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Bulls Wed Mar 10 2010
The Bulls brain trust really, for the first time in quite some time, seem to be trying to make the right moves. They traded John Salmons to Milwaukee for the expiring contracts of Hakim Warrick and the always droppable Joe Alexander; they traded the talent-laden but moody and damaged Tyrus Thomas to Charlotte for the expiring contracts of Flip Murray and Acie Law, all in the name of clearing cap space with the plan of alluring a Bosh or Wade or Joe Johnson or Rudy Gay to be the Robin to Derrick Rose's Batman this offseason. Still, take a gander Bulls fans at the box score that those moves wrought. Mind you, neither I nor you, should blame the Bulls for this loss, sure we could in that, "Don't do that thing where you get caught up in a shot-for-shot contest with one of the better offenses in the league." We could say that, but what options did the Bulls have?
I know what you're thinking, "Why weren't they playing any defense and trying to slow the Jazz down?" Well, two reasons: first, the Bulls have a very bare rotation on the front court right now. With Joakim Noah out, Tyrus ballin' south of Mason-Dixon and Taj Gibson fighting through his own case of plantar fasciitis. Chicago is left with the skeleton crew of Brad "Concrete Feet" Miller, Luol "I typically match up better with 2s, not 3s" Deng and whoever Vinny feels like throwing in there, last night, Warrick got some run, a few decent dunks for the personal highlight reel and little "concerted defensive effort." Reason number two? Derrick Rose can't play defense. Remember last April when the Bulls and Celtics were duking it out in a classic first round playoff series? Remember how Rajon Rondo averaged a near triple-double for the series? Rose was guarding Rondo in that series and he was guarding Deron Williams last night. DWill had 28 and 17 dimes and was constantly finding an open teammate or an open shot for himself.
This isn't all Rose's fault (he's not good at defense, just remember that) but nobody else on the Bulls, with Noah out and Thomas gone, is able to pick up the slack on defense. Only amplifying the final difference in the score was the fact that Utah is playing outta their minds right now and that Carlos Boozer is in full on "Predator" mode at this point, trying to get an insane contract in the free agent bonanza come July. Dude's been seeing in infrared all season. The Jazz? They've lost 8 games total since January 1, only the LeBrons have lost fewer since the New Year started.
The Bulls, hey, sometimes you're the pillager and sometimes you're the villager. I alluded to this being an awful month for the Bulls last week and injuries and trades are just compounding the misery. The good news is the Bulls are still in the Eastern Conference where any team can "get cold" and go on a five-game losing streak, for the Bulls playoffs hopes that's their only chance...