All I can say is wow. 72 points in a half for Chicago, who could do no wrong on offense AND defense. The performance reminded me of a conversation I had with a security guard in the Longsworth House Office Building (US House of Rep. office). Anyways, I told the guard that the Bulls were a legit playoff team, and he laughed it off, telling me to "enjoy the regular season." And I just deleted the word "bacon" that I absentmindedly typed because of the MJ Hanes commercial.
And enjoying it I am. I am a Bulls homer. The first Finals series I remember was Bulls-Lakers, and I've been a Chicago fan since. But outside my bias, this Bulls team is playoff good. 72 points in a half against Atlanta, a team that is a perfect example of what you should not do (overpay to make the second round of the playoffs). And they are making every shot.
And then there's the defense. Taj, Omar, and Miles play great defense off the bench. And CJ Watson has turned into a legit second-team offensive threat. This is a scary defensive team that can go big and small. Joakim and Omar to help on Dwight with the ability to play Taj at 5 and run.
The Hawks? No fight. Don't tell me their players are laying it out for the team, because it is painfully obvious that they are playing for the name on the back of the jersey. Don't believe me? Watch and make the call.
One comment I feel I must post: I listened and agreed to a lot of the commentary that listed Taj Gibson as too old with a ceiling too low when the Bulls drafted him. I'll admit to only watching a few of his games and not catching on to his ridiculously low utility rate early in his career, and even in his last year at USC. I wanted him to do well, but thought he was at best a 7th or 8th man.ReplyDelete
Well, now I'm eating my words. ESPN's True Hoop blog has a great post on how little trades (Thabo for Taj, getting Omar) helped the Bulls contend this year. And you know what? Maybe Taj is the 6th or 7th guy of the bench. But he is GREAT in that role. He is killing it with defense, offensive boards, and general toughness, and is overall tough to sub out, even for a borderline All-Star in Carlos Boozer. So props to the man.
I love how the Bulls management took an Billy Beane/Oakland A's approach to drafting him higher than he was perhaps rated, getting a player to work hard and believe in himself and put in the work. Great work by the organization, kind of behind the scenes, these last few years.