You’re breakin’ my heart Chicago Bulls, but I’ll always love you

Dear Chicago Bulls,

Today’s my birthday, and I was supposed to be at the UC in row B behind your bench to see you defeat the Atlanta Hawks.

When I saw the recent unraveling, my plans changed.

I knew I could no longer spend my birthday evening with you when you not only managed to lose twice in a home and home to the Knicks. (Yes, the Knicks, those Knicks, the lowly ones.) But then you managed to top it off with a loss to the Magic, who were playing with about five guys. That’s when I decided to save the $$$, buy myself a pair of Jimmy Choo sandals and watch the game from my couch.

The issues of this season have been analyzed, assessed, talked over, talked out and re-evaluated. And I likely am not saying anything anyone else hasn’t said.

It was the beginning of the end when GarPax fired Thibs, and the Bulls’ fate was sealed when Joakim’s leadership role was pulled out from under him like an old rug.

If you had told me the Bulls were at risk of MAKING the playoffs, I would have asked if you were from Mars.

If you had told me the Celtics AND the Hornets and even the Pacers would be ahead of the Bulls in the Eastern Conference, I would have no response.

The only challenge I would have foreseen was how avoid playing the Milwaukee Bucks again in round one. Well, they’re irrelevant this season, so something has worked in the Bulls’ favor.

Unfortunately, the Bulls find themselves in the same category.

While I cannot find it in my heart to forgive GarPax, I forgive you Bulls. You’re lost, mad disappointed, heartless, sad, injured, and lifeless all at the same time. And it pains me to no end. Despite all that, as stated in the headline — I’ll always love you.

But it would be just a magnificent birthday present if you found a way to beat those Atlanta Hawks tonight, on my 49th.

XOXOXO,

Your biggest fan, Cindy Joy “Cinjo” Olsen

See Red!

Go Bulls!

Beat the Hawks

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What the Bulls need: A little more Irish luck, much less of the injury bug, and a whole lot of hope

So that’s what it’s going to take for the Bulls to even make the playoffs this year.

Thankfully, the luck of the Irish was on our Bulls’ side on St. Patrick’s Day. Although it seems entirely unlucky to me for the Bulls to take the court in those green Celtics-like jerseys, they still got the W. We can also credit their opponent, the lackluster and hapless Brooklyn Nets. Compared to them, the Bulls actually look competent.

I recently saw an analysis of the Bulls games lost to injuries this season. While I can’t seem to find the article at the moment, I want to say the Bulls lead the league.

And yes, I’m making excuses. By why not, when the first day of practice starts with DRose getting elbowed in the face. Add to that Joakim dislocating his shoulder, Niko Mirotic out for a “routine” appendectomy that ends up costing him months, and Mike Dunleavy with back surgery which meant he didn’t even play until February.

And we haven’t even gotten to Cinjo’s torn medial meniscus or JB’s strained knee.

During one game, a Chicago beat writer claimed our beloved Bulls won because the other team was confounded trying to read the names on the backs of the the Bulls’ jerseys to figure out who was even playing. Felicio? Moore? Holiday? Jrue Holiday is with the Bulls now? No, it’s his bro Justin. Finally, the Bulls have found a winning formula! Confuse opponent by sending in players no one has heard of.

But I’m starting to gain some hope that our Bulls can make a final push to reach the playoffs. And the hope stems from none other than fellow Brooklynite Taj Gibson.

In past years, I’ve written a lot about Jo, who energized his teammates, and appointed himself the dedicated team spokesman. He was also the self-proclaimed resident expert on the adversity the Bulls seemed to endure year after year. But importantly, he played through his injuries, often on one leg or foot.

In his own less animated, nonetheless effective way, Taj seems to recently have taken on that role. He set the example on Thursday playing with an injured hamstring.

As reported by Sam Smith in his blog, Bulls scorch the nets in defeating Brooklyn 118-102, Taj had this to say following the game: “You think about it, but you think about your teammates, really. I’m an unselfish player and I am trying to set a good example for the young guys and go out there and play for each other, especially now with the playoff push. It’s real important now helping each other. So I don’t want them to see any doubt. I told them whatever it takes to win. I told Fred whatever it takes to win I’ll go out and play as hard as I can and when I need a blow just get me. I’m excited we were able to get a win.”

In another article, Joe Cowley of the Chicago Sun-Times quoted Mike Dunleavy, where he really sums up the Taj effect: “Taj is on a different level. His commitment to the team, the organization, our cause is as big as anyone we have. He lays it all on the line every night. Does whatever it takes, never complains. He’s just a phenomenal teammate. As good as I’ve ever had. I don’t want to say I expect him to do things like that, but it definitely doesn’t surprise me.”

So I feel more hopeful now, with Taj stepping to the forefront. He’s always been a constant and enthusiastic positive presence, but his can-do Brooklyn attitude is needed more than ever now, along with a lot more Irish luck. And good riddance to the injury bug, once and for all.

See Red!

Go Bulls.

Beat the Jazz.

Behind their starting lineup (and JB’s return), Bulls defeat Rockets 108 to 100

JB, DRose, Pau, Taji Woo! and Dunleavy. That was meant to be the Bulls’ starting lineup.

And last night, in the 61st game of the season, the group made its first appearance together. Prior to that, the most we saw the group together was on the bench, most of them in expensive tailored suits (except maybe in the case of Dun Dun).

And it was not too shabby of a performance at that. The Bulls exhibited the characteristics we used to take for granted in the Thibodeau era – energy, togetherness, enthusiasm, resilience, heart, love for the game, and even some swagger. And it seemed like they might actually be having some fun.

While the 1-2 record so far in March (with losses on the FL trip – to the Heat and Magic) is still not up to par, if they can build on the momentum from the Rockets game, and stay at full strength, let’s hope they’re playoff bound.

Rose even said, “Every game for us is a playoff game.” The Bulls are 1/2 game ahead of the Pistons for the final (eighth) spot.

Before this win, I was besides myself about the Bulls. The next blog was to have been titled, “Broken Bulls.” Thankfully, no one has to experience that tome.

When it’s a case of having less talent than other teams, the players keep saying there’s not a lot of room for error. Were they overachieving all of those years under Thibs, simply out of fear? Why has this season been so difficult, with losses to teams the Bulls no doubt should have beaten.

I guess there’s a life lesson here somewhere…although sometimes, one doesn’t want to apply these learnings to one’s own situation. When you realize you’re not the smartest, nor the most talented, not the best player or anywhere near the most likely to succeed…how do you respond? How do you overcome and achieve success? As the Avis commercial used to say, “We try harder.”

Nothing’s changed for our Bulls. They have to try harder, and work harder, but now, at least they have all the pieces to help increase their chances of success.

While I was trying to beat JB back onto the court, he made it first. I will continue rehabbing this old knee, with the torn meniscus and strained ACL. At least my therapist is a fan too, and was at the UC, section 205 to enjoy the win vs. the Rockets.

Everyone’s likely a bit more excited to see Jimmy back than the likes of old Cinjo. He had 24 points, 11 rebounds and six assists.

“He gives everybody else confidence,” Mike Dunleavy said.

“You see the impact Jimmy has just because of his ability to make life difficult for the elite wing players in this league,” Hoiberg said. “When he got in foul trouble, you saw James Harden go off. He just gives you that great physical presence out there that can stay in front of guys.”

He’s back…

See Red!

Go Bulls!

Beat the Bucks.

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