Summing up the Bulls’ season in one word

You’ve got a cranky Bulls fan here. If you visited Bulls Banter intending to read about hearts and flowers – you’ve come to the wrong place.

Trying to sum up the Bulls’ 2016-2017 season in one word is impossible.

Why? Because it’ll take an entire dictionary to describe it. Here’s a start:

Un-watch-a-Bull. Disheartening. Uninspired. Uninspiring. Inconsistent. Sad. Disappointing. Infuriating. Unexpected. Blah. Maddening. Forget-a-Bull. Schizophrenic. Dismal. Unimaginable. Mediocre. Sub-par. Unimpressive.

Despite this unfavorable picture, there is hope. Specifically, when the Bulls fail to make the playoffs for the second season in a row, we can only hope that Fredberg and/or GarPax will be sent packing.

In other basketball news – best thing I heard all day: my man Thibs’ Timberwolves beat the Golden State Warriors last night. I’m so proud!

And for those who are keeping score – it’s UConn Women 107. Bulls -4. Seems it’s time to re-purpose this site from Bulls Banter to “How ’bout those Huskies?” or “Winning with the UConn Women.”

As the Bulls head to Boston for a Sunday game, not sure the luck of the Irish will be on their side – seems more likely that luck is reserved for the Celtics. However, if the Watch-a-Bulls show up, they could have a fighting chance.

See Red!

Go Bulls!

Beat the Celtics (she wrote with some slight glimmer of hope).


Bulls are on a win streak!

In sports news this week, the Bulls won two games in a row, versus the Pelicans on Saturday and surprisingly, they beat the Grizzlies on Sunday.

It’s come to that – having to applaud two wins, and their latest record of 21-21. They’re at .500! Let’s celebrate.

And in more significant sports news, the UConn women won their 91st straight game. It’s almost inconceivable to think that it’s possible, let alone doable.

And to Cubs fans in Chicago and around the world, most significant was their ascent to become World Series Champions this year, celebrated by President Obama at the White House yesterday.

So the now Un-Stop-A-Bulls won two, and the UConn women won 91, and the Cubs won the World Series. All seemingly impossible accomplishments.

But it’s about more than win streaks and breaking curses and winning the flu game when it comes to the significance of sports. POTUS described it profoundly with his remarks during the Cubs’ celebration at the White House yesterday.

“And to being able to come together and work together in one spirit … ,” Obama said. “I was in my hometown of Chicago on Tuesday, and in my farewell address I said sometimes it’s not enough just to change laws. You’ve got to change hearts. And sports has a way sometimes of changing hearts in a way that politics or business doesn’t.

“Sometimes it’s just a matter of us being able to escape and relax from the difficulties of our day, but sometimes it also speaks to something better in us. And when you see this group of folks of different shades and different backgrounds, and coming from different communities and neighborhoods all across the country, and then playing as one team and playing the right way, and celebrating each other and being joyous in that, that tells us a little something about what America is and what America can be.”

That about sums it up, except to point out that it was critical to get this blog posted before one of the aforementioned win streaks ended. And it’s unlikely to be the win streak of a team coached by a guy name Geno.

Let’s get three, when the Bulls face the Dallas Mavericks tonight. After all, in sports, anything is possible.

See Red!

Go Bulls!

Beat the Mavs


1.) Thanks to Paul Sullivan of the Chicago Tribune for the transcript of President Obama’s remarks.

2.) Check this out – UConn’s record win streak by the numbers


What do the Bulls and UConn women have in common?

First of all, 50-something.

On Saturday night, the Bulls managed to lose to the lowly Pistons 91 to 107, and were outscored 54 to 19 in the final 19 minutes.

Out East, the UConn women handily beat St. Francis Brooklyn by 56, with a final score of 89-33. Right, UConn had an off night again.

Secondly, clinched.

On Monday, with a win over the Hornets, the Bulls clinched a playoff spot. This happened without too much fanfare, and Aaron Brooks wondered when the Champagne showers would occur in the locker room. I think it’s going to take an Eastern Conference title (at least) for that…

And no surprise, the UConn women clinched a spot in the Sweet 16 by defeating Rutgers on Sunday. 91 to 55.

Thirdly, birthday games.

Looks like Saturday, March 28, my birfday, is a big game day all-around.

I’ll be at the UC with two Kellies for my Bulls birthday game vs. the Knicks.

And the UConn women face Texas for the birthday brunch game – 11 a.m. CDT on Saturday.

You would think there’s an equal likelihood that both of these games are winnable, but let’s compare notes post-game to see about those margins of victory.

Lastly, Bulls Banter is a big fan of both.

Go Huskies!

Go Bulls!

Playoffs, hurry up already, and how about those UConn Huskies?

Just managed to watch an entire Bulls game on national TV (ABC), and on the upside, the Bulls made it a game – until the masked man, Russell Westbrook took over in the final minutes.

Despite the Thunder’s uniform disadvantage – with the Bulls sporting their traditional sleeveless jerseys that read “Bulls” on the front, versus Los Bulls or Chicago Celtics, it wasn’t enough. OKC got the short-sleeved PJ jerseys, which successfully contributed to a close game throughout, but didn’t stop them in the end.

I was proud of our Bulls for competing in this one, but oh, how much greater it would have been to get the W. Yes, there are reasons to be upset. The Bulls are 4-7 since DRose went out, and they’ve lost the last five of six. Thanks goodness the 76ers are still in the league, as that’s the Bulls’ one lone win in the past few weeks.

Since I’ve returned from Hawaii, I’m trying to be more “chill,” and not get so wound up about everything. Yes, this includes our Bulls.

They’re going to make the playoffs, my friends. And today’s performance against the “Rising Thunder” showed what they can do, even without three of their best players.

It pains me more to watch a blowout, which was often the case last season, when the Bulls couldn’t even score 80 in a game, and when basket covers followed them around every arena they visited.

This year, there’s a sense of hope, knowing that DRose, Taj and JB are coming back. Quite a formidable trio, especially when healthy and well-rested.

If there’s any kind of silver lining, it has to be the emergence of Nikola Mirotic, along with solid play from Snelly Cat and the “Thunder-stopper,” E’Twaun Moore. And Jo put some points on the board today – with 15, so that’s encouraging.

And I take joy in knowing that unless the Bulls lose every single one of their remaining games (which, I guess, is possible, the way things have been going) – I’m going to make it to my first playoff game.

With that in mind, I started looking at possible opponents, and I’m not thrilled about any of them. Pick your poison: Pacers (too big, too pesky, too good and Paul George is returning), Heat (them again? just saying “Miami Heat” causes me to become angry, for all the games and series lost, although would be fun to see Luol), Hornets (the incessant buzzing they pipe into the arena where they play ought to be banned by Adam Silver), Wizards (seriously? Nene, Gortat, Wall, Paul Pierce. Absolutely not).

And then there’s the poor Bucks. In addition to the unsightly dark green uniforms, they would have no home court advantage versus the Bulls, since their “home court,” lucky for Bulls fans, is “United Center North” (the Bradley Center).

So I’ll take the Bucks, winners of the ugly uniform contest in the opening round. The Bulls need any kind of advantage they can get – it’s time to take no prisoners. United Center North, here we come. And besides, with close proximity, just a 90-minute bus ride (assuming no snow), it will save our Bulls from the inconvenience of flights and possible unstructured time in cities like Miami or DC, where there’s a night life, and the Bulls could get themselves into trouble if Thibs lets them out of the film room.

Thrill-Waukee – not so much. Enjoy the time in the hotel, and a possible excursion for some cheese curds and/or brats.

In other basketball news, the UConn men, behind Ryan Boatright manage to power their way to win after win. Wishing them another victory today versus SMU, although, in true Bulls-like fashion, they’re trailing by a lot at the half. Men, I strongly suggest you follow the lead of your fellow UConn women, not our come-from-behind Bulls.

And good luck to the UConn Women as well (although they don’t need it).

See Red!

Go Bulls!

Beat the Pacers.

Quite a Successful Road Trip

Merry Christmas, Bulls fans, and you’re welcome.

Thanks to my Christmas in Connecticut road trip, during which the Bulls won three games, they’re now tied with the Suns for the longest win streak (5) in the NBA.

Wins against Eastern Conference-leading Raps at home, then the next night, the evil Wiz at their place, and a win on the big stage back at the UC on Christmas versus the Lakers.

Now, Kobe comes to us, although old age now prevents him from playing.

Lakers coach Byron Scott had this to say following the Bulls’ win vs. the Lakers. “They are the best we have played so far in the East. They are good. They have length and athleticism. They have two of the best passing big men in the game. They are unselfish. They have a rising star in Jimmy Butler. They have a great basketball team.”

We’ll take the three Ws, and my winning road record. Both were achieved in Orange, CT watching NBA League Pass and TNT, with #20 Art “Spin Move” Olsen. Possible winning formula?

A similar trip could take place around playoff time if the Bulls need an immediate boost of a few wins.

Or maybe it was just the UConn Huskies’ positive vibes, which envelop the entire state.

Now it’s back to CHI, with the comfort of the hometown call with Neil and Stacey, and back to basketball lessons and workouts.

After all, Thibs is really making it through the bench. He’s been calling E’Twaun Moore’s number.

I could be next. (Or not).

See Red!

Go Bulls!

Beat the Pelicans.

Despite loss to Trail Blazers, Bulls clinch playoff berth, and UConn men win!

When I went to bed after watching the Bulls’ dismal performance vs. the Trail Blazers, I was anything but a happy birthday girl. When Thibs waved the white flag and sent Jimmer in, I knew it was over.

But we are familiar with the Bulls’ ineptitude with holiday games. Remember, don’t expect a win on any of the following days – New Year’s Eve, New Year’s Day, Martin Luther King Jr. Day, St. Patrick’s Day.

Given my birthday obviously ranks up there with all of the aforementioned holidays, we should have known it would be a rough night!

Then, add to it the three-day break. The Bulls are better when they play at 7 p.m. local time, and every other day. What exactly were they doing for the three days? Has Thibs forgotten the shooting and layup drills? CMO!

Thankfully, I had the UConn men’s basketball game to watch, and you know what I like about them? They make baskets. Right, they must have gotten some coaching from the UConn women, because they were looking good, and it’s on to the Elite Eight. Go Huskies!

Conversely, the Bulls threw the ball anywhere but in the basket. Honestly, foot boot and all, I could have shot better. OK, that’s called exaggeration.

“Offensively we were just so bad,” acknowledged Dunleavy.

Jo: “We got beat in every aspect of the game. No excuses. We didn’t have the edge we usually do. Maybe the (three-day) break did something; maybe it didn’t. We’re disappointed, but we’ve go to bounce back.”

In reading Sam Smith’s blog on, Bulls clinch playoff berth but don’t celebrate, I started to feel a little bit better.


And though making the playoff has been taken for granted for weeks, it wasn’t after the last time the Bulls played the Trailblazers, back in late November when Derrick Rose suffered his season ending knee injury. The Bulls then went into a month long dive that saw them lose 11 of their next 14 games.

The sentiment in the community seemed overwhelming to effectively throw the season, to purposely lose for a draft pick.

Then just as the Bulls were beginning to recover with five wins in their next seven games to get within four games of .500, the team traded the popular Luol Deng, who’d emerged as the team’s leading scorer in Rose’s absence.

There are not many teams that can survive losing their two top scorers, and in that fashion. It did seem, to many, like the team was giving up. No one would have blamed them at that time. And, in fact, few believed the Bulls were a playoff team any longer. Rumors swirled of multiple players being dumped for draft picks. Questions circulated among even the players about whether all the work was worth it with everything going on around them.

But coach Tom Thibodeau never wavered, that this was a team that could and would compete.

And the character of the players would not allow them to give less than their best no matter what anyone else believed or suggested.

I started to think about the similarities between the Bulls and the UConn men. Remember, they were banned last year. That’s probably what Jo would call “adversity.”

“We were banned from a lot of things,” Coach Kevin Ollie said. “We couldn’t come here for the tournament, but they weren’t banned from loving and pushing and encouraging each other, and that’s what it’s all about. Those dark times, if you don’t give up in the dark times, it will reverse, the wind will start going in your favor, your direction.

“And I think that’s what’s happened now.”

So on one night, my birthday, our Bulls hit a bump in the road, but the Huskies prevail. I’ll take it, because we know better times are ahead for our Bulls.

After all, things improved overnight, with the Knicks’ loss to the Suns, securing the Bulls a spot in the playoffs. Why is it the Knicks are always part of the conversation? Even when losing? Ah, probably a topic bloggers smarter than me need to assess.

For now, it’s on to Boston for the Celtics on Sunday and back in CHI for the Celtics again on Monday. Not exactly the Bulls’ preferred schedule, but I’ve put too many calls into Adam Silver already, I better just hope the Bulls remember how to shoot by then, and given 7 p.m. local time starts, we could see two wins!

See Red!

Go Bulls!

Beat the Celtics! (2X).

Notes: Nice to see Rip Hamilton at the UConn game sitting next to Jim Calhoun. The Bulls have 10 games left, and only one (hallelujah!) vs. a Western Conference team – the Timberwolves.

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