Monday, April 25, 2005


Check out myself, Matthew from Spursblog, and Dave from Crazy from the Heat on SportsBloggersLive all week (right now you can listen to a streaming realplayer file, the mp3 should be up soon). The show was recorded today, with other (and more prominent) guests including Peter King and Will Carroll. Basically I tried to praise the Bulls' defense as best I can, and answered a question about Nocioni's 'dirty' play. My (and the other the NBA bloggers') time got truncated, the sound was sketchy, and I babbled a bit, but it was still a fun experience and hopefully I'm asked back.

More reaction coming in after the Bulls' playoff victory on Sunday:

  • Sam Smith: "It was just that hustling show-and-recover defense that enabled the Bulls to accomplish what they did this season. The Bulls are excellent with help defense, coming into the lane and then getting back. The Wizards' excellence—offensive arrogance, really—played to the Bulls' strength. The Wizards believe they can make the play and get to the rim, especially Arenas. But the lanes closed quickly behind Duhon."
  • Melissa Isaacson: "If the Baby Bulls, as these players often are called, are a faceless bunch, they are also an unselfish one. In any given week, the team might have five different high scorers, as it did the last week of the season."
  • Greg Couch: "The Bulls' Othella Harrington was yapping at Haywood. Nocioni moved into the path of a driving Larry Hughes to be knocked to the floor for a charge. Nocioni once grabbed a rebound, saw Davis on the floor and looked to help him get up. Davis waved at him to get downcourt, he didn't need a hand. In your face, Washington. What are you going to do about it?"
  • Rick Morrissey: "The United Center was seeing its first playoff action in seven years, so the building already was a writhing pit of pent-up emotion. Add Nocioni to the mix, and the place threatened to move a foot or two down Madison Street due to seismic activity."
  • Jay Mariotti: "That's why Ben Gordon is so vital in this series. While Hinrich's shot comes and goes and Nocioni can't be expected to score 25 every game, Gordon must be consistent in every quarter of every game -- not just the fourth quarter."
  • Rick Telander: "That Bulls general manager John Paxson snagged this guy last summer from the Spanish pro league for a dollar and a doughnut -- actually $8.3 million for three years -- should shame a lot of NBA executives who might have thought Olympic champion Noch was an overachieving joke"
  • (The Rev.) Lacy  J. Banks: "Duhon turned in a defensive masterpiece, helping to disarm the would-be assassin by limiting Arenas to a scoreless first half and nine points for the game on 3-for-19 shooting. Arenas also committed a game-high four turnovers in the Bulls' 103-94 victory."
  • Marcus Brown: "The voting for executive of the year in the NBA should have ended last evening."
  • Anthony Roche: "I never thought Duhon could dunk."
  • Unknown Column: "It was a beautiful thing to be part of as I sat in the clouds of the United Center, literally two rows from the top, to be exact. As happy as I was with the Bulls win, I was equally happy for Bulls fans. After all, these are the same loyal folks who continued to keep the Bulls among the league leaders in attendance no matter how low the Bulls plunged, which was all too often somewhere near the earth's center. (The Rusty LaRue era, anyone?)"

Seeing the pages-upon-pages dedicated to the Bulls in the Trib and Sun-Times, it was like I was warped back into the mid-nineties.

The promised Dr. Jack-style breakdown may have to wait, as I'm gonna be at Wrigley tomorrow. But that'll mean I will have 2 games to analyze, right?
Short version though:

-Keep limiting the turnovers (only 9 in game 1).
-The fast pace doesn't bother me if the Bulls are careful. The Wiz transition defense is a suck-fest, so opportunities are there.
-Gordon's still gotta carry the offense, but expect at least one big game from Hinrich.
-Dropoff from Nocioni expected, but hopefully slack will be picked up by Chandler (who only had 16 minutes in game 1).
-Fear the wrath of Arenas (remember he did average 30 against the Bulls during the season).
-Don't complain about free-throw differential, expect it. (The Wiz lead the NBA in FTA, and the Bulls simply foul a lot) That said, the frontcourt (especially Nocioni and Tyson) need to stay on the floor.
-If it's close at the end, the Bulls need to close it out. The Wiz will have a blowout or two before this is over, so the Bulls would be wise to take advantage when they can.