By defeating the lowly Wizards last night 95-92, the Bulls grab the fifth seed in the Eastern Conference, and are headed to my birthplace to face the Brooklyn Nets in the first round of the playoffs on Saturday.
The last game of the regular season, well, it was dé·jà vu.
They blow a 21-point lead and have to struggle at the end. Once again, true to form, I fell asleep halfway through the game.
Unexpected heroes continue to emerge.
Our man Nazr had a brilliant night, with 17 points and 7 rebounds, and he even earned his own poster from Stacey King. Captain Kirk brought the Hinrich Maneuver back out, and scored 18 points.
The UC crowd was dead, or at least comatose. Although for once, I don’t blame them, as it looked like they would be headed home to say they were there when…the Bulls lost to the Wizards for the third time in the regular season.
Carlos Boozer, the regular season’s unsung hero, and my choice for Bulls MVP for the year got his 44th double double (19 points, 11 rebounds), fifth in the NBA!
Second season starts Saturday, and I’ve been saying all along that the Nets are beatable. And the regular season turning point, February 1, 2013, when the starting lineup was decimated by injuries within the course of 20 minutes, was in Brooklyn.
Kirk was sent back to Chi-town because of his elbow injury, Jo out with the plantar (I think it was occurrence #1), and Carlos – hamstring. Oh, Vladimir (Radmanovic) was out too. Maybe his back.
So with more than half the starting lineup gone as of an hour before the start of the time start time, Coach Thibs had this answer for reporters when asked for the starting lineup: “Don’t know.”
That Coach Thibs, he’s really vague, isn’t he? Kinda hard to get a read.
He ended up playing Brooklyn-born Taj Gibson for all 48 minutes, and Lu played all but a few seconds. Taj ended up with 16 points and 9 rebounds, while Lu put up his usual double-digit point total with 18. I believe that might have been the first time we were introduced to Nazr Mohammed (my man).
The Bulls lose that one, but win their other three meetings with the Nets. And with New Yorks’s Taj, Jo and Cinjo all either playing or watching/cheering/blogging, it seems like the second, aka “real” season could start out strong.
“There were times guys were looking at our team and they were laughing. There were seven or eight guys on the bench. We just never gave up. That’s something everybody should be proud of. And now it’s playoff time. So let’s go.”