Back in First Place, Time for Revenge, Javonte Green's Status, and Other Bulls Bullets

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Back in First Place, Time for Revenge, Javonte Green’s Status, and Other Bulls Bullets

Chicago Bulls

When you see a GOAT, you know it. Just ask Larry Bird.

“I think he’s God disguised as Michael Jordan,” Bird famously coined in 1986 after Jordan’s historic 63-point performance.

Jordan had yet to put a single ring around his finger, yet one of the best in the game recognized that – despite winning the night – even he wasn’t on the same level as His Airness. I have to imagine this is a realization other great players experienced many times while in battle with the freshly retired Tom Brady. Calm down, I’m not directly comparing the accomplishments, success, or impact of the two athletes (Jordan would have never lost to the NBA’s Eli Manning equivalent!), but rather, I’m emphasizing how both stood as a terrifying symbol of greatness in their respective sports.

Brady may not have been feared nor respected for as long as Jordan was, but there is no question he reached the peak of a GOAT’s power. No matter the score or opponent, the man simply couldn’t be ruled out. If Brady was on the field, one fan base was eagerly clenching their teeth while the other was comfortably sipping a beer. I have lived my life cheering for Brady to lose, but as someone who has seen a city reap the benefit of that rare ability, I have to tip my hat to the NFL legend.

So happy retirement, Tom. I’m not going to miss ya, but I know the game will.

•   Speaking of the best of the best, guess who is back in first place! Thanks to a 122-92 demolition by the Boston Celtics last night, the Miami Heat have, once again, dropped just below the Chicago Bulls in the Eastern Conference standings due to winning percentage. However, a win for the 76ers and Cavaliers on Monday night have only made things that much tighter, as now only 2.0 games separate the 1-6 seeds in the conference. If I’m head coach Billy Donovan, I’m printing those standings out and stapling it to every basketball at shootaround. The Bulls have three more “favorable” games before an important stretch where they will play the 76ers and Hornets over a three-game span. Stacking these wins over the Magic, Raptors, and Pacers will be pivotal to keeping the depleted Bulls in the mix for the East’s top spot.

•   REVENGE TASTES SWEETER AT HOME. A little over a week after dishing the Bulls one of their most revolting losses of the season, the Orlando Magic will hope to serve a second-helping tonight at the United Center. The team with the NBA’s worst record used their size at the wing and physicality at the rim to shoot 52.5 percent from the field and hand the Bulls a 19-point loss. While it’s always possible this youthful and frisky Orlando team gives Chicago fits again, I wouldn’t necessarily bet on it. The Bulls offense has undoubtedly found its groove over the last few games, averaging 30 assists per game after posting just 10 against the Magic on January 23rd. Zach LaVine will also be back on the floor for this one, forcing Orlando to face a “Big 3” that has been humming the past handful of games.

•   Nikola Vucevic better come with multiple chips on his shoulder. Mortiz Wagner outplayed the big man in embarrassing fashion when these squads last met, scoring 23 points on 9-13 shooting. Vucevic has been much better since this concerning performance against his former team, so let’s hope he can keep it up in front of the home crowd tonight.

•   The trade market is quiet … too quiet. I’m surprised by the lack of jar-dropping rumors with the trade deadline only 10 days away. I’ve expected this from the new-look Chicago Bulls – who have shown they like to keep things close to the vest – but even the rest of the league seems to be a bit less eager to make big moves. With that said, I’m sure now that I put this into the universe, some kind of major report will likely drop later today. Keep your eye out!

•   Javonte Green’s status was up in the air after he missed practice on Monday due to an ankle injury. However, the latest injury report does list Green as probable, which is good news for a Bulls team that continues to need all the help it can get on the defensive end. FWIW: Green is also coming his best offensive outing of the season, posting 16 points on the Trail Blazers with an overall +15 performance.

•   This dude is just nuts.

•   The former-Bull has found (another) new home:

•   I’d consider that very good news!

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Author: Elias Schuster

Elias Schuster is the Lead Bulls Writer at Bleacher Nation. You can follow him on Twitter @Schuster_Elias.