Although I would really like to point to the 18-point margin of victory as the Bulls defeated the Magic 102 to 84 last night as the highlight, what’s more, actually most important is that the Bulls are re-gaining their strength.
Both Joakim and Taj returned, and the Bulls were looking more like themselves, with high energy and good ball movement. I just love Jo’s enthusiasm, and boy did I miss his pre- and post-game interviews. Nate performed a new magic act – transforming into a facilitator, as he passed the ball to everybody, even the guy in the stands dressed as the Bulls mascot, Benny the Bull.
Nazr really took Coach Thibs’ “48-minute principle” to heart, as he fouled an Orlando Magic with a second left in the game, when the Bulls had already won, and, in an unprecedented, and perhaps one-of-a-lifetime move, Coach Thibs actually took a seat on the bench. I guess he figured the Bulls could pull this rabbit out of a hat.
If there’s a takeaway from this season, other than “we have more than enough to win with,” perhaps it’s that every game counts.
Now the Bulls find themselves wondering if they’ll spend the next few weeks shuttling back and forth to NYC to play the Nets in my birthplace, Brooklyn. Or, they could face those giant Pacers here in the midwest, where the Bulls may actually have quasi-homecourt advantage, since more Bulls fans seem to be in the stands at Pacers games in Indianapolis than Pacers fans. I guess the Bankers Life Fieldhouse is United Center 3 (third to United Center North, aka the Bradley Center where the Bucks play).
Since people smarter than me can explain what the final two days of regular season play mean for the Bulls, I best direct you to KC Johnson’s article in the Chicago Tribune: http://www.chicagotribune.com/sports/basketball/bulls/ct-spt-0416-bulls-chicago-20130416,0,1270352.story.
So DRose didn’t make our dreams come true down in Orlando, no magical last-minute appearance. It’s looking like we will need to cast a spell on our MVP if we want to see him back this year. But the players who have brought the Bulls to a respectable spot in the Eastern Conference have come back together, and we all know – that’s more than enough. Or at least I guess it will have to be.
One more regular season game, with Neil Funk and Stacey King for the hometown call against the Wizards Wednesday, and we’ll take a win any which way we can, by 1 or 18. Drive home safely Chicago – beep beep, and see you in the playoffs.