Tuesday, April 12, 2005

The missing

First off, Roche has a quick recap of the top stories stemming from the OT loss to the Pistons. Like Nocioni getting suspended 1 game (didn't I tell him to stay on the floor??) and Skiles getting smacked in the head...

The suspension will hurt in a big game against fellow-contender-for-home-court Washington Wizards. That game got moved to ESPN by the way, more national TV for the new dirtiest team in the NBA :-).

But it's still difficult to talk about playoff prospects and matchups without knowing the future of Eddy Curry. As you may have noticed I haven't really posted anything regarding his health since the whole thing is still pretty much a mystery. At first looked like a couple days of tests, but now it's a couple weeks of tests, and nothing has been given as far as a timetable for his return. There's gonna be time needed to figure out what caused it: was it the weight loss? family history? And even if he does return soon there's the question of his potential weight gain and 'basketball shape' and 'basketball rhythm' that hoops types like to talk about.

A sign that the apocalypse is coming, Jay Mariotti actually is saying what I'm thinking:

You shudder to think a 22-year-old basketball player might not have the chance to fulfill his estimable potential. You wonder about the karma involved when he finally starts figuring out the NBA life, loses 40 pounds, understands the importance of work ethic, gives a damn on the defensive end, helps his team execute an astonishing and unanticipated U-turn -- and shows up for work one day feeling a tug in his chest and lightness in his head. If anyone deserved to be at the United Center, preparing for the postseason against the world champs, it was Curry. But rather than trying to score over Ben Wallace in the paint, he was assuming a different role.

"He's like a lab rat, going through all these tests,'' said Tyson Chandler, his close pal and fellow former Twin Toddler.

Privately I've said that this Curry thing is probably nothing, and the team is just using it's locked-up playoff spot as a way to be extra-cautious. If this were the playoffs, he'd be out there, right?

But it's the kid's heart, so who the hell knows.

 All I know is that this team may be winning without him, but it certainly isn't the same. And Mariotti's right, he deserved to enjoy this success the most. I'm sure in the coming days the full prognosis will be reported. Until then I'll hold out hope. But like I'm sure it'll be for his teammates to play without him, Bulls fans won't feel right watching the playoffs without Eddy Curry.

Sunday, April 10, 2005

Bullet points are a blogger's best friend

Some Monday reading:

  • Paul over at SuperSonicSoul.com hosted Carnival of the NBA #6. So if you're just reading here and a few other places, this is a good start-off point to find new NBA blogs.
  • Father Knickerbocker has a recap of Friday's Bulls victory over the Knicks, with a nice quote from Skiles along with some Jamal Crawford bits at the end.
  • Kelly Dwyer has a great article up at SI.com applauding the Bulls' season and the moves the organization made that lead up to it. This part had me thinking:
    This touches on another curious aspect of Chicago's resurgence: the sheer number of concessions referees seem to afford them. This is a persistent and physical basketball club; it contests every shot, sticks a forearm into the chest of every player that dares drive to the goal and refuses to give up on any game. Although Chicago doesn't play dirty, the Bulls get away with a shocking amount of extracurricular activity at both ends of the court.

    But the Bulls force officials to make decisions, play after play, without letting up. And as much as they want to control the action, referees still don't want to call 192 fouls per game. So faced with a Bulls team that consistently pushes the defensive envelope, the men in gray can't help but loosen up as a game moves along. It also helps that, unlike the manhandling machines of the Pat Riley-era Knicks and Heat, these Bulls aren't as obvious with their pressure, playing physically but also in an entertaining fashion.

    More contact is usually allowed in playoff basketball, so will this help the Bulls? or even out the playing field for their opponents?

  • A new Bulls-centric blog, 'Running with the Bulls', takes an interesting look at the contrasting styles between a traditionally-styled backcourt of Gordon and Duhon in relation to the more freewheeling style of Hinrich and Nocioni.
  • Remember my snarky NCAA v. NBA post from a couple weeks ago? Well I got caught up in a similar debate over at Yoco's College BBall blog.

And lastly, how nice is it to know that the playoffs are coming? I'll be stuck in the 300-level for the first home game (and the third), but having playoff tickets in my hand is a pretty sweet feeling.

Here's what I said Friday regarding home-court advantage:

A win at NY followed by a gimmee at home against the Raptors, and hopefully Eddy Curry will be back by then to lock up the #4 seed and home court advantage.

Well Eddy's not back yet, and I really don't feel like wasting time speculating on the man's health, and need not remind everyone of his importance. But otherwise, the wins came, so time to finish the job and make sure game 1 is at the United Center.