Chicago: Carlos Boozer (hand, out)
The Bulls are an interesting team to follow. They happened to be on TNT on Thursday and I got to watch the Knicks dismantle the Bulls handily. The final score was no indication of the thorough beat down they suffered at home. What was alarming was the team is coached by Tom Thibodeau (pronounced "Former Celtics Defensive Guru") and they have very surprisingly not been a tremendous defensive team so far, giving up 120 and 110 respectively in their last two games. However, this team is still a very tough challenge for a short handed Nuggets team. When this team finally puts it together this team will be quite scary. (On an interesting side note, that Knicks/Bulls game started a nice debate between Nate and myself about how good in reality Danilo Gallinari is. Subject for another column all together.)
Bullish on Chicago
Derrick Rose is definitely ALL that. It was very clear, as the end of the Knicks/Bulls game indicated, the fans of Chicago love Rose and quite frankly he has come through. He has a very fluid jump shot, and can dish out dimes with some of the best point guards in the league. While only in his third year it is quite scary how good Rose can be once he matures even more and learns to take better care of the basketball. Great player.
As is Joakim Noah. When he came in to the league there were some who questioned his offensive ability. The last two seasons Noah has put up some great numbers. Including five double-doubles, in a row, this season. You can see why Chicago signed him to an extension this offseason and why their front office has refused to include him him any trade for...well...we won't go in to THAT one.
Luol Deng may have the worst contract this side of Eddy Currey and Kenyon Martin. While Deng is a good player, his contract has proven to be nearly impossible to move (remind you of anyone Nuggets fans?) and definitely doesn't befit what teams believe his value is as a role player. I like what Deng can do offensively, but he's not a difference maker.
Nuggets of Wisdom
It is imperative that the Nuggets play as a team and continue to build upon the victory in Dallas on Saturday night. With Nene potentially out of the lineup we may be looking at another starting venture for Gary Forbes, or Melvin Ely. Either way, TEAM defense is the key. This team has played hard and has managed to be IN every game they have played. I know I speak for Nuggets fans when I say that we like what we have seen so far. One game at a time.
Melvin Ely played very well in the Dallas game in a limited role (as well as Gary Forbes) and this "small lineup" that the Nuggets are playing is quite stirring. It's a reflection of great coaching by George Karl and his assistants to get the best team defense possible from our undersized team.
Oppositions Take: Blog a Bull