Ok, enough about Bobby Simmons.
Theres still a game to play.
But as we've seen all season with this team, never say never. Thoughts go below here.
UPDATE: Well...that run to end the game was very exciting, but can't mask the fact that for the 3rd straight game they were outclassed by the Wizards. No interior defense whatsoever. Washington's complete ineptitude when trying to hold a lead was the biggest driving force of the comeback.(and Jannero Pargo gets credit as well. Should I now take belated credit for this post?) The season's on life support, and if they don't look drastically different in game 6 there will be no return to the UC.
2nd place in Rookie-of-the-year voting behind Emeka Okafor, and winner of the 6th man award. Ben is the first rookie ever to win the 6th man award, quite an accomplishment. CelticsBlog is (naturally) saying that Ricky Davis got snubbed for 6th man.
I will say that the race for 6th man was more competitive than rookie of the year (6th man award is always an odd judgment anyway, if you're so good why not start?), where I thought Gordon was a class above Okafor for ROY. While the familiar fanfare around Okafor is that he shouldn't be penalized for playing on a poor team, I thought his situation made voters give him too much of a sympathy vote being forced to carry an expansion team.
Rising Suns thinks that Gordon should've won both awards, adding like-minded thoughts:
So Okafor led an 18-win team in points and rebounds. The report on ESPN.com says that Okafor was under intense pressure. I disagree. I don't see how Okafor could have failed. They had no other players, he was going to touch the ball every time down the court, and he's on a expansion team. If he doesn't average 15ppg and at least 10rpg, that's a story.
If you remember back when Gordon's 4th quarter play (as it has so many times this season) led the Bulls to a win over Okafor's Bobcats, the ROY should've been clinched for Ben that night. Okafor's had a nice season and managed to stay sane amid all the losing, but adversity shouldn't dwarf accomplishment. A guy who was drafted to a team that had 23 wins the previous season and had traded away their leading scorer, and then shoulders that load to lead that team to a playoff appearance? What more could you ask of a rookie?
I'm guessing (and the post I quoted above mentions this) that voters didn't feel right giving Gordon both awards, and making the 6th man award his 'consolation prize'? I don't want to seem too greedy expecting hardware for Ben, as like I said winning the award he won as a rookie is still a big deal. But this year's ROY voting shows the unrelenting overvalue of the double-double, and I think is the true snub of the postseason awards. Until Nash gets the MVP, of course.
For a game 3 recap, Runnin' With the Bulls sums it up pretty well:
Etan Thomas was fourth on his team in scoring, but his 20 points and 9 rebounds were the difference in today’s game. Gilbert Arenas, Larry Hughes, and Antoine Jamison combined for 74, but Thomas’ buckets all came from within 2 feet of the whole effectively maximizing his efficiency: 8 of 9 from the field. Succinctly, Bull shot blockers got into foul trouble. Tyson Chandler fouled out with 15 points, 10 rebounds, and 4 blocks in only 27 minutes of play and for the first time since his injury the Bulls really missed Eddie[sic] Curry.
The Bulls didn’t do themselves any favors from the 3-point line; 7 of 26, 26 of 34 free throws, but 19 turnovers, and only 39% from the field. The Bulls are losing by an average of 12 points per game this season at the MCI Center where they are 0 – 3. In those 3 games, the Bulls are shooting only 37% and averaging 20 turnovers per game. This was the first time though however that the Wiz eclipsed the 100 point barrier, a worthy testament to the Bull defense.
On this day though however the Bulls were undermanned inside, too many penetrations resulting in too many open looks down low. The Wizards did what they do best today: attack, and the Bulls didn’t have an answer at either end of the court. The Bulls better figure out a way to stop the Wiz on offense or come up with a few tricks of their own to increase their own offensive efficiency, all 3 games now have the winner scoring in the triple digits.
The TNT announcing crew (I'm sorry, no Dore/Kerr/Pip for me) were crediting the scoring output of the Wizards' big men to the 'matured' play of their guards. But while there was some drive/dish moves by them, I didn't see a change in offensive philosophy. Most of the points scored by Thomas, Ruffin, et. al., were off of loose balls and offensive rebounds. The Bulls have to limit those chances, and the most significant change from game 3 to game 4 in this regard would be for Tyson to stay out of foul trouble. Part of his difficulty with fouls may be due to limited lateral quickness after spraining his ankle in the final game of the regular season. But even with that injury plus a dislocated finger suffered in game 3, Tyson changes the game when he's on the court rather than sitting with fouls.
While game 4 will be a big game in terms of momentum, my thinking is still that the Bulls won't play 3 more poor games like their previous and lose the series. Hopefully the Wizards' frontcourt won't be handed the same opportunities on offense, and that their guards continue to ignore them. Throw in a comeback game for Ben Gordon (after having the flu bug) and I see a Bulls win.