Chicago Sun-Times

Bulls prepare for big challenge against Magic

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The Bulls will use the same starting lineup for tonight's game against the Orlando Magic that they featured in the first three games, meaning Drew Gooden will assume the task of containing Magic center Dwight Howard.

"You have to make him move; get him as far away from the basket as possible," Bulls coach Vinny Del Negro said of Howard. "But he's so athletic, long and big sometimes it's difficult."

Except for Larry Hughes and Michael Ruffin, all of the Bulls players participated in Monday's shootaround in Orlando and will be ready to go.

The rest of the starting lineup will be Derrick Rose and Thabo Sefolosha in the backcourt, Luol Deng and Tyrus Thomas at forward and Gooden at center.

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Luol should be thanking his lucky stars the Bullls ponied up and gave him more money. With a bad back and inconsistent play I bet he is laughing all the way to the bank. I hope Bulls don't make same mistake with Gordon. He has obviously not embraced his role, although Gordon has shown more promise than Luol. I guess reality has set in that both of these players are nothing more than a compliment (not go to) players and should be compensated as such.

Clearly a huge challenge for da Bulls this evening going against the high flying Dwight Howard and the Orlando Magic. My three keys to a Bulls' victory are:
1. Derrick Rose needs to be aggressive and continue to look for his own shot. I think the team will feed off his confidence and energy which in turn will encourage them to get to the basket and finish.
2. Team D, Team D, Team D....Help defense will be critical tonight. The Bulls' defenders will have to try and stop Howard from going to the basket with ease, and if the ball is kicked out they need to rotate fast so that the Magic sharpshooters don't get uncontested looks at the basket.
3. Start and finish the game strong. Vinny Del Negro has talked about da Bulls' inconsistencies, but if they can get off to fast start and close the game with conviction, they might be able to steal a win.

Why is Gordon taking the ball up at all let alone the entire fourth quarter yesterday against the Magic? As Neil Funk mentioned, no one is caught in the air out of control more often than this guy. Let your best player and POINT GUARD bring the ball up and create.

Really tired of seeing that midget Gordon turn the ball over and wildly throw it at the rim. If Rose gets the ball in that fourth quarter the Bulls win that game.

I continue to have a problem with this starting lineup. If anyone has watched the games this year, then they will see that Tyrus Thomas is shooting us out of every game. While watching one game, he went 1 for 15 at one point in that game. And these were wide open shots. The team was actually allowing him to shoot. This is not acceptable. And that is not even his forte. He's more effective playing around the basket. Not shooting long range jumpers. Now, in that same scheme, if Gooden was taking those open shots, I'm sure he'd hit a higher percentage of those shots. But they continue to play Gooden out of position. He should be starting at Power Forward, with Aaron Gray starting at Center. Gooden is a PF plan and simple, and is a more effective player at that position.

Secondly, you can't have Tyrus and Thabo on the court at the same time. Let alone in the starting lineup. This makes absolutely no sense to me. Neither can create their own shot. And neither shoots at a high percentage. Yes both play great defense, but neither are any use on the offensive side of the ball.

My starting lineup would be (consistently,to establish chemistry) Rose at PG, with Hinrich in backup. Thabo at SG, until Hughes returns, then place him straight into the starting lineup. Deng/Nocioni at SF. I like Deng, but he dissappers for too many stretches of the game. And that is not what your highest paid player should be doing. I also like Noch. He and Rose seem to be the only ones not afraid of taking it to the paint. What I don't like about Noch is the dirty play and over aggressive fouls. He has talent, so that is not needed. Just play ball Noch! Gooden at PF, and let him do his thing. Let Thomas come off the bench. And I would start Gray at Center. He may be a tad bit slow. But he knows the game and can do more with the ball than any other center on the roster. But we aren't looking for many points from the center position anyway. And of course Noah in relief. I love his energy, but hate his lack of any basic fundamentals. There you have it. My secret to success for my team. Go Bulls!!!

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This page contains a single entry by John Jackson published on November 3, 2008 12:10 PM.

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