The Bobcats traveled to Chicago on Friday the 13th and got carved up worse than a post-coital teen at Camp Crystal Lake. Throwing up more D than Rich Boy, the Bulls held us to 81 points on 40% shooting from the field (and even then only if you round up) while out-rebounding us 42-29. And I didn’t keep count, but that had to have been a record number of air balls and shot-clock violations on our part. Pick your cliché: the Bulls were swarming, stifling, suffocating, etc. Man, why couldn’t we have played someone crappy again like the Heat?
With no Gerald Wallace in the lineup (tendonitis) and the Bulls fighting for the number two playoff seed, all blowout systems were a “go.” Actually, the Bobcats kept it respectable for most of the game, hovering around the 7-to-13 point deficit range. Replacing G-Dub was Derek Anderson, whose entire left leg was wrapped up in bandages, mummy-style. And Othella Harrington made his first appearance this calendar year, if I’m not mistaken. Rounding out the patchwork lineup was Primoz Brezec, who didn’t score at all, although he did almost hit the rim a couple of times. Some bad shooting buy Raymond Felton (3-13 for ten points) and a sub-par night from Emeka Okafor (9 points, 11 rebounds, and just 3/7 from the foul line—one of his free throws missed so badly it actually bounced out of bounds) sealed the deal.
Individually, the Bulls aren’t and weren’t particularly daunting. But they assemble like Voltron to form a pretty impressive collective unit. Leading scorer Ben Gordon had 20 points, but also 6 turnovers. Ben Wallace had 12 and 12, and Kirk Hinrich (18 points, 8 assists) and Luol Deng (14 points, 6 boards) provided steady, complementary play. They’re going to present problems in the playoffs for their opponents, especially with Nocioni back, but I still think they’re a “go-to” guy away from championship contention. On the other hand, someone has to win in the East…
Well, if G-Dub was looking to use this game to demonstrate his importance for negotiation leverage, I think he made his point. In fact, I wouldn’t be surprised if he just popped a tape of this one in during the contract talks; after about five minutes of watching it, Bob Johnson will probably be begging him to sign a max deal. In the meantime, I’ll just pray Wallace is back in the lineup on Saturday, because I see we’re playing Milwaukee—yeesh, that’s going to be like watching a scab game from the ’87 NFL strike season.