The first day of the rest of the season

Making their way back toward CHI, the Bulls stopped in their final west coast destination, Utah, to face the worst team in the league – all that Jazz.

Playing at high altitudes, the Bulls reached a new all-time low, successfully losing to the Jazz, and establishing another streak, four losses in a row, for the first time in Thibs’ time with the Bulls.

All I could keep thinking while I tried to watch the game was, “I didn’t sign up for this.”

Thibs, on the sidelines, usually flailing, ranting and raving, wasn’t acting like himself. No animation (well, except at the end of the game…). He joined the Bulls to coach DRose and a championship team. A cruel joke indeed, that DRose has played 49 games in the last three years.

The rest of the players, those who have been there a while, the rooks, Dunleavy, everybody – were playing for Championship #7, with DRose as the centerpiece.

And little did the fans in Utah know that in lieu of seeing DRose perform his super-human heroics, they would have to settle for booing their former Utah Jazz player, Carlos Boozer. Hmmm, so, booing doesn’t end in NYC – it carries over even to a supposed religious town like SLC? Wonders never cease.

And DRose certainly didn’t sign up for this.

There are a lot of T words you can associate with Coach Thibodeau. Terror. Technical. Tenacious. And most of all, Tape.

But no one is taking a ride on the “Tanking” machine in ThibsWorld. There’s already a lot of talk about making up some injuries for the starters…having them sit, to ensure losing lots of games, missing the playoffs and getting some kind of higher lottery pick to help secure one of those top guys in the draft. I don’t exactly understand it all…but

Hold on, without trying, the Bulls are pretty good at getting injured all by themselves (note Jimmy Butler is still in a walking boot and can’t put weight on his foot), and as of late, we’ve seen a lot of success with losing games. I guess the plan is already in effect.

Seriously, Thibs will not tank this team…they will win games, they will make the playoffs, and we’ll all enjoy an exciting, although, at times, less than artistic season.

I wanted to point out that fellow Bulls blogger (OK, he IS the Bulls’ blogger, and me, well, I’m a different kind of Bulls blogger) tweeted this intro to his latest blog last night, “The Bulls leave the UC for the circus and end up basically in their own version.”

Wait a minute, Sam, that’s my intellectual property – I already used that one several days ago before the DRose fiasco. Chalk it up to great minds.

Here’s what our guys are saying:

“It’s never the right time for someone to get hurt,” said Deng, who had 24 points and 10 rebounds in the loss. “But on the road, it’s been a circus. You turn on the TV, it’s about Derrick, it’s about the Bulls. There’s so much going on. Honestly, you don’t even want to watch TV.”

“I think the last two nights we looked like a tired team,” said Kirk Hinrich, who suffered a hard hit in the face and early fears, unfounded, of a broken nose which was black and blue by game’s end. “The games are going to keep coming. We’ve just got to figure it out.”

“We’ve just got to keep grinding,” said Boozer, still booed back where he played most of his career in Salt Lake City. “We’re a hard working group of guys. We’re going to continue to fight. You (media) guys know that. Tonight was a hard fought game. It came down to the wire. They scored more points in overtime. That’s what it came down to.

“We’ve got to snap out of it,” said Noah. “We’re human. We’re disappointed with the way we’re playing and everything that’s going on. I personally have to snap out of it and be a better leader. It’s a tough blow. We lost our best player for the year. But you know we have lots of guys here who are very capable players. We just have to play with more fire.”

And, Thibs, sums it up, with what we have to hope and believe, as the Bulls began day 1 of year 2 without DRose: “We’re capable of doing better and we will.”

See Red, and Go Bulls! It’s gotta get better from here.

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