Friday, May 13, 2011

ECF Preview (or, Rambling Bulls' Love and Heat Hate)

Well, since the Bulls finished off the Hawks Thursday (and maybe even since we won game 5), I've been thinking about this Bulls/Heat series. I hadn't been nervous or anxious for either of the first two rounds. Even when we faced a critical game 5 against the Hawks, I wasn't worried. I just felt/knew that we would win, and we did. But since then, a familiar feeling has returned ... anxiousness that can only come from an NBA playoff series against a team that you HATE.

I knew this feeling recently back in April and May of 2009, when the Bulls went 7 games against the modern-NBA's first "Big 3", the Boston Celtics. The archives here at BBS prove how much I hated that team (and how much the series meant to me) as it was the busiest 2 months ever (118 posts over a two-month stretch).

I wrote a few coherent thoughts and mostly spewed hate-filled venom for the same reasons I am compelled to write this preview despite how little I have been writing in this space lately. I am compelled to write because I love the Bulls and, perhaps just as much, because I HATE the Heat. Sports hate is a wonderful thing, as it gives us an "enemy" - our own creation that we can build up and then hopefully destroy in a great triumph. And that's what these Miami Heat represent, this team that we hate and want nothing more than for our Bulls to knock out of the playoffs and "prove" that what they did (and how they did it) was wrong.

But can the Bulls actually knock off the Heat in a 7-game series?! I honestly don't know, but here are some rambling thoughts (hopes?) on why we might be able to pull it off.

When I started thinking about this series, my basketball brain said "Heat in 6", while my heart desperately hoped for Bulls in 7. First, here's why I think the Heat could win in 6:

I'm not sure I can say this enough: I HATE the Heat ... hate hate HATE! But if we try to remove all bias and hate, this is an NBA team with Dwyane Wade AND Lebron James. That's a pretty great tandem by any measure. (Any measure outside of Chicago, where they don't really stack up against MJ and Pip - but that's another issue for another time). In reality, these are 2 of the best players in the A, and they are playing on the same team! Regardless of any of the other players, that is already a formidable opponent.

Now imagine Chris Bosh made 3/4 of his current salary. He's no longer a max-contract guy, but instead makes about $10.8 million this season (or about $.5 million less than Deng). If that were the case (and if he weren't on the Heat), we'd all be saying that he's the best 3rd banana in the league! He put up 18ppg and 8rpg as the 3rd wheel this season ... so what really sucks about him is his contract/salary, not what he does on the court.

OK, enough of that why-the-Heat-are-actually-good nonsense, allow me to rant quickly on why I hate the Heat ...

Early in his career, I respected (and even enjoyed) Lebron's game. But a discussion with 2 friends a few years back changed my opinion. Like many others, I had been ignoring the selfish and ego-maniacal acts off the court and focusing only on his game on the court. But thanks to that conversation about 4 years ago, I saw the light - I realized how much I hated Lebron. Talented, yes. Enjoyable, or even likable, NO. So I hated Lebron before the decision last summer, and it was even easier for me to hate him (and the Heat) after. I was even proud of Bulls organization when we "failed" to sign that punk.

In the present, everyone hates Lebron and the Heat for how they were assembled, which will make this series even more fun. On my end? I hate every little thing about Lebron ... the Heat just beat the Celtics and celebrated like they won a title. There is this ridiculous Lebron "overcame the obstacle" storyline, as though he FINALLY managed to overcome the Celtics the way MJ and Pip finally beat the Pistons. Two thoughts: (1) If i tried to climb a wall, but couldn't get to the top, and then walked around the wall to the other side ... you wouldnt say i overcame an obstacle - you'd say i took the easy way out. (2) Lebron says "As much as I loved my teammates back in Cleveland" - which is basically like starting a sentence with the words "With all due respect", it means you're going to disrespect the person you're addressing. "I knew I couldn’t do it by myself against that team." So basically, those guys were so bad that Lebron was playing 1-against-5 last year. He didn't go to Miami just to get MORE help, he went to Miami to get ANY help at all because those players were nothing! He was playing alone! 1-against-5! ... But he started the sentence saying I LOVED my old teammates! What an egotistical fucking prick.

I've spent the last few days reading analysis and trying to breakdown each matchup and the teams as a whole. There are many bloggers and analysists much better suited for that task than I. Here are a few of the better takes I've seen:

(HoopsHype) Chicago Bulls (62-20) vs. Miami Heat (58-24): (Predicts Heat in 6)

(Pro Basketball Talk) Eastern Conference Finals Preview: Bulls vs. Heat: (Predicts Heat in 6)

(Bulls Confidential) How the Bulls can beat the Heat

(CBS - Eye on Basketball) Bulls-Heat Preview: Clash of the you-know-whats: (Predicts Heat in 7)

[This is a must-read breakdown, and not just because Zach Lowe picks the Bulls]
(SI - The Point Forward) Bulls vs. Heat Eastern finals: What to watch: (Predicts Bulls in 7)

Most ECF previews and predictions break down the matchups by position, so here are my rambling thoughts in that format:

Basically, we need our combo of Boozer and Taj to match Bosh. That matchup has to be a wash for most of the other stuff to matter. However, the thing to remember is that Bosh is the Heat's 3rd option! So if both teams get 18/10 from their respective PFs, we've only matched their 3rd option with the guy who was supposed to be our second option (Boozer), and his backup (because I assumed Taj will get significant minutes, and the Heat don't have a backup ... so it's Booz + Taj against Bosh!).

Next, we have Rose dominating the PG matchup. Not worth discussing.

Noah should dominate the C matchup in a similar manner, but he's not an offensive player that can take over and win a game. He needs to dominate on the glass and by being available for help D (taking up space in the lane and altering shots). This is where Asik comes in, and where I once again use the buddy system (Noah + Asik) to point out the Bulls' advantage over the Heat's craptastic group of Cs. Again, the key aspect being dominating the paint (or as Simmons' calls it: the 6-feet in front of the rim), we have two guys capable of controlling that space ... do the Heat have anyone? (Should that be "has" or "have" - I hate singular team names, another strike against the Heat.)

Then we get to the Heat's advantages: Wade and Lebron. These 2 are unstoppable, and it's still somewhat shocking that they play on the same NBA team. But the Bulls' have wing players to make things ... interesting? difficult? Bogans and Brewer are great defenders at the 2, and anything we get offensively is pure bonus. Deng has quietly (or perhaps not quietly) been the Bulls' non-Rose-MVP. He's been spactacular: hitting 3s, slashing, rebounding, and most importantly on D. His footwork has improved exponentially and he really gets Thibs' system. He was a really good defender before, and he is GREAT now ... so he can certainly challenge Lebron. But clearly, both matchups heavily favor the Heat.

So in the 5 major matchups ... we have: 1 tie, Bulls favored in 2, and Heat favored in 2.

I keep coming back to our 2 advantages (Rose and Noah), versus their 2 advantages (Wade and Lebron). Rose and Noah should both be HUGE advantages for the Bulls, while Wade and Lebron(hopefully) aren't quite as big of advantages for the Heat, given our D players at those spots and Thibs' system. Obviously Wade and Lebron can't won't be stopped, but we can make them work for everything with our defensive personnel and Thibs' system, which funnels and helps with perimeter stars.

Beyond positional match-ups and our-system-versus-their-players analysis, I think that Rose or Wade or Lebron will be the best player on the floor any given night. And often, the team with the best player during a playoff game can win that game. Clearly, with Wade AND Lebron, the Heat have the advanatage of having a better chance at having the best player on any given night. I'm thinking that one of Wade or Lebron should be the best player in 4-5 games during this series, with Rose being the best player 2 or possibly (hopefully?) 3 times out of 7 games. This means the Heat will likely have the best player on the floor for 4 (or 5) games out of 7, with Rose taking that role 2 (or hopefully 3) times ... and the Bulls will need a team effort to overcome that disadvantage.

We can only expect Rose to carry the offense so far. We need Noah to get O-rebs and putbacks, we need Korver to knock down shots, we need Taj and CJ to provide a spark off the bench ... we need what we've gotten all season. If we are going to beat the Heat, we are going to ride on Rose's back, but he'll need some help ... it'll be our hometown superstar leading a Bulls' TEAM past Miami's two and a half men. We need other guys to step up and overcome one big night from Wade or Lebron and maybe swing one game when Rose isn't the best player. Can that be done by Luol? or the Booz/Taj combo? or the Bulls' BenchMob - possibly Korver or CJ?

The Bulls have home-court advantage + everyone is HOPING they win, but almost everyone predicting the Heat will win, so the Bulls are somehow the underdogs with home-court advantage. They can ride the energy of the crowd (and entire country outside of Miami) cheering for them, while still having an "us against the world" mindset. So after all that ... I think it's a pretty even series. Maybe the Heat steal game 1, they can shock and overwhelm the shock Bulls as they adjust from playing the Hawks. The Bulls bench is much more talented, and won't be facing such a tough environment in Miami, so they will help the Bull to re-set homecourt by winning game 4.

So I end up where I started - brain (Heat in 6) versus heart (Bulls in 7). And either way, I'm proud to be a life-long Bulls fan as we head into this series. We've all waited 12 long years to get back to this point, playing in (and having a real chance to win) the Eastern Conference Finals, and it really was worth the wait. Maybe the Heat will beat the Bulls and win the title this year, and their "fans" can celebrate at their second "championship rally" less than 12-months after that team became relevant ...

But Bulls' fans don't need a "super team" or 2.5 superstars to support our team. We stuck around for a pretty rough decade after "The Last Dance", whether they were winning or losing, true Bulls' fans have stayed with this team. We've waited 12 years for the Bulls to get back here, and whether it's in two months or next year or five years from now, the wait will be worth it when this Bulls team brings the old summer tradition back to Chicago. Summer starts with a rally in Grant Park, I'll be at the next one no matter how long I have to wait.

But for the record, I've got the Bulls over the Heat in 7, and I'll see you all at the rally in June.

[RE-POST] Chicago Bulls: An Organization of Integrity (Be Proud Bulls' Fans)


I had pretty low expectations for the Bulls' Organization heading into "Summer of 2010" - you might even say I was pessimistic!

But realistically, I assumed the organization had a "Plan A" (sign Chris Bosh and fill some needs), or "Plan B" (sign Carlos Boozer and fill some needs). Those were reasonable, albeit slightly hopeful, expectations.

Then came the talk that the Bulls had a chance at Wade and LeBron, and even I bought into the hype. If you read BBS or follow me on twitter (@bullbearsock), then you know I am a "LeBron Hater," but even I couldn't resist the lure of potentially landing one of the best players on earth.

Turns out, we never had a shot at Wade or LeBron, and we never even had a chance to sign Bosh. The "Big 3" agreed to play together a long time before free agency started, and all of the meetings were for show (literally, as Wade and Bosh might make a documentary about the "experience").

What has been lost in all of this is just how good of a summer the Bulls have had when weighed against plans and expectations. If Miami wasn't stealing all of the attention, more people would be talking about how the Bulls have addressed some major needs and really improved.

With signing of Carlos Boozer and Kyle Korver, along with signing JJ Redick to an offer sheet (that Orlando is expected to match), the Bulls have done just that. We also signed former-draft-pick Omer Asik to add some depth to the front line. We're not done, but if Redick is matched, we can go after other SG options: Ronnie Brewer or Josh Childress. We still need a backup PG, possibly Shaun Livingston or Kyle Lowry. Once we fill those needs, the Bulls will be a significantly improved team from last season.

But beyond the improvements the Bulls have made to the roster, the organization put on a great display of integrity and class. It's somewhat buried in the link above, but worth linking again and pointing out:

It was also made known to James that the Heat would take care of his friends the same way the Cavs did -- special treatment at the arena, changing practice and travel schedules to allow for money-making late-night parties in various cities, and perhaps even hiring a James associate in a high-paying position in the organization.


The Bulls' chances were diminished for two central reasons. Wade wasn't willing to go to his own hometown. And the Bulls made it clear James' friends would not be given the privileges they were given in Cleveland or the high-paying jobs.

So maybe the Bulls didn't land LeBron (or Wade or Bosh), but the organization did the right thing. Instead of getting caught up in doing or saying anything to lure a FA to Chicago, the Bulls took the high road. I'll admit it sucks to lose out on those "top tier" FAs, but I could not be prouder to be a Bulls fan this summer. I'm glad the Bulls made the difficult (but correct) choice not to pander to the needs of a prima dona punk. LeBron has won as many NBA titles as I have, and is not bigger than the game of basketball.

I realize the "3 Miam-Egos" are the early favorites to win the title, but I have some serious doubts about that. Boston won with their "big 3" a few years ago, but they weren't filling the roster with minimum salary guys. They had a good defensive center and a PG that turned out to be better than anyone expected. This Heat team is 3 players and no one else. They may be overwhelmingly more talented at 3 positions, but they will be lacking everywhere else.

Additionally, I would much rather be a fan of an organization with class and dignity. The fair-weather, front-running Heat fans can have their "best trio ever" (as Wade referred to the new Heat trio the other day ... maybe he never watched MJ/Pippen/Rodman, or even MJ/Pippen and Will Perdue). It will be fun to hate LeBron and the Heat, and even more fun to cheer for a Bulls team filled with lovable players.

Maybe the Bulls aren't the favorites to win the title after "Summer of 2010," but I could not be prouder to be a fan of this team and this organization.

[RE-POST] LeBron to Bulls? ... Confessions of a "LeBron Hater"


I will say it up front: I hate LeBron James. I hate his quest to become a "global icon" and I hate his cocky attitude. Everything he does is annoying to me. I was visibly upset when he stole the show at the All-Star Slam Dunk Contest 2 years ago, only to back out and not even compete last year. It was a ploy for attention, because he's an attention-grabbing, me-first kind of guy. I hated him even more when he walked off without shaking hands against the Magic.

I take delight in his failures, and love all the negativity that resulted from "Game 5" against the Celtics. Instead of taking the blame (like MJ, Magic, Bird, etc. would have), he was defiant. Then he had a pretty bad game last night, despite what his triple-double indicates - he shot 8/21 FG and had 9 TOs to go along with his gaudy numbers. It was like he was forcing the triple-double to make a point that it wasn't his fault. It's his team, and it's his fault.

I have often made my hatred for LeBron known, and so I am frequently asked the obvious question: "What will you do if the Bulls sign LeBron this summer?" And the answer is complicated ...

DC (another BBS contributor) recently summarized my thought process on twitter:
@DanFXC: I hope the bulls don't even make lebron an offer. But when they do I hope he signs. I'm OK with this hypocrisy.

As a die-hard NBA fan, I watch a lot of basketball. I recognize talent, and it's obvious that LeBron is the best player in the Association. (I might technically argue that Kobe is a better basketball player and LeBron is the best athlete playing basketball, but that's not the point.) LeBron is awesome. I went to game 3 of the Bulls/Cavs series a couple weeks ago, and it was incredible. I hated every single second of it, but LeBron was ridiculous. Just so we're clear, I get it: he's great. So would I want the best player on my team? Seems dumb to say no. But I hate him so much, how can I possibly say yes?

I will cheer for the Bulls. I will hope they win every game, just like I do now and always have. But I will never love LeBron the way I love those 1990s Bulls players: MJ, Pippen, BJ Armstrong, Jud Buechler, Horace, Rodman, Will Perdue, Craig Hodges, Cliff Levingston (the list goes on and on ...) and current Bulls D-Rose and JoaNoah. I will never love LeBron like that. He will never be included in my list of "Top 10 Favorite Bulls' Players" (or even my 'Top 25'). I hate him enough that I can be sure of that.

But my loyalty to the Bulls goes much deeper than my LeBron hate. I was only 7 years old, but I still hate the 'Bad Boy Pistons' for walking off the floor when we completed the sweep in 1991. I still remember being mad at Magic a couple weeks later, when the Bulls whooped the Lakers and tied the 1991 NBA Finals 1-1, and he said (with a been-there-won-that swagger): "You could lose by 1 or lose by 20, it's still 1-1". I grew up thinking that every summer started with a Chicago Bulls Championship parade. I didn't hope we would win, I expected it. (That's how good MJ and Pippen were.) I ran up and down the streets banging pots and pans after Pax hit the "3 for the 3-peat". I followed MJ's baseball career, and defended Scottie after "the migraine". I loved the "Beatles-esque" aura that surrounded the 72-win team with Jordan, Pippen and Rodman. I know exactly where I was the day we drafted Dickey Simpkins. I cried, literally cried, when Phil Jackson called 1998 "The Last Dance." I watched us draft the co-rookie of the year, then trade him after he put up two-straight 20/10 seasons. I even hung with the Bulls when they signed the arch-enemy, John Starks. I was there for drafting BG only to let him walk for nothing, and I still wear my draft-day hat from the night we drafted Tyrus Thomas. I jumped up and hugged my roommate when we won the 1.7%-chance lotto for D-Rose, two grown men hugging and yelling like 5-year-olds.

I've blindly stayed committed to this team for the last 12 years. We have had a couple ups, but many more downs. It's been frustrating and terrifying and awful, but I couldn't be swayed ... I'm a Bulls fan. It's what I am, and it's all I know. I know what it's like to win and win and win (twice). So I have held onto that hope during the last twelve seasons, hoping that we can get to that point again. We've had some steps in the right direction, and could be taking a big step toward that goal this summer. And if signing LeBron gives us the best chance to win (and win and win), I will support that signing and support him, because he will be a member of my team.

He's not my first choice this summer, as I'd gladly take Wade or Bosh instead ... but I will support my team regardless of what happens. Maybe after I spend some time supporting the Bulls, and thus LeBron in a Bulls uniform, I will even begin to stop disliking him. I doubt it, but it's possible. But I know that whatever our starting lineup ends up being next year, if LeBron is on the Bulls, he will be my fifth favorite player in that group.

Friday, April 8, 2011

Click-a-Bull (Bulls/Celtics with Rose VIDEO; and Rose/MVP)

Celtics Vs. Bulls: Derrick Rose Stamps Out Rajon Rondo, Boston In 97-81 Chicago Win

Derrick Rose didn't need to thoroughly dominate Rajon Rondo and the Boston Celtics in the Chicago Bulls' 97-81 victory on Thursday night to squelch concerns about his team's NBA Playoffs readiness. A win would have been enough. But Rose dominated Rondo and the C's, and in the process might have convinced even the most discerning skeptics that this Bulls team is the presumptive favorite to become champion.

Rose was marvelous, shooting 9-16 from the floor and 10-10 from the line to rack up 30. He added eight assists and just three giveaways, plus five rebounds and two steals. He's now hit the 30-point mark in six of the Bulls' last 11 games, and if you account for the quality of the opponent, this was Rose's best game since he dropped 42 on the Spurs on Feb. 17. Rose's dirty little secret is that he's only shot 42 percent since the All-Star break. But against the best defense other than that of his own team, he was efficient in addition to spectacular. He was the best player on the floor, without question.

Rose’s MVP Case Closed

What else do you need to see from Derrick Rose to believe that if nothing else, his name should be the first one out of your mouth when we start the MVP conversation?

We understand that the analytical crowd has presented a very impressive case as to why Rose should not take home that trophy. But we watched him shred the Celtics last night on TNT, doing the same thing to one of the best defensive teams on the planet that he has done to basically everyone in the league all season.

And we just can’t escape the fact that our eyes keep seeing something that the stat crowd apparently is missing. If you’re the best player on the floor every night out and your team, also a strong candidate for the best in the league right now, continues to beat back the competition (the Bulls are 58-20 and barring a catastrophe will finish atop the Eastern Conference standings) on a nightly basis, shouldn’t Rose’s MVP case be closed by now?

Road to the Finals: Chicago Bulls

No one likes to admit they were wrong. In the long list of people who are willing to admit they're wrong, sports writers are just above politicians and below artists. It's a product of the kind of currency that operates among sports editors and a result of the kind of comments you'll see litter most posts about sports across the internet. So this isn't exactly easy.

I was wrong.

Way wrong.

Monumentally stupid would be another way to put it, but we're going to roll with just wrong. Back in July, before we'd seen a lick of basketball, we ran our offseason grades. In appraising the Bulls, I looked at Carlos Boozer, Kyle Korver, Ronnie Brewer and Keith Bogans and didn't see it. I initially gave them a C+, then considering their total positioning of their current roster, upgraded them to a B-. Sure, they'd be better than the 8th seed they were in 2010. But were they really going to be that much better? Were they really going to compete for a title? Were they really going to be great?

Yes. Yes they were.

The Bulls are a great team. And they enter the playoffs at their absolute zenith. They are led by the all-but-elected MVP Derrick Rose, who we'll get to. Their coach is the near-lock Coach of the Year. We'll get to him, too. They defend, can run, can play in the half-court, they rebound, and they have that rare ability to find the way to win. Their being at the top of the Eastern Conference should not be a surprise if you've been watching this season. They've been great. The playoffs will give them the chance to prove it.

Bulls’ message to Celtics: We can beat you

Turn the corner into the Chicago Bulls’ coach’s office, and there was something seldom seen: Three kids climbing onto Tom Thibodeau, twisting back his arms, mussing his hair and threatening to topple him backward in his desk chair. These were his nephews from Berlin, Conn., wearing UConn Huskies jackets and sharing with the reclusive, relentless coach the closest you’ll ever see to a rollicking postgame party.

Here was Thibodeau flanked with Diet Coke cans and two bottles of honey for a voice struggling to make it to the playoffs. Ask Thibodeau about that Chicago Sun-Times back page that dropped on his office desk sometime after 6 a.m. on Thursday, and his eyes dart wide, his mouth curls into a smile and he says: “How great was that?”

There was a photo of a glum Derrick Rose(notes), with his words splattered across the page in big, bold, alarming letters: “We’re not moving in the right direction.”

Here’s the genius of these Bulls: Somehow, the leadership can sell everyone – the papers, the locker room – on the idea that the most dominant, most locked-in regular-season team is somehow vulnerable, somehow on the cusp of catastrophe. The Chicago Bulls had won 16 of 18 games, and yet here was Rose delivering a foreboding message with the Boston Celtics looming. Thibodeau could warn his team over and over on slippage, but nothing resonates like a star sounding the alarm.

“And then, he comes out and backs it up,” Celtics coach Doc Rivers said later with a sigh. “That kid is something else.”

Rose etched his name on the MVP against Celtics

If there was really any doubt, I'm pretty sure it was eliminated Thursday. And no, I'm not talking about the Celtics chance at the No. 1 seed.

Derrick Rose is your MVP. It's happening. If you love advanced stats, if you love Dwight Howard, I'm just warning you now -- deal with it.

After his electric performance Thursday destroying the Celtics (30 points on 9-16 shooting, seven assists) in front of a national TNT audience while announcers, fans and media fawning over him for 48 minutes, there's just no doubt about it.

Whether Rose should win it, that's for another column. In fact, read Ken Berger's stellar piece on exactly that. But it was clear Thursday against Boston that Rose is very, very deserving.

This was a big game. You could feel it. The Bulls not only had a chance to essentially wrap up the top seed, but send a substantial message to the Celtics, and the rest of the Eastern Conference. If there are "Heisman Moments" in college football, you could lock down this game as Rose's. He showcased every ability he has, led his team masterfully and basically destroyed the defending East champs.

It was a complete takedown.

I'm not necessarily someone on the Rose for MVP wagon, but I can tell you that nights like this make it hard not to give it to him. Reality is, not everyone has embraced advanced plus/minus or win shares. Most still watch games for what they are and Rose gives those the thrill of a lifetime. He looks like an MVP. It's hard to deny that feeling you get while watching him orchestrate the Bulls.

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Bulls/Celtics Tonight = Re-Post of My Game 6 Recap: INCREDI-BULL!!


A triple-overtime thriller. What a roller-coaster of emotions. I hated the refs. Hated Rondo. Loved Kirk. Hated ray Allen. Loved Salmons. Loved Rose. Hated the refs. Hated Ray Allen. Hated the refs. Hated Vinny. Hated the refs. Hated Vinny. LOVED Joa-Noah. Hated Kirk. Loved Rose.

Right now: hating the Celtics and HATING the refs, but LOVING the WIN!!!

I'm too happy/tired/headache/exhausted/excited/sweating to analyze this game, so the best way to do it is witha recap of texts (and some facebook updates) from throughout, [point in the game in brackets] ...

[Early in the game]
Coe (via facebook) - "the NBA should be ashamed of themselves. Not only did they blow the call during Game 5, they blew it upon review cause it was a game deciding play, and now they are calling anything and everything except not ejecting Rondo for a hook and slam. It's not even fun to watch pre-decided bullshit, I'd rather watch WWE."
Me (via facebook) - "the refs continue to ruin this game. all basketball fans are being cheated as we are forced to watch refs instead of basketball."

[After Rajon threw Kirk into the scorer's table and threw an elbow at him]
Me - "Eff you Rajon. Kirk owns your bitch-ass"
Goat (via facebook) - "that's why Kirk is my favorite NBA player"

HALFTIME - Summed things up here.

[End of regulation, after BG missed a shot in isoloation]
DC - "That's the last thing I wanted on that play ... This is the most nerve racking experience of my life"
Me - "And it's round 1 of D-Rose's Rookie year ... I've aged 38 years in 6 games"
Dru - "Why not give that to Rose and let him drive?"

[End of OT 1, Boston miss]
Me - "Wouldn't Vinny have a play ready? Why waste a timeout?"
DC - "I wasn't going to drink tonight and I'm 5 deep"

[Heading into OT 2]
DC - "Jesus effing Christ this series is bananas"
PMac - "I'm not going to be able to sleep tonight"

[After Vinny's inbound "play" at the end of OT 2]
DC - "Worst coach on earth ... How do you not have a play for that?"
Me- "if we lose it's on Vinny"
DC - "And BG, he had the worst game I've ever seen him play"
Me - "But Vinny with his switching on every play"
Dr Bill - "Del negro should be embarrassed about that play call"
Me (via facebook) - "Vinny is the worst coach on earth, probably in the universe. My 4th grade coach could draw up an inbound play ... try the "line" or the "box" vinny you dumb stupid asshole. Vinny is to coaching what NBA refs are to reffing. THE WORST.

[Pierce jumped into crowd to save the ball]
Me - "I would stab Paul Pierce if he jumped into me"
DC - "PK yelled 'Stab him!'"

[JoaNoah's steal, fast-break and slam]
PMac - "I take back everything bad I ever said about Noah"
Dru - "Love Noah, absolutely unreal"
Rohde - "P-O-S-T-E-R"
Butts (via facebook) - Uploaded ...

[Kirk missed layup to seal the win]
All Bulls fans - "Are you kidding me?"
PMac - "I feel like I just got kicked in the nuts"

[Post game]
DC - "All that and we have to win another one"
Kmart - "I couldn;t be more drained, that took 10 years off my life"
Dr Bill - "One of the better games ever"
Goat (via facebook) - "words can't do that game justice.... but this is one of the greatest playoff series ever and that was one of the greatest NBA games ever played."
Poose - "You alive?"


Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Derrick Rose HD Mix

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Click-a-Bull (AudiBULL; Rose-to-Noah; Bulls Beating Everyone; Rose Unstoppable; Boozer More Than Snub)

I realize posts have been infrequent lately, but that clearly has nothing to do with how well the Bulls are playing and how excited I am about it. It just seems that twitter is a much easier forum for me to post links and discuss my views on the Bulls. So in the interest of self-promotion, follow me on twitter: @bullbearsock ... and you will get your share of Bulls links and thoughts. That's not to say I will never post Bulls thoughts / links here, but twitter and the podcast pretty much have me covered. Speaking of the podcast ...

As for AudiBULL - our promise of a weekly show has also been tough. Kmart has been traveling, but we will get back to recording the podcast for the last 1/3 of the season and the playoffs. We will no longer be hosted by CraicBackLive, but will still be on BlogTalkRadio. You can now find our podcast here:, although we have not yet recorded any shows at that location. When we do record a show, I will post the streaming player + iTunes link in a blog-post and along the sidebar -->

Here are some links I've been saving:

The Bulls aren't just hanging with anyone, they're beating everyone

Right before the Bulls faced the Orlando Magic, I noted that the schedule was about to get awfully difficult for the Bulls. They were facing perhaps the most difficult stretch of the season. A stretch rivaling the circus trip in terms of difficulty, and that stretch would define how good a team they are.

My goal for the team was to win 13 of the 20 games, but I lacked confidence that this team would roll against the best of the best and predicted a 10-10 stretch which now seems laughable.

I used to be 70 lbs overweight in college. When I lost all the weight and became athletic, it still took me three years for my body image to catch up to my new physical image. I promise it won't take three years for my view of the team to catch up with how bad ass the Bulls are. Derrick Rose has blossomed into a legit superstar, and the Chicago Bulls are not just 'hanging' with anyone. They're beating everyone.

Spurs Vs. Bulls: Derrick Rose Unstoppable In Huge Chicago Win

Derrick Rose scored a career-high 42 points as the Chicago Bulls entered All-Star Weekend with a massive 109-99 home win over the San Antonio Spurs. The Bulls, No. 3 in the East and home to one of the league's most talked about MVP candidates in Rose, hardly need more confidence. They've had a wonderful season to date. But if there was any question about whether the Bulls could challenge the Boston Celtics or Miami Heat in the Eastern playoffs? Those concerns ought to be squelched.

The Spurs, of course, came in and left with the NBA's best record by no small margin. The loss was San Antonio's 10th in 56 games; no other team has fewer than 14 losses or more than 41 wins. It would take a grand collapse for the Spurs to lose home court advantage throughout the postseason, and it's not likely to happen. This is the perspective for how good the Spurs are, and how fantastic this win is for the Bulls.

Of course, it also happened to be the final game of San Antonio's Rodeo Road Trip. The Spurs have spent all of February on the road, ending the trip 6-3. While a nine-game road trip will tire any team, the Spurs' contests were spread over 18 days, and San Antonio had two games off prior to the Bulls' match-up. This isn't similar to the Lakers' Wednesday loss in Cleveland, where L.A. had played five games in seven nights. The Spurs may be on the road, but they are rather rested.

It didn't matter. Rose ripped through the still-excellent Spurs defense regularly, beating Tony Parker off the dribble with relative ease. Rose scored 11 points in the first, 10 in the second, eight in the third and 13 in the fourth. He was, in a word, relentless, and nothing the Spurs tried to slow him managed to work.

Derrick Rose is the total package

Early in his Bulls career, he suffered through 10 stitches after cutting his arm when he forgot he had left a knife on his bed.

And then, of course, there was his recent bout with ulcers, which was attributed to his fondness for spicy food.

So, you see, he’s only Superman-like when he’s wearing a jersey adorned with the No. 1.

His wide-ranging abilities on a basketball floor are well-documented. The linchpin for a Bulls team that has risen to third in the Eastern Conference, Rose is receiving his due at the All-Star Game, where he will make his first start tonight in Los Angeles.

What initially caught the Bulls’ eye was not only his ability to defy gravity on the court but the way he kept both feet on the ground off the court. For all his basketball skill, the organization also was impressed with Rose’s unassuming maturity.

‘‘We can all sit here and say we knew, but you never know,’’ Bulls executive vice president John Paxson said. ‘‘The sense with Derrick always was that he was humble and that he understood what it would take to be a great player, and he’s never deviated from that.’’

Carlos Boozer: More Than Just An All-Star Snub

When Joakim Noah went down with a thumb injury, Carlos Boozer was looked upon to provide the spark he had been signed for.

Boozer has created more than a spark; he’s lighting it up averaging 19.5 points per game.

Then, Boozer was snubbed as an All-Star reserve, and some argued that the MVP should be given to Rose at season’s end.

Chicago is not looking for another All-Star or another MVP, they’re clearly on the path for a shiny new ring and Boozer has become their biggest asset.

Chicago started the season 9-6 as they faced one of the toughest early schedules in the league. Since Boozer’s return, the Bulls have been on a tear going 27-10 since his return. As Joakim Noah nurses a right thumb injury, Boozer’s 10.1 RPG lead the team who are second in the league in rebounding. With Rose’s emergence as an MVP candidate, his stellar play leads to more looks for the big man. Noah benefited from the open space created from Rose and Carlos Boozer mid-range jumper is simultaneously helping create more of the open lane.

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

AudiBull (Episode 10) Links / iTunes

Just before last night's loss to the Blazers, Kmart and I both confidently predicted a win. We also played an NBA-version of "Would you rather ...?" trying to pick between KD, Blake, Rose and Westbrook. Listen to episode 10 to find out what we think, and give us your thoughts/reactions on twitter: @kmartbbs & @bullbearsock

Listen here:

or download from iTunes

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Click-a-Bull (AudiBULL; Brewer Poster; Bulls Shopping for SG; Slam Dunk Contest)

AudiBULL (episode 9) - An unprepared and rambling mid-season review!

NBA AM: Are The Bulls Ready To Deal?

Bulls Still Shopping For A Two Guard: The trade front in Chicago has been pretty quiet despite the tour Chicago scouts and executives have been on evaluating possible trade candidates. Several Bulls' scouts and GM Gar Forman were in L.A. this week looking at possible trade candidates and sources close to the situation have pegged a few shooting guards as the Bulls' targets as the trade deadline approaches.

The Bulls have had eyes for Cleveland's Anthony Parker for some time, and are said to have him towards the top of their wish list. Parker missed nine game in January due to a back injury and has recently returned to action for the Cavs.

The Bulls have questions regarding any player with a back injury, so they will want to see Parker playing and proving that he is 100% before they'd consider triggering a deal.

A strong showing over the next few weeks could help Parker find his exit from Cleveland and the Bulls are interested in his progress.

Parker is in the final year of his deal with the Cavs and is owed $2.85 million, an easy contract for Chicago to absorb.


This is an awesome link, I've wasted so much time watching these videos ...

Every NBA Slam Dunk Contest Video Visualization

Monday, January 31, 2011

AudiBull (Episode 9) Links / iTunes

Well, it had been about 1 month since we last recorded AudiBULL ... so Kmart and I figured the best option was to come in completely unprepared. We got back into the swing of things by recapping the Bulls' season thus far, and if you couldn't guess ... we had mostly good things to say.

We'll get back into the weekly swing next week, but for now, enjoy the season recap!

Listen to Episode 9 here:

or download from iTunes

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Click-a-Bull (Rose Top 5 Dunks; Melo Trade; Rose MVP)

Video: Bulls' Rose lists his Top 5 dunks

Chicago's Best Attempt At Trading For Carmelo Anthony (Without Using Joakim Noah)

For the purposes of this argument, disregard for a moment whether you think the Bulls trading for Carmelo Anthony is a good idea. Pretend that it unanimously, unequivocally, and officially, is. The oft-debated virtues of the Bulls trading either Luol Deng, Joakim Noah, or both, in exchange for Carmelo, have been sufficiently debated elsewhere to not warrant further commentary here. For argument's sake, let's say it's a yes.

Pretend this didn't happen.

Pretend also that Carmelo Anthony has absolutely no qualms about coming to Chicago, signing a long term extension, and winning 26 titles. Pretend that despite his obvious and well documented desires to play in New York, he is willing to forego that, and instead immerse himself fully into Chicago's basketball world domination alongside Derrick Rose, Carlos Boozer, Joakim Noah and Nia the LuvaBull. Pretend that he is eating his own face with excitement at the prospect.

Pretend also that it is neither feasible, desired or logical for the Bulls to based any trade package around Joakim Noah. With that decision seemingly already made by the team, it's not a huge concession to make here.

It is necessary, therefore, for the Bulls to make a deal based around Luol Deng.

Award Watch: 2010-2011 NBA MVP

As always, when deciding on these MVP rankings, we factor in individual player production (via both standard stats and advanced metrics) as well as team performance/success...

Front Runners:

1. Derrick Rose – Chicago Bulls (24.7 ppg, 4.7 rpg, 8.0 apg):
It has been an eventful few days for the Windy City's favorite point guard. First, Rose was named Eastern Conference Player of the Week, after averaging 27.3 points (tied for fifth in the Conference) 6.8 assists and 5.3 rebounds and guiding Chicago to three victories. D Rose also recorded his first career triple-double (22 points, 12 assists, and 10 boards) in a win over the Grizzlies on Monday. As we have noted in this space all year long, he is having a legitimate breakout season. Despite the Bulls missing two key cogs for extended stretches this season (both Carlos Boozer and Joakim Noah have been sidelined due to injuries), Rose has been the supremely steady hand, powering Chicago's offense on a nightly basis. And while most of Rose's MVP buzz is generated from his incredible offensive production, his improvement on defense has been spectacular as well. Rob Mahoney, on The New York Times NBA blog, does an excellent job of examining this theme in detail:
More outstanding yet are Rose's individual defensive numbers. According to Synergy Sports Technology, Rose has allowed just 0.77 points per possession overall on defense this season, an elite mark for any defender, regardless of position. Chris Paul (0.86 points per possession allowed), Rajon Rondo (0.83 PPP allowed), and Russell Westbrook (0.92 PPP allowed) –- all excellent defenders -– have been trumped statistically this year, and by no slim margin. Rose has each of those players handily beat, and boasts a shockingly comprehensive defensive profile.

This pre-season SLAM cover looks even better now:

Charles Barkley: Derrick Rose is MVP

Charles Barkley has been a staunch believer that Utah Jazz veteran Deron Williams is the best point guard in the NBA, but Chicago Bulls star Derrick Rose has changed his mind.

In fact, Barkley took the praise of Rose even farther.

"I think Derrick has surpassed Deron Williams as the best point guard in the NBA, and I think right now he has to be the front-runner for MVP," Barkley said Tuesday on "The Waddle & Silvy Show" on ESPN 1000. "He's been fantastic, and I think when you look at the Eastern Conference, and I've said it all along, the Chicago Bulls to me are the most dangerous team if they get everybody healthy."

Barkley has been especially impressed with Rose considering he's played much of the season with either center Joakim Noah or forward Carlos Boozer injured on the sideline.

The Bulls entered Tuesday with a 31-14 record, good for third in the East.

Friday, January 21, 2011

All of chicago will be watching; Bears-Packers Part 3

Well, once again not even the most optomistic of bears' fans could have predicted what will happen this sunday. First the bears will be playing for the chance to play in the superbowl. (Its surreal to even type that). And the bears will be playing the packers in this game. Nothing could make advancing to the superbowl sweeter for either franchise then doing over their bitterest rival. This game will be special and here is how the bears can advance.

Key Matchups:
Olin Kruetz v. Cullen Jenkins - No matter what anyone says Cullen Jenkins is the packers best defensive lineman. Sorry, BJ Rajii. Jenkins can be disruptive and can penetrate and give the packers an inside push that can terrorize an offense. It will be Olin's job to most of the time to double on Jenkins and sometimes block him one on one. If the packers and jenkins can get that inside push then it will force Cutler deeper in the pocket and make him an easy target for the rushing OLBs.
Bryan Bulaga v. Julius Peppers - The last time these teams met Peppers forced Bulaga to false start 3 times. Those penalties can be huge and realistically Bulaga shouldnt be able to handle Peppers which can only create problems for the offense. Peppers needs to dominate Bulaga as he did in the regular season finale.
Innovation v. Execution - These teams know each other. They know the systems they run and are pretty much prepared for everything that might come their way. Now, i think the teams might try some different looks or plays but they need to not let it get out of hand. The game will be decided by which team executes the best. Lets hope that is the bears.

Key's for the Bears:
1. Win the turnover battle. This game will be tight. The bears have to force and win the turnover battle. The bears actually were a -1 against the seahawks and a repeat of that will probably see the bears lose. The defense has to create turnovers against the packers.
2. Run Matt Forte. If the Bears run 45% of their plays they win. In fact this year, they are10-0 in any game that they have run 45% of time and 2-5 in any game that they run under that. Plus add in the fact that Culter has thrown 3 ints against the packers when they have 5+ DBs on the field. Martz must run the ball even if its not as effective as he wants it to be.
3. Quick Start, Milk the clock. I have complete confidence in the bears defense! With that said, you would have to be stupid to not want to minimize the chances Rodgers gets. If the bears can put points on the board early and get some time consuming drives, it will keep Rodgers off the field and that can only be a good thing.

Hero of the Day:
Robbie Gould.
I expect great things from Cutler and Forte but the simple fact is the packers dont give up TDs. So the right leg of Robbie will have to accurate in what may be terrible conditions for kicking. I think on his golden right leg the bears come away with this game.

Bears 23, Packers 20.
It is going to be a back and forth, knock down, drag out game that will be a pleasure to watch. These defenses are great and Culter and Rodgers will give us a preview of how great they will be for the next 5 years. Robbie Gould and a fg in the 4th quarter win it. Go BEARS!!!

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Click-a-Bull (Rose MVP; 4th Quarter; Melo/Bulls)

BBS Click-a-BULL made a comeback yesterday with a bunch of links: Click-a-Bull (Noah's O; Rose's D; Bulls' Units; Rose Elite) and here are even more:

D-Rose for MVP?

Back on Media Day at the end of September, Derrick Rose came out before the start of his third NBA season and said he had every intention of winning an MVP trophy, and maybe even this season.

Publicly, we media lauded his gumption and saw the psychology of a quiet, reserved rising star coming out and saying something so bold as a statement of confidence in himself and his team, but privately none of us really thought he had a chance. Not with Kevin Durant and LeBron James and Dirk Nowitzki still in the league. Heck, most of us didn't even consider him among the top three point guards in the league until recently, let alone the Most Valuable Player of the entire league.

But quietly, pundits have started wondering whether or not it could actually happen. Could Rose actually have a shot at winning the MVP? Miami Heat head coach Eric Spoelstra thinks so.

"He's playing at an MVP level. He simply is," Spoelstra said before Saturday night's 99-96 loss to the Chicago Bulls. "He's making such an impact. He's getting into the paint, and he really is an improved shooter from three, so it's hard to keep him from getting to the rim, getting to the free-throw line, and making plays for all the other guys. This is the best basketball I've seen him play."

How do contending teams perform in the fourth quarter?

Always Be Closing.

That’s the name of the game, isn’t it? Great teams close out strong. They finish well together. They’re able to end games with finality. It’s that ability to lock down in the fourth quarter and finish teams off that separates the men from the boys. Young, weak teams can’t get it done, and teams that want to contend for a title have to be able to.

But how does this year’s crop of contenders compare in that fourth segment?

Using stats from, I took a look at eight teams that could be considered “contenders” should you carry it out to a fairly liberal degree. And yes, Utah, I hear you, but I needed to make a cutoff somewhere and OKC happened to have more wins when I started this post. For reference, here are Utah’s stats.

Here’s what I found:

Report: Melo Carousel twirls again towards Bulls

Make. It. Stop.

Okay, now that our obligatory request to end the Carmelo Anthony debacle that even has us weary is through, we can move on. Yahoo! Sports today weaves the tangled web of a swing back towards Chicago in the Anthony talks. Yes, again.

Nevertheless, William Wesley – Worldwide Wes – is expected to travel to Chicago for Bulls games on Thursday and Saturday against the Dallas Mavericks and Cleveland Cavaliers, a source said. Wesley unsuccessfully pushed LeBron Jamesnotes to sign with the Bulls as a free agent, and now has an interest in Anthony ending up there. Wesley represents Bulls coach Tom Thibodeau for CAA.

via Anthony's agents courting Bulls - NBA - Yahoo! Sports.

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Click-a-Bull (Noah's O; Rose's D; Bulls' Units; Rose Elite)

Been a busy couple weeks as I got situated at a new job. But should get back to blogging (or at least posting links) more frequently. Plus, Kmart and I plan to start recording AudiBULL again very soon (Kmart was on vacation and the Bears are in the playoffs, so our schedules have been screwed up). As always, here are the links:

The Bulls miss Noah most on … offense?

Bulls center Joakim Noah is regarded (derisively in some circles) as a “hustle player” who provides “energy” and “intangibles.” This is fan-speak for saying that a player has limited skills, especially on offense, but makes up for it by trying really hard. If Noah has any obvious skills, most folks would tell you they come at the defensive end, where he skitters around, blocks shots and grabs rebounds.

And yet, in Noah’s 14-game absence to recover from hand surgery, the Bulls’ offense has struggled while their defense has remained stout. Using’s points per possession metric (which differs slightly from the one I usually use — on Basketball-Reference), we see Chicago has scored slightly more than 103 points per 100 possessions this season. That’s just about league average.

Since Noah was sidelined, Chicago has hit that mark just six times in 14 games despite an incredibly easy schedule, and it’s come in at 102 points per 100 possessions or worse — the equivalent of a bottom-10 offense — in seven of those 14 games. Toss out one huge outlier — a 121-76 destruction of the Sixers last month — and the Bulls’ offensive numbers without Noah look even worse. Their defense, meanwhile, has shot to the top of the league in points allowed per 100 possessions.

Rose Dwarfs Other Improvements With Defense

Derrick Rose’s ongoing most valuable player campaign is often unfairly boiled down to his superior shooting this season, but Rose’s increased range is far from his most compelling improvement.

To build the case for Rose as the league’s most valuable, begin with his prolific scoring and, yes, his newly minted three-point range. Rose has boosted his production without any cost to his efficiency, and that certainly deserves note. Then point to Rose’s career-high assist numbers (which are strong per game, per minute, and per possession) and his improved rebounding as signs of progress for his overall game. He may be a scorer first and foremost, but Rose’s feel for facilitating his team’s offense has improved immensely over his first two-and-a-half seasons in the league. He isn’t merely a drive-and-kick point guard; Rose scores at an elite level, can penetrate the lane at will, and has legitimate playmaking ability on top of it all. He may lack the pure passing splendor of some of his point guard contemporaries, but Rose nonetheless sets up his teammates for quality looks in increasingly diverse fashion.

All of that makes for a pretty impressive résumé, but neglects the most drastic improvement in Rose’s game this season; whether due to natural evolution, Tom Thibodeau’s tutelage, or his time with the defense-first Team U.S.A., Rose has learned to use his incredible physical gifts more effectively on the defensive end, and has become into one of the league’s most surprisingly effective perimeter defenders.

Rose’s quickness and length (he measured at a 6-8 wingspan in the 2008 Draft Combine) stood out as attributes that could serve him well on defense, but his awareness, effort, and understanding of what constitutes the “right” defensive play seemed to be lacking during his first two seasons. Those aren’t faults of Rose alone, but they were certainly held against his individual standing as a player -– and rightfully so.

Bulls Units Statistically (Click to view charts)

Rose standing tall among NBA elite

Reach out to him, Chicago management had pleaded with Derrick Rose(notes). LeBron doesn’t think you want him here. That’s what they told the Bulls’ franchise star in July, a request that was met with dutiful respect from Rose. Sure, he told the Bulls. I’ll shoot him a text. Rose is polite this way, honoring obligations and orders from above.

Nevertheless, it would change nothing. To LeBron James(notes), the message was unmistakable, sources said: I can take you or leave you – and that could never sell the needy King. William Wesley never did get his wish of LBJ chasing Michael Jordan’s ghosts in Chicago. Dwyane Wade(notes) recruited James relentlessly to Miami, and ultimately had to hand the Heat over to the Royal Pain.

Rose didn’t want LeBron taking the ball out of his hands, nor respect out of the room. Eventually, Rose reached out, but only out of a sense of duty. Rose didn’t want James, nor did Rose particularly want Wade to make a Chicago homecoming. During early July, Rose shut himself in the gym and worked on his game. The soap opera bored him.

“If they wanted to come here, they would’ve come here,” Rose told Yahoo! Sports Saturday night.

Friday, January 14, 2011

Buckle up, Bears Fans, Here comes the Playoffs

Well, this is what you play the regular season for, right? The chance to get in the playoffs and make it all the way. In the seahawks, the worse playoff team ever, the bears couldnt have gotten an easier opponent in the playoffs. But it is the playoffs and anything can happen as evidenced by the seahawks beating the saint last weekend.

Key Matchups:
1. Russell Okung v. Julius Peppers. So, I'm sure all of you have heard that Julius Peppers probably had his worse game as a bear against Seattle. 1 tackle and he really didnt create any havoc. Well, to steal a line from Stacey King, "Big time players make big time plays!". And that what Pep is paid to be, a big time player. He has been very good this year but in the playoffs he has to step it up another level. I dont need huge sack totals from him but the bears need him to play so well that the whole offensive line is constantly worried about him and it put everyone else in 1 on 1. He has to dominate the rookie LT Okung. HAS TO!
2. Jay Culter v. Earl Thomas. Another rookie for seattle that doesn't play like it is. Thomas is an aggressive safety and a big hitter. Those quality are great but the saints showed that he is susceptible to double moves or to the pump and go. Either way Cutler has to be aware that Thomas will be trying to gamble on a int and Jay needs to take advantage of it.
3. They are going to kick to Devin!!!! I can't believe anyone would actually kick to hester but the guy has 14 return tds. Pete Carroll said he was going to kick it to Devin and live with the consequences. I dont know if that is just a smoke screen or it will actually happen. But if they do kick to Devin, it makes punts the most exciting plays and potentially momentum changers of the game.

Bears' Keys:
1. Hit Mike Williams. It made me sick to see Williams get 10 catches against the Bears earlier in the season. I know he is a big WR but the bears need to punish him for going across the middle and making catches. He isnt a deep threat and he is pretty much gonna make his living across the middle and on short routes. With how much zone the bears play, the safeties and LBs should have shots on him and make him regret catching the ball.
2. No crazy Mike Martz. Did anyone else's blood turn cold this week when Cutler said the bears may throw the 60 times? Look the bears need to run this ball atleast 20-25 times and just pound the small seattle defense. This is not a good defense and the bears can wear it down and win the time of possession battle if they run the ball. Plus, as i have been saying all year, Matt Forte is your best offensive weapon. He needs to get the ball more.
3. Play well in cold weather. This bears team hasnt been good in cold weather. The conditions on sunday should be perfect for this team. It will be cold but no snow. This is a team that is built for speed on both sides of the ball and they need to learn how to use it in the cold.

Hero of the Day:
Greg Olsen. He hasnt been making many catches but i have a feeling Martz has something up his sleeve to use Olsen. I see at least a TD from Olsen and maybe 2 with a couple of deep routes.

Bears 27, Seahawks 23
Of course I'm taking the bears but i really did mean buckle up bears fans because i dont think this one is decided till the end of the 4th quarter. In the end, the bears are the better team and that hopefully comes through but it wont be easy. But, this sets up a dream matchup of the Packers v. Bears in chicago next week. BEAR DOWN!