Never too soon to bring back the Thib-isms

So, evidently, our Bulls fell to the still undefeated Warriors last night. With the 9:30 p.m. CST start time, I was “unavailable” to watch the game, but I did wake up to see via the team stream on my phone that the Bulls were ahead in Q1. And, it was close in Q3.

That was the last I saw until this morning, when I read the bad news. The Bulls evidently got confused in the final minutes, and thought that the team which didn’t score any points would get the W.

So to make ourselves feel better, it’s time to bring back the Thib-isms. Despite the fact that Derrick Rose and backup point guard Aaron Brooks were both unable to play due to injury, it’s obvious that “We have more than enough.” But it’s also important to keep in mind “Our margin of error is small because of all the guys we have out.”

Jimmy Butler’s 32-point performance in Wednesday night’s win against the Phoenix Suns could be characterized like this: “He did everything. Even the laundry.”

When asked who would start the game, naturally, “We’ll see.” And of course, it will be best for all involved if you “Do your job.”

This was to be the year the Bulls’ offense really started to break out. It was going to be new-look. I guess I was hoping for a look where the basketball covers were finally stored in the basement, and Hoiberg’s mere presence would magically transform our Bulls into scoring machines.

Sadly, all we’re seeing is the the all-too-familiar offensive drought to close games. And being without two starters (DRose and Dun Dun), and now reserves added to the injured list (AB) – it’s another bad case of déjà vu.

I had to dig back really deep for this one, but we should all keep in mind what Thibs said back in January 2013 – “If they say we’re playing at midnight on the roof, you should be saying, ‘let’s get the ladders.'”

So I was at the gym this morning, and got up 200 shots. I hit all my free throws. Not to be boastful, but I’m putting in the work.

And I just read that the Bulls, remaining in CA, are on a “team outing” to wine country – Napa. Umm, now we know it’s a different year. Napa. Team outing. Fun. Wine. Day off. Not on Thibs’ watch.

So it’s a new era, and we will just have to wait for the offense to catch up. In the meantime, the Bulls are still #2 in the Eastern Conference, behind those other guys. And they gave the Warriors a game. It was a legitimate game.

Speaking of the Bulls’ performance last night, Hoiberg said, “We battled, battled them the whole game. They made a couple of big plays down the stretch. We couldn’t get it back on the other end. But if we battle like that we’re going to win a lot of basketball games this year.”

For years, I believed in Thibs, and found great amusement in his “Thib-isms.

Now, I want to believe Coach Fred, and don’t expect the level of isms. I’ll be happy with baskets and Ws.

See Red! Go Bulls! Beat the Trail Blazers.



Is This What You Call Fun?

I’ve recently had one of those “ah ha” moments.

I realized why I’ve felt such a strong to connection to the Bulls these past few years – they’re exactly like me, at least, when it comes to work ethic and approach to their jobs.

The Thibs-coached teams were all business. They always came to practice to work hard. They showed up at games and played hard. There wasn’t a lot of funny business. And there definitely didn’t seem to be a lot of fun. As Thibs often liked to say, “DO YOUR JOB.”

Similarly, I have always approached my work in marketing kind of the same way. I’m all business. Conference calls, meetings, deliverables, PowerPoints (in 55 versions), spreadsheets, process documents, more calls.

Lunch? There’s no time for lunch.

Starbucks break? Have you lost your mind? I’ve got to jump on a call and discuss the process before planning the deliverable to submit by the deadline and gain buy-in for the revisions, and then of course, I’ll pivot (and I’m not talking about my pivot foot).

Now does any of that sound fun?

When Bulls management made a coaching change this season, I was hopeful that the Bulls might enjoy their jobs more, and that enjoyment might manifest itself on the court. In last season’s final Bulls Banter, titled “It’s my middle name, and it’s what the Bulls need,” I made the case for Joy.

Coach Fred must have read the blog, as we’ve seen some joy in small doses. Beating the Cavs during the home opener. Joy. Same with the nationally broadcasted Thursday night game versus OKC. Big-time victory, and again, joy.

But OT losses to the Charlotte Hornets and the Minnesota Timberwolves?

The Bulls looked like they were working on one of my PowerPoints, just in super slow motion, and dreading staying all night to work on version 55. They seemed to be sleepwalking, or daydreaming about being anywhere else but engaged in the game.

Everyone is talking about the Bulls and “finding an identity” and Jo mentioned “character” and “intensity” during the post-game interview following last night’s “redemption” victory over those Hornets.

When asked about identity, Pau Gasol said, “Identity: Good question. We’re a team that has a lot of talent. When we play well and play hard and play together we are tough to beat. We try to play up tempo, with pace, flow offensively. But I don’t know if we have any identity, per se, where you can label it. I don’t know if anyone has. I’d be interested in hearing it.”

Jo responded, “Just got to keep working. The only way we are going to find a true identity is to give 100 percent effort and then we’ll see.”

So it seems as if the Bulls, and their faithful fan and blogger, Cinjo all need to find the joy.

One can find the joy in doing the work. However, we could likely benefit from having some fun along the way – kind of the Nate Robinson effect. After all, if we have to spend all of this time “at the office,” we might as well be enthusiastic – whether playing on the floor of the UC, or PowerPointing in a cubicle.

See Red! Go Bulls! Beat the Pacers.

[Credit for the Pau and Jo quotes: Sam Smith, from his blog, “Bulls get even with Hornets in 102-97 victory”]

It’s going to take some adjustment

So the Bulls stand 2-1 so far this season, tied with just about every team in the Eastern conference, with many of the usual suspects – including the Cavs, Hawks, Wizards and Raps. And who would have thought the Knicks would join that list?

Most surprisingly, the Pistons and UConn man Andre “rebound” Drummond are atop the Conference at 3-0.

I will say, I’m having a hard time adjusting to the Bulls’ pursuit of Championship #7.

First of all, it’s hard to keep up with all of these games. Every time I turn around, there’s another game. I’m watching pre-game shows and post-game analysis. I have to remember to set the DVR when I’ll be out. I can see why there’s player rumblings about the long season and the back to backs. They’re killing me already!

I’m trying to tow the line, be a team player about Joakim coming off the bench, but this just isn’t working for me, and I bet it’s not working for him either. “Right for the team.” “Best chance to win.” Say what you will – it doesn’t feel right.

I know, I know, it took Jo until the third game of the season, versus the Pistons to finally score. But I still want him in the starting lineup.

The controversy about whether or not Jo asked to come off the bench continues to get media coverage here in CHI, with multiple stories on the subject appearing prior to the Bulls’ OT loss to the revving Pistons.

“I talk to Jo every day and when we had our conversation, he talked about how he enjoyed playing with Taj,” coach Fred Hoiberg said. “Did he specifically say, ‘I want to come off the bench?’ No, nobody wants to come off the bench. But it’s a decision we came up with. He has been great, as enthusiastic as anybody when he’s not in the game. He’s always going to bring it on the floor, so things are fine.”

I personally don’t think things are fine, and I promise you this won’t be the end.

But the Bulls have bigger problems than Jo and his spot in the rotation.

The new-look offense totally stalled in the Motor City, definitely a less than optimal place for that to happen. The turnovers were reminiscent of many of last year’s forgettable games. And questionable defense is uncharacteristic of our Bulls, but something many predicted could be problematic with the new offensive mindset.

Jimmy kind of summed it up, when it comes to the OT loss versus the Pistons.

“We came out lackadaisical,” said JB. “Can’t happen. Not in this league. Every team, especially on the road, you are going to get their best effort. They came out and whipped our tail, basically, on both ends of the floor. The energy was low. When the starters start out that way, the bench tried their best to get us back in there and the energy just wasn’t there. We were careless with the ball, making lazy passes, trying to catch the ball with one hand, trying to thread the needle.”

On the upside, the Bulls did beat that other guy (LeBron) in the Bulls’ home opener. Obama was in the house. Cinjo was not (school night). Despite the absence of the Bulls’ #1 fan, they were impressive in that game.

The next night, in my hometown, the Bulls dismantled the Brooklyn Nets. But is that really cause for surprise? Despite the fancy arena and the high salaries, they never could find a way to win anyway. And now that Deron Williams is gone…not a surprise Bulls took that one, and the Nets stand at 0-3.

As Nick Friedell of ESPN Chicago tweeted yesterday, “Unhappy with his 4-for-13 performance on Friday in Detroit, Derrick Rose has been working on his jumper for 45 minutes after practice with assistant coach Randy Brown.”

See, even the superstars have to make some adjustments.

Hopefully, we’re all in game form by tonight. It’s an early one versus the Magic – 6 p.m. CST at the United Center.

See Red! Go Bulls! Beat the Magic.

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