Daily Lies & Statistics: Bull Market

The NBA world is all aflutter this morning after the Chicago Bulls blew a 35-point lead to the Sacramento Kings and lost. At home. To the – I’ll say it again – Sacramento Kings. Bring Michael Jordan back from the golf course or something.

As a Celtics fan, I vividly remember how terrified I was last Spring when Derrick Rose and company were pushing my Cs to the brink in the first round in one of the best playoff series ever to feature Brian Scalabrine prominently. Rose was unstoppable, but so was John Salmons, who routinely buried killer jumpers and finished interesting drives with aplomb and sometimes two plombs. Kirk Hinrich was also a pest, one of those legitimately underrated Caucasians who looks easy to beat off the dribble but rarely let’s anyone breathe on the offensive end. I hated 6-11 annoyance Joakim Noah so much that it circled back around and I actually loved him during that series. Regardless of how it turned out, it was a classic and we all knew the Bulls were gonna be good for a while.

I think the Bulls have stopped listening to Vinny Del Negro

But here we are, a scant eight months later, and these Bulls are 10-16 with the year’s most embarrassing loss now hung around their necks. Do they miss Ben Gordon and Tyrus Thomas that much? Salmons has been bricking up shots for nearly two straight months now, and without any other three-point threats, Rose can’t quite find the space he needs. Thomas brought them athleticism and shot blocking, two things that an aging Brad Miller wasn’t even known for when he was in his prime. And Vinny Del Negro is coaching this team with the look of a doe straddling the center line of the Autobahn.

It’s hard to believe last night’s debacle won’t lead to some changes, perhaps a lineup shuffle or trade but maybe even Del Negro being made to walk the plank. So what to do, in fantasy? Salmons has been a “buy-low” guy forever, but I still say its time to go get him. He did have six steals last night against his former employer. Rose is someone who could probably be had on the cheap, but seeing how his rep is bigger than his fantasy game, even when he’s scoring in the mid-to-high 20s. It might be time to sell. Damn Lies blogger Greg Fox just jettisoned Rose to one of our league-mates for D-League guard Josh Smith, a 6-2 combo from the Idaho… wait, for the other Josh Smith? From the Hawks? Naw. Let me double check that and get back to you.

Furthermore, I give you the go-ahead to pursue forgotten man-freak Ty Thomas, who is returning nigh from injuries sustained from me drafting him this year. He may get traded (pray it’s to the Knicks) or at the very least be showcased on a team heading nowhere in the HOV lane. Noah and Luol Deng are both playing at a high level, and remain the two Bulls I’d hang on to because you likely snagged them at such a great value.

Let’s see how they respond tonight at the Knicks. You might think it can’t get worse than blowing a 35-point lead at home to the Kings, but it can: what if Nate Robinson sees the court against you? The ultimate indignity.

More Monday Morsels:

Cleveland won handily at Phoenix in a game that should remind anyone who thinks that a front line of Amar’e Stoudemire and Channing Frye is going to cut it against physical teams should be committed. Delonte West (12 pts, 6 ast, 3 stl, 0 concealed weapons) has three straight double-figure scoring games and should probably be considered for a fantasy roster spot. It’s easy to forget how valuable he is when going well.

Every once in a while Andrew Bogut has a line like the one he put up against the Pacers last night – 31 points, 18 rebounds, three blocks. It’s hard to predict when these are coming, but his season numbers of 16.0 PPG, 10.0 RPG and 2.0 BPG have turned out just fine. Next time Bogut throws up a stinker, make an offer to his owner. (Aside: “Owner”, like Bogut’s a dog or something. Ha.)

Five more blocks for Dwight Howard, who has 23 in his last five games. The Magic held off the Jazz, 104-99. Paul Millsap is showing signs of life with 18 and 20 points, respectively, in his last two games. He’s averaging 12.7 points in December, but just 4.7 boards. It would be nice to see him get going a little bit.

Finally, the Spurs beat the Clippers 103-87 in an exhibition contest. No San Antonio starters played more than 27 minutes, as they are resting in preparation for the regular season.

There’s a healthy nine-game slate tonight. How will Lou Williams do in the starting lineup at Washington? Can the guy eat solid foods yet? Now he knows how I feel. Will the Warriors and Grizzlies produce the smorgasbord of a box score we’re all expecting? Why does the NBA schedule so many back-to-back games? Indiana has to go to Boston a night after hosting Milwaukee? Chicago (snicker snicker) hosts the Kings and then has to play the next night in New York? And why did Jesus go around with all of dem reindeers?

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