Four Reasons the Houston Rockets may no longer be Contenders

Houston Rockets Star Players

It only took 11 games for the Houston Rockets to go from championship contenders to Western Conference also-rans. After a 4-7 start, head coach Kevin McHale was fired. Never mind the four-year contract extension he received last season, or the fact that he had the highest winning percentage in franchise history. The Houston Rockets lost their first three games by an average of 20 points.

The day before McHale was sent packing, the team held a players-only meeting.

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Marshawn Lynch won’t be cast in your dumb movie, Media

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We used to go for a different kind of movie. Historically, America has revered the Hollywood leading man that spoke with his actions and not his words. The strong and silent type who didn’t wax poetic, but instead just took charge. Talk was always cheap, or so the romantic narrative went.

Movies evolve and so then the characters that the audience demands.

This all does not apply to Seattle Seahawks running back Marshawn Lynch, someone perfectly content in playing football really well and not talking about that. He isn’t a character but his own man. Any rational person would at best respect someone who takes pride in his work and doesn’t feel the need to draw attention to himself.

Many people in the media are not rational.

There are things that have to be written, damn it.

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Should the Bulls go after Mike D’Antoni?

chicago bulls mike d'antoni

There have been many comments over the last few days in the media and among Chicago Bulls fans on the internet about the future of head coach Tom Thibodeau, especially now that Mike D’Antoni has resigned as head coach of the Los Angeles Lakers.

Thibs has been an amazing coach during the regular season- after being named NBA Coach of the Year in his first season at the Bulls’ helm, he has finished second, eighth and third in years two through four. Obviously, the man is one hell of a coach.

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Chicago Bulls media day highlights

With former MVP Derrick Rose set to miss at least half the season as he rehabs his ACL, the Chicago Bulls will have a completely different look this season. Kirk Hinrich takes over at starting point guard, and the bench has been completely reshuffled, giving the Bulls basically a whole new team.

Which makes this media day and start of training camp basically a very new beginning. A season that will look quite different from the past couple years.

Here are some of the highlights of what was said at media day

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Will the Bulls have the Best Record in the NBA Again?

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The Chicago Bulls led the NBA in wins last year, but like their #1 seed counterpart in the West, the San Antonio Spurs, they failed to reach the NBA Finals.

Chicago returns the same nucleus as last year, with some upgrades. On paper, they should be better. Then again, so will the Miami Heat, who eliminated them last year.

“I think the longer you are together, everything improves. Our goal is to be a well balanced team, those are the teams that do well in the playoffs, I believe we finished 11th in offensive efficiency, we were first in defensive efficiency, we can’t be one-dimensional,” Bulls Coach Tom Thibodeau said.

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2012 Chicago Bulls Look to Avoid Glass Ceiling

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Of all the questions surrounding the Chicago Bulls this season, only one truly matters- can they get past the Miami Heat this year? Because of what happened last season (4-1 Eastern Conference Finals loss despite the Bulls having home court advantage), what could happen this year (many NBA experts predict the same outcome this year) and how this script could occur repeatedly in the future, that’s what this season is all about.

Only breaking through that playoff “glass ceiling “matters. Miami will probably have their big three in place for awhile, and that could create a situation commonly referred to as “NBA Hell” for the Bulls and everyone else in the Eastern Conference.

“NBA Hell” and the “glass ceiling” are kind of the same thing.

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Chicago Bulls Lock up Franchise (Derrick Rose) $94 Million, 5 Years

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The Chicago Bulls know exactly where their bread is buttered. The reigning MVP Derrick Rose has agreed to a five-year contract extension with the team worth approximately $94 million.

Rose on the extension: “I’ll be able to afford what I want. But not too many things excite me except winning and being around my family.”

The deal was done right before the Bulls completed their two game preseason (both wins) versus the Indiana Pacers.

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Chicago Bulls Camp Opens: Notable Quotables

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Chicago Bulls Head Coach Tom Thibodeau described what happens when his team plays the Miami Heat: “each possession is a war.” Yes, the NBA is actually back now, even though it may seem hard to believe. Training camps are open, media days have been held, including the session for the team with the best regular season record in the league last year.

The reigning MVP Derrick Rose spoke about possible slights by the national media. “We hear everything,” he said and he talked about motivation for the Bulls.

“We had the No. 1 record in the NBA last year. I guess people forgot that.”

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Chicago Bulls Need More Scoring from Wings, Higher Shooting Percentage

kyle korver

Whenever you shoot 34% from the field, and 15% from behind the arc in the NBA, (as Chicago did in game 2 of the Eastern Conference Finals) you’re not very likely to win. And for the Chicago Bulls, it’s even harder to win when you’re taking on a team that’s more athletic and less reliant on jump shooting in the Miami Heat.

Maybe the Bulls have gotten their “bad shooting game” out of the way, and now things will get easier.

Or maybe not, in their 96-85 Game 3 loss, the Bulls shot 41% across the board, and their league leading defense allowed the Heat to go 51% from the field.

Perhaps Erik Spoelstra (who is a very underrated coach) has made proper adjustments in defending them? Lebron James and Dwyane Wade are so quick and athletic they can eliminate spacing in an instant.

“You don’t ever know if you’re all the way open. They could be seven, eight feet away and still contest your shot or block it. It does make it difficult,” said Bulls wing Kyle Korver.

“But that’s okay. It’s fun.”

By Paul M. Banks

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The Bulls and The Heat and The Oprah…Time for Game 2

Since Oprah is more powerful than basically any person or any entity, today’s column is the Game 2 preview instead of the Game 2 recap.

As much as people have been making a joke out of this topic, Heat forward Lebron James offered some good perspective.

“She’s [Oprah] very important. Not only to the world, but to this city. We’ll take a back seat to Oprah. We don’t have a problem with that.

Now that the Oprah angle has been exhausted, let’s move on to basketball.

By: Brian McCabe

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Bulls-Hawks Series Coverage Needs More Perspective, Less “Non-Stories”

I know, I know, it’s the NBA playoffs, so everything is magnified 1000 x every game, but observers of the Chicago Bulls-Atlanta Hawks series need to regain some perspective. It seems that every game, “the momentum” shifts 180 degrees to whoever just won the last game, and whether the media actually says it or not, people keep crowning the NBA champion, and then dethroning, and then re-crowning, and then dethroning, and then crowning another after each game.

I’m here to make things grounded again, put them in perspective. With some help from Luol Deng and Tom Thibodeau soundbites.

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Chicago Bulls Biggest Issue: Balanced Offense through Drive & Kick

derrick rose bulls

Knowing that the primary strength in NBA MVP Derrick Rose’s game is penetrating the lane, you the Bulls fan may watch game five yelling at the tv, telling Rose to echo Rihanna’s famous 2007 hit song:  “Shut up and Drive.

You might point to the fact that his three point game has only really been on once (game three Friday night) in the entire playoffs so far as further proof he should just play “fast don’t lie” to the hole as much as possible.

But that’s not the answer. The key is for Rose is to lead the drive-and-kick came whenever he can, and be the greatest distributor possible.

“I want him to read the defense, so if they’re sagging into the paint, and he’s open I want him to shoot,” Bulls Coach Tom Thibodeau said.

“We want to attack better in transition, play with more pace, and in those situations, when the floor’s open he has the opportunity to drive more. He has to score a number of different ways and run the team,” Coach Thibs continued.

By Paul M. Banks

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