Quick Thoughts from Tonight’s Bulls Game
Excuse me if I don’t cover much of the first three quarters of this game, but I was spending time with my grandmother who is extremely ill. Thus, most of my impressions from the first three quarters were based on what the radio team was telling me on the drive back into the city.
Without further ado:
- Chris Paul is fearless in playing the passing lanes and looking to pick the ballhandler’s pocket.
- Kirk Hinrich is no slouch and seemed to fluster Chris Paul on a number of occasions, using a combination of quick feet and a bigger body than folks give him credit for. Also the elbow to CP3′s temple and the ensuing step back 3-pointer was vicious.
- Aaron Gray looked like a pretty big jack ass grinning on the Hornets’ bench after they tied it up late in the game and went ahead. Now I know how the rest of the NBA’s fans felt all these years. (Javier Sandooski and I are organizing a Favre-like burning of all Aaron Gray jerseys the next time Gray returns to Chicago).
- Luol Deng really seems to be finding his rhythm in the Bulls’ offense and looks more confident than he’s been in the last year and a half.
- The City of New Orleans is awesome right now. Most of the crowd was on their feet for the last 5 minutes of the game. Consistently cheering, living and dying with every play. This is obviously spill over from the Saints making the Super Bowl but the entire city is just jacked. Hell, do you realize that Mardi Gras is in full force from the February 7 until February 16th? If the Saints win on the 7th, the city would be a non-stop celebration for the next two weeks. Chamber of Commerce meetings would include beads and beer bongs. The local Jaycees would devolve into an organization dedicated to the flipping of cars. The National Guard will be called in to combat public urination and treat those traumatized by incessant “Who Dat” cheers.
- What a great play at the end of the game by Hinrich to track down Chris Paul, corral the loose ball, and push it up court quickly. And what a great controlled follow up finish by Luol. Really took the energy out of the crowd.
- On second thought for most of OT, the crowd sat on their asses and barely cheered. If the Saints lose the Super Bowl and in heartbreaking fashion, they might have to ban beads from Mardi Gras as a preventative measure for emotionally distraught fans.
- Brad Miller redefines the “crafty veteran” role. Only he would have the guile to pretend he’s injured for a month, lull opponents into thinking he’s even slower than he already was, believing his only move is the flat footed jumper from the top of the key, only to appear in January and become an offensive threat with his patented head fake and burying hanging driving jumpers in the key.
- Hinrich and Deng sealed the game with the great stop at the end forcing Collison’s turnover. The Bulls defense is good and getting even better.
- It also appears the offense is gelling, with guys getting comfortable with their roles. We had six players in double digits, and Taj Gibson and John Salmons each threw in eight.
- Joakim Noah continues to impress, thoroughly outplaying Emeka Okafor, and continuing to shoot well from the charity stripe. Did you know he was an 88% free throw shooter in the month of January (52-for-59)?
- All in all, this was a great win for the Bulls. Who would have thought they’d win five straight over five legit Western Conference teams, closing out a 10-5 January?
- Heading into February, the Bulls play 14 games, only 3 of which where they will be the underdog (@ Atlanta, and home against Orlando and Portland). While this road trip proves that the Bulls may let down to lesser opponents (or we can just blame it on the flu) they could be heading into a tough March around nine games above .500. Not too shabby for a team we left for dead in December.