Drink San Pellegrino
Even with three starters out (four, if you count Hinrich and Rose, I suppose) and coming off a game the previous night where Taj Gibson and Luol Deng played all of the contest less four seconds, you always have a chance against the ATL Dirty, Dirty Hawks. Records aside, these two teams are polar opposites. The Bulls are built on discipline and hustle. The ATL resembles something closer to a rec league squad. They show up when they please and lose interest quickly. I imagine if a player on the Hawks was late to a game because he had to drive his kid to band practice that anyone would care.
And this is at the crux of being a fan of either of these teams. To be a Bulls fan today, is to know that your squad is going to come out and fight, regardless of the situation. Sure, there are some games where they come out and look clueless, but this is rarely a result of lack of hustle, and usually due to offensive inability. On the flip side, the ATL are frequently plain lazy. And really, for the high percentage of shitty fans that the city of Atlanta boasts (across all sports), they have an apt representative in the Hawks.
Thus we found the Bulls in Atlanta Saturday night , battling the whole contest, despite their casualties in Noah, Boozer, and some douchey point guard from Kansas University. (Granted, the ATL had injury woes too, chiefly in Lu Williams.) We saw them entering the fourth quarter with a nine-point lead, one in which they assuredly would struggle to maintain with the heavy legs of the players involved – so many minutes on the hardwood in two nights and two cities. And while the Bulls hardly handled the ending quarter with grace, they looked like goddamn ballerinas compared to the shitfest that was the ATL Dirty, Dirty.
Balderdash With the disaster that was Nazr Mohammed starting in New Jersey the previous night, Thibodeau forewent starting a traditional center and built his front line with Taj, Deng, and James Butler. And, unsurprisingly, this was by far and away their best front three for the second night in a row. What was most impressive was the ball movement when this line was combined with Rip Hamilton and Nathaniel Cornelius Robinson. … It is never fun to see a player go down (except for Dwayne Wade), but when Jeff Teague tweaked his hip and the Hawks were left with Jannero Pargo – well, I think that was rather funny for any Bulls fan. … There was a Vlad Rad sighting in this one. That is all. … The Bulls very difficult stretch continues tomorrow as they head to Indiana to face division rivals, the Pacers. After that, they fly out west to play in two very difficult venues, against two quality opponents, the Nuggets and Jazz, before going back home and hosting the Spurs. Yipes!
I do not like to get carried away with my Reagans, but I think the Bulls fully deserved it for the second night in a row. If nothing else, the front trident’s (Taj, Deng, Jimmy) line of three double-doubles (highlighted by Taj’s 19-19 performance) should net the the three Reagans alone.