I taped the San Antonio game on Wednesday, but after seeing that the Bulls blew a lead and Larry Hughes played 39 minutes...decided against watching it.
Glad I didn't see it, because instead of being soured I was instead starving for red hot Bulls action after a 4-day layoff (I guess technically the circus trip was over already). And after a slow start, the Bulls put in their best game of the season in this blowout of the Sixers.
Drew Gooden was spectacular and outplayed Elton Brand, not only hitting jumpers but scoring in a variety of ways inside. It was crucial early as he was the only one providing offense (rough start from who's usually in charge of the scoring, Ben Gordon) in an otherwise terrible first quarter.
Derrick Rose closed out the half in spectacular fashion, and after he and Gooden were joined by a reheated Gordon in a 33-11 third quarter beatdown, the game was in control.
Nearly everyone played well: Tyrus Thomas had a solid first-half stint, and Vinny rewarded him (that's cred to Vinny, though I'd actually prefer entitlement minutes instead of reward minutes) with more in the 2nd. Noah got the start and while his conditioning issues are more annoying by the game, he at least was active when he wasn't wheezing. Even Larry Hughes had a good game, showing good shot selection in going 4-6 from three, putting the game out of reach as the Sixers didn't show much care in closing out on shooters in general.
I don't think it's bad fandom to expect not only victories but victories with the way I want them, and this just felt like a more meaningful win than the others on the circus trip. And especially nice to see, considering the growing consensus that this team's non-terrible record was enough to be content even though it's been mostly terrible (non-Rose) basketball.
But after a game where Rose is (once again) sensational, the other scorers are not just playing alongside him but with him, the young bigs don't stink (and Nocioni's abandoned when showing he doesn't have it), Hughes and Gray don't start (though Gray was the 6th man...rotation can never be perfect I guess)...
...I'm now very excited for some easy stretches of schedule.