Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Click-a-Bull (Random NBA and Bulls Links)

Get your tickets now for FestaBulls at the Shedd Aquarium on March 8

Fans will get to mingle and dine with their favorite Bulls’ players and legends while also enjoying all the exhibits and aquatic life at the Shedd Aquarium

Order now! Buy your FestaBulls tickets online! | Download the FestaBulls order form
Also: View the 2010 FestaBulls event itinerary

Tickets for the most anticipated charity dinner auction in Chicago are now on sale. The 21st annual FestaBulls, presented by Verizon Wireless, will be held in the evening on Monday, March 8 at a new location – the Shedd Aquarium!

This year, fans will get to mingle and dine with their favorite Bulls’ players and legends while also enjoying all the exhibits and aquatic life at the Shedd Aquarium. You’ll also have the chance to own a piece of sports history by purchasing one of the many valuable items up for bid in the live and silent auctions. Tickets are $250 each. Each guest will receive gifts from both the Bulls and the Shedd Aquarium. Additionally, VIP tickets which include an exclusive pre-event reception with players, coaches and Bulls legends are also on sale.

Click here to make a donation or purchase tickets online: FestaBulls 2009 Tickets

You may also make your reservations by calling 312.455.4122 or e-mailing

Pivot Points: Is Stephen Curry an Improved Version of Steve Nash?

Golden State Warriors coach Don Nelson made a statement about his rookie point guard Stephen Curry, saying that Curry reminded him of one of his former players, Phoenix Suns point guard Steve Nash, and I was struck by the accuracy in the comment.

I had never given it much thought, but Curry and Nash are about the same height, around 6'3", they both love to play the game at a quick tempo, and they both have deadly range on their perfect-form jumpers.

While their games are very similar, there are a few areas where they differ. There are also a few areas where a distinct advantage is held by one or the other.

For one, there is not much argument as to the superiority of Nash's court vision, because he is one of the best decision makers on the fly, possibly in the history of the game.

The beauty of Nash's game is seen in full rhythm on the brink of transition, where Nash is able to survey the floor and seemingly predict where his teammates will be before the no-look pass leaves his hands.

Simply poetry in motion. The time he has spent refining his outside game is admirable too, as Nash is comfortable pulling up in transition or coming off screens to get his shot.

And Nash is accurate, always hovering around 50 percent from the field and the three-point line, which is amazing considering he gets his fair share of shots and has the ball in his hands so often.

Curry may not have Nash's vision, but for a rookie point guard responsible for directing the Warriors' chaotic attack, he's doing a pretty good job and the ceiling appears quite high for the young player.

This has less to do with my fantasy team, and more to do with the fact that the NBA has a younger, more-likable superstar than LeBron. Everyone take note!
That's Durant with a capital 'D'
Kevin Durant's phenomenal improvement on defense has been one of the most consequential stories of the first half of the season. It is the single biggest factor in the Thunder's rapid elevation from doormat to playoff contender. And it heralds Durant's transition from a volume scorer with loads of potential into a genuine star who one day could become the most important player on a championship team.

Just a few months ago, the book on Durant was that he was a wonderfully potent offensive player and a disaster on defense. He also became something of a lightning rod in the ongoing debate over how to measure and judge a player's performance. Because he scored with such seemingly effortless, silky athleticism, he was especially attractive to fans who favor emotional impressions of what they see over calibrated statistics on the page. And because this point-making dynamo cost his team more on defense than he delivered on offense, stat geeks wanted to puncture his hype.

But Durant has made that a moot debate this season. By any measure, the guy has suddenly become a stalwart individual and team defender. For those who prefer visual evidence, consider Monday's game against the Knicks. In one sequence, Durant left his man, Danilo Gallinari, to intercept a pass on the wing, only to discover that he'd fallen for a fake and the pass was going to Gallinari for a three-pointer in the corner. He stopped in his tracks, wheeled around and leaped, up and sidewise, far enough to block Gallinari's quick-release jumper. Gallinari, who came into the game averaging 14.5 points, was shut out (on 0-for-7 shooting) in 32 minutes.

The statistical evidence is just as dramatic. To appreciate what a huge difference Durant has made, we need to compare this season to his first two years in the league. First, the statistics show that while his impact on his team's offensive performance was negligible during those first two seasons, his club's defense suffered whenever he was on the court.

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Dirk in Pictures.

Taj Gibson is hurting

Bulls fans who want to see Tyrus Thomas back in the starting lineup may get their wish pretty soon…but not necessarily on his own merits. Taj Gibson is suffering from a case of plantar fasciitis.

And here we all thought the Bulls were finally healthy.

After Taj sat out of practice yesterday, Vinny Del Negro said: “He going to go see the doctor today and get some therapy. He’s feeling a little bit better, but that plantar fasciitis is bothering him a little bit, and he’ll get some treatment on it.”

There’s no word yet as to whether Taj will miss any time.

Said Del Negro: “Let’s see how he feels [Wednesday]. I’d like to get him some practice in [Wednesday] before we get up to Boston.”

That would be nice.

Perhaps sensing the need to fluff Tyrus in case he’s called on to start, Vinny also said: “Tyrus played well (Monday against the Pistons) and had a good practice (Tuesday) too. He was under control. I loved his activity.”

Just say “No-ah” to “Knee-Mac”:
Regarding the rumors about a possible tradethat would bring Tracy McGrady to Chicago for Joakim Noah and some expiring contracts: No, no, no, a thousand times no. There are plenty of reasonsnot to make a deal for “Knee-Mac,” but the biggest and most glaring reason is that (based on this rumor) it would cost the Bulls their second-best player (or third-best, if you believe Luol Deng is superior to Noah).

Fortunately, there are also rumors that McGrady could end up in Washington or Philadelphia, so there’s probably no need to panic just yet. About Noah, anyway. But if you’re a Kirk Hinrich fan, there’s always reason to worry. According to ESPN the Magazine’s Chris Broussard: “Kirk Hinrich is ahead of even Tyrus Thomas on their list of players they’d love to trade. In fact, Thomas is being offered around the league as a sweetener in any Hinrich deal. But with two years, $17 million left on his contract after this season, there’s not a great market for Hinrich.”

Seriously, has anyone in NBA history been involved in more trade rumors than Captain Kirk? I think ESPN should rename its famous “what-if engine”to The Kirk Hinrich Memorial Trade Machine.

ESPN "30 For 30" is covering the Pacers/Knicks rivalry from the Miller/Ewing eras. Should be awesome. Here is a preview.

Utah tells Dallas: Boozer better than tax relief

Utah general manager Kevin O’Connor loudly insisted Monday that those of us who presume that the Jazz will do anything they can to get under the luxury-tax line between now and June 30 have it way wrong.

The Dallas Mavericks got the same message when they tested Utah’s resolve early last week.

The Mavs made a long-shot attempt to convince Utah to part with Carlos Boozer by proposing an all-about-money trade that would have provided the Jazz with another sizable chunk of payroll relief to follow up the significant savings from their recent swap with Oklahoma City, has learned.

Yet sources close to the situation say that the Jazz weren’t about to be tempted.

Using Drew Gooden’s partially guaranteed contract and two players it wound up trading to the New Jersey Nets days later – Kris Humphries and Shawne Williams – Dallas could assemble a package of contracts high enough to reach the salary range of Boozer’s $12.3 million expiring contract to make the trade math work ... but low enough to net an initial savings of $2.5 million for the Jazz.

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