If I get sent to hell, the best way to punish me would be to have Red Kerr provide the color commentary of my descent, wherein he’d probably complain the whole time that I haven’t been stuck with enough pitchforks. This would be a fitting fate for me, because no matter how painful losing to the Bulls is, Kerr makes it worse. In fact, Kerr makes everything worse; there’s nothing Kerr can’t worsen by simply opening his mouth—it’s almost impressive, really. Kerr could exacerbate a nuclear holocaust if he were within earshot. So basically, Saturday night’s loss to Chicago wasn’t pleasant on a number of levels, both visually and sonically. For the game itself, we lost in the kind of way that makes me feel like we’ll never win again. Meanwhile, Kerr provided the soundtrack, and–when he wasn't complaining about the refs–over-praised the crappy Bulls like they’re a bunch of 4-year-olds who just made their first finger-painting.
Offensively, Ben Gordon and Luol Deng dug our graves, while Ben Wallace cleaned up on the boards. Deng had 15 of his 29 points in the first quarter, and Gordon had 15 of his 34 points in the 3rd quarter. Even though we were down by just 1 at halftime, Gordon hit three consecutive 3-pointers in the third to officially announce he was In The Zone, and the rout was on. “That's a big part of my game,” Gordon said afterward. “My hands up, my hands up, they want me with my hands up,” he added, in a soft, quasi-reggae-style voice, “I’m your…shooter, shooter, shooter!” Wallace had 10 points and 19 boards, actually looking—for one of the last times in his career, I'm guessing—relevant. As a whole, Chicago shot 54% and made 17-of-19 free throws (although if it were up to Kerr, it would have been 83-of-85).
With Tyrus Thomas flying around like a halftime trampoline act, the Bulls temporarily looked like they weren’t seriously deficient in the interior. And the reason for this is we’re perhaps the only team that’s weaker than Chicago in the frontcourt. Emeka Okafor was solid as usual (21-9-3 blocks), but other than that, we’d have gotten more production from a 7-foot inflatable doll than the rest of the crew—especially with Ryan Hollins still reassembling his arm from that run-in with Dwight Howard. Chicago doubled us up in rebounds (48-24) and blocked 7 shots. I remember last year the local broadcasts had a regular “Points in the Paint” graphic sponsored by Lowes, and it became something of a running joke for me, because we were always getting killed in that category. In fact, I’m not sure you could pick a worse stat to sponsor, unless it was # of times GM Michael Jordan actually showed up to our games. Things haven’t changed this year either.
Jason Richardson threw us his twice-monthly bone, getting 22 points and showing some sporadically impressive athleticism. He’s almost like an absent father who neglects his kids, occasionally feels guilty about it, and randomly shows up with a cool present to try and make amends before disappearing again. Wow, thanks, J-Rich, a brand new 22 points on 50% 3-point shooting, cool! See you in a few weeks…This was also easily Raymond Felton’s worst showing: 5 points and 2 assists. Thank goodness we’ve got all that depth at point guard—almost as much as at center.