Bulls employ non-traditional strategy for opening game

Thibs nevers ceases to amaze me.

I did NOT see this coming – the whole notion of intentionally losing in the season opener, throwing off the Heat, the Eastern Conference, the NBA and the world.

Thibs has to be proud of the way the team executed his unprecedented strategy to miss as many shots as possible, foul out, commit turnovers, and astound the competition with seeming ineptitude.

It was a brilliant plan, and our Bulls rose to the occasion.

Obviously, Thibs and the Bulls also recognized that it would be critical to get their first win at the UC, with Cinjo in attendance.

So it is actually a non-traditional two-pronged strategy.

All of the extra down time during the ring ceremony served them well, as they had ample opportunity to run through plays – how to miss three-pointers, jump shots, and basically, institute the “unless it’s Boozer shooting – miss it” approach.

DRose said post-game he is going to have amnesia about it.

I concur.

What game?

See you at the UC Thursday night for the Bulls’ first win of the season!

See Red, and Go Bulls!


This Is It

Tomorrow night, Tuesday, October 29, 2013, the Bulls begin the “official” journey to win their 7th title.

LeBron claims he’s going to “welcome DRose back.” So, is he bringing a red carpet or a welcome mat? Is he serious? There’s no love there, and there never will be…so let’s just let the evil Miami fans boo our Bulls, including Derrick when they take the court. I strongly recommend that you, Miami Heat, enjoy your rings, as you won’t be seeing any more any time soon.

I know you don’t want to wreck your manicures, and you all long to get the game over with ASAP so you can get back into your “Hollywood” attire, but I don’t think you’re prepared for that road block called our Bulls.

Perhaps your coaching staff is providing a clue as to what you can expect come season opener when they donned football gear at practice earlier today.

As reported in a story on ESPN.com, “With the way the Miami Heat‘s assistant coaches, armed with handheld football pads, mauled LeBron JamesDwyane Wade and Chris Bosh as they drove into the lane at the end of Monday’s practice, one might think the star trio were actually running backs preparing for a big game. Instead, the Heat were just preparing for a physical battle on the court in Tuesday’s season opener against the Chicago Bulls.”

While that other team receives their rings, our Bulls will be in the locker room in “ThibsWorld.” That’s a scary amusement park-like world where you either hold a scrimmage on a makeshift court, or you watch videotape. Or both.

Same time next year, the ring ceremony is at the UC, and ThibsWorld will close for the night.

And in other big returns to the UC news, in addition to DRose making his regular season debut this Thursday (happy Halloween), I’ll be joining him there.

To conserve funds so that I can attend more than one game this fall, I’ll be in the “cheap” seats behind the Knicks’ bench. Remember – my Bulls will be playing at my end of the court for half the game. He he.

The spotless preseason record of 8-0, well it was nice. But you ain’t seen nothing yet.

This Is It.

See Red, and Go Bulls.

Note: I was at the Hartford Airport yesterday, and a young couple and their five-year old daughter were sitting at the end of a row of seats in the gate area. I had just read a few tweets about Jo being “100%” for Miami.

I guess the couple had read them simultaneously, because I could hear them saying, “Joakim is in, he’s 100%.” I said, “Isn’t that great about Jo? So awesome.”

“You’re a Bulls fan?” the woman asked…”I would never have called that one.”

Hmmm. I think I’m insulted. I wasn’t wearing all of my Bulls attire, but I wondered if I looked too old, too uncool, or just too geeky with my two computers running while I also checked my iPhone.

No need to respond. Needless to say, they’ll be at the game on Thursday night too. But I bet they won’t be in the third row like me.

Thibs didn’t call my name

Hey DRose – welcome to my world! Thibs never calls my name either, that’s why I’m Tony Snell’s eating coach (how to gain weight, in anything but a healthy way), and also run the free throw clinics.

But seriously, evidently, Rose wanted back in the fourth quarter of Monday night’s game when the Bulls demolished those Bucks, but Thibs would not oblige.

“I think I’m not getting enough,” said Rose of the minutes he’s been logging on the court. “I wanted to go back in the game tonight but Thibs didn’t call my name, so I can’t get mad at it. They’ve been managing my minutes great.”

Indeed, a lot of facts and figures have been floating around lately about how many minutes Mr. D has played during the preseason, and I read he’s got 78 points in the 80 minutes and 50 seconds he’s played so far. Not that anybody is counting.

So I felt a bit badly about the way it all unfolded with the Bucks game – hence the delay in this world-renowned Bulls Banter blog.

True to form, I dozed off. The being ahead by 24 or so points, those ugly green uniforms the Bucks wear. The silent crowd at the UC…I think by the beginning of the third quarter, they lost me.

And perhaps it’s a bit controversial, but here it goes. Milwaukee Bucks, you have got to do something. Last year, I’ll admit, I feared you a bit more, and I think the Bulls might have (horror) lost a game or two when they faced you.

But the reportedly worst locker rooms in the league, the really old Bradley Center, the fact that it’s United Center North up there, and your poor Bucks don’t even have any kind of home court advantage. And worst of all, the uniforms. All of this makes for a really sad and unfortunate situation.

An intervention is needed. And I kinda like Larry Drew…and Don Nelson, my friend Katie’s Dad coached for the Bucks…so there’s still a fond place in my heart. But CMO! A makeover is in order.

Back to our Bulls. Tonight, they face an opponent that will cause a big more angst than our friends from north of the border (WI). The Bulls are headed to Wichita (that’s in Kansas) for a match up against KD and the Thunder.

Last year, that’s the preseason game I attended at the UC, and it wasn’t the Bulls’ best night.

Despite the fact that some GM survey just came out, and once again, no one gives the Bulls a chance for any kind of title – Central Division, Eastern Conference, NBA, or otherwise, don’t let that worry you, my Bulls fan friends.

Never underestimate our Bulls. We’re back to “we have more than enough to win with” (excuse the poor Thibs grammar) and “next man up,” and I’m fine with that.

One thing for certain is sure. Tonight’s game vs. the Thunder won’t put me to sleep. I just hope the win goes to the good guys, and the Bulls continue on their way to proclaiming themselves the Eastern Conference champs (preseason, that is).

See red, and Go Bulls!

Bulls beat “unrivals” at playoff, oops preseason game at UC

So DRose made the mistake of telling reporters the Pacers aren’t rivals. Way to ensure those 7 footers will come out gunning even harder, and never mind that they haven’t won a preseason game yet. Whassup with that?

D must not have had enough time these past few years to attend the Bulls’ required media training. Or, Thibs probably told him to skip it.

But back to the game, and first – let me mention that DRose’s return to the UC this past Wednesday. Well, from my seat on the couch, it was everything I had hoped it would be.

Key takeaways from that game vs. the Pistons:

1.) DRose is back

2.) Tony Snell can shoot

3.) Thibs has lots of options when it comes to lineups (that would serve him well for the Indiana game…more on that shortly)

4.) Cinjo grew concerned about Lu…he was overshadowed and out-played (problem solved vs. Indiana)

5.) Some say DRose is the heart, Lu is the head and Jo is the adrenaline. I would say Jo is the spark. For more on Jo, Why Joakim Noah is the Unsung Hero of Chicago Bulls’ Title Core.

So we’re back at the UC Friday night for just another one of those “preseason” games, with Central Division/Eastern Conference “unrival” Pacers.

Two words, en français, summarize the game – déjà vu.

On the upside – DRose is back, and everyone else better just get out o the way as Stacey King likes to say. Thirty-two points this time. He returned to finish the game, strung together his usual highlight reel, and thankfully, equilibrium, and hopes and dreams for Bulls fans everywhere are restored.

On the downside, we’re five games in, and the injuries have already become news stories.

Noah out for a week, expects to be ready for opener vs. Miami. So the groin injury re-emerges, (caused by none other than slipping on the wet floor at the Berto Center) said Jo will be shut down.

Jimmy Buckets is on the bench in his sport coat, recovering from his bruised knee, as reported by K.C. Johnson of the Trib: MRI shows left knee bruise for Bulls’ Butler.

Erik “Murph” Murphy hit the floor, and it seemed like he might have a concussion, then he came back, Captain Kirk hit the floor, Murph unintentionally kicked or collided with him, and now the Captain may have a concussion.

And Big Naz had a bandage on his face.

Forgot to mention Lu banged up his knee, went to the locker room, then sat on the bench with ice, and several tweets reported he wouldn’t return. As we’ve seen time and time again, though, he came back and alongside his pal DRose, closed the game. Sigh of relief.

For a minute, I thought Thibs wouldn’t need to add me to the lineup this year. In addition to my role coming off the bench, I can also continue to lead the free throw clinics. You can tell by DRose’s improvement that he already attended.

But I didn’t offer the class to the Pacers, and it showed.

Thibs wasn’t happy “I didn’t like the way we played at all today. We got lucky in the end.”

However, for me, the brightest spot was Lu being back to his old self – 22 points. It’s my belief that as Lu goes, so go the Bulls.

While there might not be enough guys still standing to actually practice today, I’m sure that Thibs will find a way to address that. And I, for one, don’t want to be anywhere near the Berto Center.

In true Bulls fashion, they got the win, but it wasn’t pretty. Thibs, with whatever voice he has left, will sort it all by Monday when the Thrillwaukee Bucks come to town.

Here’s looking forward to the day when everybody’s healthy and we see the 2013-2014 starting lineup for your Chicago Bulls. Until then, 5-0 ain’t so bad for this preseason run.

See Red, and Go Bulls!

Bulls defeat Wizards despite absence of big 3

The Bulls barely escaped their stop on the NBA Global Games tour with a victory, but in the end (literally), managed to secure two-point win versus the Wizards.

And they accomplished this rare feat without the services of their three most important and globally recognized players: DRose, Joakim Noah and Cinjo.

In all seriousness, the Brazilian fans were chanting for Rose in the fourth quarter, but I haven’t yet found any YouTube videos of the Cinjo chants.

The Bulls were leading for almost the entire game, and then thing began to unravel, unfortunately, under the care of the reserves. So much for the 10-man rotation which seemed to have served them well these past two game. Oh Thibs…calling Thibs…

But equilibrium was restored when Captain Kirk returned.

A few key takeaways from the preseason so far:

1.) We haven’t seen the last of DRose watch – “will he or won’t he,” gametime decision, day-by-day.

2.) Taj Gibson is off the chart, leading in almost every statistical category, and he could be the glue that holds this team together. Shall we go so far as to say key to the season?

3.) It ain’t easy being a Bulls fan – whether your in Chi-town or Rio.

4.) Jo’s energy, enthusiasm, hustle plays, defensive moves and passing ability – we need it back, and how. Now.

5.) It’s preferable to hand off the “next man up” philosophy to Trestman and the Bears, and anchor the theme of the 2013-2014 Bulls’ Championship season around Thibs’ “do your job,” but given the turn of events in Rio, that’ easier said than done.

Thibs claims that the entire month is “training camp,” so I guess that means there are a few more weeks to get this figured out before our Bulls head to Miami to open the regular season against those other guys.

Ah, they’re just shaking the rust off. Or, even better, this is all part of Thibs’ mysterious master plan. But not sure I would want to be at Monday’s practice at the Berto Center.

We can always blame it on Rio.

Bulls remain undefeated

Ah, it feels good to say that.

If you’re wondering why it’s taken me so long to post about the Bulls’ victory over the Memphis Grizzlies on Monday night, it’s because, well, I fell asleep about halfway through the game and woke up after the post-game.

So how much could there be for me to report about? And what does my slumber say about your faithful Bulls Banter blogger? Well, first…it’s been a crazy work week.

But still, I need to step it up; however, they lulled me to sleep during the first half, and in addition to my new role as eating coach for Tony Snell, I will also be holding free throw clinics. DRose – that means you

Most noticeable was the way the reserves (Taj, Dunleavy, Captain Kirk and the two rooks) managed to bring the energy. This seems to be a 10-man rotation with which our man Thibs is pleased.

From St. Louis, they flew to Rio, where they face the Wizards on Saturday, and Thibs let the crew drop their bags off at the hotel, but then – it was right to the gym. And boy does Thibs like that gym! He smiled continuously for the entire length of this interview, which you can watch here: http://www.nba.com/bulls/. I’ve never seen him like this…but Jo, you do realize that “a day at the beach” is likely a concept with which your fearless leader is just not familiar.

So have fun in the gym, and welcome to Rio.

Oh, and I’m sure everyone is wondering about my tickets to the first regular season home game. Well, turns out, there’s a whole section of rows (I think A through M) in front of me, before you even get to the numbered rows. So much for sitting in the third row. (I really never was any good at math.)

The trick’s on me. Not in the third row for the Halloween opener.  But don’t think there’s enough in my savings to buy a ticket in row C anyway.

Here’s hoping we can all stay awake for the entire game on Saturday (it starts at 4 p.m. CDT, so hope springs). And even more so, here’s to continuing the win streak, with a defeat of the Wizards.

See Red, and Go Bulls!

Championship season begins

There weren’t enough hotel rooms to accommodate all of the reporters covering the Bulls vs. Pacers preseason game.

I guess they all came to see Tony Snell and Erik Murphy.

Who? Or, it must have been to witness a guy from the south side of Chicago score the first five points. You may know him as Big Naz.

I wasn’t one of the faithful who made the trek to Indy to see the return. I knew it would be better for everyone, and for my pride, if I just stayed home and cried the tears of joy by myself in my condo.

While I didn’t hear Stacey make any comparisons to a Saturday afternoon senior men’s pickup game at the local YMCA, there were moments. But I guess the Return of Mr. “Hope Springs,” #1, far outweighed the 85 or so turnovers and low shooting %.

Why should Bulls fans everywhere rejoice, beyond the obvious?

Some amazing passing from newcomer Mike Dunleavy, one of the rookies (Tony Snell) and Captain Kirk.

Taj Gibson was the high scorer, with 18 points. He seems to have transformed himself over the summer, and must have gone to the Cindy Olsen school of bulking up because he’s definitely a bit heftier.

The bench is deep, there’s a much larger contingent of guys who can knock down some shots.

Despite the fact that everyone on the Pacers is seven feet tall, the Bulls still managed to pull out a win, and the like-minded defensive teams are going to be starch rivals this year, it seems.

Should we be concerned that Boozer got lost in the game, judging by last night, my shot might be better than Dunleavy’s, they had a few 24-second violations, and Thibs once again didn’t use everyone on the bench (he probably forgot their names…)?

Probably not. I’m sure Thibs made them watch the film on this morning’s flight to St. Louis for tomorrow’s “home” game vs. the Grizzlies. And given DRose already gave Thibs a “talking to” about his lack of minutes…Thibs may not ever have to go to to the bench again anyway.

One of the Chicago reporters/bloggers tweeted about the 1-1 side convos going on during the game (can’t remember if it was K.C. Johnson, Sam Smith, Nick Friedell, Aggrey Sam) DRose was talking to JB (that’s Jimmy Butler). Lu was giving Tony Snell some advice. Jo, in his ill-fitting suit coat was just generally enthusiastic, talking to anyone who would listen.

I think that’s why I love my Bullys so much. The guys seem to genuinely like one another. I even saw Thibs smile at rook Erik Murphy.

And with “The Return,” it looks more and more unlikely that Thibs will add me to the lineup. So I have decided to create another role for myself – “eating coach.” I read that Tony Snell has been told to eat as much as possible. And that, my friends, is one area in which I excel.

We’ll begin by going to the Portillo’s drive-through to order a salad, and depart with a chicken sandwich, onion rings and chocolate cake. Don’t worry, Tony – I’ve got this covered. You’ll put on 25 lbs. in no time!

Our Bulls are back. See Red!

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