My Christmas wish?
That the Bulls find a way to prevent themselves from being embarrassed on national TV, especially on Christmas.
And my wish came true, in the form of a gift wrapped up as a 95-78 win, with Taj Gibson, Brooklyn-born like me, who led the way in front of his friends and family with a team-high 20 points and a few blocks and slams which would make Blake Griffin jealous.
Here’s what Thibs had to say about Monster Taj: “Taj is playing great because of this: He worked incredibly hard all summer. He’s been, by far, our best practice player. Comes early, stays late, practices hard,” the coach said. “I’m not surprised one bit that he had a great training camp, had a great preseason and he’s gotten off to a terrific start, and I always say this: The magic is in the work. If you work and you practice well, you will play well.”
Other than the stellar performance from Taj, there are so many reasons we could potentially point to, which could explain this unexpected victory.
Bulls wore “pajamas uniforms” in practice for a month to prep. [Read more about the Christmas Day uniform controversy here in Aggrey Sam’s story, Bulls debate short-sleeve Christmas jerseys.]
Bulls refrained from the gourmet menu offered at the Barclays Center.
Thibs changed everyone’s clocks to make it seem like it was a 7 p.m. local time start.
Everyone too worried Nets coach Jason Kidd would employ drink-spilling tactics, so did everything possible to win and escape ASAP.
Obviously, the right answer comes from Coach Thibodeau: “You can’t play well in this league without practicing.” And to read a dissertation, I mean article, focused on Thibs and the importance of practice, Aggrey Sam again has you covered with: Thibodeau, Bulls’ players take different route to same conclusion.
And the Bulls’ balanced scoring, with six players in double figures kind of helps, especially when their #1 player, All Star Luol Deng is still recovering from an injury.
The Nets may have “improved” their roster, increased their payroll by $55 zillion, added former NBA champs and supposed superstars. But it seems like not much has changed since the Bulls eliminated them from the first round of the playoffs last year.
They just don’t seem to have too much heart.
And when it comes to our Bulls, heart sets them apart.
The win streak is underway, and stands at two, and the rise to the middle or almost top of the Eastern Conference starts now.
I wish the Nets improvement as well, otherwise, we’ll have to watch the Pacers play the Trailblazers on Christmas Day next year.
See Red, and Go Bulls!