Off the charts and through the roof

The Bulls beat the Celtics 109 to 102 during a Black Friday matinee game, having to overcome a 16-point deficit they managed to create for themselves in the first half.

Now we’re making some progress, with the Bulls back on the East Coast, playing those “soft” Eastern Conference teams, which Mark Cuban (and others) want to split up by moving some into the West.

Whatever. I’m just glad the Circus Trip, with it’s 9:30 p.m. CST starts is almost over. I was able to make it through the entire Celtics game without dozing off, and I even got to watch Thibs’ post-game press conference. That’s a rarity. Even more rare – he smiled (see below, Exhibit A).

Exhibit A - Thibs smiles.
Exhibit A – Thibs smiles.

And turkey must agree with Thibs, because he was all compliments, and even started talking about bunnies. I guess he thought it was the Easter matinee game.

“He was playing with a high intensity,” said Thibodeau of Rose. “When you look at his plus/minus when he’s on the floor for our team this year it’s off the charts.”

“Jo, it’s hard to measure (him) statistically,” Thibodeau added. “I told him that yesterday. If you look at what Jo did, I’ll go back to the Utah game. He didn’t play big minutes. If you looked at his line, the box score, you’d say, ‘What did he do (four points and five rebounds)? But when you look at his (Noah’s) plus/minus (team high plus 19 in that game) when he’s on the floor, off the charts. It’s how you make the team function. It’s not individually what you do. There are guys who can score when they are on the floor (and) it’s a negative. When Jo’s on the floor and has that bounce to him it’s a huge plus for our team; he makes our defense go. He makes plays offensively.”

“Pau missed bunnies; he makes those shots all the time. The thing I loved is he played a great game without shooting the ball well,” Thibodeau said. “His rebounding was terrific. Just his presence.”

It’s important to note that this was the fourth time that the “official” starting lineup (DRose / Jo / Pau / JB / Mike Dunleavy, Jr.) played together. And they’re undefeated (4-0) when they start together.

While the Bulls were sluggish in the first half, either due to turkey hangover, or to over-exertion following the team Thanksgiving Day ping pong tournament (Pau Gasol wins Bulls Thanksgiving ping pong tournament), Thibs must have given some kind of inspirational speech during halftime.

DRose scored 12 in the first four minutes of the second half.

Jo was himself again. He was everywhere, grabbing re-bounds, going up for second shots, pestering the Celtics players.

Thibodeau: “You can’t say enough about the way Jo played, his activity, the rebounding, blocked shots, multiple effort plays. You can see he’s got his bounce. It’s good to see him playing like that.”

And for anyone who is worried about DRose, think again. Here’s his self-assessment:

“(My) confidence is through the roof. I don’t need more confidence. I just need to play. I know how good I am and I know how good I’m going to be, I just need to be out there playing.”

So things are looking up for our Bulls. And I start basketball lessons today, with a new coach. The Bulls and Thibs have NEVER seen a player quite like me.

See Red! Go Bulls! Beat the Nets.

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