Wait, hold on, it wasn’t an NBA Finals win?
Oh, so it was the Eastern Conference Finals?
It was neither. The Bulls simply won a regular season game against the worst team in the league (Milwaukee), and you woulda thought they won it all.
I seem to be saying it every game, but they needed this win!
“Joakim was a monster throughout the game,” Thibodeau said afterward.
Jo was everywhere. It was as if he has had just about enough. The emotional leader had indeed been in a funky slump since DRose was lost for the season.
You saw glimpses of Jo greatness, the energy, enthusiasm, hustle and never-say-die attitude in the last few outings, but then he missed the last Milwaukee game with an injury. And Jo was none too pleased that the bottom feeders took a game from the Bulls at the UC.
Fast forward four days to “United Center North” (the Bradley Center in Milwaukee), where Bulls fans outnumber Bucks fans, and the place is maybe 2/3s full.
Jo lit it up: 21 points, 18 rebounds, five assists, three blocks and three steals.
As the leader goes, so goes the team.
Jimmy Butler returned (hallelujah), and scored 16 points. Hinrich found a way out of his slump, and added 13. Boozer, aka Mr. Consistent, with a double double (again), and 14 points.
And what can you say about Mike Dunleavy Jr. “Don’t leave me open Mike,” with 12 points. But most importantly, he hits the 3-pointer to win the game.
By the way Stacey King called it, and by the way the guys on the bench stormed the floor and practically put Dunleavy on their shoulders, you woulda thought they won the whole thing!
Hey, it’s a W, and it’s a W the Bulls really needed. So they advance to seventh place in the Eastern Conference, and with a win tonight vs. the Raptors, and a Bobcats loss, they move up to six. Sadly, I’m spending way too much time monitoring the Eastern Conference standings…
Things are sure looking a lot better here in Bulls Land than they did just two days ago.
Noah: “We’ve been through a lot. When you are playing shorthanded every game it’s a battle. It’s never easy. Just got to keep fighting, stay strong and tonight the basketball gods were on our side.”
Butler: “Jo was phenomenal. He’s huge and does so much that doesn’t show up, deflections, big stops, being a great leader.”
Thibs: “We had a lot of guys step up. They have great belief. I think you need to have that. We can’t get comfortable; we’ve got to fight, scratch, endure and keep battling. And if we keep doing the right things we’re going to have a chance to win. Now as we start getting players back, I like our team. I like our team a lot.”
See Red and Go Bulls! Beat the Raptors.