Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Bulls get what they deserve: date with Celtics

The Bald Truth

Because I have so many better things to do than watch Bulls games on television - spend time with my family, send e-mails to friends, clip my toenails, pretty much anything qualifies - I only watched snippets of the Bulls' ridiculous and costly Wednesday night loss to the Raptors.

And in practically every snippet I watched, the Raptors were scoring on dunks and layups and wide-open 15-footers. 

The Bulls' loss (to a team that has been out of the playoff picture since November), combined with the 76ers' victory over a Cavs club that was resting everybody (including LeBron), means the Bulls will have to face Boston instead of Orlando in the first round of the playoffs.

Not that the Bulls were going to beat the Magic - I mean, if Patrick O'Bryant had his way with them, how badly would Dwight Howard have folded, spindled and mutilated them? - but they have no chance against the defending champion Celtics.

Yeah, but what if Kevin Garnett can't play or is limited in what he can do? Hello! Was KG on the court for Toronto? Paul Pierce, Ray Allen, Rajon Rondo and the rest of Boston's finest will be far more than the Bulls can handle. 

For the zillionth time, it's fair to wonder about Vinny Del Negro

The coach can't motivate his team to get up for an important home game against the Raptors? He can't do something - anything - to keep the Bulls from falling behind big in almost every game, a trend that will bury them in the playoffs? He can't get his lads to play even a lick of defense?

I'm not pinning this all on Vinny. It's not as if John Paxson has given Del Negro a great team. But an outstanding coach might be able to steal a playoff series with the Bulls' roster, and nobody will will mistake Del Negro for that. 

The Quote

"From the jump ball, we got outworked. They had better energy, moved the ball better. We couldn't get stops and didn't move the ball. They outhustled us on the glass. We were lackadaisical. I'm disappointed with our effort and our urgency ... " - Vinny Del Negro

As I was saying ...

The Prediction

Celtics in 5. Only because KG isn't 100 percent. And because I'm feeling generous.

The Balder Truth

It was Jason Marquis vs. Rich Harden - the pitcher the Cubs had to get because they couldn't trust Jason Marquis.

What a mismatch!

For the Rockies.

They got seven strong innings - and a two-run single - from Marquis in smacking Harden and the Cubbies all over Wrigley Field.

Those baseball gods have one heck of a sense of humor. 

On a different note, good stuff from Colorado manager Clint Hurdle. After Huston Street opened the ninth inning by allowing a homer, a walk and a single, Hurdle yanked his closer and went with Jason Grilli, who promptly earned the save.

Too often, managers let their closers go down in flames. Why? "Because he's my closer." Well, unless your closer is Mariano Rivera or a select few others, get somebody ready in the bullpen just in case. 

If your closer is too sensitive to handle that, he's not tough enough to be your closer anyway.


So Chris Carpenter works like crazy to return from arm problems that would have ended a lot of pitchers' careers. He comes back, pitches great and gets Redbird rooters all excited about their heroes' chances. And then he strains the left side of his rib cage while swinging a bat?

I know I shouldn't feel sorry for the guy because he's got more money than the rest of us combined, but jeesh!

Oh, and speaking of the Cardinals, I'll be at Thursday's Cubs-Cards game making my glorious return as an AP scribe (although this time only as a freelancer). After all I've covered these last 27 years this probably sounds silly, but I actually am a little nervous.

Here's hoping it's the "good nerves" athletes are always talking about.


  1. Just have fun with it, Mike. You're writing is always spot on. Good Luck!

  2. Well, maybe I should have said "almost always". I do disagree with you once in a while!

  3. you suck...why can't i take your place? punctiously yours...really wrigley in the spring it does not get better than that..have a chicago red hot for ME