Bulls or Bust: 10 Things to Know Before the Playoffs

Calling all Bulls babes: the NBA playoffs are right under our noses! If you took a backseat after Derrick Rose went out for the season or Luol Deng was shipped off to Cleveland – we don’t blame you, but it’s time to brush up on your Bulls basics because we’re gearing up for a playoff party.

The league is wrapping up their regular season tonight and our Bulls have secured the role of “most dangerous underdog” in the post season this year. No one expected much out of Chicago after Derrick rose went down with the doom and gloom of a second knee injury. Many suggested the team tank the season and collect themselves a nice lottery pick in the draft. Instead, the Bulls are prepping for the 2014 post season and are easily one of the biggest threats to the top seeded dogs in the East.

What You Need to Know:

1. The Perfect Playoff Positioning? They’re either playing the Brooklyn Nets or the Washington Wizards in a first round show down. It all depends on the outcome of the final games tonight (The Bulls snag a four seed and Indy’s bracket with a loss or a Raptors win. They take the three seed with a win and a Raptors loss). Rumor has it the Nets don’t want to meet the Bulls in the first round after we knocked them out last year. The Pacers clinched the top seed in the East so technically we want the 4th seed to avoid the Miami Heat’s half of the bracket. Let’s not face BronBron and his title contending friends until the Eastern finals por favor.

2. It’s all about the messy bun swagger and the heart hustle and muscle of Joakim Noah this post season. His energy propels the emotional stability of the entire roster. JoNo has been absolutely stunning this season racking up career high stats. Triple-double is basically his middle name. He leads the team in rebounds, blocks, and assists (yea our center is the best passer on the team, deal with it). Noah’s health and consistent performance is essential for the Bulls to advance to the second round.

3. Crazy Cool Coach: Thibs may look like a Disney evil villain or maybe you get the used car salesman vibe from his fashion sense, but one thing proves true; Tom Thibodeau knows how to coach an NBA team. It doesn’t matter who’s on his bench, NBA players ride or die with their boy Thibs.

4. Defensive Titans: By now we are all aware of the Bulls defensive mindset. Tom Thibodeau has his teams eat and breathe defense and the Bulls are peaking (minus the loss to the lowly Knicks) at the right time. We’re looking your way Jimmy ButlerThey’ve been ranked in the top 5 defenses all season and are about to take the physicality up a notch.

butler and gibson5. X-Factors: Taj Gibson and Jimmy Butler. Gibson is in the running for Sixth man of the year and there is no time like the present for him to whip out all the stops. I want ego-smothering dunks and I want dirty defense. Jimmy Buckets had a slow start on the year, but has picked things up since the All-Star break. We need a big burst from Butler to solidify some offense and defense for the Bulls.

6. Down and Dirty Delivery: The Bulls are primitive in their strategic play and do not possess the same finesse as power houses like the Heat and Pacers. Sometimes they barely have much offense at all; it can get ugly. However, the Bulls find other ways to beat you. They’ll physically and emotionally wear their opponents down.

Jimmer7. Jimmer Fever: From the second Jimmer Fredette stepped foot onto a Bull’s bball court, the media and the fans went into their usual Jimmer Fever frenzy. Think Brian Scalabrine White Mamba style, but not a super old NBA veteran. Jimmer is a bench mobber who may not see heavy minutes, but can make an impact emotionally – plus he’s got a nice mid-range shot. #jimmerfeverforever

8. D.J. Augustin is the best pick-up the Bulls could have hoped for. Chicago snatched Augustin after the Raptors put him up on waivers (the NBA equivalent to being homeless on the street). The Bulls were a team who needed a backup point guard, they took Augustin under their wing and he instantly made an impact off the bench. He’s currently the Bulls’ leading scorer.

Brewers-back9. Roster Updates: Ronnie “brew-ha-ha” Brewer is back on the Bulls. We were sad to see him go a few years back, but his return to the bench mob is a happy one. Brewer knows Thib’s intense defensive ways. He plays tough and can give the Bulls a pick-me-up when they need one.

10. No DRose: Derrick rose isn’t making a superhero return to whisk his team off into NBA happily ever after. Let it go, Let it go. (Yes, I went there, Frozen style)

Per usual any playoff advancing is going to take an entire Bulls team effort. Kirk, Boozer, Butler, Dunleavy and the whole gang are going to have to play their hearts out and maybe, just maybe, our Bulls may upset the entire conference. It’s time to #BULLieve.

Be sure to check out all my post season pieces at SportsDivasinc.com via Bulls or Bust: 10 Things to Know Before the Playoffs | SportsDivas, Inc..

Bittersweet Business: Luol Deng Traded to Cavaliers

NBA: Playoffs-Chicago Bulls at Brooklyn Nets

via Bittersweet Business: Luol Deng Traded to Cavaliers | SportsDivas Inc..

After months of trade rumors, the Chicago Bulls ended an era when they wheeled and dealed their two-time All-Star small forward Luol Deng to the Cleveland Cavaliers late Monday night.

Initially, you might be thinking the Bulls front office has lost their marbles. Deng has been the most consistent offensive player on the Bulls the past few years, he’s led the entire league playing a ridiculous amount of minutes, he’s a stifling defender and he has a heart of gold.It wasn’t always pretty, but Lou gave Chicago his all throughout his 10 year journey and embodied the Bulls gritty defense-minded approach. Unfortunately, our love for Luol Deng is not enough to keep him in Chicago. There are plenty of reasons why the Deng-er-ang was sent off to hang with Kyrie Irving and the Cavs. It’s business, baby.

To give the Bulls’ organization some credit, they did try to keep Deng in Chicago by offering him a 3-year, $30 million extension last week. However, Deng declined the offer which then led to plan B – the trade.Deng is 28, leading the team in points scored, but he’s also be ailed by quite a few injuries this season and in past years. The game takes a lot of wear and tear on the body. John Paxson, Chicago’s VP of Basketball Operations, addressed the media immediately Tuesday morning to discuss the big move. He explained just how hard of a decision it was to trade Luol and the amount of respect the organization has for the NBA player.

Chicago has been through the ups and downs with Deng and he has always proven the toughest of soldiers, playing through sprains, muscle tears and spinal taps. The city is forever grateful for his time here and we wish him nothing but greatness in Cleveland unless he’s playing the Bulls of course.

What the Bulls got in Return:

I know what you’re thinking, “ditching Deng better have been worth it,” or maybe that’s just what I was thinking. The Bulls picked up center Andrew Bynum, three future draft picks and the right to swap 2015 first round picks with the Cavs. Los Bulls already have a solid center in Joakim Noah, so they will release Bynum before the Jan. 7 deadline tonight. This will clear up about $12.3 million to go with the $14.3 million they saved by trading Deng.

The draft picks are what really sweetened the deal. The Bulls now have a boatload of draft picks coming their way in the next few years. This is great news because the 2014 draft is deep with talented players and the Bulls could really get some quality guys.

What This Means for the Bulls:

The fun has only just begun for the Chicago Bulls’ front office. This trade absolutely signifies a new era in Chicago basketball and a time for rebuilding, but it’s not going to be a complete overhaul. They still have serious talent in Joakim Noah, Jimmy Butler and Taj Gibson. Yes, trading Deng means the Bulls won’t be doing much winning this season, but the goal is to develop the young players we do have like Tony Snell and find the the guys who can truly take the Bulls to a championship upon Derrick Rose’s return.

DRose is still the center of Chicago’s universe. The organization’s goal is to find the best players to compliment Rose. We need a team who no longer plays under Derrick, but rather a team who plays well WITH Derrick.

Expect the Bulls to amnesty Carlos Boozer this summer, this will cut another $16.8 million for the Bulls spending, which would hopefully allow enough salary cap room for the signing of an elite caliber free agent. All these deals give the Bulls quite a bit more wiggle room when it comes to the limitations of players they can sign.These are absolutely long shots, but players like Carmelo Anthony, Chris Bosh, Greg Monroe and even LeBron James could potentially be attainable. The Bulls have cap space and with some tempting rookies, Chicago may be able to conjure up some sign-and-trade deals.

Losing Deng is no easy feat. It’s going to take the team some time to bounce back after their silent leader was traded away, but I bet Joakim Noah is even more upset that the poor guy has to live in Cleveland.

Farewell Luol, we’ll miss you and your Dengerous wingspan.

 

Cheat Sheet: Bulls Open 2013 Season Against Champion Miami Heat | SportsDivas Inc.

Banners will be raised, rings will be handed out and the Chicago Bulls hope to dent the egos of the two-time defending Champion Miami Heat on Tuesday night. The Bulls are hungry to prove themselves this year and what better way to get things going than to take on King James and company in South Beach in the first game of the season?

The rivalry between these Eastern Conference foes continues to grow each year and the Bulls have become more eager to put a stop on the Heat’s dominance within the East. The Heat’s confidence will be on high after receiving their lavish Championship display, the intensity of American Airlines Arena will heighten filled with ecstatic Heat fans, but the Bulls players feel they have the talent to beat the Heat.

What You Need to Know:

Reigning MVP Lebron James made it clear, these two teams do not like one another (last year’s brawls during the semi-finals of the NBA Playoffs can prove that). Expect a big game out of King James who’s looking to maintain his “Top NBA Player” status. James’ supporting cast is still in tact with Dwyane Wade, Chris Bosh, Ray Allen, Mario Chalmers, Shane Battier, and Udonis Haslem returning this season.

Derrick Rose will play in his first regular season game in over a year. Our excitement to see the star take the court in an official game can barely be contained. Rose sat on the sidelines while his team battled Miami in the second round of the Eastern Conference playoffs last season. He’s ready to take his game to the next level and get this 82 game season started with a win.

Jimmy Butler came up big in the games against Miami with his tough defense and crazy offense. Why not start the 2013 season with a standout performance against the Heat?

Joakim Noah is questionable for the opening game with a groin injury. This puts the Bulls in a tough spot since Noah is so dominant under the basket and can provide a boost on offense as well. The Bulls have done it before when Noah was sidelined with plantar fasciitis – we’d just prefer our All-Star always be on the court.

The Bulls and Heat split the 2012-2013 season 2-2. No matter who’s healthy and on the floor, the Bulls always give the Heat a tough game. Defense will play a huge factor in the Bulls’ success. Keeping James under control is always your best bet when playing the Heat. The Heat have not forgotten that it was the Bulls who ended their 27-game winning streak last season. They will be looking for redemption tonight and this season.

murseMan-pri & Murse: If nothing else, you can expect some crazy post-game press conference ensembles from the fashionistas of Miami otherwise known as Lebron James and Dwyane Wade. Man-pris and murses galore!

Your Take Away Piece:

“Things may get ugly with all the hype of the ring ceremony and the historic intensity between these two teams. The Bulls and Heat are two of the most competitive teams in the league and they just happen to be each other’s biggest rivals. Hopefully the brawls from last season will be contained and a clean game of basketball will be played. It’s a new year – clean slate right?”

What’s Next:

Be sure to tune in at 7 PM on TNT to catch the conference battle between the Bulls and Heat. You may want to tune in a bit late to miss the ring ceremony theatrics for the diva-licious Heat. It might be the first game of the season, but expect both teams to pull out all the stops in this rivaled match-up.

Check out my whole post via Cheat Sheet: Bulls Open 2013 Season Against Champion Miami Heat | SportsDivas Inc..

Bulls 2013-14 Season Preview: Lets Get Ready to Rumble

The Bulls are back in business! After going a very impressive 8-0 in the preseason, it’s clear that the Chicago Bulls are dedicated, determined and looking rather fierce for their 2013 debut. Superstar point guard Derrick Rose has returned after a rough year-long hiatus and so have the Chicago Bulls’ title hopes.

Last year was a tough time for Bulls fans, as we eagerly awaited the non-existent return of our MVP, but it’s time to put all grudges aside because DRose is ready to show us he was worth the wait.

The ultimate goal remains the same: knock Lebron James and the Miami Heat from their Eastern Conference throne and get Chicago to their first NBA Championship in over a decade. Can greatness be achieved with the return of Derrick Rose and a stifling defensive mindset under the guidance of head coach Tom Thibodeau? Only time will tell, but if the preseason was any indication of what is to come, things look good for the Chicago Bulls in the upcoming season. Let’s dig deeper into the Bulls 2013 season and Chicago title contention hopes.

Read my full preview at SportsDivasInc.com via Bulls 2013-14 Season Preview: Lets Get Ready to Rumble | SportsDivas Inc..

HE’S BACK: Rose Confirms Return Next Season

It’s been over a year since we began following Chicago Bulls star Derrick Rose’s dramatic road to recovery. On Sunday, Rose put any lingering doubts to rest about his long anticipated return next season. THANK GOODNESS. After the whirlwind of “Rose Returning” rumors during the playoffs, I don’t think our Bulls-loving hearts could take anymore disappointment. It’s time to dust off your DRose jerseys and get ready to watch our favorite Chicago Bull make his triumphant comeback.

Rose who is currently touring Europe to promote his Adidas clothing and shoe line told the media in Spain, “I should be able to play in the first game of the season,” according to HoopsHype.com. “I know I’m anxious right now to play. My health is everything right now, it’s 100 percent. But right now, the first game … I will definitely be playing it.” Rose also gave a shout-out to coach Tom Thibodeau for his constant support throughout last season as well as working with him so much this off-season.

The bad news, Rose’s big debut is most likely going to be in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil during the Bulls’ preseason game against the Washington Wizards (he hinted to it on his website). The Bulls are one of a few teams handpicked by NBA Commissioner David Stern to represent the NBA in a foreign market.

Although we’d prefer DRose make his comeback on the hardwood floors of the United Center, we’re ecstatic that the former MVP is finally truly returning to the court.

And queue Derrick Rose hype video:

Read all of my Bulls posts at SportsDivasInc.com via HE’S BACK: Rose Confirms Return Next Season | SportsDivas Inc..

Thibs Finishes 8th in Coach of the Year Standings

thibs

How exactly did this happen? Chicago Bulls head coach Tom Thibodeau has faced more adversity the past year with his battered team than any of the competition, yet, he came in eighth in the rankings for coach of the year. That just can’t be right. I have some bones to pick with the panel of 121 sportswriters and broadcasters that voted this year.

Here are the official results:

coach of the year voting

Denver Nuggets coach George Karl winning the coach of the year award is fine and dandy. The Nuggets managed the No. 3 seed in the wild Western Conference without a “star” player and rarely lost at home (they went 38-3 at the Pepsi Center). Good work coach Karl you deserve the props.

HOWEVER – the fact that Erik Spoelstra came in second runner up is outrageous. We all know Miami went on a 27-game winning streak, yea yea, but the last time I checked it doesn’t take an amazing coach to come up with the play “give Lebron the ball.”

Don’t get me wrong, the other coaches are straight up guys. Mike Woodson taught the Knicks how to play a little defense, but he still had Carmelo Anthony as a consistent offensive weapon. Gregg Popovich is a very talented coach that seems to just keep getting better no matter how old his Spurs players get. Frank Vogel constructed the top ranked defense in the league that led the Pacers to a No. 3 seed in the East.

Despite the other coaches success, is it crazy of me to think Thibs deserves more credit than 8th place? The Bulls managed the No. 5 seed in the East without Derrick Rose and the majority of their starting lineup. Nate Robinson, the third string point guard, has been running the Bulls offense for the majority of the season. Thibodeau turned a group of misfit bench players into a unified team with the third best defense in the league. Not to mentioned this Bulls team managed to snap Miami’s 27-game winning streak. How can the king of defensive schemes come in 8th? I honestly thought he could pull off another Coach of the Year win.

I demand a re-vote!

Bulls STUN “White Hot” Heat 93-86 in Game 1 | SportsDivas Inc.

After a two week series with the Brooklyn Nets, a battered roster, and countless injuries, many expected the Bulls to be too tired to get past the Heat’s “big three” in Monday night’s series opener in Miami.  But the Bulls stunned us all and continued their incredi-BULL post season run with a 93-86 Game 1 road win against the reigning NBA Champs.

The Roseless, Kirkless, Dengless Chicago Bulls defied the odds and pulled off a huge upset in South Beach Monday night in front of the White Out crowd proving once again just how tough they can play the Heat. Like Coach Thibs always says, as long as the Bulls have five guys on the court, “they have enough to win.”

If you had anticipated a Miami sweep in this Eastern Conference Semifinal series, you can put down your hater-ade and buckle up because the Bulls aren’t going anywhere without a fight.

Read the entire recap at SportsDivasInc.com!

via Bulls STUN “White Hot” Heat 93-86 in Game 1 | SportsDivas Inc..