I like our fight

It’s been a bad week, and I cried more than I have in a long time. First, leaving Maui on Sunday, and second, after I found out what I thought was a “joke” NBA Stream alert containing three horrifying sentences turned out to be true.

“Derrick Rose reported today with right knee pain. An exam and subsequent MRI confirmed a medial meniscus tear of the right knee. Surgery will be scheduled, after which a timeline for his return will be determined.

As you may have noticed, Bulls Banter had to take a well-needed break to gain composure, and re-gain hope for the future.

That’s since happened, with the news that DRose could potentially be back in four to six weeks. If it’s four, he would re-join the team to play for my birthday game vs. the Knicks on March 28.

For a minute, I thought they might pay me to attend the game…no DRose, bottom feeder Knicks, etc. However will they be able to sell any tickets to that show?

But given DRose’s possible return, the tickets have been purchased, and me and two Kellies will be there to cheer the Bulls, with or without DRose – to certain Cinjo birthday victory.

And I took hope in the win versus Minnesota. No, the Timberwolves are not exactly at the top of the Western Conference, and not even at the middle or top of the lowly Eastern Conference.

But the Bulls found a way, and did so without All-Star Pau Gasol, who was out with the flu. And Taj Gibson sprained his ankle (again) in the first, so we lost him too.

No Superstar? No All-Star? No Sixth Man?

No problem. It was the Jo, Jimmy, Snelly Cat and “Dunlevee” (as Thibs calls him) show.

These are the Chicago Bulls. They have the spirit and the fight. And I’m going to have to get a second job to pay for NBA Finals tickets, despite what Stephen A. Smith, Charles Barkley and JVG (Jeff Van Gundy) may think or say.

To make myself feel even better, I listened to the post-game presser and player remarks.

The Bulls are playing in June, and I look forward to seeing you at the rally!

ABBREVIATED COMMENTS FROM POST-GAME PRESSER AND PLAYER INTERVIEWS FOLLOWING BULLS 96 TO 89 NOT-TOO-PRETTY BUT WE’LL TAKE IT VICTORY VERSUS THE TIMBERWOLVES

THIBS: I thought a lot of guys stepped up. Gave us a good lift off the bench. We needed everybody. They did their job. We had a lot going on. I thought the rebounding was huge for us. It’s not the plays – it’s the players. I liked the way the team responded. We were shorthanded and they were spirited. He’s got a great track record. Play to your strengths. Cover up your weaknesses. Make each other better.  Whoever we have out there just get the job done. Let’s just find a way. You want to put your best foot forward each and every day. You can’t make excuses. We’ve been in this situation before so we want to respond well to the challenge.

JB: Everybody stepped up. Everybody has to pick up a little slack. We played hard and we played together. I think we have enough bodies and enough weapons.

MIKE DUNLEAVY, JR. (AKA DUNLEVEE): It was a great win for us with all the guys out and what we went through this week. We’re snakebitten but we’re used to it. We feel like no matter who’s out there we can go out and win no matter what team it is.

See Red!

Go Bulls!

Beat Lob City (she writes with a bit of trepidation…)

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Sun and the Suns

I’m writing Bulls Banter from my lanai in Maui, where it’s almost 6 p.m. local time, and everyone at the condo complex is getting ready for the sunset and the grillmasters are busy cooking up their steaks and fish at the community grills by the pool.

It’s that perfect time of day.

Weather report has been sun. And indeed, it’s been sun, sun and more sun, despite cloud and rain icons appearing on my weather app. I’ll take it.

I just got to listen to the Bulls defeat the Suns 112 to 107 via NBA League Pass. Game video was blocked because the contest was televised on NBA-TV (a channel which unfortunately, I don’t get here in Paradise).

Was rather fun to listen to Chuck Swirsky and Bill Wennington, the Bulls’ radio announcers with the call, and to hear the crowd reaction to the action, while I tried to visualize what was happening on the UC floor.

For a minute, it was looking like we were all going to finish the night with the collective opposite of sunny dispositions. The Suns seemed to be ahead most of the game.

But I think late in the third, or early in the fourth, Three-kola (Nikola Mirotic), AB (Aaron Brooks) and The Snelly Cat (Tony Snell) started lighting it up with three-pointers.

Taj Gibson, from what I could gather, was everywhere on the floor, with some monster jams and put-backs. Twitter was blowing up, and the pundits are saying Taj turned the game around for the Bulls in the fourth.

And during the post-game press conference, some interesting information was revealed.

Taj said he’s been playing with a stage 2 ligament tear (whatever that is, it doesn’t sound good) in his left hand for a month. And his ankle, which I believe he first sprained during home opener vs. the (evil) Cavs (I was there, and despite my presence, the Bulls lost) and which he has sprained several more times since – “won’t be fully right all season,” as per the docs.

Evidently, Taj told the doctors to bandage him up. “I’m going to get my treatment and do what I can on the court. No excuses.”

Taj: “There was a lot of speculation saying I was frustrated. I’m not that kind of guy. I’m team-first. I’ve never been a guy focused on shots. I’ve never been a guy focused on minutes. I’m about winning.”

[Note: Taj quotes courtesy of K.C. Johnson, Chicago Tribune’s twitter feed.]

Do you love Taji Woo, or what?

I’m just happy the Bulls got the win against the Suns, to conclude my stay in Maui Paradise on a high and sunny note.

Whatever happened last night (Friday), when the Bulls may or may not have shown up in Detroit to play the Pistons and former UConn man Andre Drummond can remain a mystery. While watching the game on NBA League Pass on my computer helped to minimize the pain a bit because I couldn’t see the action all that clearly, it’s definitely a game to forget.

The Bulls are now home for another six games, and you’d think they could and should win all of them. (“New-look” Bucks, Hornets, Timberwolves, Clippers, Wizards, Thunder).

But as we all know, it can be a bit InexplicaBull with our favorite team. I’m hoping for the best down the final stretch, because this year, Bulls Banter is going to do some first-hand reporting from a playoff game or 10 (funds permitting).

See Red!

Go Bulls!

Beat the Bucks.

View from my lanai in Maui (taken during lunch one day during holiday in Paradisse).
View from my lanai in Maui (aka Paradise).

Pooh, The Snelly Cat too much for Cavs

DRose (Pooh) and Tony Snell (The Snelly Cat) overpowered LeBron and the Cavs a few nights ago, much to my delight. The Bulls got the win vs. the evil Cavs – 113 to 98.

Top 5 Takeaways

5 – The Bulls dominated on national TV, and on a night when Bulls/Cavs was the only game scheduled, and this was much to my sheer happiness and relief. It was good to finally watch a game from start to finish, with the Bulls overpowering the opponent, despite the lack of hometown call (Neil and Stacey).

4 – DRose (aka Pooh) had something to prove. Some are characterizing it as a “throwback” performance, with the athletic and crafty moves, splitting the defenders, getting to the basket, driving, cutting, dicing, spinning. He did it all, even with laundry, with his 30 points, 7 assists, and only two turnovers. The Cavs had no answer for him.

DRose didn’t make the Eastern Conference All-Star team. Take that anyone and everyone who didn’t vote him into the party. At the end of the third, Coach Thibs even said those two very important, yet rarely uttered words to Derrick – “good job.”

3 – Tony Snell is emerging, and it’s not likely he was on the scouting report. The second-year player seemed to get the LeBron defensive assignment in JB’s absence, although everyone knows defending LeBron is done by committee. The player previously known as “Tony Tony Tony” scored 22 points, and held that other guy to “just 31.”

As reported by Sam Smith, “The Snelly Cat was all over the place,” crowed Noah, who invents most of the team nick names. “Snelly Cat was huge, being very disruptive.”

“Just having the in game experience has helped with my confidence and my teammates have helped me out as well,” said Snell. “I wasn’t the only one guarding (James). It was the whole team. Just try to pressure him as much as I can and make sure he doesn’t get in the paint because he’s really dangerous getting in the paint and drawing fouls. So I was just trying to make sure he took a lot of shots.”

“Every day I worked to take advantage of the opportunity and it’s paying off,” Snell said. “Seeing the results of the work I’m putting in is showing. So I’m very happy it’s showing. Just trying to step up. Jimmy went down, Kirk went down. Just trying to step up and help my team win.”

2 – Blame it on the temperature, LeBron. I took great joy in hearing the TNT commentators cook up an excuse for LeBron’s “sub-par” game, where he only managed to score 31 and had 8 turnovers. He was chilly, and his hands were cold. OK – any excuse will do! The ice was down underneath the basketball floor, because the Blackhawks were to play the next night. For once, I was extremely pleased with TNT’s reporting.

And I was even more amused to hear LeBron report post-game that he’s got to do some ball-handling drills. So I guess I’m not the only one suffering through the pain and tedium of the drills.

1 – The Bulls enter the All-Star break headed in the right direction. If they played the way they did against the Cavs in every game versus every team, the sky’s the limit. Up until now, it’s been an inexplicable tale of two Bulls teams. One night, the UnbelievaBulls show up, and the next night, it’s the QuestionaBulls.

“We’ve been dealing with a lot of highs and lows,” Noah said. “Winning against good teams, losing against bad teams. Just very inconsistent…it feels good. This is definitely the best we’ve played in a while. So we can think about that for a week.”

And as far as what Jo plans to do during his All-Star vacation: “I’m going to go to the sun, the beach and drink a Red Stripe. So I’m really hyped about that. I’m really, really excited about that.”

See Red!

Go Bulls!

Beat the Pistons.

We all just need a little quality time in the sun

You may have noticed, but it’s been a bit quiet here at Bulls Banter. The games have pained me, you, the Bulls, everybody, one and all.

Who can even make it through the second half any more?

But no worries – like me, surely all the Bulls need is a bit of quality time in the sun. The All-Star break is coming up, and perhaps I’ll run into some of our Bulls, and/or other NBA players in Maui. I hope our Bulls are all headed to their various warm locations around the globe, and they take a minute to forget about the defense (or lack thereof), Thibs, the drills, the losses, the pressure, the “on paper, we look like a good team, but in reality, not so much.”

Hopefully, the well-deserved break is just what the doctor ordered, and we will see the RecognizaBulls come Feburary 20, when they start the second part of the season vs. the Pistons.

That’s not to say they can’t pull off a victory tonight vs. the Pelicans, although Anthony Davis and that unibrow have been too much for the best of them. Forty-one points last night vs OKC, plus the buzzer-beater.

Uh Oh. Should we dial 911 now or wait until halftime? Lucky for me, I’ll be at the postponed Super Bowl chili party sans the Super Bowl, and am pretty sure my hostess will forget to turn on the game.

There’s a lot of speculation here in CHI about just what’s going on with these Bulls. Are they just bad? They lack effort and enthusiasm. Thibs is mad at GarPax. Taj isn’t playing enough, and now might get traded. It snowed too much. Dun Dun is out. Jo’s hairdo didn’t turn out right. They lost because it was an away game. Wait, they lost because it was a home game.

I dunno. Cannot figure it all out. But one thing for certain is sure – I’m going to lay low in Maui, and when I get back, I’m sure the Bulls will have it all figured out. After all, I feel the need to show off my tan at the March 1 game versus the Clippers coming on. And with the price I will pay for a section 100 ticket, I expect nothing less than a win.

But back to the game at hand.

See Red!

Go Bulls!

Beat the Pelicans.

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