Half-assed Preview: Hornets @ Bulls
Tyson Chandler's return to Chi-Town is the big story ahead of the Hornets-Bulls meet this evening. Check the news page for several takes on the topic.
Tyson has been openly criticizing Bulls' head coach Scott Skiles in the run up, while Skiles says he's losing no sleep thinking about Chandler. Does this seem at all familiar? This excerpt from the Sun-Times story drives it home:
What is known is that on his way out of town after the trade that sent him to the Hornets, Chandler alleged that Skiles did not communicate with him — that it was as if there ''were walls'' around the coach. Skiles responded by saying he and his staff never talked to a player as much as they did with Chandler, whom Skiles coached for the last three of Chandler's five seasons with the Bulls.
JR Smith and Byron Scott, right? You could almost substitute the names and stick the same story in a Denver paper; nobody would blink.
Methinks that "irony" thing that smart people talk about is at work here, too. The same coach that JR Smith said he just couldn't get along with is now best buds with Chandler. Meanwhile, JR is happy in his nappy up in the Rockies — or at least he was until he got hurt — and I'd be willing to bet there's plenty of pups on the Bulls roster that consider Skiles an extremely approchable dude.
What it comes down to, I guess, is that sometimes players and coaches just don't get along. Call it a conflict of personalities or whatever. Nobody's wrong, nobody's right. It just isn't going to work. If I was a Bulls fan, I wouldn't be pissed off that my team gave up on Chandler too early, same way I'm not pissed that the Hornets gave up on JR. It just wasn't going to work. Changes had to be made, and everybody is now much happier and has lots of awesome new friends.
What the hell am I talking about? I don't know. I'm in some kind of tree-hugging mood today. Apologies. Here's the usual dose of news and notes…
- Those Bulls are 33-27 on the season, 23-8 at home. They've been pretty inconsistent since the new year, not winning or losing more than three in a row at any stage. They got beat by the visiting Magic on Monday, 87-94, but they bounced back with a 113-83 demolition of the Warriors in Chicago on Wednesday.
- Overall, Ben Wallace has been disappointing this season, averaging 6.2 points, 10.4 rebounds and 2.2 blocks. He has upped his game recently, however. The following from today's Chicago Daily Herald:
Wallace, 32, showed a hint of what may be in store for the stretch run when he piled up a combined 31 rebounds, 22 points and 12 blocks in consecutive wins over Cleveland and Washington last week.
- Leading the Bulls most nights is Ben Gordon and his 21ppg. BG is starting these days. Luol Deng also packs a punch with 19 points and 7 boards per, while Chris Pauls' Team USA understudy Kirk Hinrich runs the point real nice for the Bulls. He's averaging about 16 points and 6 dimes.
- Of course, this is a significant game for Jannero Pargo, perhaps even moreso than Chandler. JP averaged about 6ppg in two and a bit seasons with his hometown Bulls.
- Our old pal PJ Brown might not even play today, after bruising his left knee against G-State. He didn't practice yesterday. He's averaging 6 points and 5 boards in 19 minutes a night.
- Hey Tyson, it couldn't have been all bad.
- Unfortunately for the fans who pack the United Center this evening, the Hornets Marcus Vinicius will definitely not be playing. Yes, he has recovered from whatever injury he had, but he's been sent down to the D-League as part of what must be a practical joke of some description. It's the only explanation.
- In other news, Joe Horn is no longer a Saint. Thanks for everything, Joe.
Okay, I gotta run. Those trees ain't gonna hug themselves. Tip tonight is at 7:30pm. I don't have to tell you that every game is big right now. Also of relevance this evening: Warriors @ Knicks, Jazz @ Timberwolves, Rockets @ Nuggets and Kings @ Lakers. Full standings here. Later.