Drink: Bulleit Bourbon, rocks
In my notes for the 4th quarter, I wrote, “This game is stupid.” If one sentence could wrap-up this game, that was it. In fact, it was so stupid that Dick Stockton did the play-by-play for this game. If you happened to not catch the broadcast, you could have exhumed the corpse of Harry Caray, fed it tall boys of Old Style for five hours, and it would have called a more accurate game than Dick Stockton (who was next to Chris Webber – who I think is one of the finest in the game – the ultimate contrast of good and bad). I could write an entire post on Stockton’s awful shortcomings, but there is an equally incompetent Bulls effort to get to.
This game was sloppy from the get-go. The Pacers started without hitting in the first, unlike the last game. Yet the Bulls could hardly take advantage because most of their possessions ended in a turnovers (5 TOs in the first 3 mins). The Bulls definitely had a get-it-to-Booz game plan early on, after his disappointing Game 1. Boozer was much more aggressive… on the offensive end. On the defense end, Boozer was out of position and playing poor D as usual (with going 3-7 from the charity stripe, to boot). To put it on Boozer entirely is unfair. The Bulls were rotating horribly on defense and things were rotten in
Denmark the defense all over the place.
It was not only defense, as the Bulls looked silly on the offensive end as well. Their focus was on Boozer, and as a result Rose did not develop much of a rhythm and grabbed two early fouls – then grabbing some bench with 3:40 left in the first quarter (which was not recognized by Stockton until much later). Rose ended the game with 6 of the Bulls 21 turnovers, and I was definitely on the same page as Barkley when he said he thought Rose had more TOs than that. It is surprising that the Bulls only had 21 TOs as a team. This was a sloppy (and yes, I am fighting all “sloppy seconds” references) affair by your Chicago Bulls, folks.
Much of what has been written above was in reference to the first quarter, but it may as well have been the story of the whole game. It was sloppy as all get-out. Girlacher would have called it a “hot mess” and I would agree. How did it all end? With a Bulls victory. Why am I unhappy? This can hardly be called “contender form.” It is good enough to get past the Pacers (especially considering that Indiana can hardly claim “home court advantage” with a Bulls-fan-heavy Conseco Fieldhouse waiting in Indy), but what happens when they have to go against a real playoff opponent, i.e. a .500+ opponent?
The Bulls needed for someone other than Rose to set-up, and even Rose hardly stepped up in this one. Sure he finished with 36pts, 8rebs, and 6asts, but he had the aforementioned turnovers and his shot selection was less than satisfactory (two fade-way air balls?). Much of that shot selection came from the fact that (much like Game 1) there were not many other options (Booz and Deng had mediocre games). The Pacers did a great job breaking down passing lanes and the Bulls were not hitting in general. Offense has always been a question for this team, and now that the playoffs have begun, it looks like those inquiries have some validation.
END NOTE: Die-hard-non-rich Bulls fans have two options come playoffs: mortgage their house for playoff tickets or watch it on TV. Most (save 300-level fans) choose to enjoy the game at home. Ergo, we are left with a load of white-collar fans at the game. This leads to the true fans watching the crowd on television sit on their hands and give little support to the team. For chrissake, at the very f’n least, wear red! Instead, we are left with fans dressed in dress shirts of blue, white, etc, sitting in the prime seats, while fans who own three different red BULLS shirts sit at home and watch as those asshats comment on how, “That number 13 sure has some spunk!” Also, please do not chant, “Pacers Suck!” when you are supposed to be blowing out this team every game, instead of squeaking out victories. There are two situations in which you can pull off that chant: if you are up by any amount against a favorite or if you are up by 30+ by a Pacers-caliber team.