The Bulls got a pretty good idea of where they are in the pecking order in the NBA last night. Basically to quote Dennis Green, “They are who we thought they were” or what their record indicates. Right in the middle. Based on that 112-95 beat-down the LA Clippers put on them last night, it tells us that the Bulls are not contenders…yet. They are going to have to upgrade the roster to run with the OKC’s or the Miami’s of the world. Tonight, the Bulls do not have to worry about that. Tonight, DJ Augustin goes back to his old stomping grounds to play against the team that drafted him, the Charlotte Bobcats.
Tonight is very important game for the Bulls. With the loss last night, Chicago dropped to the sixth seed in the Leastern Conference. They are tied with the Washington Wizards record-wise, but the Wizards have won the season series. Chicago cannot get complacent here. Believe it or not, the Charlotte Bobcats are the 8th seed in the standings. Plus with the Brooklyn Nets playing well in 2014, a loss could put the Bulls in a bind.
The Bobcats last night were witness to Carmelo Anthony scoring 4 points short of an “Oil Company” on them, 62 points. I was befuddled watching this team refusing to double team this guy. By the time they started double teaming him, it was too late. It will be interesting to see how the Bobcats respond. Without Kemba Walker, the Bobcats will struggle to score in the backcourt. Ramon Sessions has done a fine job filling in for Walker, but he should be no problem. Al Jefferson will be the focus of the Bulls defense. The man is a walking double-double. Joakim Noah, Carlos Boozer and Taj Gibson will have to keep him off the block and make him work for his points.
On the offensive end, the Bulls cannot come out the gate slowly. They need to execute their offense and get the ball down low. Get Jefferson in foul trouble. If that happens, this game is a blowout. Bismack Byombo, is still a project and plays like it. He can get in foul trouble as well. The Bulls need to amp up the pressure, turn the Bobcats over and get easy baskets. Carlos Boozer should have a field day against the front-line of the Bobcats. If he does as well as he did against Blake Griffin and Co., he should have a double-double tonight. The Bulls ran off to a big lead in Chicago, but fell asleep for a while and let the Bobcats back in the game in the second half. They can’t afford this tonight on the road.
The Bobcats just do not have enough weapons to win this game. Tom Thibodeau made it clear that he was unhappy with the defensive effort against the Clippers. I see him being more satisfied tonight. Bulls win easily.