Monday, January 24, 2005

Answer: 1998

Question: When is the last time the Bulls did _[insert feat here]__?

I'm writing this in the middle of tonight's game at Atlanta, but its safe to say that the Bulls are in the middle of delivering a severe beatdown to the Hawks. While they started out pretty sloppily, the Bulls began toying with the Hawks on both ends and have now maintained a 30+ point lead. The Bulls were just too big, too fast, and too intense for the lowly Hawks tonight, even on the road (if you can give Phillips arena any type of advantage anyway). With tonight's win the Bulls move to over .500 this late in the season for the first time since....well, 1998, of course.

So since my last post, there have been 3 wins, with a huge road victory over the Pistons sandwiched in between two expected victories over the aforementioned Hawks. The story of the Pistons game was the unorthodox value that Andres Nocioni provides:

Give Andres Nocioni credit for applying plenty of it. The rookie forward found himself smack dab in the middle of two plays in a wild stretch just about midway through the fourth.

As Rasheed Wallace drained a jumper to trim the Bulls' lead to 83-80, Ben Wallace and Nocioni became entangled and were called for a double foul.

Ben Wallace argued vehemently, drawing one technical foul. On the ensuing Bulls possession, after Kirk Hinrich sank that free throw, Nocioni pestered Richard Hamilton into a loose-ball foul on a rebound. The Pistons were enraged with that call, drawing two technical fouls, one on Rasheed Wallace and one on Chauncey Billups.

Hinrich sank both for an 86-80 lead, which Chandler added to by splitting a pair of free throws on that extra possession.

I'm pretty sure that goading opponents into losing composure' is reflected in his PER, but it certainly came in handy that night.

(By the way, the Bulls swept the Pistons at the Palace for the first time since...1998 1996.)

So the Bulls keep rolling, and as you can tell there's little to add. Few things are going wrong, outside of Ben Gordon's sudden ineffectiveness, but can most likely can be chalked up to rookie inconsistency. And in the spirit of that rookie inconsistency, Chris Duhon has played particularly well to pick up the team when Gordon has been lacking. This included hitting 3 3-pointers in tonight's game, a sight that showed me right away good times were coming the rest of the night.

 I'll be at the United Center tomorrow for their game against the struggling-yet-talented Denver Nuggets. Unlike the currently dismantled Hawks, the Nuggets have the size to keep the Bulls from having their way inside. Yet the Bulls also bring one of the league's best defenses, which doesn't bode well for Denver's stand-around offense. With subsequent home games bringing the first-ever appearance against the Bobcats followed by the rubber-match against the Celtics, the Bulls can close out January very strong.

(And hopefully I can also close out the month strong with a much-needed links and site-design update. It hasn't been since 1998, but still a pretty long time.)

So no complaints for once! I am full of Bulls love. I'll even link this picture (more appropriate for my last post, I know) that gets me teary-eyed every time.