Monthly Archives: April 2009

Noah, Rose and pals play like champs

Joakim runs wild and saves the Bulls

Joakim runs wild and saves the Bulls

He blocks shots! He makes free throws! He gets big rebounds. He causes Rondo to throw away the ball. He stuffs a big dunk. In a two minute period  Joakim Noah took the Bulls on his back and turned a three point deficit and certain defeat to a 5 point lead and a  giant win. Even though Derrick Rose was great, John Salmons was clutch and Ben Gordon made more points than he gave away, Noah turned the game and the series around. What a joy to watch. The Bulls have tied the series and treated the nation to a game that will be remembered for a while into the future.

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Rose makes it his Garden in defeat of Boston

Rose makes it his Garden in defeat of Boston

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The kids are ALRIGHT! Two years ago, I cheered when the Bulls drafted Joakim Noah. My thought process was that eventually he and Tyrus Thomas were so quick and athletic that together they were unstoppable. Then when we got the first pick last year, my only thought was ….Derrick Rose….to run with the big guys. Well, my thought process was bourne out and demonstrated for all to see today when the baby Bulls grew together into a playoff threat.

The last year and a half of Skiles/ Boylan were so frustrating because Thomas and Noah were spending a lot of time on the bench and never on the floor together. I thought maybe I was nuts when I thought these two together were a big deal. But thank goodness John Paxon was smart enough to see the  light and found a coach that had the insight and bravery to go against the grain and the press and play the right combinations on the court together. And here we are… A playoff victory in the first game together for the kids. Let the new Bulls era begin!

My response to Rosenblog today on the Chicago Tribune online

Originally posted: April 14, 2009

An apology (of sorts) to the Bulls (thank goodness none of you are Allen Iverson)

http://blogs.chicagosports.chicagotribune.com/rosenblog/

I’m here for the fun . . .

For all the critical things I’ve said about the Bulls’ play, their attitudes, and their coaching, I offer some sort of apology borne of perspective courtesy of the Detroit Pistons:

Vinny, Luol, Ben, Kirk, Tyrus, Joakim, Pax, I’m sorry I didn’t consider that none of you, not even combined, could be as toxic as the insidious Allen Iverson alone.

The guy who was traded for the classy and productive Chauncey Billups pretty much quit on his team as it was fighting for the best possible playoff spot. He got hurt, he acted like he derserved to play when and where he wanted to, treating coaches and team goals like toilet paper, and his team confined him to house arrest.

I’ve accused many Bulls of playing and acting like typical NBA players — out for their own good, reading from My Turn playbook, more ego than heart and brains. It’s a coach-killing mentality, and many of these Bulls players have those notches on their belts. But none of them bring the selfish stench of Iverson.

Ben Gordon jacks up a lot of shots that appear to be more part of a contract drive than an offensive set, but nothing like Iverson. Luol Deng looked and sounded emotionally and mentally soft when Derrick Rose showed up, but he didn’t up and quit on his teammates to the point that he was told to stay home the way Iverson was.

The difference showed in the Bulls’ overcoming an 11-point deficit on the Pistons’ floor Monday night to win a game that vaulted them into the sixth playoff spot for now but for sure guaranteed they won’t have to play LeBron.

The Bulls were smarter and tougher, and, yes, better coached on defense. I still don’t think Vinny Del Negro can do this on a regular basis, but he did it in a critical game and gets credit for that. The game was turning into a “Be Like Rip Hamilton’’ DVD, but after a big first half, he was slowed to six points when it mattered.

The combination of Bulls defense and Pistons uncaring and/or unfocused offense led to some unnecessarily hurried and unbelievably stupid shots down the stretch. The Bulls wouldn’t have won this game earlier in the season — if Billups was still there instead of the mess that is Iverson and if the Bulls hadn’t made that deal with Sacramento.

And when you see the way the Bulls played, the way they came back, the way they are such a different team with Brad Miller and John Salmons and without Deng, and then you consider how Orlando has stunk down the stretch and can’t get its starting forwards healthy or find a quality point guard — goodness, I can’t believe I’m making a case for the Bulls’ advancing to the second round.

I think I need to sit down and drink a big glass of bile.

My response……………

Drink some bile? Will that give us all a break as you stay home in the toilet. Or should we just throw this column there? Your arrogance belies your position. We don’t mind sarcastic comments and points you can back up. But Vinnie and the Bulls deserve more than an apology from you. At least they are trying to do their best, considering three of their starting five are barely beyond college age and have a whopping five full seasons experience in them, including this one. Most players in the NBA don’t become starters, let alone stars, in their first or second years. Just because you want superstars at every position. you must understand that superstars get that way by working hard for 3-4 years to learn their trade. But you must know that if you are in the position you are. right?

Just another night for the Bulls Kids

rose411joakim411The last two first round picks carried the Bulls to their biggest victory in three years Monday night to move the Bulls up two spots to the sixth seed in the playoff derby. The Pistons tried everything including muggings and sharp shooting, but inthe end, speed and desire won the day. Derrick Rose took the rookie of the year award by acclamation from the NBA TV commentators with a performance belying his rookie status. 24 points, 8 assiststs, 5 rebounds and the biggest blocked shot of the season carried the day in this huge game, Joakim Noah contributed mightily with 13 rebounds, 11 points, 4 assists and a blocked shot. These two youngsters are now rewarding John Paxon’s faith in them and carrying the Bulls to a winning record. How many sportwriters predicted a 42 win season just a month ago? It seemed impossible. But with  a win tomorrow against Toronto, the Bulls not only finish above  .500, but clinch the sixth seed in the playoffs and a matchup with the Orlando Magic. Even though they are a really tough team that looks unbeatable at times, Orlando has a problem finishing. They now have injuries to Turkelou and Lewis to overcome, as well as a media and fan base that put so much pressure on them to win a championship, they seem to wilt under that pressure. I live here in Orlando and find their media even sillier than the Chicago media in building up and then dissing their local heroes. The expectation is so high they can’t match it in anyone’s eyes down here. But that goes for all teams in Florida, college or pro.

Anyway, kudos to the Bulls kids, and  on we go to what some thought a month ago was impossible- a first round victory in the playoffs. If the Bulls play like they did last night that is not a foolish statement, it will be a fact.

Sox win opener! Thome #1

Jim Thome - Mr. Incredible

Jim Thome - Mr. Incredible

Sox win! Thome hits game winning homer in the eighth. Opening  day a success. So far so good for the White Sox and all those “question marks” the Chicago sports media keep harping on. In the opening game Question mark Getz had two hits, including a double that barely made it out of the infield and was plenty good in the field. Question mark Fields also had two hits, with a remarkable run-saving, possible game saving play with the bases loaded. Question mark Thome was incredible, and question mark Clayton Richard kept the Sox in the game with two scoreless innings.

Here’s how Mark Gonzalez of the Tribune summarized it: Although it was the old guy who will get all the headlines, it was the White Sox‘s so-called young guys who made the 4-2 Opening Day victory over Kansas City possible.

That didn’t go unnoticed by manager Ozzie Guillen, who may have spent his spring in Arizona but heard complaints all the way from Chicago from fans unhappy with new pieces being inserted in the defending American League Central Division Champions.

“A lot of people will be talking about Jimmy [Thome’s] home run, obviously, because that’s a big one for us,” he said. “But if you look at … Josh Fields‘ bunt to third base, the hit-and-run by the kid [Chris] Getz. The biggest piece of the game [was when Clayton Richard] went out and shut it down for a couple innings to give us the opportunity to keep competing.”

Fields and Getz directly accounted for three of the four runs and scored ahead of Thome after his eighth-inning, game-winning homer.

All in all, a great start. I am still a little concerned about some of the lack of clutch hitting again, especially by Quentin and Ramirez, but it’s a long season, and hopefully the first game is a harbinger of a great new season for Sox fans. I like the changes and the young guys we now have in the minors for the future. Go Sox!

Good Luck Cubs

Just thought I’d wish the Cubs well after their successful opening game when they beat Roy Oswalt – no small feat. I hope they have a successful season and I will comment along the way. From what I hear on all the Chicago media TV and radio, I don’t even have to follow the season, since it is a foregone conclusion the Cubs have already clinched the playoffs.

loulou

I guess Sweet Lou has the season under control and we will talk again in October. Let me know if anybody has any Cub issues to discuss. I listen to the SCORE, and ESPN 1000 celebrities and they say only the White Sox have issues. I watch COMCAST Sportsnet and the conclusion is the Cubs are in the playoffs. So this is the first season I can remember where we know the winner of at least one division in April. Seems like I also was told the Yankees were a shoo-in the last three seasons. But alas, what do those east coast guys know. Chicago guys are smarter. So, see you in October!

Bears turn it around and become credible

Jay “Cutler has been traded to the Chicago Bears for two first-round picks, a third-round pick and quarterback Kyle Orton, FOXSports.com has learned.

Denver will receive Chicago’s first- and third-round pick in this year’s draft, and Chicago’s first-round pick in 2010, along with Orton. The Bears get Cutler and the Broncos’ fifth-round pick this year.

Cutler has been feuding with the team since new Broncos coach Josh McDaniels pursued a trade with New England for former Patriot, and current Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Matt Cassel. ” according to Jay Glazer, Fox Sports.
They also added Orlando Pace as a starting tackle.

I guess I’ll eat my previous words and take back all my previous criticism. Maybe they are not the cheapskates I thought they were. They finally have a quarterback. I was wrong. I’ll admit it. I’m back to being a fan watching the Bears and hoping for a winning season, despite the training camp snoozing.

Jay Cutler

Jay Cutler