The Bulls had a rough go of it last night, as they FINALLY beat the hapless and deliberate tankers, the 76ers 118 to 115.
It was the same storyline on Wednesday night at United Center North, where the Bulls almost lost to their foes north of the border (Wisconsin, not Canada) — the Bucks.
How? What? Neither team is expected to make the playoffs, and in the case of the 76ers, they’re supposed to successfully secure the worst record in the NBA – in their attempt to get the #1 draft pick next year.
But kudos to both teams – they play hard, and they’re a bunch of young kids who seem to have good attitudes. Personally, I think the Bucks will make the playoffs this year, and they are going to give some teams scares.
K.C. Johnson of the Chicago Tribune led with this headline to summarize last night’s game: “Bulls are settling in as an offensive force.” He opened with “This is still going to take some getting used to, this offensive juggernaut that is the Bulls these days.”
Remember last year when the Bulls could end a quarter with about 9, or if really lucky, 15 points? Games where they passed the ball around a lot, like for about 24 seconds, with a guaranteed shot clock violation ensuing. And this happened early and often. Late and often. It was a common occurrence.
Now, these Western Conference wannabes have got five or six guys in double figures every night. Versus the 76ers, it was “Dunlevee” with 27 points and The Butler with 23.
Jo said (I believe he was reminiscing about last season), “I remember when the score was 81-76, just fiending to get a basket. Now we’re scoring 100 every night. And I feel like it can get better.”
Western Conference, here we come. But not so fast. It sure sounds good that the Bulls are 5-1. And actually, they should be 6-0. Let’s just characterize the loss to the Cavs as an anomaly. Home opener jitters. No one could concentrate with Cinjo in the house. Plus, there were spotlights and everything. Too nervous!
It’s been reported that a lot of the players are still watching tape to figure out where they went astray. They could have won that one…
But face it, the wins have all come against Eastern Conference “bottom feeders” as Stacey King likes to call them – the Magic, Bucks, 76ers. Oops, am I allowed to include the Knicks in that group? And then there was the one lone Western Conference win vs. the Timberwolves.
But just you wait until early December. That’s when we’re all going to be crying in our Gatorade, as the Bulls face the Nuggets, Mavericks, Trailblazers and Warriors. Kind of like LBJ and the Cavs, who have discovered it’s not so easy out there in the land of high altitudes. Although you would think by now, LeBron would be used to the “Hollywood” of it all.
Since the Bulls are so used to finding a way to win without Mr. Rose, the fact that he had to sit out to continue recovering from the double ankle sprains, well, it doesn’t even faze them anymore.
Most concerning so far, I think, has been the fact that Thibs seems to have replaced his late-night game tape watching with some Dale Carnegie book reading. Pretty soon, he’s going to be teaching seminars and take his new-found positive mental attitude show on the road.
Despite giving up an 18-point lead to the 76ers, and having to put all the starters back in to scratch and claw their way back, Sam Smith reported that Thibs had this to say following the game:
“Offense is not a problem. We’re getting to the line; we’re shooting the three well. I think we have a good balance inside/out. Turnovers, we’ve got to get down. I like us offensively a lot. The rebounding is still a concern. But I am pleased we found a way to win. At the end of the day, that’s what we’ve got to do.”
Later in his blog, Sam Smith said the following, referring to Thibs: “Heck, he’s so jolly and understanding these days you’d think he’s auditioning for the Macy’s Santa job.”
I dunno, I think the world could be ending, with Thibs acting this way, and with the Bulls tied for first in the East with the Raptors…but for now, we’ll take the 5-1 record, bottom feeders or not. Now it’s on to the Celtics tonight (at home). This is a lot of basketball…the four games in five nights is making me pretty tired.
And not to brag, but I did get out a lot on the open floor during practice at EBC this morning. But that’s not hard to do when you’re the only one there.
Beat the Celtics.