Drink: Hancock’s President’s Reserve Bourbon
The New York Knicks are an interesting match-up for the Bulls – one such match-up that may have taken Thibs (and a brickless free-throw finale) a second chance to figure out. The combination of Noah, Boozer, Asik, and Taj (aka: the bigs) played 12 less minutes than the Sunday’s contest against these very same Knickerbockers. NYK plays a small, quick line-up and the Bulls responded with increased offerings from John Lucas III Esquire (granted, the hand was forced with Rose inactive), rookie Jimmy Butler, and centerless line-ups. Bulter was a nice treat, as his and Deng’s suffocating D on Melo held the superstar to 20 less shots than his Easter performance. (On a side note, Noah’s occasional switch on Melo was disastrous. As good as Noah’s D may be, it is not suited for Melo’s uber-fast shot creation.)
Although it was frightening that the Bulls held an almost identical 10-point lead going into the final minutes of this game, they were able to walk tall and close this one out, unlike Sunday’s meltdown. And while you certainly would not hang this game in an art gallery, it was a solid win for the Bulls, who now have to prepare for their late 80s/early 90s Pistons, the Miami Heat, on Thursday.
The Masked Mystery Mr. Rip Hamilton scored a team-high 20 points (7-14 FG), in addition to four assists and five rebounds, over 20.5 minutes. Since Rip has come back, his role in with team has been iffy. Being a starter in name only, he has seemingly become this year’s Keith Bogans. The most frustrating part of Rip’s game has been his inconsistency. There are times when the wily veteran makes the clever pass or pulls a fake for a high percentage flip. Then there are times when his mid-range J (the staple of his career) looks off… and off again… and forces a pass or shot.
This game started the same way. Then Rip came alive in the third (though, his mid-range J was still dodgy). Certainly Rip was the catalyst for the Bulls offense in the third – while grabbing a few choice rebounds as well. It was the Rip we all hoped would be rekindled when he signed his name on the line which is dotted.
The unfortunate side of it all was that he was shining his light while Rose was watching from the bench. The theory of Rip pushing the Bulls over the edge teeters on his ability to play with Da Rose. As Rose sat tonight, Rip put in one of his best performances in a Bulls uniform, mask and headband. Hopefully, Rose is able to get back to something resembling healthy, the rest of the team stays healthy (obvious, relatively so with Deng), and the Bulls find their vibe heading into the post season.
First Round Opponent? It is a definite noodle-scratcher that the Melo-on-Boozer issue was not forced for the second straight game. While Melo has been playing much better D lately, he is still a sub-par defender playing out of position. The offense should have been built around the premise of feeding the Beard. Instead, Boozer took two less shots (nine to 11) tonight. … It was swell to see the Bulls clean up their turnovers tonight. After six turnovers early in the second, the Bulls ended up with 12 for the game. … The second quarter was huge for the Bulls. It was a review of their depth, as the Bulls played with their bench for nearly the entire period and held the Knicks to ten points. Bravo, Unit: DJ TrainWreck! … I would have really liked to see Mike Jimmy on the court in the fourth, in lieu of John Lucas II Esquire – even despite my bias toward Jimmy over JL3. Lucas was playing with two very capable scorers in Boozer and Korver. I think that a better distributor and better defender (Mike Jimmy) would have been a great combination with the two offensive-minded former Jazz players. With that said, Esquire’s minutes did not last long in the fourth, as Watson came back in early. … Jeff Van Gundy on Korver in a bind and forcing a shot in the fourth, “Korver trying to create his own shot… not exactly his forte.” Understatement of the season? … Yes, I rip on Korver with just about any chance I get (which are many) (OK, I will stop). Tonight, from the Credit Where Credit is Due Desk, comes much praise for Kyle Korver’s fourth quarter showing. Korver was fire: hitting shots, BLOCKING SHOTS(?!), hitting a three point play off a fast break(?!?!), rescuing a baby from a burning building, and announcing he will pick up Rick Santorum’s failed presidential bid. Good show,
your worthless piece of shit Kyle! … The Bulls bounced back without their superstar and handled the Knicks after a disappointing loss on Easter. They punked the bunny and earned all three Reagans (maybe a tad generous):