Monday, March 29, 2010

Click-a-Bull (Summer of 2010; James Johnson Injury; Raptors Fading; Playoff Push)

Just in case you missed it last week, click here for my predictions of how the Summer of 2010 will play out for the Bulls.

Johnson has tear of plantar fascia in right foot

An MRI revealed James Johnson played 13 minutes in Thursday's loss to the Heat after partially tearing the plantar fascia in his right foot, and the rookie forward even tried to warm up with the injury Saturday.

Johnson isn't a kickboxing champion for nothing.

"I'm tough," Johnson said.

Nevertheless, Johnson succumbed to the injury, and coach Vinny Del Negro sounded far more pessimistic about the small forward's short-term future status than Johnson.

"Even if he's able to go, it will be on a limited-minute basis," Del Negro said. "There's a possibility he's going to be out for a little bit. He has swelling, some bleeding. Nothing positive."

Speaking for the first time since suffering the injury, Johnson said he felt something pop while running on a first-quarter fast break Thursday.

Chicago Bulls Will Need To Get Jurassic To Win Eighth Seed

Let's get realistic.

The Chicago Bulls are not so much winning the final playoff spot in the Eastern Conference as the Toronto Raptors are giving it to them.

Then again, the Bulls do deserve some payback for handing over their playoff seed this month.

The Raptors are losers of three straight and are 4-10 in the month of March, while the Bulls have won their last two games and are also 4-10 in the month of March.

The Bulls are currently a half game back of the Raptors for the final playoff spot in the Eastern Conference.

Oh, what a month can do for a team.

Playoffs are no fool's goal for Bulls

Three days ago, the Bulls' playoff outlook was bleak.

They were coming off an embarrassing 29-point home loss, but more important, there were questions about whether they were healthy enough or mentally tough enough to make a late-season charge and overcome a 2½-game deficit in the race for the last playoff spot in the Eastern Conference.

But after back-to-back wins over the weekend -- the latest a 110-103 victory against the Detroit Pistons on Sunday night at the Palace of Auburn Hills -- and two losses by the spiraling Toronto Raptors, the Bulls suddenly feel as if their postseason fate is solely in their hands.

''It's right here,'' said point guard Derrick Rose, who had 21 points and nine assists. ''Everyone's just coming in playing hard. We're playing defense, trying to rebound the ball and run.''

With nine games left in the regular season, the Bulls (35-38) trail the eighth-place Raptors (35-37) by a half-game. The Bulls could pull even if Toronto loses tonight in Charlotte, although the Raptors do own the tiebreaker.

But the Raptors' struggles have given the Bulls hope. They have dropped three in a row, and since Feb. 24 they're 4-13. Worse, they blew a 17-point second-half lead Sunday night in Miami.

''If we go on a winning streak, like two or three or four or five games, there's not too much [the Raptors] can do if they continue to lose,'' Rose said. ''We just have to stay focused and not worry about them and just keep worrying about us.''

The Bulls didn't exactly beat world-beaters the last two days -- the Pistons and New Jersey Nets are a combined 32-114 -- but they've had too many issues with too many downtrodden teams to assume wins over anybody.

''These are two big wins,'' center Joakim Noah said. "We played decent. We just have to keep it up, keep fighting playing against a better opponent [Phoenix] on Tuesday.

1 comment:

PezzaXtremo said...

they are so good with noah, he changes the entire team's complexion and attitude. The Bulls plus Deng plus Noah (which we've yet to really see for most of the last 2 years) minus Flip and Pargo is automatically a better team, and this group of scrubs is playing very hard for this 8 seed. I hope to hell the Bulls get it because with that momentum, they can beat LeBron.

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