Bulls don’t have enough ammo as battle versus the west begins

Last night’s game against a Western Conference team at home at the UC was supposed to ease the Bulls into their seven games against teams in that conference. i.e. – This one, versus the Timberwolves – they were supposed to win.

But take away DRose, Captain Kirk, Luol Deng, and then, to top it all off, the heart and soul (Jo) – it just wasn’t meant to be. Who’s next? Benny the Bull?

In case you hadn’t heard, Jo had to skip shootaround, and he schlepped to the UC, but got sent home. He’s got the flu bug.

Bulls lose to the visiting Minnesota Timberwolves 95-86.

A few times, it seems like the Bulls could actually pull it off, but nothing went their way. One by one, they got into foul trouble. Lots of missed shots. More turnovers than the world’s leading bakeries have ever seen.

Jo’s presence was missed. You don’t see a lot of clapping and yelling and finger pistols from Tony Snell. Or Mike Dunleavy. I fell asleep during the third quarter, and I’m guessing most of the fans as the UC did too.

“Whenever you lose an All-Star, you’re going to feel it,” said Taj Gibson. “He (Noah) was playing real phenomenal. He’s one of our vocal leaders on the court rebounding, playing defense, controlling the offensive end as far as making plays for guys. But things like that are going to happen. It’s always up to the group and the guys behind just to gather up and try to push forward.”

“When you lose a guy like Jo,” Thibodeau said, “your margin of error is smaller.”

“Jo does so much on offense and on defense,” Bulls guard Jimmy Butler said. “He can guard so many positions, you can switch him onto guys, he rebounds, passes the ball well. Just the energy and the leadership that he brings, it’s just tough not having him out there.”

Kind of shows you how vulnerable the Bulls are, really.

According to the pundits on Comcast Sportsnet, this upcoming Western road trip of six games (Spurs, Pelicans, Kings, Suns, Warriors, Lakers) will decide the Bulls’ standings in the Eastern Conference, and who they face in the playoffs. That is, if they’re not enjoying an early start to their summer in late April.

Enjoy the 22-22 record now and fifth place, because unless the clever plan Thibs has devised works, I have more chances of winning a pickup game at the East Bank Club than the Bulls have of pulling off six victories on the road.

What’s Thibs up to now? After his whirlwind romance with Kate Upton, his head must be in the clouds – how can he strategize and create a game plan?

Simple. Jo, with his virus or Superbug, or whatever he’s picked up, will be using his charming personality to sweet talk his way into the opponents’ locker rooms (kinda like he did in OKC before Kendrick Perkins kicked him out). But key to this tactic is to get into the locker rooms pre-game.

Then, Jo will work to infect as many players as possible – lots of coughing and close talking.

In ThibsLand, you do whatever it takes. In reality, instead of spreading viruses, we can all implore the basketball gods for some kind of break. Or, like me, since most of the games are on after my bedtime, maybe just skip them and wake back up on Feb. 11 when they return to CHIberia to face the Hawks. Oops, the Hawks are a good Eastern Conf. team.

I got one – Feb. 13 vs. the Nets. There you go. Victory will be ours.

Advertisements

Behind D.J.’s 28 points, Bulls defeat Bobcats 89-87

This is one of those games the Bulls are supposed to win.

But as we all know, nothing is promised anymore. While the Cats’ center Big Al Jefferson gave the Bulls some trouble, as evidenced by his 32 points, fortunately, I could keep the volume on for most of the slug fest.

And it’s no surprise this one wasn’t scheduled for ABC’s Sunday Showcase. Quite the opposite of Hollywood indeed.

As even Thibs attested to, no one won any style points. In fact, a call to the Fashion Police might be in order. One of the reporters asked him to comment about the aesthetics of the game: “As long as we come out on top, I love it,” Thibodeau said.

Although third to DRose injury #2 and the Luol Deng trade, the emergence of D.J. Augustin has become the season’s story line. The feel-good movie of the year, at least so far.

Remember – D.J. played for the Bobcats for four years, and was the starting point guard until former UConn star Kemba Walker showed up and D.J. became the backup. Then D.J. played for the Giants (Pacers) last year, coming off the bench.

He was with the Raptors to start this season, but I guess he didn’t play much, and they let him go on December 9. The Bulls picked him up on Friday, December 13, he flew to Thrill-waukee for his first game with the Bulls, and without a practice or a game plan, Thibs put him in. Oh, he did make it to the morning shootaround at the Bradley Center.

He’s currently the Bulls’ second-leading scorer, behind Boozer, and he’s scored 27 or 28 the last three games. He played 43:51 last night.

Following the Bobcats victory, Thibs said: “D.J. was a huge pick up for us. We had a need with Derrick and Kirk going down and obviously he had a need as well. It was good for him and it has been great for us. The one thing that we knew because of how he played here in Charlotte was that he was fully capable. I also thought he had a wonderful year in Indiana even though he played minimal minutes. For whatever reason, he didn’t play in Toronto. But that worked out for us. To his credit, he was ready when this opportunity came around and he hit the ground running. It’s not just his individual talents but it is also what he is doing for our team. He is running our team well.”

“When you find a guy like that, undrafted guy, he has to scratch his way into the league and he always finds his way onto a roster,” Thibodeau said. “Whenever we played against him, I always felt like he competed hard. I knew he would be a good fit.”

There seems to be a life lesson here, about attitude, preparedness, opportunity and fortitude. Never, never, never give up.

Then again, isn’t everything about the Bulls a life’s lesson? How about someone having more belief in you than you have in yourself.

“We have this motto,” Taj Gibson said. “He (Thibs) just keeps saying, ‘I’m so proud of you. I’ll go anywhere with you guys.'”

“Guys don’t complain. Thibs — he stresses it. Like, ‘Come on, fight through it. This is going to be a great year. It’s going to be a good outcome. Just keep fighting through it.’ But he’s a good coach as far as getting [us] amped to play.”

“That’s what Thibs told us,” Augustin said. “We get knocked down but we always get back up and we keep fighting. And that’s the motto of our team, fight til the end of the game, and that’s what we did tonight. It’s been working for us.”

“This team is great,” Thibodeau said. “They know — we talked about what happened [Friday, aka Lob City, aka Three-Point City] night and what we had to do today, and that’s the best part about this team. They got great pride, they’re going to bounce back, they’re going to give you everything they have. For us, we just got to keep scratching out wins, and we can never lose sight of how hard we have to play to give ourselves a chance to win, particularly when you’re short-handed.”

And that’s why I love our Bulls. And, I could personally stand for a bit of giving it everything I have in my own life.

Well, that’s the end of the Bulls Banter turned Bulls Therapy. Back to our usual programming following the Bulls’ defeat of the Minnesota Timberwolves on Monday. Uh oh. I think they’re from that non-Eastern Conference. Putting a call into League to complain about scheduling right away.

League actions and Doc Rivers’ game plan result in Bulls’ loss to Clippers

Wait, hold on. The Bulls take issue with the NBA, the commissioner, and anyone who will listen. Anybody?

The Bulls had already petitioned the League, at least two months ago, for the schedule change which would result in the Bulls only playing Eastern Conference teams. I believe it was supposed to be on Tuesdays when it was 44 degrees (Fahrenheit), but we’ll let those requests slide.

Excuse you, why did you dispatch the Clippers to the UC last night?

Secondly, no one alerted the Bulls front office, back office, backside, whatever, about the adjustment to the national TV schedule. That is, where you subbed in a three-point shooting clinic, led by the Clippers for what was SUPPOSED to have been the Bulls vs. Clippers GAME.

So Doc Rivers’ game plan, where his team transforms from Lob City to Three Point City worked. And, it was pretty smart of him to keep Thibs out all night following their dinner, obviously the reason the Bulls forgot how to execute two key basketball fundamentals: offense and defense.

It was so satisfying to be above .500, for the day it lasted, even if it is in the Eastern Conference.

Since it’s too difficult to even look at the box score, or the final score, all I can say is that at least Thibs brought it with his comedy routine in the pre-game media session. (I’m sure the post-game, which I, of course, couldn’t watch was quite a different story.)

Thibs said, …”But every day there is something else going on. Now the rumor about my date with Kate Upton, a rumor started by me, I’m not commenting on that either.”

Since this is the most interesting outcome of the game, no surprise – there’s a story about it, complete with a video: Thibodeau turns the tide on coaching rumors, mentions ‘dating’ Kate Upton instead

At least the League got the schedule right tonight, with the Bobcats. Let’s hope Thibs doesn’t even think about eating dinner, comes up with a game plan, and the Bulls remember how to play. And the one bright spot coming out of the loss to three-point city was the return of Carlos Boozer, who scored 22 and at least kept them in it.

See Red!

Go Bulls!

Taj/DJ shooting clinic helps Bulls defeat Luol’s Cavs

The reunion has come and gone. Hugs before the game, hugs after the game. Watch all the hugging.

“I said I wasn’t going to be emotional but when I went over to hug Thibs, that’s when it hit me a little bit,” Deng said.

That’s the before and after. In between all that, there was some basketball to be played. Words like war and battle were used to describe the way the Bulls would attack Luol and his new team, the Cavs when they met in Cleveland on Wednesday night.

The Bulls, once again, ended up on the right side of this one, beating Luol’s Cavs 98 to 87. Poor Luol only got two baskets (but a total of 11 points). He’s all off-kilter due to the frequent rest breaks. It’s just easier and more productive to leave him in the full 48. CMO Mike Brown!

The Taj Gibson/DJ Augustin shooting clinic stole the show, with Taj having his way with jump shots. He scored 27 as he started for Boozer.

And DJ added 26, including three-pointer after three-pointer. When does the MVP campaign begin? I don’t think we have enough resources, with Jo for All-Star and Taj for Sixth Man already underway, spearheaded by Thibs.

I can almost see the third place in the Eastern Conference, now that the Bulls are at 21 and 20, and wouldn’t be at all surprised if the first round is a repeat of last year. Barclays Center here we come.

Let’s enjoy this victory while we can, because tomorrow, it’s Lob City. Oh how I hate Lob City.

And tradition dictates that Thibs has to take Doc Rivers out for dinner tonight (Thibs’ treat). Who is going to watch the tape and draw up the game plan and the create the plays? And practice saying “do your job,” “we have more than enough?”

I shouldn’t second guess the mastermind.

See Red!

Go Bulls

Beat Lob City.

Taj Gibson’s buzzer-beater, headed to Cleveland, where did all the point guards go?

Thibs is going to be really busy with his promotional campaigns following Taj Gibson’s buzzer-beater versus the Lakers last night. First, he was spearheading the “Joakim Noah for All-Star” campaign.

Now, add “Taj Gibson for sixth man” to the list. That Thibs. He does it all. Even laundry. Oops, sorry. That’s Jo.

But how about that game? Taj gets his first buzzer-beater ever, the Bulls are back at .500, they’re all tied up for 3rd or 4th place in the East with all of the other teams not from the NYC area.

Thibs smiled again, and there wasn’t exactly a hug or anything, but Thibs sure did seem proud of his protege, Mr. Taj. After all, he’s running plays for the guy.

And not enough can be said about DJ Augustin. He made five of seven of his 3-point attempts, including major buckets at the end; he was also the Bulls’ leading scorer with 27 points.

Can you run sixth man campaigns for two players from the same team? I dunno, but without DJ, not sure where the Bulls would be.

So TNT, how do you like us now? DRose-less Bulls vs. Kobe-less Lakers goes to OT and game is decided by a basket in the final seconds.

How did the Trail Blazers (113) vs. Rockets (126) game work out for you? Did all 55 people who live in Portland watch the game? OK, that was my evil twin…she took over Bulls Banter momentarily…

Let me just testify to how much I enjoyed listening to Neil and Stacey with the call, especially when Taj made the final layup!

And insider info, if you haven’t heard. Here in CHIberia, we’re getting word that Thibs, the players and the coaches have made a pact – it’s them vs. management.

They’re out to prove management wrong. You trade away our best player. No problem.

One superstar point guard (DRose) out for the season, the backup (Kirk Hinrich injured), his backup (Marquis Teague) traded to the Nets. No problem.

We’ve got DJ, and as of a few hours ago, Mike James is coming on back! Can you say 10-day contract?

They’re out to prove everybody wrong…and let’s hope it can continue on the next stop: Cleveland for a reunion with the Bulls’ “brother” Luol (Deng), for Wednesday’s early 6 p.m. CST match-up.

“I love Luol,” said Joakim Noah. “He’s my brother. But when that ball goes up, he’s not going to be my brother.”

Deng said, “It will definitely be weird. But as soon as the ball goes up, I want to play basketball and I want to win. I don’t want this to be Luol Deng playing his old team. I just want to win.”

“We’re friends before and after the game,” he added.

“I know how fierce of a competitor he is,” coach Tom Thibodeau said. “I know he’s going to be trying to beat us and we’re going to be trying to beat him. And then after the game we’re going to visit. I have a lot of respect for him, all the stuff he did for us, what he did for me personally. But friendship aside, we’re coming up there, we’re going to be ready.”

I’ll admit, I’m a little nervous about it, but I hope it’s a happy reunion in which the Bulls come out with the W (even if it’s just by a point).

See Red!

Go Bulls!

Beat the Cavs (sorry Lu).

Bulls overwhelm 76ers, turn focus to Noah’s All-Star campaign

The days when you could identify the no-brainers, the games the Bulls would definitely win, well, that’s over.

But thankfully, last night, they man-handled the 76ers, beating them 103 to 78. Oh, how good it feels to be on the right side of a blowout.

The UConn women would be proud.

Taj put the 76ers in the spin cycle. Jo created several posters. Big Naz throws down a dunk. DJ adds 19 points.

Thibs sits down. You heard it here – with a few minutes left, when it seemed pretty clear the 76ers couldn’t recover from the 20-something point deficit, Thibs took a seat on the bench.

Happy belated birthday!

So now, everyone’s sights are on Jo’s All-Star pursuit. He had 21 points, 16 rebounds and four blocks. That’s his career-best 12th straight double-digit rebounding game.

“He’s doing just about everything — laundry, everything,” coach Tom Thibodeau cracked. “You can’t play any better than he’s playing right now, in every aspect of the game. He’s playing as well as any big man in the league.”

“He’s been winning us games,” said Butler. “That’s what Jo’s been doing. Huge for us on both ends of the floor, making shots, passing well. His leadership role, the energy he brings. He’s an All-Star in my eyes and he’s been playing like one.”

Let’s hope the Jimmy’s not the only one who believes Jo is worthy of his second All-Star appearance.

See Red!

Go Bulls!

Beat the Lakers (Note: the A team, Neil and Stacey have been tagged to call the game after TNT pulled the DRose-less and Kobe-less teams from their broadcast. Hallelujah! Now I don’t have to listen to the TNT Bulls haters, and instead, can enjoy the call from my hometown pals).

Still recovering from Thibs’ birthday bash, Bulls lose to Wizards (again)

I don’t much like the Wizards any more. I didn’t really like them last year, nor did I like them any better when they beat the Bulls on Monday.

Fast forward a few days to Friday night, just change venues, and you’ve got the same result – a big old loss.

This time, it wasn’t so painful to watch, and the Bulls’ defense seemed to re-appear. At least John Wall couldn’t get EVERYTHING he wanted.

But they really needed me to come in during the last five minutes to make a shot.

Let’s face it, the reason for the loss is clear.

The entire team was dealing with hangovers following  Thibs’ afternoon birthday bash. It was quite a party, which began with watching tape, and of course, concluded with watching more tape.

With Thibs recently admitting he wants to “Be like Phil (Jackson),” he told the team the best way to celebrate his 56th was to watch old games of Michael and Scottie playing 45 or 46 minutes. We all know that no one has ever seen Thibs eat. Ever.

That in mind, of course, no one ordered food, this was definitely not a catered affair, which led to all of the Bulls being sluggish during the game. And instead of relaxing in comfy chairs or couches, it was rides on the stationary bikes for everyone.

I want to believe “We have more than enough,” really, I do.

At this stage, it seems as if qualifiers are in order though.

We have more than enough when we play on Tuesdays, it’s 44 degrees, the game is in a city that starts with a U against an opponent that is last or second to last in the Eastern Conference and the Bulls get to wear the Christmas pajamas uniforms.

Yup, definitely more than enough.

The Bulls are sure to give Thibs a belated birthday present in the form of a W this evening back at home against the 76ers.

See Red!

Go Bulls!

Happy birthday Coach Thibs.

TWTW – Thibs applauds team following 3OT win vs. Magic

You can say many things about the Bulls. But one thing is sure – they have the will to win (TWTW).

The Bulls narrowly escaped, with a 128 to 125 victory over the Orlando Magic on Wednesday, and as Thibs said, they had to win several times.

It would seem that the Bulls are willing to do whatever it takes to miss a Thibs practice, because K.C. Johnson of the Trib reported that Thibs canceled practice on Thursday.

Tonight, Friday, the Bulls face those Wizards (again).

The win vs. Orlando truly demonstrates what the Bulls are all about:

1.) Boozer was still sick during pre-game warmups and it looked like he couldn’t go, but following the solution to all health ailments – Gatorade, and some meds, Boozer came in and scored 23 at the beginning of the game, in just 28 minutes. The Magic left him by himself whenever he shot. I dunno. I think there’s something called defense you’re supposed to implement during basketball games?

2.) Tony Snell, the rook had 15 points! He played all 3OTs and all but 81 seconds of the fourth quarter. He posterized the Magic with a big old dunk in OT2, had a 3-pointer in OT3 and a go-ahead jumper. “The rook, Tony Snell, you’ve got to give him some love,” Noah said. “The ‘Space Jam’ dunk was big and the big jumpers. He played big for us.”

Tony Tony Tony!

3.) Jimmy Butler set a franchise record with his 60 minutes and 21 seconds of play, and yahoo reported he “broke” their scoreboard. “We’re grimy and we play as a team,” he said. “There is no guy that doesn’t give all the effort on every single play. Whenever you play like that, good things happen. The basketball gods will reward you.”

When asked about his readiness to play in OT4, if needed: “I would’ve played,” he said. “But then 911 would’ve been on speed dial. I would’ve passed out.”

Jimmy got his own article about it: Bulls Coach Tom Thibodeau Plays Jimmy Butler Franchise-Record 60 Minutes in Game. Actually, just google “jimmy butler 60 minutes” and you’ll get a lot of other hits…

Luol might be at least a tiny bit glad he went to the Cavs, where they play him maybe 33 or 38. Thibs has found his new iron man, and his initials are JB.

4.) DJ Augustin, who got a bit lost in the mix after everyone was so busy checking the record books to verify and report on the 60 minutes…well, DJ scored 19, had 9 assists and 0 turnovers in 40 minutes. Remember, a month and a half ago, we didn’t know his name. [Side note: to read more about DJ’s amazing journey and life and basketball, read Sam Smith’s story: Augustin used to weathering the storm.]

“He was terrific in the pick-and-roll, made a lot of really good plays to Jo,” Thibodeau said.

5.) Most important to the victory was the current centerpiece of the team, Joakim Noah. He had 26 points and 19 rebounds. He was kind of a “load”, which is how Thibs typically describes the center on the opposition.

Here’s Thibs speaking of Jo post-game: “He has a great will to win..no matter what is going on in the game…he was terrific in every aspect of the game tonight. But even sometimes when things aren’t going his way, when the game’s on the line, he’ll find a way to make something happen.”

To read more about the man, the legend, the Bulls’ 2013-2014 All-Star, Jo and Thibs’ undying praise, read K.C. Johnson’s (Chicago Tribune) article, Bulls’ Joakim Noah playing like an All-Star.

Thibs has also found a backup career in stand up comedy, if neither the Bulls gig nor his alleged Knicks gig work out. He tried to make a funny about the 60 minutes thing – “That’s my favorite TV show.”

Wow, he knew it was a show!

The guys on the SCORE had a field day with it the following morning.

Thibs: Knock knock.

Audience: Who’s there?

Thibs: Do your job

Thibs: Knock knock

Audience: Who’s there?

Thibs: We have more than enough.

So in what many wanted to be a tanked season, the Bulls are ending up with unimaginable wins and even a few laughs…or as good as it will get around here.

Oh, except for Jo and his tights:

After laboring to pull on form-fitting black tights, worn to aid recovery by promoting circulation, Joakim Noah – “You think this is all fun and games?” he asked no one in particular. “I’m wearing tights!”

See Red!

Go Bulls!

Beat the Wizards (please)!

Naz sprains a finger, Wizards cast a spell, Bulls lose, Thibs blames himself

It was one of those games where I spent more time washing dishes, doing laundry and even putting together a new vacuum (and then subsequently vacuuming) than I did watching the game.

Yes, housework was a way better option than watching the Bulls struggle, get themselves in a hole, get halfway back out and then fall into the hole again, never to re-emerge.

The five-game win streak comes to an end as the crafty, fast-moving Wizards defeat our Bulls 102 to 88.

Blame it on Naz and his sprained finger or the magical spells of the Wizards. But Thibs just blames it on himself.

“We didn’t play well,” coach Tom Thibodeau said. “I didn’t coach well.”

Thibs said issues began at the morning shootaround, when he didn’t clearly convey his message of needed intensity.

Let’s face it, Thibs is dialing it in now that the Knicks job is secured for next season.

It’s that New York State of mind and all…he can’t focus, just dreaming of coaching Melo and Tyson Chandler.

When pressed by the Chicago media last week, he tried to dispel the rumor with “CMO!” Or translation: “Come on now. Come on now.”

No matter what, I got in a really good nap during halftime, and then since I was too upset to watch any of the post-game interviews and highlights, I mean, lowlights – I got to bed nice and early.

But when Boozer and Jo get poster-ized by the Polish Hammer (Gortat), you know you’ve reached a new all-time low.

Here’s the thing. I’m sure it’s all part of Thibs’ master plan anyway. He really wants to wait to make the move up to third in the Eastern Conference until as far into the season as possible. Just give the Knicks and the Nets some semblance of hope…

We know the Bulls are offensively challenged. When you compound that with lack of defense, you end up with one ugly night.

There are rumblings, which I’m sure will make their way to the likes of the Bulls team stream and Bleacher Report soon, and they center around a strategic blunder GarPax (the combination of GM Gar Forman and VP of Basketball Operations John Paxson) made recently.

That is, they haven’t yet signed the world-renowned (in her own mind) NMSG (non-moving shooting guard) Cindy Joy “Cinjo” Olsen to a 10-day contract.

Surely she’s the solution to the offensive part of the equation. Defense. Not so much. Defense runs much better for her when she’s alone on the floor, and gets a lot of coffee breaks, I mean, time outs.

But after last night, it seems like the Bulls should be willing to do just about anything.

Tomorrow its a stop in balmy FL, continuing this week’s “magical” or “not-yet-so-magical” theme as the Bulls face Orlando. And then on Friday, the Bulls get a chance to redeem themselves against the Wizards.

See Red!

Go Bulls!

Blog at WordPress.com.

Up ↑