The Nuggets did not make a big deal on the trade deadline, but the Chicago Bulls sure did. Tonight the Nuggets get the first crack at the Ben Wallaceless Bulls. Something tells me that whole Ben Wallace signing did not work out quite as well as Chicago planned although, at least they made it out of the first round of the playoffs last season.
The trade the Bulls made was more about making a commitment to their younger players than it was dumping salary. Larry Hughes’ contract is the same length at nearly the same cost as Wallace’s was. But now that Wallace is gone Joakim Noah and Tyrus Thomas are going to get their chance to show what they can do.
Blog-A-Bull has plenty more in depth trade analysis here. And if for some reason you like reading people ripping current Bulls coach Jim Boylan you should have enough material for hours of fun at Blog-A-Bull.
Early in the season the Nuggets dismantled the Bulls in a game where they played hard on both ends of the floor that lead me to proclaim that the Nuggets had developed a killer instinct I had not seen before. Well, apparently I was wrong, but that early season stretch of home wins did show us that the Nuggets were better prepared to take care of business at home this season.
Getting back to the game itself, AI had 20 of the Nuggets 72 first half points and the Nuggets locked the Bulls down in the second half holding the Bulls to only 38 second half points.
This game will probably be much different. The Bulls young players, Noah, Thomas and Thabo Sefolosha (how can spell check think Thabo is a word, let along one that is spelled correctly?) have been playing very hard. I watched this group win a game at Golden State a couple of weeks ago. Thomas was a beast down the stretch and the Bulls went to him again and again down the stretch and he delivered.
The Nuggets are going to have to be very wary of this team and not take them lightly. Taking sub .500 teams seriously on the road has not been one of the Nuggets stronger characteristics this season. As I wrote yesterday, the fact that the Nuggets did not make a trade is a show of faith in the current core group of players. Tonight they have a chance to show that faith is well founded.
Tonight kicks off a stretch of five games in eight nights for Denver and four of those five games are very winnable. If this Nuggets team can summon the effort they showed against Boston every night, no matter who they are playing, they will win more than their fair share of games.
Oh and by the way, I am setting the over under for annoying primal screams from the unsightly Joakim Noah tonight at 4.