What a difference a day, and a year make

So it’s a new year, and as predicted, the Bulls are on their way to finding their place in the Eastern Conference. Last night, they defeated the Celtics 94-82, and let’s just say, it felt like a Bulls game, not a Sunday afternoon YMCA men’s league tournament.

It’s not often we have a test here on Bulls Banter, but who said this?

“When you lose a player like Derrick (Rose), everyone has to play well. Our margin of error is a lot smaller. … I think we’ll have a shot to play in the playoffs if we keep grinding. And in the playoffs, anything can happen.”

If you guessed Thibs, you’re wrong. It was Joakim Noah, the star of the show.

It seems as if Thibs added a new segment to practice – watching replays of his “quotes for any occasion.” Jo drank the Thibs Kool-Aid, or given the season, the Champagne. And speaking of Champagne, I guess the players from all of the Eastern Conference “underperformers” are passing it around.

Brooklyn beat OKC and the Knicks beat the Spurs. Who? What? Where? 2014 sure is turning out to be a surprising year so far!

What you’ve gotta love about the Bulls’ victory is the energy and the balanced effort. Four starters in double figures (Boozer, Lu, Jo and JB), and two bench players, with Taj adding 12 and Dunleavy 11.

And about the technicals, setting new records there too, with three assessed against the Bulls (Thibs, Boozer, Dunleavy), but the foul on Dunleavy, which wasn’t called resulted in a T and seemed to fire him up…

In his own words:

“You know what? As Taj [Gibson] knows, that’s my New York state of mind. Sometimes you have to let people know when they’re messing up. Teammates, coaches, officials. With me, it doesn’t happen very often, but tonight it did and I knew Taj would be the first one to let me know about it,” Dunleavy Jr. explained. “Yeah, I think it got me going a little bit. Sometimes when your blood’s boiling like that, it’s good to get things off your chest. Then, you settle back in and you play well.

“I was just trying to be like Jo, just be wild and crazy out there. It was just a moment in the game there where I think everybody had enough and we took it to another level emotionally, then played well in that stretch and it was nice to just kind of coast to a win,” the mild-mannered wing went on to say. “I’m good for one or two [technical] a year. I make sure I always get my money’s worth and go home a happy man.”

See, Thibs always has a strategy, even if it involves him leading the league in Ts, and he has to bring his players along with him.

Now one of the major highlights of this game was Jo almost getting his fourth career triple double. He ended up one assist shy as none of the guys seemed to want to make a basket after he passed them the ball!!! I should have been there. Not to brag, but my reverse layups rock.

“It’s not really good to play basketball that way where you’re focusing on your stats,” Noah said. “I tried to get it. Jimmy (Butler) forced the shot at the end. It’s not a good look. But it was cool.”

And it looks like someone at the NBA has done the math for me. From what I can tell now, the Bulls have moved from #9 in the Eastern Conference to #7. What a difference a day, and/or a year can make.

Remember, the author of Bulls Banter will be in the “house” (the UC) Saturday night for the Bulls vs. the Hawks.

I’ll be the one with the “We love you Thibs, Ts and all” sign.

See Red, Go Bulls, and welcome to 2014.

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