Tag Archive: Luol Deng

2014-2015 NBA Eastern Conference Preview

Based on my predictions for all 1,230 regular-season games for the 2014-2015 NBA season, here is my predicted order of finish for the Eastern Conference:

1. Chicago Bulls (60-22)

The return of Derrick Rose and the addition of Pau Gasol should help the Bulls address their shortcomings on the offensive side of the ball.

2. Cleveland Cavaliers (58-24)

LeBron James’ return will make Cleveland relevant in the Eastern Conference for the first time since James’ infamous departure back in 2010.

3. Brooklyn Nets (48-34)

Lionel Hollins, task master that he is, will get the most out of the Nets no matter how many games Brook Lopez misses or plays this season.

4. Miami Heat (46-36)

Despite the departure of LeBron James, Erik Spoelstra should be able to lead an experienced Heat squad with the likes of Chris Bosh and Dwyane Wade supported by Luol Deng and Danny Granger to a spot in the top four of the weak East.

5. Toronto Raptors (41-41)

After a surprising Atlantic Division title last season, opponents will pay a little bit more attention to the Raptors this season.

6. New York Knicks (40-42) 4th tiebreaker, predicted to go 29-23 in Conference

Although they will likely struggle early on and will probably have their ups and downs as they adjust to the triangle offense, the Knicks will probably get enough out of the Carmelo Anthony and company to squeak into the postseason.

7. Washington Wizards (40-42) 4th tiebreaker, predicted to go 28-24 in Conference

Can the Wizards, who remained relatively healthy—for them—last season, get another 155 games out of Bradley Beal and John Wall this season?  With Beal likely to miss the first few weeks of the season with a wrist injury, it seems unlikely.

8. Atlanta Hawks (39-43)

Atlanta has made the playoffs an Eastern Conference high seven straight times and despite a tumultuous offseason, the return of Al Horford should help the Hawks push that streak to eight.

9. Charlotte Hornets (37-45)

10. Detroit Pistons (30-52)

11. Indiana Pacers (26-56) 5th tiebreaker, predicted to go 10-19 against predicted playoff teams in East

12. Boston Celtics (26-56) 5th tiebreaker, predicted to go 10-20 against predicted playoff teams in East

13. Milwaukee Bucks (23-59)

14. Orlando Magic (20-62)

15. Philadelphia 76ers (18-64)

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Chicago Bulls 2013-2014 Game-by-Game Predictions

Actual 2012-2013 Record: 45-37; Random NBA Fan’s Predicted 2012-2013 Record: 47-35

Since Tom Thibodeau became head coach of the Chicago Bulls in 2010, Chicago has consistently been one of the toughest defensive teams in the NBA. The 2013-2014 edition of the Chicago Bulls will be just as tenacious and effective defensively as they have been the past three seasons. There is simply no other way that a team coached by Thibodeau would ever play.

It was Chicago’s defense that pushed the Bulls to 45 wins and the fifth seed in the Eastern Conference playoffs last season despite numerous injuries and the fact that former Most Valuable Player Derrick Rose didn’t play a single second. Defense will once again be their staple this season. But if the Bulls hope to re-establish themselves as one of the premier teams in the Eastern Conference, Chicago will have to perform much better on the offensive side of the ball.

Rose’s return should help the Bulls improve on the anemic 93.2 points per game (tied for last in the league) that they scored last season. And when you factor in the strides Jimmy Butler is likely to make and the signing of Mike Dunleavy, there is absolutely no reason (aside from injury) that Chicago cannot—at the very least— be an average offensive team this season.

If Rose performs at an MVP level and the rest of Chicago’s core rotation (Luol Deng, Taj Gibson, Kirk Hinrich and Joakim Noah) remains relatively healthy, the Bulls will win the Central Division title for the third time in four years while competing for the Eastern Conference’s top playoff seed.

Here are game-by-game predictions for the 2013-2014 Chicago Bulls:

 

Date Visitor Home Prediction Record
October/November
10/29/2013 Chicago Bulls Miami Heat Heat 0-1
10/31/2013 New York Knicks Chicago Bulls Bulls 1-1
11/2/2013 Chicago Bulls Philadelphia 76ers Bulls 2-1
11/6/2013 Chicago Bulls Indiana Pacers Bulls 3-1
11/8/2013 Utah Jazz Chicago Bulls Bulls 4-1
11/11/2013 Cleveland Cavaliers Chicago Bulls Bulls 5-1
11/15/2013 Chicago Bulls Toronto Raptors Bulls 6-1
11/16/2013 Indiana Pacers Chicago Bulls Pacers 6-2
11/18/2013 Charlotte Bobcats Chicago Bulls Bulls 7-2
11/21/2013 Chicago Bulls Denver Nuggets Nuggets 7-3
11/22/2013 Chicago Bulls Portland Trail Blazers Trail Blazers 7-4
11/24/2013 Chicago Bulls Los Angeles Clippers Bulls 8-4
11/25/2013 Chicago Bulls Utah Jazz Bulls 9-4
11/27/2013 Chicago Bulls Detroit Pistons Bulls 10-4
11/30/2013 Chicago Bulls Cleveland Cavaliers Bulls 11-4
December
12/2/2013 New Orleans Pelicans Chicago Bulls Bulls 12-4
12/5/2013 Miami Heat Chicago Bulls Bulls 13-4
12/7/2013 Detroit Pistons Chicago Bulls Bulls 14-4
12/10/2013 Milwaukee Bucks Chicago Bulls Bulls 15-4
12/11/2013 Chicago Bulls New York Knicks Bulls 16-4
12/13/2013 Chicago Bulls Milwaukee Bucks Bucks 16-5
12/14/2013 Toronto Raptors Chicago Bulls Bulls 17-5
12/16/2013 Orlando Magic Chicago Bulls Bulls 18-5
12/18/2013 Chicago Bulls Houston Rockets Rockets 18-6
12/19/2013 Chicago Bulls Oklahoma City Thunder Thunder 18-7
12/21/2013 Cleveland Cavaliers Chicago Bulls Bulls 19-7
12/25/2013 Chicago Bulls Brooklyn Nets Bulls 20-7
12/28/2013 Dallas Mavericks Chicago Bulls Bulls 21-7
12/30/2013 Chicago Bulls Memphis Grizzlies Bulls 22-7
12/31/2013 Toronto Raptors Chicago Bulls Bulls 23-7
January
1/2/2013 Boston Celtics Chicago Bulls Bulls 24-7
1/4/2013 Atlanta Hawks Chicago Bulls Bulls 25-7
1/7/2013 Phoenix Suns Chicago Bulls Bulls 26-7
1/10/2013 Chicago Bulls Milwaukee Bucks Bulls 27-7
1/11/2013 Charlotte Bobcats Chicago Bulls Bulls 28-7
1/13/2013 Washington Wizards Chicago Bulls Bulls 29-7
1/15/2013 Chicago Bulls Orlando Magic Bulls 30-7
1/17/2013 Chicago Bulls Washington Wizards Wizards 30-8
1/18/2013 Philadelphia 76ers Chicago Bulls Bulls 31-8
1/20/2013 Los Angeles Lakers Chicago Bulls Bulls 32-8
1/22/2013 Chicago Bulls Cleveland Cavaliers Cavaliers 32-9
1/24/2013 Los Angeles Clippers Chicago Bulls Clippers 32-10
1/25/2013 Chicago Bulls Charlotte Bobcats Bulls 33-10
1/27/2013 Minnesota Timberwolves Chicago Bulls Bulls 34-10
1/29/2013 Chicago Bulls San Antonio Spurs Bulls 35-10
February
2/1/2013 Chicago Bulls New Orleans Pelicans Pelicans 35-11
2/3/2013 Chicago Bulls Sacramento Kings Bulls 36-11
2/4/2013 Chicago Bulls Phoenix Suns Suns 36-12
2/6/2013 Chicago Bulls Golden State Warriors Warriors 36-13
2/9/2013 Chicago Bulls Los Angeles Lakers Bulls 37-13
2/11/2013 Atlanta Hawks Chicago Bulls Bulls 38-13
2/13/2013 Brooklyn Nets Chicago Bulls Bulls 39-13
2/19/2013 Chicago Bulls Toronto Raptors Bulls 40-13
2/21/2013 Denver Nuggets Chicago Bulls Bulls 41-13
2/23/2013 Chicago Bulls Miami Heat Bulls 42-13
2/25/2013 Chicago Bulls Atlanta Hawks Bulls 43-13
2/26/2013 Golden State Warriors Chicago Bulls Bulls 44-13
2/28/2013 Chicago Bulls Dallas Mavericks Bulls 45-13
March
3/2/2013 New York Knicks Chicago Bulls Bulls 46-13
3/3/2013 Chicago Bulls Brooklyn Nets Nets 46-14
3/5/2013 Chicago Bulls Detroit Pistons Pistons 46-15
3/7/2013 Memphis Grizzlies Chicago Bulls Bulls 47-15
3/9/2013 Miami Heat Chicago Bulls Heat 47-16
3/11/2013 San Antonio Spurs Chicago Bulls Spurs 47-17
3/13/2013 Houston Rockets Chicago Bulls Bulls 48-17
3/15/2013 Sacramento Kings Chicago Bulls Bulls 49-17
3/17/2013 Oklahoma City Thunder Chicago Bulls Bulls 50-17
3/19/2013 Chicago Bulls Philadelphia 76ers Bulls 51-17
3/21/2013 Chicago Bulls Indiana Pacers Pacers 51-18
3/22/2013 Philadelphia 76ers Chicago Bulls Bulls 52-18
3/24/2013 Indiana Pacers Chicago Bulls Bulls 53-18
3/28/2013 Portland Trail Blazers Chicago Bulls Bulls 54-18
3/30/2013 Chicago Bulls Boston Celtics Bulls 55-18
3/31/2013 Boston Celtics Chicago Bulls Celtics 55-19
April
4/2/2013 Chicago Bulls Atlanta Hawks Bulls 56-19
4/4/2013 Milwaukee Bucks Chicago Bulls Bulls 57-19
4/5/2013 Chicago Bulls Washington Wizards Bulls 58-19
4/9/2013 Chicago Bulls Minnesota Timberwolves Bulls 59-19
4/11/2013 Detroit Pistons Chicago Bulls Bulls 60-19
4/13/2013 Chicago Bulls New York Knicks Knicks 60-20
4/14/2013 Orlando Magic Chicago Bulls Bulls 61-20
4/16/2013 Chicago Bulls Charlotte Bobcats Bulls 62-20
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2013 NBA Playoffs Game of the Day: Miami Heat at Chicago Bulls

Today’s Games (All times are Eastern):

 

Time (ET) Visitor Home Prediction
7:00 PM Miami Heat Chicago Bulls Heat
9:30 PM Oklahoma City Thunder Memphis Grizzlies Grizzlies

The Miami Heat will try to take a commanding 3-1 lead over the Chicago Bulls in today’s NBA Playoff Game of the Day. The Heat, who surrendered home-court advantage when they lost Game 1, 93-86, last Monday, regained that advantage with a 104-94 Game 3 victory in Chicago on Friday night. If the Heat can get another win in Chicago tonight, they would head home to Miami with an opportunity to close the series out in Wednesday night’s Game 5.

The Heat are the only team that has not suffered a loss on the road this postseason. Given the fact that they have home-court advantage throughout the playoffs, the Heat will be a very difficult team to beat in a seven-game series if they continue to pick up wins on the road. Miami, who has not lost a road game during the playoffs since Game 1 of last season’s NBA Finals in Oklahoma City, will try to extend its postseason road winning streak to an impressive five games.

The Bulls have put together a couple of streaks of their own. Which, unfortunately for them, are likely to be extended tonight.

According to Bulls coach Tom Thibodeau, forward Luol Deng and guard Kirk Hinrich, who have missed five and six consecutive games, respectively, are “most likely out” again tonight. Even without these two starters, the Bulls—like they have all season long—will continue to compete and find a way to give themselves a chance to win this game. But with the minutes piling up on the other Bulls, Miami’s ability to score the ball—and Chicago’s relative lack thereof—it will be difficult, though not impossible, for the Bulls to avoid dropping their third consecutive game at home this postseason.

Yesterday’s Results:

 

Visitor Home Prediction Result
San Antonio Spurs 87 Golden State Warriors 97 Spurs Warriors

Random NBA Fan’s Record in Yesterday’s Games: 0-1
Random NBA Fan’s Record for the Playoffs: 39-19

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2013 NBA Playoffs Game of the Day: Chicago Bulls at Brooklyn Nets

Today’s Games (All times are Eastern):

 

Time (ET) Visitor Home Prediction
8:00 PM Chicago Bulls Brooklyn Nets Nets

The Brooklyn Nets will try to become just the ninth team in NBA history to win a seven-game series after falling behind 3-1 when they host the Chicago Bulls in today’s NBA Playoff Game of the Day at the Barclays Center. With all of the other first-round series decided and with the second-round not beginning until tomorrow this is the only game on today’s schedule. This is also the first Game 7 of the 2013 NBA Playoffs.

A week ago, after Chicago came back to erase a 14-point deficit and earn a 142-134 triple-overtime victory to take a 3-1 series lead, it seemed unlikely that Brooklyn would be hosting a Game 7 tonight. But the Nets staved off elimination in Games 5 and 6 to earn a Game 7 on their home floor.

In their last game at the Barclays Center, the Nets scored 33 points in the fourth quarter en route to a 110-91 Game 5 victory. That win forced a Game 6 back in Chicago, where Brooklyn jumped out to a six-point, 33-27, lead after one. That was the only quarter the Nets won in that game, but that first-quarter lead proved to be large enough. Brooklyn held on and managed to win 95-92.

The Nets have had a 30-point quarter in the three games that they have won (Games 1, 5 and 6).

Despite the fact that they are fielding a M.A.S.H. unit, the Bulls will continue to fight until the bitter end—whenever that may be. But with Luol Deng back in Chicago and Kirk Hinrich (who missed Games 5 and 6 with a bruised calf) still a game-time decision the Bulls will be far from full strength when Game 7 tips off tonight. And when you add Joakim Noah’s plantar fasciitis and the fact that Nate Robinson and Taj Gibson are both battling the flu to the equation, it seems that Chicago’s run will likely come to an end tonight.

However, these Bulls have shown toughness and resilience all season long. Whoever Coach Tom Thibodeau puts out there tonight will exhibit those qualities.

As Noah said Thursday night after Chicago’s Game 6 loss, “We’re a team of fighters. We keep getting punched in the face but we fight back. I’m proud of this team, and we’re going to go into a hostile environment in Brooklyn and we’re going to win.”

That confidence, toughness and resolve will give the Bulls a chance. And if Chicago’s defense can prevent the Nets from having a 30-point quarter tonight, the Bulls’ chances of pulling off a Game 7 road win will improve greatly.

Yesterday’s Results:

 

Visitor Home Prediction Result
New York Knicks 88 Boston Celtics 80 Knicks Knicks
Indiana Pacers 81 Atlanta Hawks 73 Pacers Pacers
Oklahoma City Thunder 103 Houston Rockets 94 Thunder Thunder
Los Angeles Clippers 105 Memphis Grizzlies 118 Grizzlies Grizzlies

Random NBA Fan’s Record in Yesterday’s Games: 4-0
Random NBA Fan’s Record for the Playoffs: 33-11

NBA Game of the Day: Memphis Grizzlies at Chicago Bulls

Today’s Games (All times are Eastern):

 

Time (ET) Visitor Home Prediction
7:00 PM San Antonio Spurs Atlanta Hawks Hawks
7:00 PM Sacramento Kings Charlotte Bobcats Bobcats
8:00 PM Golden State Warriors New Orleans Hornets Hornets
8:00 PM Memphis Grizzlies Chicago Bulls Grizzlies
8:00 PM Houston Rockets Minnesota Timberwolves Timberwolves
9:00 PM Cleveland Cavaliers Utah Jazz Jazz
10:00 PM Milwaukee Bucks Portland Trail Blazers Trail Blazers
10:30 PM Washington Wizards Los Angeles Clippers Clippers

If last month’s low-scoring matchup is any indication, points will be hard to come by in today’s NBA Game of the Day between the Memphis Grizzlies and Chicago Bulls. On December 17, the Bulls scored a season-low 71 points in a nine-point loss to the Grizzlies at Memphis’ FedExForum.

With both teams ranked in the top five in points allowed (Memphis second at 89.8 points per game and Chicago third at 91.9) and defensive efficiency (Grizzlies second at 97.2 points per 100 possessions and Bulls fourth at 98.2), the chances of either team reaching 100 points tonight are slim and none; and if Luol Deng and Zach Randolph both miss tonight’s matchup, slim won’t even be in the building.

The Grizzlies, who have allowed 100 points in their last two road games, have allowed the opposition to reach the century mark just four times this season. All four occasions have occurred on the road and all four occasions have resulted in Memphis losses. The Grizzlies (25-13) will have to get back to their defensive nature if they hope to avoid their third consecutive road loss and their third straight loss to Chicago at the United Center.

With the help of overtime, the Bulls (23-15) have put up 100 points in each of their last two contests. Chicago has not reached 100 points in three consecutive games all season long and has scored 100 or more points at home just three times this season.

Yesterday’s Results:

 

Visitor Home Prediction Result
Chicago Bulls 100 Boston Celtics 99 Celtics Bulls
Houston Rockets 95 Indiana Pacers 105 Pacers Pacers
Charlotte Bobcats 106 Orlando Magic 100 Bobcats Bobcats
Toronto Raptors 101 Philadelphia 76ers 108 76ers 76ers
Atlanta Hawks 89 Brooklyn Nets 94 Nets Nets
Sacramento Kings 69 Memphis Grizzlies 85 Grizzlies Grizzlies
Golden State Warriors 88 San Antonio Spurs 95 Spurs Spurs
Washington Wizards 112  Denver Nuggets 108 Nuggets Wizards
Oklahoma City Thunder 117 Dallas Mavericks 114 Mavericks Thunder

Random NBA Fan’s Record in Yesterday’s Games: 6-3
Random NBA Fan’s Record for the Season: 378-213

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