Bulls get a “real” NBA player, keep on winning and somebody’s got new kicks

When the Bulls acquired Otto Porter Jr. from the Wizards in exchange for Jabari Parker and Bobby “Crazy Eyes” Portis, all you heard from the Chicago media was – “The Bulls finally got a REAL NBA player.”

I think I took partial offense to that sentiment, as I feel like many of our Bulls are actually legit – Zach LaVine, Lauri Markkanen, and my pal RoLo.

As a side note, RoLo’s game looks kind of like mine – gets buckets in the paint, nice spin moves, not swift of foot, crazy hair. One thing you can say about both of us – we’re reliable.

Well, Otto Porter Jr., whom Bulls management consider their “off-season acquisition,” is actually making a difference – in more ways than one.

According to a Chicago Sun-Times article* by Joe Cowley, “The numbers show that Porter has boosted the game of his teammates, with Markkanen scoring a least 20 points in the six games with Porter, and LaVine scoring 26 or more in four of the first six games.”

And Porter is scoring about 22 points per game himself.

The win streak is up to three games – with a 126-116 victory against the Celtics last night. This means the Bulls are undefeated in the second half of the season, and they also got revenge for the historic December game (that I was at) where the Celtics blew them out by 56 points!!!

It pleases me to see Boston sportswriters come up with headlines likely stolen from the Bulls’ story inventory. This is quite unexpected and unusual, and I hope it becomes a regular occurrence. For instance, Yahoo Sports contributor Keith P. Smith’s recap of last night’s game was titled: A horrible, terrible, no good, very bad loss and 9 other takeaways from Celtics/Bulls.

I’ll be honest, I missed the record-setting game as I was out at Siena Tavern with the party girls, enjoying yummy meatballs and delicious, healthy salad, and will settle in with the replay later today. Evidently, it was a big night, with both Zach and Lauri scoring a career-high 42 and 35 points respectively.

Here’s what Zach had to say after the game: “Last time we played them on our home floor and they blew us out. So we had to come back and let them know that we’re not the same team right now.”

And in all-important shoe news, it’s surprising that all of the focus this week has been on Zion Williamson and his Nikes, with little coverage of my latest addition – a pair of Jordan Legacy 312 basketball sneakers (pictured).

Don’t worry Nike – if you can’t secure Zion for a shoe contract, Cinjo is available.

Air Jordans

Thanks to Malik at House of Hoops by Foot Locker on Milwaukee Avenue for the great help and service, and for confirming that to his knowledge, the HoH staff has never waited on anyone “quite like me” looking to purchase high-top Air Jordans. Some of us are a legend in our own mind.

* Otto Porter effect is still being felt, especially in the toughness department

See Red!
Go Bulls!
Beat the Bucks!

ICYMI – What’s Up with Our Bulls?

ICYMI (In Case You Missed It) – Seven Recent Takeaways from Our Bulls

1.) The Bulls had Carmelo, and then they didn’t. It’s all about the salary cap and funny money, if you ask me. So Carmelo never practiced, suited up or got to hog the ball for the Bulls on the UC floor. The Bulls released him, and he’s a free agent.

2.) Everyone is injured. I know there are a lot of body parts to injure, but this is getting ridiculous. Both rookies are out – Wendell Carter, Jr. had surgery on his thumb and Chandler Hutchison injured his toe, and is out two to four weeks. Denzel Valentine is out for the season. Zach LaVine, Kris Dunn and Lauri Markkanen are in and out so much, I’m not sure about their status at this point.

3.) The Bulls won a game! They beat one of the teams I used to love to hate – the Miami Heat, and have a dozen wins now. It remains critical for them to lose as many games as possible, though, so they can get one of the top draft picks! This winning cannot become a habit.

4.) My favorite Bulls reunited for a Grizzles – Timberwolves game this week, and it brings back all the memories of the “hard hat lunch pail – do whatever it takes – try hard Bulls,” who gave me much joy as a Bulls fan. I’ll forever look back fondly at their chemistry and will to win, and doubt others will overtake my love for these four. [Photo credit to Stacey King’s twitter account, @Stacey21King, although he got the pic from someone else.]
Favorite Bulls

5.) Bobby “Crazy Eyes” Portis was “ON FIRE” as Stacey likes to say – during last night’s game versus the Hornets. He scored 22 in the second quarter along – coming off the bench, and a total of 33. And yours truly even watched it! But Bobby’s big night wasn’t enough to counteract the Hornets’ Kemba Walker, one of those former UConn stars you love until he gives your Bulls fits. Bulls lose 118 to 125.

6.) Rumor has it – someone is getting traded. It’s been reported that the only two untouchable players are Lauri Markkanen and Wendell Carter, Jr. Everyone else is fair game. The trade deadline is Feb. 7 at 3 p.m. EST. Stay tuned.

7.) The Bulls have a lot of players – but do you know any of them? If you could come up with Wayne Selden, Jr., Antonio Blakeney or Shaquille Harrison, you get a gold star. And Friday, when the Bulls waived Carmelo, they acquired Timothé Luwawu-Cabarrot (from OKC). Stacey already recognized he won’t be able to pronounce his name, so it’s gonna be TLC.

On a personal note, Robert, the sales guy at an unnamed sporting goods retailer (who was really helpful actually) found it amusing that I needed some new men’s basketball sneakers to help improve my dunks. He didn’t find it quite as amusing when I refused to consider the LeBron James shoes, and I left empty handed. Her Airness would not be caught in LBJ kicks, so it’s off to find some Air Jordans, although the price might not be quite as attractive.

See Red!
Go Bulls!
Beat the Pelicans.

Dealing with the UnwatchaBulls – Top 5 Distractions

It’s been rough sledding since my Christmas in Connecticut, when I actually witnessed (on TV) the Bulls win a game. You may remember, they beat the Cavs on December 23.

With the latest losing streak at six, this so-called Bulls fan will admit – she’s done anything but watch the Bulls, aka – the UnwatchaBulls.

Here’s my top 5 things to do instead of watching the Bulls.

1.) READ A BOOK. I’m not sure how it happened, but evidently, I’m in a book club. Our friend must have realized the only way we’d read the 450+-page tome is if she bought it for us herself, which she did, wrapped up in a holiday bow and everything. So far, I’m halfway through “Nine Perfect Strangers” by Liane Moriarty.

2.) PLAN YOUR NEXT VACATION: My annual Miami getaway with two Kellies is taking shape for early April. I got my flight, and next need to book my stay at a new Marriott.

3.) CHANGE SOME BATTERIES: I hate changing batteries, but better to be safe than sorry with the smoke alarms and carbon monoxide detectors. With the high ceilings in my shoe box palace, I have to get up on a ladder, and it’s a major production. But it’s better than watching the Bulls.

4.) ORGANIZE CABINETS AND DRAWERS: Mission accomplished with the one containing the cereal, pasta, sauces and snacks. The one with the Tupperware is too frightening. Since I needed to find batteries to accomplish #3 above, I was forced to organize the odds and ends drawer anyway. And bonus – found a lot of flashlights I didn’t know I had.

5.) WATCH ANOTHER SPORT: While my football knowledge is far from impressive, I jumped on the Bears bandwagon once it got interesting. Sadly, last Sunday the Bears managed to lose to the Eagles, while the Bulls simultaneously lost to the Nets. At least I got to show off the jersey Kevbro bought for me back when Greg Olsen was playing for the Monsters of the Midway.

chicago bears olsen

Tonight the Bulls continue their west coast trip with a 9 p.m. CST game against the Jazz. Thankfully, I’ll be enjoying live music by The Vulgar Boatmen at Schubas. However, we still want to:

See Red!

Go Bulls!

Beat the Jazz.

Christmas in Connecticut

The Bulls are on a two-game win streak, and you can thank me now, or thank me later.

Every season, I spend about five days with my folks (Art and Betty) in Connecticut. And usually, we can count on positive results. For whatever reason, the Bulls do better when I’m “away.”

This year is no exception, with a big 20-point victory versus the Cavs. Oh, how the tables have turned since just a few seasons ago when the guy you love to hate, that other guy (LeBron) gave the Bulls fits throughout the season, and any and every holiday imaginable.

Now the Bulls and Cavs are both vying for the basement of the Eastern Conference.

With Dad’s NBA LeaguePass subscription, we were only able to hear the home call, not the away call from my guys Stacey King, and Neil Funk (unless he was taking one of his 20 away games off…). Either way, it was fun to hear the Cavs broadcasters utter unprecedented phrases like “the second half is all Bulls.”

Case in point – The Finnisher (Lauri Markkanen) scored 31 points, and Kris Dunn added 17 points, along with eight rebounds and seven assists.

And Cavs coach Larry Drew said, “You can’t take anything away from Chicago – they did a really good job. They had some guys that really played well that really stepped up.” (Side note: I’ve always like him, and was disappointed when the Bucks let him go in favor of Jason Kidd. We see how that went…)

So the Bulls’ surprising 20-point victory was Christmas miracle #1. And on Wednesday, my main man Thibs returns to the UC to take on the Bulls.

The chance to see my favorites again – DRose, Taji Woo and Luol Deng + Thibs is definitely enough of a Christmas present for me. Who cares if any of them play…And we still have all of the Yankee Swap gifts to open (as pictured).

Oh how I love Christmas in Connecticut!

See Red!

Go Bulls!

Beat the Timberwolves (sorry Thibs)

Olsen Christmas Tree

 

 

 

A historic night in Bulls basketball

You can say you knew me when! The author of Bulls Banter was at the Madhouse on Madison to experience the game in person when the Bulls suffered their worst loss in franchise history: 77 to 133 versus the Celtics.

Also historic was the fact that I was able to pull it together at the last minute to take my friend Nancy up on her kind offer to attend the game, including benefiting from complimentary tickets. (Yours truly is known for advance planning. Her middle name is not spontaneity. This was definitely historic.)

It did appear that the night could take an unfortunate turn when the Bulls were down by lots of points in the first quarter. Correction. The Bulls hadn’t scored about halfway into the first quarter, and it was Bulls zero and Celtics 17 or 18. Either way – it was bad.

And then Boylen (nickname forthcoming) subbed in five bench players for the entire starting rotation! Bold move. It finally worked. Jabari Parker got fouled and hit both free throws. The crowd went wild.

“I wanted to give the other guys a chance to see if they could right the ship a little bit,” Boylen said of the first five-man substitution. “I’ve been a part of teams that have done that before. I don’t like the five guys out there, I don’t like that combination, I’m going to look at a new combination, take them all out and let them sit there and think about it. We didn’t honor the game very well with our effort and our competitiveness. So why not take them all out? We’re a team, so sub five guys and see what they can do.”*

Given I’m known for showing up to the UC two hours early, staying until the cleaning crew kicks me out, and I typically watch every second of the game with hardly a restroom break, it is also memorable to note that this gal chatted the entire game. And it was a lot more fun and interesting than what took place on the court.

But she still paid enough attention to notice Boylen employ the five-man substitution AGAIN in the second half.

On the upside, it can’t get much worse, and I got a chance to get my pic by the GOAT’s statue, reminding me of the truly historic Bulls history.

December 8, 2018 is a stop along Bulls history that we’ll all just try to forget.

Ah the glory days! #GOAT.
Boylen should have put us into the game. The results would definitely have been better! Still had a great time at the UC. Thanks Nancy for the tix!

See Red!

Go Bulls!

Beat the Kings.

*Quote from Cody Westerlund article: Boylen Benches Starters in Bulls’ Franchise-Worst Loss

It’s Beginning To Look A Lot Like Christmas

Hopefully, most of us have a lot to look forward to this holiday season.

When it comes to Bulls fans, we can count our blessings more than most.

Speculation is mounting that embattled Bulls head coach Fred “Fredberg” Hoiberg could be celebrating the holiday elsewhere.

That’s because John Paxson, executive VP of basketball operations does a “State of the Bulls” radio interview every Christmas, and Chicago sports pundits believe the Bulls will use this opportunity to quietly let the unassuming Fredberg shuffle back to Iowa.

It would be the best present anyone could ask for.

You may be wondering – but how could Bulls management do this when the Bulls players belong in the G League and half of them are injured anyway? How is it fair to fire Fredberg when he doesn’t have a “real” NBA team to coach?

First, check the standings. I just did, and it’s horrifying. The Bulls are tied with Atlanta for the second worst record in the Eastern Conference. And maybe not so surprisingly, Cleveland can claim the worst record.

And second – players aren’t listening to the coach. We all know how that went with JB and DWade a few years ago. The latest rebel is Zach LaVine, who had a chance to play the hero on Monday versus the Spurs. The Bulls were down 107-108 in the final seconds, and instead of driving to the hoop (coach’s choice), he took an ill-advised three-pointer (player’s choice) – and missed.

Bulls lose. Again.

And in keeping with the Christmas theme, Lauri Markkanen “The Finnisher” makes his season debut tonight, after having missed the entire season due to an elbow injury. So consider his appearance an early Christmas present.

With players like Lauri re-joining the team, Fredberg will no longer be able to use the excuse that the roster is made up of G Leaguers. Yet another factor that will lead to Fred’s demise. Even with a full roster of NBA players, Fredberg won’t find a way to coach our Bulls to victory.

While the Tankathon seems to be pretty successful thus far, with the Bulls sure to be “rewarded” with a high draft pick – waking up every morning to check the score of the game to see the Bulls lost AGAIN does not make for a satisfying season.

If you’re like me, only an old-fashioned Yankee Swap could top the likes of the holiday cheer the Bulls will bring to the 2018 holiday season – if indeed Fredberg celebrates Christmas anywhere but CHI.

See Red!

Go Bulls!

Beat the Rockets.

 

About those Bulls

We’re six games into the 2018-2019 regular season, and it’s taken me this long to muster up the courage to write my first Bulls Banter blog.

I had to wait until leading with a knock knock joke wasn’t necessary.

“Knock knock.”

“Who’s there?”

“Owen.”

“Owen who?”

“Oh and 1 Oh and 2 Oh and 3.”

With wins home against Charlotte and on the road the against the Hawks, the Bulls finally got on the board, so joke not needed.

But I wouldn’t say that sitting at 12th place in the East with a 2-4 record is anything to brag about. Instead, it’s time to let the excuses begin – to explain the rather slow start, and the Bulls’ uninspiring play in general.

Four guys are on the shelf with injuries – “The Finnisher” Lauri Markkanen; Kris Dunn, their best defender; Denzel Valentine, a high-energy guy; and sixth man “Crazy Eyes” Bobby Portis.

Or the age thing could always work. The Bulls have the second youngest team in the league.

And then there’s the coach. Fred Hoiberg (who shall be known as Fredberg from this time forward) – he’s just so blah, boring and unenthusiastic. I’d rather watch paint dry. And I’d rather see my Bulls win.

However, we’re going to have to find ways to be encouraged about the season. The Bulls have got two high-quality, talented rookies – Wendell Carter, Jr. (WCJ), a center who is starting over Robin Lopez (RoLo) and Chandler Hutchison, a small forward, who is also now starting since Bobby Portis got injured.

And Zach LaVine, acquired from the Timberwolves in the Jimmy Butler (JB) trade is showing his superstar potential. He’s averaging 30 points per game and 9 free throw attempts per game, and he’s not a drama-inducing prima donna like JB.

So let’s try to remain positive, and find comfort in the fact that despite the Bulls having their hands full with the Warriors visiting the UC on Monday, rumor has it that one Joakim Noah is expected to attend. Anything to distract from what could be a long night trying to contain Steph Curry, Kevin Durant and company.

As I’ve said many times before – thank goodness for Joakim.

*Joke courtesy of the Mully & Haugh show on 670 The Score.

 

 

 

The Biggest News in Basketball – It Might Surprise You

If you want to get the call from Thibs – you’ve got to practice. #StayReady #TimberBulls

The author of Bulls Banter was so busy prepping for her Maui vacation, and then so busy vacationing in Maui, and then swamped at work trying to catch up from being away — that it’s been more than a month since the world enjoyed the banterings of the Bulls’ #1 fan.

What’s struck me since I’ve been back is all that’s happened in the basketball world.

Jimmy Butler is out for the season or most of the season.

Derrick Rose re-joined Thibs in Minnesota.

Kevin Ollie gets fired at the head coach of UConn.

The Bulls won a game (maybe two?). I know they managed to beat their basement dweller rivals the Grizzles the other night — by one point! Way to go Bulls.

The bounce pass is getting a lot of play lately, with Cubs pitcher Jon Lester employing the least popular of basketball passes – in baseball. Since he is incapable of throwing to first base, he’s now using what he calls “The Jordan-to-Pippen” bounce pass.

NBA Commissioner Adam Silver hasn’t yet cancelled tonight’s Bulls vs. Cavs game scheduled to take place at the United Center — this could be the most unexpected basketball news of late.

The game is sure to be hazardous to the health of anyone who attends/watches, and is sure to lead to more 911 calls than the St. Patrick’s Day revelers who have been out on the town since 6 a.m.

It looks like the Cavs won’t be able to sit LeBron, because they only have about eight other players available. And the Bulls will be missing Markkanen, Dunn, LaVine and a few others.

In the world of college basketball and the NCAA Tournament, Chicago is abuzz with the latest Cinderella story – the Loyola Ramblers.

And to top the list – the fact that Thibs hasn’t yet reached out to Cinjo to ask her to join the TimberBulls in Minnesota is the most surprising basketball news of all. #TimberBulls #StayReady.

See Red!

Go Bulls!

Beat the (evil) Cavs.

The Homecoming

My favorite Bulls

It’s been quiet here in the land of the Bulls. The games as of late have been uninspiring, and with the west coast trip, who can make it to the final buzzer anyway?

Not sure who’s counting, but I believe they’re up to seven losses in a row.

But hope springs. Tonight is THE night – the BIG night. The homecoming, the return of my favorite Bulls – Tom Thibodeau and Taj Gibson, as the Timberwolves take on the Bulls at the United Center. Jimmy Butler – not so much.

That is, unless JB magically transforms himself into the humble, try-hard kid who made Tomball Texas proud when he entered the league. If he remains the prima donna who is too big for his britches, no worries…I’ll be too busy watching Thibs stalk the sidelines anyway.

And turn up the volume, because we can expect the animated rants, lots of unsavory language, and all-around antics from my was-to-be future husband (um, yup, that’s Thibs).

You’ve likely heard about yesterday’s NBA trade deadline madness. DRose sent to Utah by LeBron. But rumor has it he never made it out west for all that Jazz, and is back in CHI with his family. We could really get the gang back together if he shows up at UC for the game.

And it’s been said DRose may re-join Thibs and co. in Minnesota once Utah cuts him.

The Bulls Banter re-branding – to Timberwolves Talk is closer than you think.

See Red!

Go Bulls!

Beat the Timberwolves (maybe?)

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