Tuesday, March 2, 2010

The March of the Bulls

I managed to get to a Chicago Bulls game this year. I hadn't been to one since early 2002 during the early Post Jordan bleech era.

The United Center is fantastic, my beautiful partner and I walked around the venue, played a Presidential knowledge game, saw former player and current announcer Bill Wennington (he's very tall) and a magician. The layout is excellent and the food choices are vastly superior to what I assumed they would be (I had sat in a corporate box and did not tour the facilities in '02).

Anyway the Bulls played last season's Eastern Conference Champion Magic. Prior to the game, the Bulls honored Derrick Rose for his selection to the 2012 Olympic Team and addition to the NBA All-Star Team. Unfortunately, early on in the game Rose drove the lane and was met mid-air by Dwight Howard. I got a chance to see Dwight Howard during the Magic shoot around prior to the game. Rose is 6'3 and 190 lbs and Howard is 6'11 and 275 lbs of fright inducing muscle. Yikes. We both half-jokingly speculated Howard and the well stretched Magic players were upset with Rose's pre-game ceremony. Rose left the game with a hip pointer and with Joakim Noah out Howard and the Magic quickly jumped out to a 20-6 lead and won the game easily 87-107.

I don't know if Howard is Superman or not but while his final stat line looked good with 18 points and 14 rebounds, Howard utterly dominated the game after he sent Rose sprawling. Howard did whatever he wanted to on the floor from monster alley-oop dunks and effortless rebounds to taking whatever position he wanted on the court. For the Bulls, John Salmons tried to fill in but had a terrible game and paved the way for his eventual trade.

However, the Bulls have been playing good basketball since that loss and after the return of Rose and Hinrich from early season injuries and will probably finish as the 5th/6th seed barring some late season collapse. Last year the Bulls outplayed the Celtics in the first round of the Playoffs but lost the series 3 to 4 due to dirty play from the Big Baby Celtics team.

Besides the aforementioned trade of Salmons the Bulls unloaded the uber-talented but undermotivated Tyrus Thomas and acquired the interesting Hakim Warrick and role-player Flip Murray but more importantly they freed up cap space for the chase of the Mystical 2010 Free Agents but until then the Bulls look poised for a first round show and possible victory.

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