BEFORE THE TIP: BULLS VS BROOKLYN NETS
By Terrence Tomlin & Eugene McIntosh
The NBA season has a weird way of reminding you that it is a marathon, not a race.
But if you are reading this, it means you have successfully made it through the hoopla that is Opening Night in the NBA. Hopefully, after the Bulls pulled out a 97-95 win over the Cavs in Game 1, you didn’t jump to too many concrete conclusions. However, dare I say, the Bulls looked good? As they make their way to Brooklyn to play the Nets in the first back-to-back of the season, Terrence Tomlin & Eugene McIntosh of The Bigs take a look at how the Bulls can build on last night’s win over Cleveland and start new head coach Fred Hoiberg’s first winning streak of his career.
What was your biggest takeaway from the game last night vs the Cavs?
Terrence: There was no sign of Thibodeau favorite Kirk Hinrich. Kirk receiving a DNP was yet another sign that new Bulls coach Fred Hoiberg, is not afraid to shake things up if it is in the best interest of the team. I like it. We saw it first with Hoiberg’s decision to move Joakim Noah, who’s long been viewed as the emotional leader of the team and is in a contract year, to the bench. Can you say with confidence that Tom Thibodeau was ready and willing to make that kind of decision? Simply put, no. Although, time will tell if these bold moves pay dividends, for all the chatter amongst certain players about whose team this is, The Mayor is making it clear that it is his.
Gene: Fred Hoiberg got his first win out of the way and showed us that his style of play is here to stay. He rotated guys in and out and kept the legs fresh. The new spread offense leads to better ball movement, quicker shots and more opportunity. The fact that he rotated 10 guys and it was effective shows the change in the style of play in today’s league. It’s only 1 game but so far so good. Also Joakim Noah had a vintage Jo night off the bench before he banged knees with Rich Jefferson.
What can we expect vs the Brooklyn Nets tonight @ 6:30?
Terrence: More lineups! Look for Hoiberg to continue to feverishly find a lineup that works for him early on in the season. Neither Kirk Hinrich or rookie Bobby Portis played a single second in last night’s game. According to Hoiberg, who vows to try something new every night, both could see playing time tonight. With Rose looking very aggressive going to the rim last night, I expect the team to build around that and come out with a win tonight. 105-95.
Gene: Tonight I expect the Bulls to go into Barclays and take care of business. Joe Johnson and Brook Lopez lead a young Nets squad who have a new identity with Kevin Garnett and Deron Williams gone. The defense was pretty good last night as Chicago held the Cavs to 40.4% shooting. I expect the same if not a better effort defensively and let’s see what the offense looks like after those first game jitters. The Bulls have won 12 of the last 16 regular season matchups versus the Nets. Bulls 104 Nets 85.