Answering a few questions after a big night for Chicago . . .
Bulls driving for second chance
After the Bulls' impressive 106-88 win in Detroit, Chicago trails the Cavaliers by a half-game for the No. 2 seed in the Eastern Conference playoffs. How important is getting that spot for Chicago?
Crtitical. You get two home series, potentially. And if you're two, it looks like the Bulls would get the Nets, a team they match up well with. Neither team is center oriented, and the Bulls have the overall advantage. But if the Bulls don't get the No. 2 seed, they will fall all the way down to No. 5.
Say the Cavs hold on. How's the road from No. 5?
Rough. It looks like they'd get either Miami or Toronto. The Bulls don't want that. As a young team, the Bulls want to show progression. As the two, they can get past the second round and to the conference final. That's a lot harder to do at the five. I really like the way Toronto's playing -- the can play slow, they can play fast. Definitely my dark horse in the East.
Chris Bosh is a guy who can play inside-out, and Ben Wallace can't really guard him outside the paint, while Tyrus Thomas is too small for Bosh in the post. Miami's a question mark with Dwyane Wade's health, but you don't want to face a team with a rejuvenated Shaq.
The Bulls won the season series over Detroit for the first time since 1998. Kirk Hinrich absolutely scorched Detroit on the pick-and-roll, making 10-of-17 shots for 29 points.
This is where Detroit's bravado on the defensive end of the floor hurt. The Pistons are typically a team that the plays pick-and-roll straight up with Chauncey Billups and Lindsey Hunter. They feel they have enough talent to do it, but it cost them tonight. They were getting pounded on picks. Flip Saunders has to make some adjustments there.
Some might see this as the Bulls' statement that they're the future of the East.
I still see the Pistons and Heat as the top two in the East now. The Bulls could not have played better offensively.
With Bulls center Ben Wallace out of action with a sinus infection, Thabo Sefolosha, the rookie from Switzerland, asserted himself with a double-double. Do you like what you see?
Talk about a guy coming into his own at the right time -- that's Sefolosha. Maybe he's coming into his comfort zone. He's probably their best perimeter defender. As part of a small lineup, he helped give the Pistons problems, because Detroit has great length but is not that quick anymore. Having Sefolosha and Luol Deng in the frontcourt can be dangerous because it is such a small lineup, but along with the help of P.J. Brown the Bulls ended up dominating the glass, 48-32.
Not to mention how Bulls rookie Thomas (13 points, eight rebounds in 10 minutes) used his hops to good effect.
'Sheed and Chris Webber don't have the consistent burst like Thomas. They have their peaks and valleys.
Any chance Detroit falls from the No. 1 perch?
They're not going to get caught. They'd have to go 3-5 the rest of the way. I think Flip has done a good job of helping them keep this in perspective. Last year, they played like Dallas is this year in the regular season, and look what it got them. They'll be ready for the playoffs.
More good news for Chicago: Andres Nocioni is likely coming back Friday. Do you think the Bulls will snare the No. 2?
Yes. A better choice than the Cavs. I don't like the way Cleveland is playing.
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AP Photo/Lawrence Jackson
Wizards guard Gilbert Arenas grimaces after spraining his left knee in a collision with Gerald Wallace in the first quarter against Charlotte on Wednesday.
Greg (Los Angeles): Hey David just wanted to let you know that Joakim Noah was terrible in both the Final Four games and didn't even play down the stretch against Ohio St. I'm glad to see that many people have his draft stock falling and finally realize that he will be nothing more than a role player in the NBA. Peace.
David Thorpe: Terrible? Ah Greg, why so negative? Role player he may be -- but he'll be a winner too.
Crawford (Phoenix): Sorry, joined late. You can tell Greg that Shane Battier and Bruce Bowen are nothing more than role players too, but who wouldn't love one of them on their team?
David Thorpe: You were reading my mind.
New Portland GM Kevin Pritchard tells Chad Ford about the state of the Trail Blazers and the best way to build a franchise.
Clippers top Lakers, tighten grip on No. 8 seed
AP Photo/Duane Burleson
Bulls guard Kirk Hinrich (29 points) drives past Detroit's Flip Murray during the Bulls' 106-88 win at the Palace of Auburn Hills.
Quote of the Day
-- Andrew Ayres
Gilbert Arenas was injured in his first minute of action in the Wizards' 108-100 loss to the Bobcats. But if there was a silver lining for Washington it was the play of veteran Antonio Daniels, who handed out a career-high 17 assists.
Daniels, who was playing his 716th regular-season game in the NBA, had never before accumulated more than 14 assists. Only two players in NBA history registered their first 15-assist game at a later point in their career than Daniels: Elgin Baylor (in 1969) and Joe Dumars (in 1985).
• Magic forward Darko Milicic was thrown out after arguing a holding call on Chris Bosh with 3:39 left in the third quarter. Gesturing adamantly, he had to be held back by teammates. The forward had two rebounds and no points in seven minutes.
• The Blazers will retire the No. 14 jersey worn by Lionel Hollins, a guard on the 1976-77 championship team, during the season finale April 18 against the Golden State Warriors.
-- The Associated Press
Will any of these players finally make the postseason? It appears that Chris Bosh and Carlos Boozer will remove their names from the list of active players with the highest career PPG who have not appeared in a playoff game.
-- Peter D. Newmann, ESPN