Drink: Seagram’s VO Manhattan
If for only one game, Winning Ugly died a wonderful death. Imagine the Chicago Bulls are Dalton and the Toronto Raptors/Winning Ugly are Jimmy:
Actually, that was way too close of a contest. It was more like if the Bulls were Bruce Lee and the Raptors were the entire opposing dojo:
Alright, if you did not see the game, you may see the score and scoff at a mere 20-point win. Well, you dirty Brit, get this: the entire 4th quarter was played by some form of Unit: DJ TrainWreck. Jolly good, no?
To begin this whole affair, the Raptors were shooting red-hot, jumping to an early lead. The Bulls observed this anomaly, cataloged it, and then took over. Despite Andrea Bargnani hitting his first two for five points, and the Raptors following suit to open the game, the Bulls finished the quarter up 29-27. What’s more, the Bulls did it in style.
If you have witnessed some of the games sans Noah, you would have seen the Winning Ugly phenomenon. Hell, Derrick Rose’s signature is being able to drive, hang, and finish some of the sickest shots the NBA has documented. Yet, during this Winning Ugly stretch, even Rose was coming up short around the rim. This all ended – if only temporarily – tonight!
Rose had many beautiful cuts to the hole: splitting two and then eluding Bargnani, to finish the drive. Then there was a drive where Bargnani came out by the arc – Rose blew past him and Jerryd Bayless – then attracted the three other defenders on the court, kicking it to Luol Deng for the open three.
Yet, Rose was hardly pulling Winning Pretty on his own. Deng had many great drives to the rim. In the first he took on three Velociraptors, cutting them up, and rising above them all to lay it in. Later on, Carlos Boozer dropped it off to Taj Gibson (going for 16 points & 14 rebounds in 25 flippin’ minutes!), who split two defenders, while changing hands, and laying it in. For Pete’s sake, even Omer “Sloth” Asik had his power dunks and Brian “Rapaport” Scalabrine hit a fade away to the crowd’s delight!
To gain a little perspective, Toronto lost Chris Bosh in the off season, and are hovering around the bottom of the league, even when they are healthy (which they are not). On the flip-side, the Bulls have very much struggled to put away inferior opponents as of late. The difference in this game was two-fold: driving and energy.
Here is a little secret: there are few quality centers in the Association. It is the most polluted position in the game. Many teams are sporting lineups that feature a glorified power forward as the starting center. Other teams have a situation like that of the Raptors, a starting center with a center’s height, but a small forward’s game. Given this, it is imperative that the Bulls take advantage of these non-true-center-lineups and take it to the paint. The Bulls brought it to the hole tonight, which is something they have lacked as of late.
Also, during the aforementioned stretch of games, the Bulls have had a pattern of gaining leads and then hitting a lull, in which their opponent would come right through the door they held wide open. In this game, the Bulls opened a lead in the second quarter and kept up the energy level for the entire game. They hit a cold spell in the third quarter, but this was fueled by turnovers and missed free throws. I am not claiming that these are permissible errors, yet it is refreshing to see that it was not due to an energy deficiency (which often looks like a lack of effort).
Moral of the Game: Do not make signs that mock Chen Zhen’s (Derrick Rose) school. It will only lead to him coming to your dojo and laying waste to everything in sight. And for that moral, we give you two thumbs up!