Drink: Old Pulteney Single Malt Scotch
I had the Minnesota broadcast for this one, and early on, the game was in Boozer-tastic Audio! The usually very audible Carlos Boozer was even more audible. The curses, the non-word yells, the hey’s – it was all amplified. Then the broadcast started getting all screwy. The visuals were skipping and pausing, while the audio kept on going (being Minnesota, I assume they got hit by a blizzard, yeti, or both). The result was an audio track that was a good three seconds ahead of the visual, and therefore, unwatchable. Right around when the gloriously-vocal Boozer picked up a technical (“Goddamn!”), I decided to mute the game and put on some tunes instead. So Fugazi announced the rest of the game for your humble Bulls journalist extraordinaire.
The Bulls have had a steady diet of nothing lately to begin games. Yet, early on in this contest it was clear that they were in on the kill taker. Do not get me wrong, it helps that they were playing the woeful Timberwolves (“She’s not moving!”). Joakim Noah sat out tonight (ankle), so Kurt Thomas (who I believe was a rookie when the material for 13 Songs came out) got the nod at center. The Wolves got a dose of red medicine early and often tonight.
While driving home from work and listening to Danny Glover’s rookie album, I wondered how many Bulls fans would actually watch this contest. The Wolves (with a consistent wood diet) are battling for the honors of the worst team in the NBA – and that is with an all-star on their roster (no small feat). Conversely, the Bulls are trying to close out the season on top of the East (no small feat in its own right). And as Ian MacKaye let me know, “I never thought too hard on dying before,” I figured it should at least be a good romp. Unfortunately, it was not even that.
At times in the second half, the Bulls were flirting with a 30 point lead, yet it hardly looked that way. Derrick Rose had a solid night, but he was hardly looking to take it over, and ended up 5-14 from the field – but some of those should of been fouls (it was an oddly officiated game for both teams). Carlos Boozer had a great stat line, going for 24 points and 14 boards, yet he had more room to work the lane without Noah in there. And that will probably be the focal point of the box score.
Much has been made of Noah and Boozer’s lack of chemistry. This game certainly adds fuel to that fire, as Boozer put up some great numbers in Noah’s absence. It is a bit of reason for concern. With those two players missing the most games (by far) on this roster, neither has been able to develop a rhythm with the other. On the other hand, it should not be much of a surprise that their stats are going to suffer when both are playing and filling an offensive role down low. When Noah is not playing, Kurt “I’m too old for this shit” Thomas fills in. When Boozer is out, Taj Gibson takes his stead. Both of the replacements spend much more time in the waiting room on offense than their more offensively-minded predecessors. Still, it must be said that Noah and Boozer need to find some understanding before the playoffs begin. Which is to say, they need to find it in the next eight games (with a questionably healthy Noah).
Oh yeah, there was a game tonight. It was little fun to watch (outside of my announcers). The Bulls won by 17 and that was with the Wolves “fighting” back at the end. Rose put in 30 minutes and Thibs did not even bother putting him in for the fourth. Meanwhile, Luol Deng – while beat up – still logged 36 minutes (more than the other four healthy starters). Rose may be the league MVP, but there is little doubt who Thibs looks to more than anyone else.