Friday Night Fight at MSG

I’m not a huge fan of boxing, but despite that, I’ll admit that I was looking forward to the Bulls vs. Knicks version of a knock-down drag-out at Madison Square Garden (MSG) last night. I wasn’t sure how these two teams could out-do their combined four-ejection performance of December 21. What if things didn’t go the Knicks’ way? Would Melo lurk in and around the Bulls’ team bus to confront Lu or Jo after the game? I’m not too great with math, so someone needs to remind me. How old are NBA players?

First of all, let’s get the booing out of the way. Booing is second only to my other pet peeve – spitting (for no reason, not when you’re brushing your teeth. When you’re just walking along the street and you spit). But booing tops the list. And the Knicks fans boo their own team! As my pal Nino would say, “CMO!” That translates to “C’mon,” not chief marketing officer.

I will say that we best not let on to the Knicks crowd that Jo actually claims the booing motivates him. And speaking of Jo…he unintentionally brought the pistols out again last night, saying afterwards that he just got too hyped. We’ll need to work on an equally impactful alternative, as I’m not sure the hand flailing he’s added to the celebration rotation is quite working.

I think the Knicks fans gave their beloved team until partway into the second half, and then they grew dis-satisfied with the results and began the booing. But it lacks class. It’s just not stand-up.

And I guess that’s what sets “my Bulls” apart from the Knicks and other less-than-classy teams like the Heat. Our players have got some class. They’re stand-up guys. They’re humble. They respect one another and their coach. They’re not showboats. In his usual unassuming, matter-of-fact fashion, Luol proceeded to take Melo out of his game and quietly scored 33 points, his season high.

What’s sadly becoming all too familiar, the Bulls did display a twinge of a fourth-quarter meltdown, which of course caused me to put the TV on mute and go and do the dishes and get the condo organized. Thankfully, in the end I was able to re-join, and celebrate another big win.

Neil (Funk) and Stacey (King) were talking about “pretenders” last night. Are the Heat and the Knicks just pretenders, while the Bulls are the true contenders? With six guys scoring double figures and DRose set to re-join the team in less than a month, I guess the truth will ultimately reveal itself. It seems as if the Bulls need to figure out why they can handily beat the top teams on the road and lose, by rather large margins, to some of the more challenged teams at home. Somebody? Anybody?

In the spirit of conducting first-hand research, and potentially a few interviews with players and/or coaches, your faithful Bulls blogger will be seated center court, ninth row at the United Center tonight. Hopefully the presence of their No. 1 fan will help the Bulls beat the Suns, who bring a 12-26 record.

On a personal note, the basketball lessons are progressing well. I need some work on my reverse layups. But I was at the gym this morning, practicing my moves, and of course, waiting for Saturday morning men’s open basketball to start…I’m not exactly doing this just for my health, and my love of the Bulls.

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