Drink: Glenfiddich 15, Rocks
This very day was the 235th birthday of The Wealth of Nations, Adam Smith’s bible of capitalism. Smith being a Scotsman and my love of fine Scotch made getting a tasty bottle of Scotch for tonight’s review a no-brainer. I have had a wide variety of Scotch in my day, and it does not get much better than Glenfiddich 15 in my humble opinion: ultra-smooth, without compromising any of the taste.
Early on in this contest Carlos Boozer picked up two quick personal fouls, and had to grab some bench within two minutes from the tip-off. On came Taj Gibson. Last year, Gibson was one of those situations where you were pissed that the Bulls had to start a 26th pick at power forward in his rookie season, but were quite pleased on how well that 26th pick played a matured, defensive game. This season saw Carlos “the Pops Mensah Bonsu” Boozer come in, and it was expected that all of our low-post problems would be solved.* Everyone knew that Taj was a great defensive presence, but the hang-up with the Bulls (for about a decade) has been the aforementioned low-post problems on offense. Yet, when Taj came in with the first unit so early on in this one, I began questioning if he was possibly the better option. Taj’s offensive game has improved immensely this season – developing a mid-range jumper and always one to go up strong on a dunk. And he brings solid D and rebounding – when combined with a healthy Noah, that makes for a formidable front court. Hell, even Bobcats color analyst, Dell Curry, had praise for Taj when he said of him, “He has a knack that is always around the basketball.” When I heard this, I kind of thought it was unfair that Gibson has a pet-knack working for him at all times.
Side Note: Am I the only one that finds the Dell Curry/Stephen Curry NBA commercials creepy? The little CGI-imposed kid is like the son in The Shining combined with Haley Joel Osmond from The Sixth Sense. Boy gives me the creeps! I half-expect him to eat Stephen’s soul at the end of the commercial.
While riding this Taj-high, I seemingly got my wish when Carlos Boozer went up for a dunk in the fourth and was brought down by possibly the worst #1 draft pick of all-time, Kwame Brown. Boozer went down in a heap and did not jump back up. It had you hoping that he was pulling a soccer-move and trying to garner sympathy from the ref. Then time passed and he stayed down. Unable to complete the free throws he earned, Boozer hobbled off the court and into the locker room. The fact that he was at least able to limp his way off the court, holds out hope that it is not a serious injury.
At the time of press, there was no word on the extent of Boozer’s injury. It looked like he was clutching his ankle, which is hardly a good thing, but on replay, I am happy it was that and not a knee. What makes this all even more scary is that in the third it looked like Luol Deng was banged up and about to come off for Kyle Korver, only to have Korver waved off and Deng continue. Losing Boozer is crappy enough, to have Boozer and Deng off…
As for the game itself, the whole affair was silly in my opinion. Despite being down Stephen Jackson, Tyrus Thomas (remember his upside?), and trading away Gerald Wallace, the Bobbycats were in this one until the fourth quarter. Yet, unlike their other two losses against this team, it never looked like the Bulls were in serious threat to lose this game. Derrick Rose was on his game. He distributed well and scored when he wanted to. Also (calling all cars who wrote off his three-point shot) Rose went 4-6 from beyond the arc – this as a follow-up to a 2-6 performance the night prior. I am not proclaiming that his three is back to accuracy it was at the beginning of the season, I am just saying that everyone has cold streaks, and his long ball may be warming up again.
The Bull’s fourth that started by featuring a D-Rose on his game, continued to keep the pace when he was subbed (and never needed to come back – logging only 31:34 minutes). The Robertcats played this one tight for three quarters, but the Bulls showed their pedigree in the forth and easily closed out his contest.
Also on this night, the Boston Celtics lost against the LA Clippers, moving the Bulls to 1.5 games back from the defending Eastern Conference Champs. If this night proves to be a trend, that means the Bulls could end up some 17 games ahead of the Celts (which I think would still make them the 6th seed in the West).
*By “low-post,” I mean the AAU way of playing low-post, which means shooting fade-aways and settling for open Js, because the traditional offensive post-up is all but dead. So it goes.