphries are work-horses. How hard do they work. Boston had to tell Gerald to stop calling the team out for being selfish and not playing hard earlier in the year. I actually like that because he is an old school type of player. He believes everyone should play hard and should play to win. If the Bulls don’t have this same mentality, they will lose.
Tags: Chicago Bulls