Hot in Hotlanta

Some are calling the Bulls’ victory over the Atlanta Hawks last night a defining, if not historic moment.

Shorthanded.

The walking wounded.

The second. Oops, scratch that…third unit is the new starting lineup.

However you want to slice it, what’s most important is they prevailed in Hotlanta despite playing back-to-back, and arriving from Brooklyn at 2:30 a.m. on game day.

Lu, Taj, Nate and Jimmy led the way, and it’s becoming clear that this team is more than legit.

But I guess not legit enough to make it into the “Saturday’s Hoops” highlight story on ESPN, which caused me to endure an extra 10 minutes on the evil stair machine at the gym while I anxiously awaited the hoops feature to air.

And after all that, extra suffering on the stairs and all, the game wasn’t even included! The ESPN staff must have been too busy trying to come up with yet another angle on the Ray Lewis story, and forgotten the Bullies, or perhaps by 9:30 a.m., the staff members, who all seem to be covering “some other game” in New Orleans had consumed too many Hurricanes.

While they seemed to have remembered to include the Heat, Knicks, OKC and Rockets – the Bulls were suspiciously (but not surprisingly) omitted.

And my hero, award-winning author and “official” Bulls blogger, Sam Smith believes that the Hawks players must not have access to NBA League Pass, which is why they weren’t able to watch the Bulls-Nets game Friday. Or perhaps they were all napping.

Maybe if the Bulls had seen the Bulls’ small lineup in the Nets game, or the suffocating defense, or saw what “Hard hat lunch pail” [Taj] can do, the Hawks would have had more success. I, for one, am not upset that they were getting some shut eye.

Despite the challenges with ESPN, NBA League Pass, etc., the Bulls prevail again (as they could have and should have vs. the Nets).

And just to be clear – the Bulls are not in the playoffs yet, as per Thibs. He wasn’t smiling when a reporter seemed to intimate that the starters were getting some “well-deserved” rest before the playoffs, and that somehow, these “injuries” were not real.

But during the final timeout during the Hawks game, when it was clear the Bulls had added another W to the win column, I believe I witnessed at least the semblance of a grin on Thibs’ face. It suits him well.

Now about the upcoming schedule…two games later this week with 9:30 p.m. CST start times. Don’t the NBA schedulers know 9:30 is my weeknight bedtime?

And tomorrow, it’s the Pacers makeup game, although they just beat the Heat, and while there are some light snow showers, somehow, I think this game will be played after all. We can’t count on any more snow days.

Let’s hope our Bulls continue to stay hot, even if it’s in the chilly Midwest, as we witness an unexpected combination of players pleasantly surprising us yet again with their ability to play unselfish basketball.

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