Pump Up Music: Keri Hilson -- "Knock You Down"
The Big Picture: The Chicago Bulls lost to Oklahoma City last night, but prior to that, they'd gone on a four game winning streak. Coach Vinny Del Negro probably hasn't pulled himself away from the chopping block, yet, but as long as they keep winning, his odds of getting fired in-season remain steady. It's kind of like the Dread Pirate Roberts. "Good night, Vinny. I'll most likely fire you in the morning."
Given that the Bulls are roughly at the same present day talent level as the Bobcats, that might lead one to wonder why they're going to fire their fearless leader. It's partly because he's never given observers confidence that he's up to snuff, having been hired out of the front office with zero prior coaching experience, but it's mainly because the Bulls are a young team with guys who should still be improving and they were expected to mesh into a formidable team, and they're not.
We all know about Derrick Rose. Luol Deng looks like he's back to where he was, pre-injury. Joakim Noah has taken a big step forward this year with more playing time. But the team's still not winning. Maybe Ben Gordon really was a key component. Maybe VDN shouldn't have jerked around Tyrus Thomas before he broke his arm. In the end, he's going to take the fall for the team's inability to take the next step after such a rousing performance in last year's playoffs.
Key to Victory: This is more of a personal preference thing, an aesthetic request, more than a straightforward bit of strategy advice. Please, shut down Joakim Noah. If he gets 10 points and 10 rebounds, that means we'll have to endure one of his patented tip-ins followed by that crazy gallop back down the court, possibly while pounding his chest and screaming something. He's not on my team, thus it's like nails on a blackboard.
Detail That May Interest .08% of You: For hockey games, the United Center uses an organ that replicates the sound of the Chicago Stadium organ. Come on! Break it out for basketball!