Tag Archives: NBA

Been away for a while

I have been away for a while watching all these Chicago teams excepth the Blackhawks self destruct. Since I last posted, the Bulls bowed out in the playoffs, which was at least a growth experience for the young players left on the team today. The White Sox pulled another Ozzie Guillen driven schizophrenic el foldo at he end of the season. The Cubs never played right and now need to back up the truck. The Blackhawks won the Stanley Cup and then proceeded to dismantle a lot of their team and will be rebuilding again for a couple years. And the Bears….  You may just read my past posts and you will have the same old, same old Bears. Lovie loved a vanilla preseason, the team started out of shape (but so was half the NFL, because they followed Lovie’s lead and refused to get prepared in the preseason) but despite no offensive line to speak of, is still in the race, mostly due to the other teams like Dallas, Minnesota, Arizona, Carolina, etc. also not getting in shape for the season.  My team by team capsule is as follows:

Chicago White Sox

Bye, bye Paul Konerko and maybe AJ. Starting pitching looking good, but they can’t make up their minds on a closer and are going to let some good relievers go with no real replacements from the minors. We need a third baseman, first baseman and a bench upgrade because we are sure to let go one or two outfielders. I will wait until Kenny makes his signings and trades, but know that it won’t be real upgrades, just churning of journeymen. Until there is some upgrades, second place may even be a stretch.

Chicago Cubs

They new manager looks like an upgrade from dimentia-challenged Lou Pinella. Carlos Zambrano is Carlos Zambrano, a question mark. They have a couple of good youngsters, but will be losing some veterans, have no first baseman, should lose Aramis but can’t see the forest for the trees. They need some pitching help and upgrades at most positions. Second and short look secure as well as catcher, everywhere else is a question mark. Let’s see what they do over the winter. Not encouraging right now. A new manager can only win a handful of games and the players need to play.

Blackhawks

Our only champion. Kudos to the former gm now elsewhere for assembling the team that won. The new geniuses will have to try to match him. Let’s wait and see before we make a rash assumption.

Bulls

They look pretty good so far, but obviously at least one player short of contention for a title. Boozer will help, but he will be replacing Taj Gibson who is playing as well as Boozer can. We need and off guard. We need Luol Deng to step even further up. The choice of guards in the free agent pool was iffy at best. Brewer is hopeless. Bogans was a flop in Orlando and will be a flop here. I wish we still had Heinrich or Gordon and forgot about Lebron the megamind. Playoffs will be a struggle. Maybe second round.

Bears

Watching the Bears is like going to the psychiatrist. You gotta talk it out to convince yourself to do it again. ‘Nuff said.

Double Double …….Doubled! Noah Incredible

Noah on a rampage

If you have read my previous post you know I am a big Joakim Noah fan. I said a year ago that he was part of the Bulls base for a long time. He has now proven my confidence in him was well warranted. He lit up the Cavaliers for 21 points and 20 rebounds. This is harder than a triple double because it is a double double doubled. Noah has also become spokesman for the team as he has been constantly interviewed by the press, in he hopes he will say something provocative of stupid. You see the real press is so blind, they keep referring to him as a buffoon and a player of no consequence. They constantly harp that the Bulls have no frontcourt player of consequence and no post presence. That has become a jingle for the TV reporters. And they continue to show their stupidity over and over by repeating the mantra game after game. Well I beg to differ! Joakim will be on next year’s all star team, showing up the idiots that put Brad Miller on the ballot but not Noah. His emergence has allowed the Bulls to refocus on the thing they really need, an all star type shooter. Lebron James, Dwayne Wade or Johnson in the free agent  sweepstakes this summer. He is a franchise player now whether the press or dumb fans like it or not. There is even a column by Scoop Jackson on ESPN.com that you should all read that enhance my faith. His column is at http://sports.espn.go.com/chicago/nba/columns/story?columnist=jackson_scoop&page=jackson/100421

Thank you Vinnie DelNegro

WINNER!

WINNER!

I got excited in the offseason when I thought Doug Collins would be the Bulls’ coach.  I was disappointed when he was not named.  I thought he was the perfect choice for this young team and would make them exciting. I guess I was wrong. It seems that John Paxon not only found a coach that has been willing to let Tyrus Thomas (to a point) and Joakim Noah (to a point) become that tandem I was hoping for. No matter what happens more this season, Vinnie DelNegro has orchestrated a playoff we will not soon forget. Just look at some of the comments in the local papers:

His steal, 3-point play, Rose’s block force Game 7

It’s the fourth quarter Thursday night, and a fan sitting behind me asks a question of no one in particular: “What the hell is happening?” Actually, it’s more of a plaintive cry than a question.

Well, let’s see. The Celtics have just scored 18 unanswered points to take an eight-point lead late in Game 6. The Bulls have just missed seven straight shots, thrown the ball away once and been given a technical.

The short answer to what the hell is happening is that the world is falling apart, piece by painful piece.

But then the expected happened, this being the series from a galaxy far, far away. The Bulls come back. Of course they do because that’s what the crazy, ridiculous script calls for.

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New Bulls TV show: Heroes

I’m here for the fun …

The Bulls were looking for a hero.

They found a bunch of them.

In three overtimes, they had to.

At first, it looked like it would be John Salmons.

We already knew that Salmons has made Luol Deng expendable. But it was looking as if he was making Ben Gordon the same.

Salmons was money when the guy who wants the big money couldn’t play. After just 12 points on 4-of-14 shooting and an air ball at the end of regulation, Gordon was on the bench with six fouls and a technical.

In his place, Salmons drove for a layup in the final 30 seconds of the first overtime to get the Bulls even in a gotta-have-it Game 6. Then he put on a show in the second overtime. He drew a fifth foul on Paul Pierce and hit both free throws. He hit a three over Ray Allen. He drove for a layup to put the Bulls up by three.

All of this in about two minutes, by the way.

But Salmons in the second overtime and his 35 points overall were not enough. So, it looked as if Brad Miller would be the hero. It looked as if Miller would get his revenge the way good pros do.

Bloodied at the mouth, the result of an uncalled flagrant foul by Rajon Rondo at the end of a Game 5 loss in Boston, Miller came off the bench in Game 6 and scored 20 points, including a stunning drive from the top of the key to tie it at the end of regulation.

But most importantly, the guy who was woozy at the free-throw line from the Rondo smack in Boston, soberly sank two free throws at the end of the first overtime in Chicago.

Still, the ragged defending champion Celtics would not go away, especially Ray Allen, who went for 51, including a massive three to give us a third overtime.

Goodness, did the Bulls need a hero now.

Joakim Noah, anyone?

No way.

Way.

There he was, sticking out his long arms, deflecting a Pierce pass in the final minute of a tied third overtime, then racing down the court and jamming the ball while drawing Pierce’s sixth and final foul.

Basket, free throw, Bulls up by three with 35 seconds to go, and one of Boston’s two best clutch shooters was gone. Says hero to me.

But no. Even that incomprehensible highlight was not enough.

And then the kid made a play.

After Kirk Hinrich stunningly missed a layup that would’ve sealed it, Boston had the ball down one with 16.7 to play. As Rondo drove, spun and rose up for a potential game-winning shot, Derrick Rose soared to block it.

Time remained, the ball was loose, and there was the Rookie of the Year, picking up a loose ball and racing to the other end to draw a foul with 3.2 seconds to go. He missed both shots, but no matter.

The Celtics were out of timeouts and out of miracles.

The Bulls were in Game 7. In a locker room full of heroes.

Rosenblog ……May 1, 2009

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Chicago Bulls’ Joakim Noah fired up after his heroics

Joakim Noah looked like, well, a runaway Bull as he dribbled downcourt, anticipating the foul that never came.

“I thought I would get fouled right away for sure,” Noah said of his game-changing steal, full-court drive and dunk that fouled Paul Pierce out in triple overtime. “It never came. So I just dunked it in.”

Ho and hum? Actually, Noah could barely contain his emotions after his play that included a game-high 15 rebounds.

“I feel great, like I could play again right now,” Noah said. “You’re numb to being tired and aches and pains because this is bigger than that. That’s what wanting to win is all about.”

K.C. Johnson, Chicag Tribune  May 1, 2009

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Noah way: A battle back from ‘death’

OK, just stop it. This really can’t be happening, can it? C’mon, another overtime game — this one a triple-overtime affair? Get me some antacid pills, and get me an extension on my deadline.

Perhaps the only appropriate thing to say after the Bulls survived for a 128-127 triple-overtime victory Thursday night in Game 6 against the Boston Celtics to force a Game 7 on Saturday was this:

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.

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?