|2008/2009 NBA Regular Season|
|February 24th, 2009|
|FSN Florida HD|
|Rafer Alston||PG||Derrick Rose|
|Courtney Lee||SG||Ben Gordon|
|Hedo Turkoglu||SF||Luol Deng|
|Rashard Lewis||PF||Tyrus Thomas|
|Dwight Howard||C||Joakim Noah|
|November 3rd: Magic 96, Bulls 93|
|December 31st: Magic 113, Bulls 94|
The Chicago Bulls team the Orlando Magic will face tonight is likely better than the iteration they played earlier this season. At the trading deadline, GM John Paxson was able to swing a deal for center Brad Miller and swingman John Salmons. He was under pressure to do something after reportedly passing on Kevin Garnett and Pau Gasol in consecutive years.
So while Miller gives the Bulls a credible inside presence and Salmons is an improvement over Andres Nocioni, whom they jettisoned in the trade, there's still a glaring weakness in the Bulls organization. That's the head coach. Vinny Del Negro was awesome, relatively speaking, in NBA Live 97 for Sega Genesis, but he does not appear to be head coaching material, especially not for a relatively young team that needs some discipline. And no, fining players for eating in the locker room does not count as "discipline." Additionally, the crack team at The Blowtorch found Del Negro's playbook. It leaves a lot to be desired.
The Bulls, for all their faults, are one of the league's better teams in effective field goal percentage defense. It comes at a cost, though. Perhaps due to their frenzied close-outs, they commit a ton of fouls. Playing Joakim Noah and Aaron Gray heavy minutes at center can do that to a team. They also don't rebound well. If the Magic have an off shooting night, the game could be close. On balance, though, the Magic shouldn't have much trouble dispatching the Bulls. Rashard Lewis and Dwight Howard are just too much. Then again, Derrick Rose is pretty darn quick, Ben Gordon can get buckets in a hurry, and Luol Deng always gives Hedo Turkoglu fits.
Tip's at 8. Go Magic.