Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Bulls Game 1 Preview & Links

For some reason I am busy with school this week, perhaps because there is only about 1 month until final exams ... so I don't have a lot of time to preview game 1. I don't think anyone will be shocked to hear that I am picking the Bulls to win and get off to a 1-0 start on their way to 48 wins this year.

The new-look/revamped/healthy Spurs are not an ideal opponent for game 1, but these young, high-energy Bulls should be amped on the home floor. I am hoping to see Deng and TT step up while Rose is working his way back from the ankle injury, but facing Richard Jefferson and Timmy D makes that somewhat unlikely. Even with that, I won't be swayed.The Spurs are coming in on the 2nd night of a back-to-back, so I have the Bulls coming out with a big W.

The rest of the first couple months will be tough, and we might head into 2010 5-7 games below .500, but we will have a winning record for at least for one night early in the season.

Why the Bulls will not make the playoffs

Are the Bulls better than a year ago when they finished seventh in the conference and lost an epic series against Boston in the first round?


The bigger question: Did other teams in their conference get better?

Most definitely.

The Bulls need to keep Derrick Rose on the floor in the clutch

I know, I'm not Tex Winter.

The only triangle I know is the "Viagra Triangle" at State and Rush.

But ...

I do know that Derrick Rose should always be on the floor during crunch time of any Bulls game.

Not understanding this, defensive philosophy breakdowns and clock/game management issues earned Vinny Del Negro a spot in my doghouse last season.

I'm willing to give VDN a second chance. As we interviewed Del Negro on Tuesday, I was wearing my Bulls cap. I want this team to win and can't wait for the season to start.

As we wrapped up the interview, I was honestly just trying to joke around with Del Negro about Rose playing late in games.

He obviously is still sensitive about this. After all, his then-GM John Paxson also was publicly critical of his handling of Rose.

Chicago Bulls' Derrick Rose more upbeat about ankle

With apologies to Jannero Pargo, who didn't practice much Tuesday, Bulls fans are more concerned about Derrick Rose, who did.

Rose participated in his third straight full practice and sounded his most upbeat thus far about the inflamed tendon in his right ankle.

"I'm feeling more comfortable," Rose said. "My ankle isn't really hurting. I didn't have to warm up as much to get it loose. We ran a lot, and I was feeling good."

Coach Vinny Del Negro wouldn't guess how many minutes he would play Rose in Thursday night's season opener against the Spurs. And he conceded Rose's explosiveness isn't fully evident yet.

Pippen: Lakers can make run at 72

The Chicago Bulls' NBA-record 72-win season is a seemingly unapproachable mark. Since the Bulls accomplished the feat in 1995-96, only three teams have reached 67 wins and only one, the '96-97 Bulls, has cracked 69.

There is one member of that record-setting Bulls team, however, who believes there is a team equipped to make a run at it this season.

"The Lakers have a chance," Scottie Pippen said. "They have the luxury of a young center like [Andrew] Bynum, a young power like [Pau] Gasol and even Josh Powell is a guy who deserves minutes. They have a lot of depth. If anybody can challenge [the record], it's them."

The parallels between the two teams are eerily similar. Like Pippen's Bulls, the Lakers have a dominant superstar (Kobe Bryant), a dynamic No. 2 (Gasol) and a bevy of talented role players (Lamar Odom, Bynum, Derek Fisher). They have the same serene, rarely rattled coach who prides himself on his ability to handle oversized egos. And like Chicago, L.A. also has an intriguing wild card, a talented-but-troubled star capable of making or breaking its season. For the Bulls, it was Dennis Rodman; for the Lakers, it's Ron Artest.

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