Drink: The Singleton Single Malt Scotch (12 yr)
So the Wooly Bullies entered this game with little to play for. Sure they’re just a game behind the San Antonio Spurs for home court throughout the playoffs, but are you gonna twerk twerk these last couple games stressing about the finals? If the Bulls make it to the finals, it won’t matter if they have home court. Omer Asik will be too busy filming a sequel to “Too Legit to Quit” to care about where the games are being held. Do you really think the Spurs will beat the Lakers anyway? With this in mind, I was anxious to see if Thibs would play the starters hard or ease back and let the Knickerbockers off easy.
Depending on who you listen to, Joakim Noah is either still hurt, out of rhythm, or hilariously high. Whichever, I’m sure he wanted to play/do it big/eat 3 sleeves of Hot Pockets. You could practically hear him during warm-ups shouting, “You gotta put Brad Bramish in the game!” We did know that Amar’e Stoudemire would be unavailable. I wonder if 2 Bronx Meatheads went back in time to inform him that he’d be missing his third straight game?
Early on, Landry Fields and Melo dropped too many open jumpers on the Bulls. Boozer pounded the glass, Beard first, to the tune of 8 points and 8 boards. The Knicks held a slim lead throughout the quarter, but late in the first, Ronnie Brewer threw D Rose a lob that the “will-be-MVP” threw down impressively. After the dunk, “woman biter” and analyst Marv Albert noted that the New York fans reacted with the same reluctant awe that MJ used to bring Madison Square Garden. After one, the Bulls trailed by 3.
Chicago started the second with Watson, Brewer, Deng, Taj and Omer as UDJTW. CJ and Asik were aggressive, but the overall effort on the defensive end was laxed. The Bulls were down by as much as 9. To add injury to this insult, Ronnie Brewer sprained his thumb scrambling for a loose ball. Watson cut the lead to 2 by the time D Rose came back into the game. TNT decided to show Regis Philbin a few times? If there has ever been a more confused and lucid fan at a game, I haven’t seen him. Noah played well and HIT HIS FREE THROWS. Rose attacked the hell out of the rim. Buuut, the Knicks led 55-52 at the half on 56% shooting.
The Bulls were hot starting the 2nd, with Bogans knocking down a couple of threes and Deng asserting himself. They went on a 26-2 run and wasn’t even that close. Boozer grabbed every rebound. Noah had a sweet strip. Rose did whatever he wanted, including a reverse 2 hand jam where he practically scraped his head on the rim. He blew by defenders so easily, he could’ve stopped his dribble, done “The Dougie” and Chauncy Billups would’ve broken an ankle. It seemed like Regis was guarding him. By the time Melo slashed for a lay-up and-one, the Knicks looked done. But this is the NBA. New York scrapped back in to end the quarter down 11. Coach Thibs surely knew the Knicks would respond. He probably said something like, “So now we’ve shaken the tree. Let’s wait and see what falls on our heads.”
What fell were buckets from the Knicks bench, outscoring UDJTW to cut the lead to 7. To add another injury to insult, Noah turned his bad ankle. Rose came back into the game to right the ship. “I’ve got all five senses and I slept last night, that puts me six up on the lot of you.” He hit a 3, Taj had a dunk, Booze had an old fashioned three-point-play and the game was back in hand. The Bulls won by 13, ending the Knicks winning streak at 6.
Rose finished with 26 and though he had just 3 assists, he moved the ball around better than that. Boozer ended the game with 14 points and 22 boards. Deng had a workman-like 23 points and 10 rebounds.
X-rays on Brewers thumb were negative and Noah said he could’ve gone back into the game, so it seems that the injuries weren’t too serious. But the answer to the opening paragraph is: Thibs will not ease back. He will never. Ease. Back.