Bulls

Why these Bulls' legacy depends on dethroning LeBron

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Why these Bulls' legacy depends on dethroning LeBron

CSN Bulls analyst and four-time NBA champion Will Perdue looks at the potential long-term impact, both individually and as a group, for the Bulls if they're unable to beat LeBron James and the Cavaliers in their current playoff series.

 

[Ri-gret]

verb

“1. to feel sad, repentant, or disappointed over (something that has happened or been done, especially a loss or missed opportunity).”

It’s been 14 years since I played competitive basketball in the NBA. Sunday afternoon's game between the Cavs and Bulls brought back memories of those "lost and missed opportunities" throughout my career on the floor. The difference between myself and this Bulls team is that I can no longer do anything to correct or change those missed opportunities. This series is tied at 2-2. The Bulls have an opportunity in Game 5 to correct their mistakes from Game 4, to not only help them win Thursday but also to help them win the series.

At the present moment this team may not understand the magnitude of what lies before them. On paper they have the talent, the skill and the depth to beat LeBron James, their nemesis, and the Cavaliers. I know from past experience that they may look at Game 4 as “just one game,” but it could be the defining moment of this series and quite possibly, for some, their careers. It’s not as easy as saying “just put it behind us and learn from our mistakes.” Games that end that way, especially in the playoffs, can leave mental scars and doubt that will carry over into the next game and quite possibly the next season.

[RELATED: Bulls remaining positive heading into Cleveland]

Now is the time for this team to be proactive. Instead of looking back 14 years from now with the thoughts of regret of what could have been in this series against the Cavs, this team has the chance to write history that can be looked back upon and cherished, much like I was afforded the luxury of four championships. Those years bring back the fond memories of battles won, but there are still those memories of battles lost that resurface after watching games like Sunday's last-second loss.

Professional athletes are tormented about missed opportunities. Golfers have nightmares about the missed putts they feel cost them a win on tour. Hockey players have nightmares about penalty shots gone awry. Baseball players are haunted with the errors that may have cost their team the game. You understand my point.

I hope this Bulls team doesn't allow the outcome of Game 4 to define regret. Not only do they need to make the necessary changes required to win Game 5, but it also requires the necessary focus, determination, desire, drive, and both mental and physical energy. This may actually be the biggest hurdle for this team to overcome. Johnny Bach, assistant coach for the Bulls championship run in the 90s, used to always say, “Fatigue makes cowards of us all.” Do the Bulls have the mental fortitude to win and advance?

[MORE: LeBron James is all alone, but it could be enough to top Bulls]

This is the challenge that lies before them. If they don’t win this series it’s not the end of the world, but if they do win it could be life-altering. Remember the Bulls in 1991? We finally beat our nemesis, the Detroit Pistons, 4-0. What happened after that was the first ever championship for the Chicago Bulls organization. There have never been any regretful thoughts of that season.

Moving forward, the future of this team and the history that they write is in the hands of the players and the coaches.  I use this metaphor all of the time on CSN Chicago: I’m not Chicken Little crying that the sky is falling, but if the Bulls lose Game 5...run for cover.

Now it’s time to do your part and rally the troops. Wear your favorite Jersey, your lucky socks, your rally caps...whatever it may be, to show your support for the Bulls and help Derrick Rose, and the team take down LeBron and the Cavs. Let's dethrone “The King.”

This post originally was published on Will Perdue's tumblr page.

Will Perdue is CSN's Bulls analyst. Follow Will on Twitter @Will_Perdue32 and watch him on Bulls Postgame Live with Mark Schanowski after every Bulls playoff game.

Wendell Carter Jr. survives gauntlet of centers to begin career

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AP

Wendell Carter Jr. survives gauntlet of centers to begin career

Don't tell Wendell Carter Jr. the center position is a dying breed.

The 19-year-old rookie hasn't exactly been able to ease into the NBA, finding himself up against a handful of All-Stars and powerful frontcourts just five days into his career.

It culminated Monday night with a date against Mavericks center DeAndre Jordan, and once again the seventh overall pick held his own. It was much of the same as it was against Philadelphia's Joel Embiid and Detroit's Andre Drummond last week (and Nikola Jokic in the preseason finale): some good, some bad, plenty of poise and zero backing down. The NBA is unforgiving, but this could very well be the toughest stretch Carter faces all season.

"He’s playing against top level centers now," Fred Hoiberg said before Monday's game. "It’s a great experience for him. He’s going to learn and get better and he plays within himself, we will continue to look for him to be more aggressive."

He was as aggressive as the Bulls have seen him against Jordan and the Mavericks. He blew by the 20 and 18 minutes he played in the first two games of the year, totalling 32 minutes. His final line won't tell the story - 4 points, 9 rebounds, 4 assists and a block - of a Carter who defended well at the rim, picking and choosing his spots on when to attack shots and when to simply use his verticality.

He wasn't credited for a block but he contested a Jordan dunk that turned into a Bobby Portis dunk on the other end. Plus-minus isn't always a good indicator of a player's worth, but Carter was a +5 in a 14-point Bulls loss. He even attempted a corner 3-pointer early in the shot clock, showing no hesitation. Carter's had his moments, but it's also apparent he's got a 19-year-old body going up against veterans each night. That'll come with time in the weight room. For now the experience is 

"I appreciate the fact I’m able to play against these very talented bigs early in my career," Carter said after the loss to the Pistons. "What I need to work on is I have to get stronger; that’s the first thing I recognize; just being up against the best. I love the competition. It’s always a great feeling going against the best."

What the Bulls are finding out is they have a player mature beyond his years. As he progresses he'll continue to get more difficult assignments. He had his rookie moment late in Monday's loss, committing a turnover in the backcourt after the Bulls had cut the deficit to five with 35 seconds left. The fouls are also an issue, as Carter has committed 10 in three games (after committing 17 in five preseason games).

That doesn't necessarily seem important for a Lottery-bound team, but considering the continued struggles of Robin Lopez (and Cristiano Felicio is entirely out of the rotation) it is. Lopez had 2 points and 1 rebound in 10 minutes while committing five personal fouls. In three games he has 11 personal fouls and 11 points, and also has more turnovers (five) than rebounds (four). If the Bulls are going to compete until Lauri Markkanen returns, Carter will need to hover around the 32 minutes he played Monday.

He'll get a much easier test on Wednesday when the Charlotte Hornets arrive in town. Cody Zeller doesn't exactly have the credentials of a Jokic or Embiid, meaning Carter may have a little more room to work. 

The Bulls know they have something in Carter. It'll be abother month until they can deploy him alongside Markkanen, but if the first three games are any indication, Carter won't have any problems matching up with some of the league's best.

SportsTalk Live Podcast: Moral victory for the Bears?

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USA TODAY

SportsTalk Live Podcast: Moral victory for the Bears?

David Schuster, Adam Jahns and Patrick Finley join Kap on the panel.

0:00- Dave Wannstedt joins the panel to discuss the Bears 38-31 loss to the Patriots? Was it a moral victory? Is Matt Nagy crazy to say Mitch Trubisky didn’t play that bad?

13:00- Joe Girardi pulls his name out of the Reds managerial search and Jon Heyman reports that industry sources believe he might wait to see if there’s an opening in Chicago. What are the chances that he replaces Joe Maddon?

14:30- Adam Amin joins Kap to preview the Bulls/Mavericks game and discuss the lack of defense in the NBA.