Ricky O'Donnell was very kind, and very prompt, in answering some questions in advance of the Bulls game tonight.
1) Which Bull might be due for a big game?
It says something about the state of the Bulls that the first name to come to mind was D.J. Augustin. The Bulls are just so dinged up. The latest report has Luol Deng and Joakim Noah both as questionable vs. Mavs. Jimmy Butler recently said the turf toe he's fighting through might affect him his entire career. Hinrich has just been atrocious. At least Augustin has been aggressive lately, and a matchup against Jose Calderon isn't a particularly difficult one. So yeah, gimme Augustin. Go Bulls?
2) What team stat might determine the game?
. Let's go with offensive rebounds, seeing as that's pretty much the Bulls only hope of scoring. The Bulls are sixth in the league in offensive rebounding rate, and Dallas is one of the worst teams in the league on the defensive boards. Here's hoping for a couple Taj Gibson tip-slams and maniacal Noah putbacks.
3) What do you think the most important matchup is?
Always tough to say when you never know who will be in the lineup for the Bulls on a game-to-game basis, but let's go with the shooting guards. Monta vs. Jimmy Butler is a pretty sweet matchup. I've always loved watching Ellis, and it's nice to see him find a bit of personal salvation in Dallas this season. Butler has been touch and go all year with foot and leg injuries, but this would be a great test for his defensive abilities if he's healthy. Jimmy also likes to take smallers twos in the post on occasion when the Bulls have the ball, and he'll definitely have a size advantage on Ellis. Could be a fun back-and-forth.
4) What are the Bulls' biggest strengths and weaknesses?
The Bulls' biggest weakness is that Derrick Rose's second straight seasoning-ending knee injury seemingly killed this team's will to live. They just don't have the horses this year to survive without Rose ("Nate Robinson and Marco Belinelli aren't walking through that door"), and it doesn't help that the rest of the team is walking wounded, too. Their biggest strength will always be their defense, as I'm pretty sure Tom Thibodeau could take five basketball bloggers and turn them into an above defensive unit.
But yeah, not the best season for the Bulls, to put it lightly. Why do we even like sports in the first place?