Drink: Gnarled Head Old Vine Zinfindel
Carlos Boozer makes his triumphant return! With a Chicago Bulls team that has impressed early on, does the addition of The Beard spell total domination? Well, yeah, but not as you might have hoped.
The Bulls started a little out of rhythm, which could be expected with the addition of Boozer on the floor. And other than Derrick Rose, shots were not dropping. This led to a predictable run by the Magic. Boozer and Keith Bogans checked out of the game with three and a half minutes left, substituted by Taj Gibson and Ronnie Brewer. Essentially, this is the group that got the most playing time on the road trip. Oddly enough, the Bulls looked better with this lineup and ended the quarter down by six.
The second quarter opened with the newly modified Unit: DJ TrainWreck (Omer, Gibson, Korver, Brewer, and Watson). They looked clumsy and on many different pages. The Magic’s lead grew. The starters came back in. The Magic’s lead grew even more. Boozer was a very rusty non-factor. The half ended with the Magic up 61-37 with Noah and Rose obtaining three fouls apiece. This sent your humble NB journalist to see what kind of halftime shot could be brewed up.
Bulls Comeback Shot! In a shaker full of ice add a splash of: vodka, gin, Cap’t Morgan, dry vermouth, Scotch, peach schnapps, and triple sec (aka: every bottle I had), shake and pour.*
Well, the Magic can hit threes. The Bulls stepped up their aggression on defense (not a bad strategy when down by 24). This led to some double teams, which led to open threes. The Magic decided not to miss many of these. At least Boozer started to look like he was kicking off some rust. Other than that, there was the making of a run by the Bulls, but it was stopped and they found themselves one point closer at the end of the third.
JUDAS PATO: Unit: DJ TrainWreck, you are probably going to get some major playing time in the fourth, no?
UNIT: DJ TRAINWRECK: Oh yeah! [in the voice of the Kool-Aid Man]
JP: Unit: DJ TrainWreck, is there a shorter name you go by?
JP: Hey, Jeff, what’s your favorite color?
UDJTW: Kind of a foggy brown, like when you mix all of your watercolors together in art class.
JP: That is kind of like what my halftime shot looked like.
UDJTW: Sounds like that would taste like watercolors mixed together.
JP: Yup, yup. Hey, Rose just came back into the game. [pause] Are you still Unit: DJ TrainWreck, Jeff?
UDJTW: A mere Rose cannot reverse the mediocrity that is Jeff.
JP: Jeff, for a second you had me believing you could get back into this one. How are you talking to me if you are playing right now?
UDJTW: It’s called mailing it in, my friend.
JP: You are not my friend, Jeff. You are nobody’s friend.
UDJTW: Goodnight, Judas Pato. Goodnight, Grover’s Corners.
JP: Screw you, Jeff.
Sometimes the score does not tell the story of the game. I am afraid this is the case tonight. The Bulls were never as close as this 107-78 final would suggest (I know). The game began with one of those lackluster starts the Bulls have become known for, and continued with them pussyfooting their way through fourth quarters. There were hardly enough Bulls highlights for the end of the telecast. I wept. My dog wept. Jeff laughed.
The brutal start of the game was partially due to Boozer being back into the lineup, playing his first game (pre or regular season) with this team. Even so, a large part of the blame has to go on Rose. His bread and butter is driving to the rim. Not only is he an wicked finisher, this also draws the defense in for and easy kick-out. Whether it was due to a fear of Howard or not, he did not get this done. Rose settled for jumpers early; and the Magic were able to set their D and dominate the Bulls.
Danny Glover’s Story Time: For those of you who are not aware, Dwight Howard knocked Rose silly twice in two different games last year. The first time was right before the All-Star Game (in which Rose had to spend the break healing). The second time led to Rose being out along with an already injured Noah, then the Bulls dropped 10 straight games. Both had Rose out the first quarter of the game, without returning. Both were very intentional, neither were called that way. Hell, with the way the Rose gets calls, I am surprised either were fouls.
Regardless the reason, Rose did not drive, Boozer looked like he broke his hand tripping over a gym bag two months ago and was playing his first game back, and the Bulls lost. The Bulls have prided themselves on rebounding and were out rebounded 30-14 (Noah had zero rebounds!). The Bulls do not pride themselves on free throw shooting and promptly shot 66%, compared to Orlando’s 95%. Hell, the only good thing to come out of this thing was some low minutes for the starters.
*It is hard to judge a shot’s worth of liquid with so many bottles, which resulted in three shots worth. I am not going to lie, the third one was tough to throw down.