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The Chicago Bulls looked like winners in last night’s opener at the United Center vs The San Antonio Spurs. It was a team performance through and through and if John Salmon’s could hit a few shots, it would have been a blowout. Joakim Noah had a double double even though he was matched against the great Tim Duncan. Kirk Heinrich not only had 14 points but also 6 rebounds, 2 blocked shots and made Tony Parker irrelevant. His defense was only an example of the whole team playing team defense and shared scoring with 6 players in double figures.
The Chicago media is raving about Derrick Rose and he had a good game for someone playing the first time in four weeks. But he was only a contributor to the team effort. Tyrus Thomas had a big third quarter that salted the game away. Luol Deng celebrated his return with 17 points and nine rebounds. Brad Miller contributed 9 points as well to the team effort. John Salmons missed a boat load of shot and still had 10 points, so his season can only improve. The most impressive thing is that the team looked steady and professional throughout the game and had no long dry spells. And unlike the last few years there was no third quarter drought, instead they took the lead and built it up steadily. Impressive.
Our local sportswriters are writing how the Bulls will either not make the playoffs, or maybe match last years’ .500 season. They are all lamenting the loss of Ben Gordon like it will cost the Bulls the playoffs. I think they are dead wrong. I not only think they will have at least 45-50 wins, but I think they can get as high as third seed in the Eastern Conference. I think Orlando and Cleveland may have better records, but I like the team, their attitude, their ability to play defense and the maturity Noah and Thomas are showing on both ends of the court. Go Bulls!