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Ask Sam | Sam Smith opens his mailbag | 5.01.2015

The contents of this page have not been reviewed or endorsed by the Chicago Bulls. All opinions expressed by Sam Smith are solely his own and do not reflect the opinions of the Chicago Bulls or its Basketball Operations staff, parent company, partners, or sponsors. His sources are not known to the Bulls and he has no special access to information beyond the access and privileges that go along with being an NBA accredited member of the media.

By Sam Smith | 5.01.2015 | 2:02 p.m. CT

I think the best thing that happened to the Bulls was they got a tougher series than expected and an additional two games. They needed the time to get into a rhythm. Do you think in a way, these six playoff games with the Bucks were like a playoff preseason? Will they be much more prepared to play the Cavaliers than if they ended up winning game 4?
Cary Lichtenstein

Would the loss of Love be a silver lining for the Cavs - at least they'll be able to find Love available next season at a reduced rate? With his reduced level of performance - albeit as a sidekick vs. main guy this season, plus the injury, no team would offer him max money, thus keeping Cavs as the most attractive place for Love?
Abram Bachtiar

That was a tough one to watch Monday, team seemed to be sleep walking and we got no production from the bench. I think a lot of people are down on the Bulls but they are not giving the Bucks and Jason Kidd any credit. Kidd has done an excellent job exploiting weaknesses in the Bulls line up, primarily by making Noah a scorer, using Dudley on him when Bulls on offense, and hurting Noah defensive prowess, with Dudley pulling him out to the three point line. I also see that Brooks has been neutralized, Kirk is still hurt, and Mirotic and Snell have not played well since Game 2. I still think we pull it out but this Bucks team has earned my respect, and Kidd is a much better coach than I thought he would be. The biggest problem I see is the Bulls not really being a team that knows how to close out a series, we’ve only won one series in the playoffs since Derrick originally got hurt, and I think they need to exercise that demon before we really start to see this team come together.
Craig Chandler

I've seen us better. But, those flashbacks of passing and big shots seem embellished by a fan wishing on a star studded season. I recognize the opposition is rare: that combination of length, athleticism, and unabashedly profligate double-teaming await nowhere else in these playoffs. But, our box office star is looking to share the marquee, unconfident he still delivers blockbusters.
That's not the reason my son wears his shoes nor why his failed attempts against Miami made me a fan for life. It was his effort and Teflon belief that he had what it took to prevail. I'm looking for that guy instead of the doppelganger vying for a supporting role to Jimmie Butler. Where's the real Derrick Rose and is he capable of showing up?
Joseph Hollis

I'm writing at the point that the duration of J.R. Smith's suspension has yet to be determined. I assume contributing factors will be intent, result, history of similar actions, etc. But is honesty a factor? Does a player get worse punishment for claiming a foul is unintentional in cases where it clearly is intentional? Doesn't the NBA (and its many young fans) stand to gain something from rewarding players who make awful mistakes, but are immediately contrite?
Dayo Adesokan

Are Bulls fans over-reacting to the Game 5 loss? Yes, we should expect the Bulls to beat Milwaukee. But the reaction from many in the Bulls Fan Universe after Game 5 almost seems to indicate a dislike for this team, possibly because they haven't quite lived up to pre-season expectations? It's like they're just waiting for failure. I wonder, is losing 2 games to Milwaukee such a bad thing? We weren't exactly the favorites entering the postseason, but is this a sign that things are much worse than we thought? The Spurs went 7 games in Round 1 on their way to the title last season. Dallas went 6 in 2011. Lakers went 6 in 2010. And the dominant 2008 Celtics took 7 games to get past the 8 seed, 37 win Hawks in Round 1. The playoffs aren't easy. Milwaukee played well in Game 5. The Bulls shot poorly. I don't think there is anything embarrassing about it. As long as we get that 4th win eventually, I don't think it matters.
Dan Michler

With what's going on with this team you're probably not really wanting to answer this question but do you think because of Thibodeau clearly getting outcoached in this series the writing may very well be on the wall as coach of this team? It seems utterly astounding that with the level of all star talent and a deep roster at full health this team could be so poor? Obviously certain match-ups are going to be worse than others and the Bulls have never been great against young, athletic teams but it's looking more and more obvious that the longer this series goes on the more Thibs is being outcoached.
Steve Lewis

The OKC Thunder part ways with their coach, who led them to several conference finals and the NBA finals, replaced him with a college coach who has no NBA coaching experience, and based on the national TV coverage I've seen, aside from the initial day when Brooks was let go and people said he got a raw deal, the narrative has largely been it's time for a new voice and Donovan is quite accomplished and story is over. Before it happened I barely heard a word about Brooks' job being in jeopardy. Now, contrast that with the past two years of consistent stories that there's tension between the Bulls front office and Thibs that's heading toward irreparable, several reports (all ultimately untrue) that he's heading to New York, Golden State, Los Angeles to coach them, that his friends believe he's being fired, that third parties are looking into other opportunities, that people on national NBA broadcasts like Jalen Rose definitively state he won't be back, and local talk radio wonders how the Bulls could part with him when he's so accomplished.

Why is there this difference nationally in how these situations are covered? Aren't the Thunder more accomplished in the past five years than the Bulls? Shouldn't Brooks being let go be a bigger deal, especially when the mere idea of Thibs being let go can warrant 2 years of speculative commentary? Do the Bulls just have an enormous number of leaks that spread these stories compared to other franchises, or is there just a desire among some media people to portray the Bulls in a bad light? I'm starting to believe the national media views the Bulls as the Kardashians of the NBA, and if they can write a story to make them look bad, they will. For example, Thibs gets the reputation of working his guys too hard--in contrast, the Cavs have two of the top 4 players in terms of minutes played. No reputation of overworking players for the Cavs, though. Pat Riley chooses Michael Beasley in a draft where he could have had Russell Westbrook or Kevin Love, but Jeff Van Gundy doesn't mention that in national TV broadcasts--just how Paxson traded Aldridge for Tyrus Thomas. It's getting tiresome. I'm a big Bulls fan, so maybe I'm just tuned into the comments that affect Chicago, but am I wrong? Doesn't Chicago seem to get overly covered with these types of stories compared with other franchises?
Chris Feldman

I mailed Dennis Hopson a card and a 1991 NBA schedule. Signed both. Such a nice guy. He's very religious and he just turned 50 the other day. I spoke to Joe Kleine (on Twitter). I asked him if I could send him something and he said no need that he will mail me a few autographs. He's doing real well. He is part owner of a popular BBQ restaurant.
Mike Sutera

What do you think about Poppovic's Hack-a-Jordan strategy? Should the NBA get rid of this?
Yousuf Shamsie