Knicks vs. Bulls had a lot to live up to on TNT. Why it’s rather unfair for a mere basketball game to “try” following a stirring re-run of “Bones”. But with a plucky Steve Kerr alongside Marv “The Biter” Albert, the broadcasting team alone looked to be “Bones Worthy.” The story lines were compelling. Would Kerr rip Amar’e Stoudemire who never came up big for his Suns? Would Mike D’Antoni have an answer for D-Rose? Could Raymond Felton add an apostrophe to his name to fit in with his coach and power forward? How would the Knicks fare with two starters who are used to playing on courts with a trapezoid lane? Could the Bulls finally stay out of foul trouble and turnover hell? Would TNT show that commercial where Dr. Dre works on particle acceleration dressed as a Daft Punk roadie?
The Bulls jumped out to a well deserved lead. With the Knicks focusing on Rose and Deng, Taj Gibson stepped in and hit jumpers. But the Bulls didn’t seem too interested in defending. Soon enough, turnovers piled up, a couple of dumb fouls ensued and the Wooly Bullies couldn’t find an offensive rhythm. Rose did go gonzo on the rim with an emphatic dunk and Noah soon followed with a throw down, but after that, they fell asleep. Following a 40 point game, Preseason Luo (Luol Deng) started 1 of 6 from the floor.
Coach Thibs head-scratchingly likes to take all his starters out to leave the Bulls with zero scoring options, so the second quarter did not get off to a solid start. Down 21, I wondered how teams like the Pistons and Knickerbockers could roll up such big leads on our boys. They ignored the three point arc defensively allowing something called a Gallinari to score 21 points in the first half. The Knicks went run-and-gun on the Bulls, who seemed unaware that this was an option in basketball. Ronny Turiaf looked like was up against Pepperdine’s front court in route to 6 first half boards. As the first 24 minutes came to a close, the Knicks showed that they appreciated playing in a stadium where the roof was not “caving in” and held an 18 point lead.
The second half started with a much better Bulls effort, Bullfort if you will. A couple of 3’s, a block here, a steal there and DENG stripping Gallinari leading to a dunk forced D’An’To’Ni into a timeout with the Knickerbocker lead cut to 12. TNT came out of that commercial break with a Noah/Rodman comparison montage that reminded me how bad ass Jokim has become. Toney Douglas, of all idiots, thwarted the Bulls run with a couple of 3 balls to rack up 21 points late in the third quarter. Noah was all over the place though and kept the team within Striking Distance. Rose started to knife his way through the NYK defense which included a twisting lay-up that has become “Vintage Rose”. Deng popped a late three and the Bulls trailed 93-83 with a quarter to go.
Steve Kerr used one of my most hated grammatical errors by claiming that coach Thibs “literally breathes and sleeps basketball”. The Kicks built the lead back because they could not miss a frickin’ three pointer! The Bulls ran right back with some bench flair. Kyle Korver, Ronnie Brewer and C.J. Watson bucked up to cut the lead to 9 with just under 5 to play. Korver really got his game going with a quick release, but while he was lighting it up, every Knick seemed to answer with 3’s. Raymond Felton nailed a big shot to prove he doesn’t need an apostrophe in his name. Coach Thibs decided against putting the starters in the game late with the Bulls hanging around. The fans were disappointed, but its not like Rose could’ve stopped the Knicks from hitting EVERY THREE POINTER THEY TOOK.
The Bulls losing to the Knicks makes me feel almost as embarrassed for my city as the movie Blues Brothers 2000 (filmed in Toronto). I half-expected Spike Lee to high step onto the floor slamming Radio Raheem’s boombox on the Bulls logo at center court.