All heart

Why do I love our Bulls?

They’re all heart. In fact, Sam Smith, the unofficial official Bulls blogger recently tweeted, “Bulls heart and soul tour moves to two over .500, 27-25, at All-Star break with 92-76 win over Nets.”

Yes indeed, Thursday night, on national TV, Rose-less, Deng-less, with less talent, lower total salary, and just nine guys in the rotation, the Bulls once again beat those Nets.

And perhaps a precursor to the first round playoffs, it also got chippy, with Jimmy Gets Buckets getting into it with Joe Johnson. Jimmy earns his first T, and the Bulls once again prevail against a far superior team. Joe better watch it, or the usually classy Bulls fans could stoop to the level of their Pacers counterparts and start cheering, “Not an All-Star.”

The fans didn’t get their Big Macs, Jo didn’t quite get a triple double, and it definitely wasn’t Showtime. But that’s not who the Bulls are.

It’s the Midwest. It’s CHI. Hard hat lunch pail here, one for all and all for one.

Boozer returned from missing three games, and scored 15 points. Future sixth man of the year Taj Gibson added 16 coming off the bench. Jo, Dunleavy and Butler were all in double figures. Captain Kirk, D.J. and Tony Snell chip in too.

The Bulls collectively may score as many points as KD or Melo score individually. But last I heard, this was a team sport.

And the Bulls are picking up steam, so the second half is looking good.

Now if only Jo survives his second appearance at All-Star weekend. It’s 5 a.m. on Saturday, and I’m guessing he’s still on Bourbon Street. Jo and his Wolf Pack. Will the Wolf Survive?

Here’s what Jo said at media day yesterday: “I think we are the team that definitely has gone through the most this season in terms of adversity,” said Noah. “We showed a lot of fight. I’m proud of that. Being able to be with that group of players with their hearts on their sleeves giving everything during a ballgame. That’s honorable. Win or lose to give everything. Nobody does that better than the Chicago Bulls. I’m so happy to be a part of that.”

“We think we’re the hardest working team in the NBA,” said Noah. “On the court, off the court the way we practice, how we carry ourselves. I’m proud we have an identity. When you play the Chicago Bulls it’s going to be tough. We might not have the talent right now. Our most talented guy is out. But at the end of the day I am proud of our basketball identity.”

We can all enjoy the break, at varying levels of intensity. Boozer is headed to the beach with his family I heard. JB told Chuck Swirzky (one of the Bulls radio guys) he’s coming to his house to watch movies on DirectTV.

And Thibs, in keeping with his love of film, said he’s going to a movie. “That one with a wolf in it.” And not sure we really want to know all the details of Jo’s schedule in the Big Easy. Let’s hope he’s still standing for the game on Sunday night. That is the point of the exercise, right? Maybe not. I kind of sense a wolf theme here.

Third place in the Eastern Conference is only a few wins away. Pacers or Heat – see you in round two of the playoffs. Bet you wish the Bulls weren’t all heart.


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