Bulls defeat the Pistons 106-98, racking up their seventh straight win, and take rightful sole possession of #3 seed in the East with the Oh Canada! (Raptors’) loss to the Knicks.
The Knicks once again, are in the conversation, and anything but irrelevant. This time, I’m thankful they found a way to defeat those pesky Raptors.
But on Sunday, it won’t be the same, as I’m hoping the Bulls destroy them, on what “was to have been matinee game until the NBA deemed the Bulls and Knicks both too awful for prime time, and the game would be meaningless, so now catch it on your local stations” game.
“It feels good to have the three seed,” Noah said. “It means (Sunday’s game in Madison Square Garden vs. the Knicks) is going to be popping. I like it when the Garden is popping.”
But back to last night, when the group becoming known as the “Bulls Starting 7” again worked its magic. “Augustin and Gibson, it’s like playing against seven starters,” said Loyer, interim head coach for the Pistons. “Those two guys, Augustin is their leading scorer, and Taj Gibson is as athletic and active as any power forward in the league. They do it against a lot of people.”
I was tweeting some new random pro Bulls fans that the ImposterBulls seemed to have shown up in the first half, and I really didn’t think, the way things had been going, that we’d see them again this season. And what about the basket covers? Q1 and Q2 – they did their job.
But I guess everybody ate their Wheaties during halftime, and someone bribed the UC staff to remove the covers during the break, because the Bulls scored 68 in the second half. Who? What? Are we in OKC? Teleported to a Spurs game or Lob City?
Boozer: “Give them credit for the first half, give us credit for the second half.”
So six of the “Bulls Starting 7” scored in double figures, and the lone outlier, All-Star center Joakim Noah, despite having only 6 points, joined 8 others (including MJ and Scottie) in the 400 assists/100 blocks club. Ah, just another day (or night) at the office.
It’s feeling a bit now like “it’s too good to be true,” this late-season surge, the Bulls with the best record in the East since the All-Star break (20-7), with the Nets right behind them, and the Pacers at 14-14.
“We remember no one was on our bandwagon at the beginning of the year and how that felt,” said Taj Gibson, who finished with 17 points. “We just believe in ourselves.”
And giving credit where credit is due, D.J. Augustin again rose to the occasion, with 24 points (team high), 4 rebounds and 6 assists. Thibs: “He has been a godsend for us.”
Now, on to MSG for the Sunday night fight that actually means something. My allegiance to the Knicks is fleeting, it was for one night only.
Beat the Knicks.
Notes: Boozer was 7 for 8, with 18 points and even had another dunk. But former UConn star Andre Drummond was the beastliest of all, with 26 rebounds, and out-rebounded the entire Bulls team in the first half. What’s the opposite of happy? That is.
Taj did D.J.’s “Louisiana Skip” following one of his dunks, although the skip was more angry than lighthearted. Remember, Taj is from Brooklyn. Brooklyn Skip? Not so much.
Commercial break: you can follow me on twitter at @TheChicagoNinja