The Knicks didn’t put up much of a fight at all during the opener at MSG on Wednesday night. It is certainly not what I expected at all, but i’ll take a W any which way. In this case, the Bulls put on a passing, defensive and teamwork clinic, while the Knicks did everything they could to stray from Phil Jackson’s triangle offense.
Bulls win 104 to 80.
And now, it’s back to CHI for the Halloween home opener, featuring none other than the Wanted Man (LeBron) and his pesky sidekicks – Sideshow Bob, a kid name Kyrie and Kevin Loveless.
Here are a few random thoughts summing up the Bulls vs. Knicks game, and looking toward tonight’s Bulls vs. Cavs:
POW POW POW POW POW – I was growing a little nervous there for a while during the preseason that Pau Gasol might have been regretting his decision to join our Bulls. Coming off the FIBA World Cup, where he was undoubtedly Spain’s leader and named a Tournament All-Star, I thought he’d be lighting it up for the Bulls. None of his performances were particularly noteworthy…could this have all been a mistake?
Not so fast, as Pau, one of the oldest guys on the squad (ah, to be an old 34) played the second-most minutes of all Bulls (29:10) vs. the Knicks. Right, and the other “old” guy (except for Big Nazr) – Mike Dunleavy, Jr. topped Pau with 31:01 minutes. Pau scored 21 points and added 11 rebounds. The new double double machine? Anyway, my confidence about Pow Pow Pow Pow Pow is now through the roof.
STAR POWER DOESN’T NECESSARILY LEAD TO A WIN – Chris Rock, Lorne Michaels, Ben Stiller, Jesse Jackson, Justin Bieber, Taylor Swift, oh, and Spike Lee were all in the house, but sorry Knicks, it didn’t help your cause. Since the Knicks didn’t give fans much to cheer about, it was eerily quiet, at least when viewing on TV.
“Never. Nah,” Rose said, when asked if he had been at Madison Square Garden when it was so lifeless. “But I don’t want to talk too much about that.” And yes, true to form, the fans even booed their own team toward the end…
But if it’s true, as I heard, that not surprisingly, they booed all of the Bulls players but cheered for DRose during the intros, I’ll give them two thumbs up. They realize returning star power when they see it, and I’m glad they at least showed Derrick some respect.
TAJI WOO! FOR SIXTH MAN – Is it too early to start the campaign? For part of the summer, before Pau was signed, Taj could see himself in the starting lineup, but once again, it’s back to sixth man. Umm, Taj was the leading scorer vs. the Knicks, with 22 points. And Carmelo chipped in a paltry 14. Slacker! Here’s Thibs re: Taj “He was the best player in training camp, the best player in the preseason games. He just goes out there and does his job. He lets his performance speak for itself, and that’s the way it should be.”
DUN DUN KNOWS HOW TO DEFEND – Joakim calls Mike Dunleavy, Jr. Dun, and I call him Dun Dun. But either way, with Jimmy Buckets out, Dun had to defend the zillion dollar man, Melo. Dun didn’t score one point, but guess what – it didn’t matter, as the Bulls had six guys in double figures. Is that music to the ears of Bulls fans everywhere, or what? Dunleavy had to sacrifice scoring and stats for the greater good of the team. I thought I saw a quote somewhere where Thibs said that despite scoring zilch, Dunlevee “Had a great game.” You’ll just have to believe me.
BULLS TAKE SOLE POSSESSION OF #1 IN THE EASTERN CONFERENCE – NBA.com lists the Bulls as #1 in the East, and let’s hope they start the season there, finish the season there, and are #1 in mid-June when it really matters.
“WHAT’S SO GOOD ABOUT CLEVELAND?” [Joakim Noah] Oh boy oh boy, the UC is going to be out of control tonight. Joakim’s hatred for Cleveland goes back to LeBron’s first stint there, and this Nick Friedell (ESPN Chicago) article, Noah Doesn’t Care about Booing, which looks in depth at the the “Jo hates Cleveland story,” well it’s priceless. So the hatred for LeBron goes back, way back. And LeBron and his Miami Heat crew (and DRose’s injuries) put a halt to the Bulls’ pursuit of Championship #7, not once, not twice, but was it three times? Mathematician I am not. Today, I’m a physic. The boos for LeBron, K Loveless, a kid named Kyrie and Sideshow Bob will only be out-done by the cheers for our Bulls!
Beat the Cavs.