10 Reasons to Be Thankful

Happy Thanksgiving Bulls fans, and Bulls Banter readers!

We have a lot to be thankful for this holiday season.

1.) Cubs win the world series. I still haven’t recovered, and neither has my heart. I am happy to say I was in CHI during this historic event. I was privileged to have been gifted a ticket to the first playoff game, when the Cubs beat the Giants 1-0 thanks to Javy Baez’s homer in the eighth. It seems I will be spending a lot of quality time at Wrigley field next season, along with many many others.

2.) I’m writing this from Tampa. When it turned from 70 degrees to 30 degrees in Chicago sometime in mid-September, I booked an emergency Thanksgiving trip to FL. Even though it’s cloudy, I’ll take the 70-something-degree weather. And I even found the basketball hoop this morning, and got up around 100 shots. #notreadyfortheNBA

3.) Bulls’ final road trip has been successful so far. With one game left to play (76ers tonight), their record stands at 3-2, with wins versus Portland, Utah and the Lakers, and losses to the Clippers and Nuggets. And none of the games were runaway losses like they were in years past. They actually competed. In fact, they coulda shoulda won both games, particularly the Denver one – where it came down to one three-pointer. But baby steps, right?

4.) The Bulls seem to like each other. Yes, there are stories of team-building exercises and fancy lunches in LA, trips to DWade’s house, a movie afternoon in Utah. In fact, Chris Kuc of the Chicago Tribune reported in his article, Bulls learning plenty about themselves during lengthy trip, “…the Bulls visited the Denver Escape Room, where groups of people are locked in a room and must use brainpower and teamwork to determine a way out before time runs out and they are released.”

5.) Jimmy Butler is on fire. He’s living up to his own hype. “Yeah, if I go at the game with the same mentality, like Dwyane (Wade) told me, every time you step on the floor, you gotta have the mentality that you’re the best player out there,” Butler said. “You gotta be out there to prove that point every single night, every single day in practice. That’s what I’m working to be. I want to be the first guy in the gym, the last game to leave, studying film and having a killer mentality.” [Reported in Vincent Goodwill’s article, Jimmy Butler’s battle cry: I’m the best [bleep] player in the world.]

6.) The Bulls are fun to watch. In fact, you could say – they’re WatchaBulls. I don’t have to look away as much, resort to cleaning up the kitchen, organize cabinets or get a head start on my taxes. They have my attention, they play hard, keep it close.

7.) The Bulls are going to make the playoffs. Prior to signing DWade, there really hadn’t been any hope. To say that his signing was a game-changer could be the understatement of the year.

8.) No major injuries so far. If Dougie McBuckets would stop getting concussed, it could prove beneficial for all, and mostly him.

9.) Taji Woo. I had written prior to the start of the season that I was worried about my favorite player, Taj getting lost in the shuffle. I am thrilled he’s where he should be – in the starting lineup, and leading the way with his “hard hat lunch pail” approach.

10.) Health, family, friends, work, money enough to travel once in a while, and the promise of an exciting Bulls season, with the realistic hope of Bulls basketball at least until May…maybe June.

See Red!

Go Bulls!

Beat the Sixers.

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Things you don’t hear much in Chicago sports

Two things you don’t hear too often when it comes to sports in Chicago:

1.) The Bulls remain undefeated.

2.) The Cubs are in the World Series.

First, the Bulls. They’ve played two games, and won both of them! They beat the Celtics on Thursday (which I missed as one of my friends scheduled a get-together conflicting with the Bulls’ ever-important home opener). I do wonder why I keep some of these friends around.

The second game was last night (Saturday), when the Bulls handily defeated the Pacers, but there was another conflict…brought about by rarely heard fact #2.

Yes, the Cubs are in the World Series, and played last night, but looked more like the Bad News Bears than the future World Series Champions. With this most recent loss, the Cubs are now up against the wall, facing elimination. In case you haven’t figured it out yet, this is going to be more “Cubs Chat” than “Bulls Banter.”

The Cubs have only managed 1 win, and the Cleveland Indians have got 3. To win the World Series – you need 4 wins.

As we all know, there’s no crying in baseball. But I sure did feel like crying Friday night, and Saturday night…

Joe Maddon, the Cubs’ manager is fond of saying, “Don’t ever permit the pressure exceed the pleasure.” And during his post-game presser, speaking of today’s (Sunday’s) game – “We have to have a one-game winning streak.”

It sounds all well and good, and let’s hope these young Cubs can get the one-game streak going tonight. Then, it would be back to Joakim Noah’s favorite vacation spot, Cleveland for 1-2 more games.

No matter what happens, this fan, and Chicago, and Cubs followers of all ages are better for having witnessed the excitement, teamwork, attitude and spirit the Cubs have brought to the city this season. And importantly, we can all learn a lot from this wacky, smart, charismatic yet unorthodox Cubs manager Joe Maddon.

If we all employed a little more of his philosophies in baseball games and in life, we could potentially be more successful, and have lots of fun along the way.

For instance, “Do simple better.”

And, “In our world, for me, every day is Friday night.”

While many predicted the Cubs would win the World Series this year, that’s a lot to live up to for this group of mostly young 20-year olds, and in my view, they have far exceeded expectations already. Win or lose, the Cubs have captured our hearts and imaginations.

There’s still a lot more baseball to play. Joe Maddon talks about “moments.” In keeping with his philosophy to approach every game the same way, it’s no surprise that in speaking of game five, he said, “We just need that one moment.”

And it’s been reported that the video screens in the Cubs’ new clubhouse provided instructions on how to approach Sunday’s pivotal game 5:

SCHEDULE FOR SUNDAY

DRESS AT 5:30 p.m.

Game at 7:15 p.m.

They’ve got the “Do simple better” covered. Now it’s time for the one-game win streak.

Go Cubs! Beat the Indians! #FlytheW #WorldSeriesChamps

PS – See Red! Go Bulls! Remain undefeated

From likability to winnability

Your No. 1 Bulls fan has been remiss this summer. She has been so busy watching the Cubs dominate major league baseball, that she neglected to blog about the new-look Bulls.

But all of this Cubs-watching has given her something to talk about. And that is: likability.

I think part of the reason I started following the Bulls back in 2012 was because the guys were so likable. How you could help but love Luol Deng or Taj Gibson? Joakim has always been a fan favorite – when he’s playing on your team. (It’s not going to go well for me this year with him on the Knicks).

Derrick, pre-playoff ACL injury was actually likable.

The Bulls back then were the equivalent of today’s Cubs. Anthony Rizzo, Kris Bryant, all-smiles Dexter Fowler, Grandpa Rossi, the wacky coach (Joe Maddon). They’re a team you can’t help but love.

But after too many years of disappointments, it’s “No More Mr. Nice Guy” for our Bulls. In acquiring players we all used to love to hate – Rajon Rondo, and DWade (former enemy No. 1 given his Heat championships and affiliation to “that other guy” (LeBron)) – the Bulls are evidently going to try to win.

Before they got DWade, let’s face it, the idea of watching the Bulls this season wasn’t even that interesting – even to their No. 1 fan.

But now, it seems as if people will tune in, if only to see how Fredberg (Coach Fred Hoiberg) can make this all work.

The talk here in CHI has focused a lot about leadership, or lack thereof. Derrick was a reluctant leader. Joakim – bombastic (to quote the Bulls’ unofficial official Bulls blogger). JB evidently caused a lot of dissension last year by anointing himself the leader – when evidently his actions didn’t back up his leadership position.

It’s a new chapter this year – with these savvy vets, who have done something, and won something – won NBA Championships.

“I expected him to come in and have great leadership qualities,” Hoiberg noted about Wade. “He’s gone above and beyond what any of us have expected. He’s just another smart basketball player. “*

“When you have guys who talk, especially at the defensive end, that organizes your defense,” said Hoiberg. “He and Rondo are great at that. Jimmy is great at that. Taj (Gibson) is a talker. Robin (Lopez) is a talker. Wade makes players better. That’s the sign of great players, when you can make the guys around you better.”*

Hopefully, we’re all open to sacrificing a few points on the likability scale if it means the Bulls return to their rightful place atop the Eastern Conference. If only those pesky Cavs, and Raps, and Celtics would just go away.

My only concern with the season, other than the fact that I can’t afford a Row B ticket behind the Bulls bench for the Bulls/Knicks game – is Taj. He’s the forgotten Bull. Yet is often reported that he’s one of the best teammates, and hardest workers – aka “hard hat, lunch pail.”

A September 30 Chicago Sun-Times article titled Taj Gibson ready for any role needed except finger pointer had an interesting quote about Taj from Fredberg:

“Taj has been great,’’ Hoiberg said. “He’s one of those guys that goes out and does everything that you ask of him. He’s in great spirits, he’s a positive force. Always trying to do what you tell him to do. And again, when you have a veteran guy that’s been around the league as long as he has, played a great role especially in his position, then he can teach guys like Bobby [Portis] and Cris [Felicio] and also Paul Zipser. They see your vets working hard, and Taj is one of the hardest workers on this team and he always does what’s asked of him.’’

Not wanting Taj to be the forgotten man, I sent him a tweet the other night. I’m sure receiving a tweet from the author of Bulls Banter, a fellow Brooklynite really lifted his spirits. (And so we begin Bulls Banter, 2016-2017 with the first in a series of sarcastic remarks which are meant to add levity to what sometimes can become a heart-wrenching season.)

For what it’s worth, here’s my tweet:

taj

Here’s hoping that Taj, and JB, and DWade and Rondo and Robin Lopez, and the many other players steal our hearts with their wins, although I wouldn’t mind liking them along the way.

See Red!

Go Bulls!

Beat the Bucks.

(*) – From Sam Smith’s blog, Bulls veterans taking the lead

IN CASE YOU WERE WONDERING – BULLS 2016-2017 ROSTER

J.J. Avila

Jimmy Butler

Isaiah Canaan

Spencer Dinwiddie

Cristiano Felicio

Taj Gibson

Jerian Grant

Vince Hunter

Robin Lopez

Doug McDermott

Nikola Mirotic

Bobby Portis

Rajon Rondo

D’Vauntes Smith-Rivera

Tony Snell

Denzel Valentine

Dwyane Wade

Thomas Walkup

Paul Zipser

(Wait, they forgot Cinjo)

Winning Matters

I liked what Denzel Valentine, the Bulls’ newest addition had to say at his introductory press conference yesterday – “Winning matters.” It was also said of Valentine that he’ll “play dead.”

Contrast this attitude to that of DRose, who many Bulls fans are happy to see as the Knicks’ newest problem. DRose was beloved in Chicago, even through injury #1, and rehab. But when he refused to get on the court when he was cleared to play and most of his team was half dead, well, that’s when the DRose love turned into hate.

I’m a bit indifferent about DRose’s departure, but will say that I couldn’t have chosen a better team for his next chapter, and mine. Because I grew up watching the Knicks, and that’s how my basketball subject matter expertise began to develop at an early age (note: that’s a joke).

And if my all-time favorite Bulls player (other than Michael Jordan), Joakim Noah lands with the Knicks too, Bulls Banter could be re-purposed as “Bulls Banter and Knicks Notes.” We shall see.

In my final blog of the 2015-2016 season, I predicted “Gonna Be Some Changes Made.” It’s started, and it’s not done yet.

When it comes to Derrick, I contend that if only he didn’t live like the boy in the bubble, insulated from reality, and the everyday people like me — he wouldn’t have been shipped off to the Big Apple. If he had the ability (and heart) to convey the kinds of sentiments verbally, during press conferences and interviews – that he (or his writer) conveyed in his Good-Bye to Chicago, included in its entirety below, he would still be in Chicago.

The last straw was probably when DRose, unprompted started talking about his 2017 contract year, and how important it was for him to feel healthy enough to sit in business meetings down the road (versus getting on the court to play that day, that week, that year- to help his teammates win). And this is while fans can’t afford tickets to the game. And other people can’t even buy a cup of coffee or a roll. But those topics will have to be addressed in another blog.

The writing was likely already on the wall for this new chapter, for DRose, the Bulls and Bulls Banter (+Knicks Notes?). But starting to write the next chapter is easier said than done for all of us, I would guess.

See Red!

Go Bulls!

Summer League starts on July 8.

I’m Ready for New York – Chicago made me who I am. But it’s time for a new chapter

(From The Cycle, by Derrick Rose, Point Guard, New York Knicks)

My phone was ringing and ringing, but I had no idea. It was on silent. I was in the middle of an interview, cameras on me. I couldn’t make this up: I was talking about Chicago. The city, the basketball scene I came up in. How that city raised me, made me the man I am today.

A few minutes later I peeked at it and saw the notifications — missed calls, text messages, voicemails, all from my agent BJ. I called back and he told me: I was about to be traded to the New York Knicks.

“It might happen,” he said. That means it’s going to happen. He wanted me to be mentally prepared.

I had a feeling for a few weeks that a trade could be in the works. But I didn’t know for sure. There were rumors going around that I could be moved soon, and of course you hear that stuff and try to ignore it. That’s impossible. But I never let it really sink in.

The first thing I thought about was my son PJ. It’s hard enough to find time to see him during the season even when I’m in Chicago. Now I’ll be in New York, hours away. It’s a lot of miles. I know this is part of being an NBA player, though. We’ll find a way to make it work. I owe him that.

I’m so excited to move to New York City. I’ve never spent much time there—the most time I’ve been there is two or three days, and never really during the summer. Now it’ll be a solid seven months. Chicago’s a big city, but it’s kinda chill, not fast-paced like New York. Joakim Noah, who’s like a brother to me, is from Manhattan, and he’s told me a lot about it. I’m going to soak up as much knowledge about the city as I possibly can.

Chicago made me who I am. It’s tatted on my wrist. I was raised in my grandmother’s house on South Paulina Street in Englewood. Being drafted by the Bulls, becoming an All-Star and an MVP on the Bulls, helping the team make the playoffs — all of that was a dream come true. I’ll never forget it. I’ve carried Chicago with me everywhere I’ve gone, from around the country to all over the world. I always will.

I understand that this is a business and the Bulls have their plans, their own ideas with what direction they want to go with the team, but I’m gonna use this as motivation. I was with them for eight years and they let me go. There’s no hard feelings, no grudges. They’re trying to do what’s best for the team. I totally understand that. But I don’t think I would be wrong for using this as motivation.

After I hung up the phone with BJ, all sorts of emotions flowed through me. I was shocked. Anxious. I knew there was so much to handle right away, and it was all hitting me at once. Things I need to take care of — business, endorsements, where I’m going to live, who’s coming with me. I want to focus on nothing but basketball. I just want to let my game speak for itself. My voice will always be loudest on the court.

I’m 27 years old — there’s still so much ahead for me. I really believe this trade is a blessing. After all of the emotions passed through me, I started to realize how pumped I am for what comes next. I’m going to be playing alongside Carmelo Anthony and Kristaps Porzingis. This is an amazing opportunity. I can’t wait.

I’m ready for New York.

In a Season of Life Lessons, Gonna Be Some Changes Made

Today is the last day of April.

Right about now, I’m typically in the Outer Banks with the folks, enjoying the beauty that is OBX, my family’s company, a lot of good food and sun. And most importantly – watching some Bulls playoff basketball.

OBX was where I arrived a few days after DRose suffered his first major knee injury vs. the 76ers…and I think I cried when I found out he, and then Jo, and the season were done.

It’s also where I watched the Nate Robinson triple OT game for the ages…for three hours, on a tiny TV, and had a hard time leaving for Mom’s birthday dinner when the game wasn’t over. But it was her birthday. And we had a rez at her favorite restaurant, the Colington Cafe.

There was no trip to OBX this year. But the way the season ended was as painful as ever – just without the trauma of a DRose injury.

It’s hard to believe that it’s been more than two weeks since the Bulls were finally put out of their misery at the UC on April 13 vs. the lowly 76ers. I’m not sure who won. It didn’t matter for either team. It was like the season couldn’t conclude fast enough.

And the takeaways from this season are more about life and life lessons than I hoped to ever have to report. While I had a hard time watching any of the games at the end of the season, I did tune in to the GarPax end-of-season press conference following the aforementioned 76ers game.

Pax said the team lacked collective fight. While I’m not a big GarPax fan – Pax really nailed it. That’s certainly what characterized the teams from the Thibs era. They fought. They played together. They showed determination and will to win when they should have given up. That’s all I want to see from my Bulls.

Instead of victories and playoffs and exciting, exhilarating, inspiring games, and a season ending on a high note, all we have to show for it this time is a big old list of life lessons.

I’m almost 50, and sometimes, I don’t feel like learning the lessons all over again…but I guess we can’t always get what we want.

And here are those life lessons, courtesy of your 2015-2016 Chicago Bulls:

Don’t lie (as in Fredberg lying about it being Jo’s idea to come off the bench).

Let’s all get along and play nice (something the Bulls didn’t do at all this year).

Give it your best (after the All-Star break, it seemed to be more like everyone’s worst).

Be humble (as in – Jimmy Butler, you’re way too big for your britches. Have you forgotten – you’re from Tomball, Texas).

There is no I in team (Jimmy – this one’s for you too).

Be enthusiastic (once Joakim was out for the season, the Bulls ship was sunk. There was no enthusiasm whatsoever. And Jo was deflated himself after being relegated to a secondary role. And, the Bulls could have used a little more Nate Robinson and little less Pau Gasol).

There are going to be disappointments in life…it’s how you deal with them that matters. Ah yes, I’m still trying to convince myself of this one. I know it’s true. So me, you, Derrick, Jimmy, Dougie McBuckets, Jo, Fredberg, and all the rest of the team need to use our summer vacation to figure out how to make things better – at work, and at life.

It was hard to cheer for the Bulls this year. They didn’t seem to like one another, and playing together was more like a chore than a joy. We all know how I feel about the dismissal of Tom Thibodeau, and the effect that had on the team. But no one could have predicted how lifeless, unenthusiastic and heartless our Bulls were to become this year.

While this is far from an enthusiastic blog…Bulls Banter still lives and breathes her Bulls. While in Miami last weekend, a hotel staff member asked her to “step back” so he could get a better view of her red Nike basketball kicks. She also proudly wore her Bulls tank tops for morning walks (due to the high temps – no Bulls sweatshirt was required).

The cab drivers all heard my Bulls sob story, and in a strange turn of events, Bulls Banter is endorsing the Miami Heat for Conference Champs. Any team with Luol Deng gets my vote. Said cab drivers were oh so pleased to hear about my new-found (albeit temporary) Heat endorsement.

And now, it’s on to the 2016-2017 season, when the Bulls will re-group, and hopefully come back as the team we all used to love. I know the Bulls can win us over again.

To become the NBA champs, one thing for certain in clear, in the words of Bruce Hornsby:

Gonna be some changes made

Can’t keep on doing what I’ve been doing these days

Look in the mirror I see a clown’s face

Gotta take it off, gotta get myself straight

Gonna be some changes, some changes made

Can’t keep on doing what I’ve been doing these days

Better figure out something

Things are looking grave

Gonna be some changes, changes, changes made

See Red! Go Bulls! See you next season.

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

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.

Out with February, in with a much better March

Seems like we all want February to end. The Bulls lost 8 and won 4. It doesn’t take a math wiz like me to assess those results. It’s awful.

I had just settled in on the couch, and planned to partake of a delicious frozen pizza while I watched the Bulls vs. the Hawks game on Friday. Then, at 7:10, just after Neil Funk and Stacey King had given their game preview – the cable went out. Not only that, no Internet.

No team stream on my phone, tablet, or on either laptop. Kevbro jumped in once again to save the day, providing game updates via text. But I figured I would throw in the towel (evidently, kinda like the Bulls did), and just go to bed early and I’m glad I did.

Another loss to the Hawks, and another delete from the DVR. I used to feel badly for the Hawks. They had about six fans in the arena, and I’m pretty sure management was piping in fake noise or something. Watching those games was difficult enough…when the Bulls were winning. Now, it’s painful, and I don’t feel too badly for the Hawks now.

However, we have seen bright spots during this downturn. In the games they’ve won, the Bulls are racking up a lot of assists. So the ball is moving, not staying in anyone’s hands, and that’s a good thing.

The problem seems to happen following all of the ball movement, when no one can make a basket.

E’Twaun Moore has become a reliable starter, and is scrappy and a good defender. Dougie McBuckets has been nothing short of a revelation. And I like the way Taj has become a more vocal leader. Pau got a triple double. I read that Bobby Portis grabbed 16 rebounds and scored 10 points versus the Trailblazers last night, but I was in Greektown for dinner (Opa!) and when I got home and saw the results…well.

Like the Bulls, my month wasn’t the best either. I don’t want to be Debbie Downer, but let’s just say, my Puerto Rico trip was postponed, and the car and the fridge both broke. While I want to play like Drose, I don’t want to duplicate his medical history. Sprained ACL + torn medial meniscus…meant travel would have to wait.I definitely feel his pain.

So we all want out of February 2016. And our wish is coming true. The Bulls march into March on Tuesday at the Miami Heat. Any game where I get to see one of my favorite players, and classiest guy ever – Luol Deng is must see Bulls TV.

In March, sometime, the Bulls should Jimmy back, and Niko. DRose has to get over this hamstring issue one of these days…but that’s another story.

The Bulls have got 17 games in March. One is on my birthday, versus the Hawks at the UC. I’m planning to grace the Bulls with my presence, which is sure to finally help them break their losing streak versus Atlanta.

To end on a high note, here are a few quotes from the new team leader, Taji Woo!, courtesy of Sam Smith (unofficial official Bulls blogger) and K.C. Johnson of the Chicago Tribune.

Once again, Taj, channeling his best Thibs, provides hope that the Bulls are not giving up yet.

Taj:  “I feel we have a strong shot; playing with a short deck now. Keep playing and maturing and scrapping out wins until everyone gets back healthy. The whole Eastern Conference is junked up now. Everybody one or two loses out of home court advantage. So every game is coming to the wire; as I said, I like our chances. We just have to bounce back.”

Continuing, Taj said: “We know what we’ve got. We just know that we have to play harder and can’t mess up. We have a small window for mistakes now and that’s the biggest thing. But we’ve got a lot of good guys in here preaching the right things and wanting to win for the right reasons.”

And recognizing who’s running the show now, I appreciate what Taj says here: “It’s frustrating because we have so many injuries and you know the character of the guys. Everybody wants to win. Everybody means well. We’re trying to win for Fred (Hoiberg). He’s a good coach. But we have a small window for mistakes now.”

February was the month for mistakes and mishaps. It’s a new month now. So a winning record in March, lots of victories, no more injuries, and a playoff spot (except for #8).

See Red!

Go Bulls!

Beat the Heat.

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