The last time we saw the Chicago Bulls play a meaningful basketball game, Joakim Noah was limping up and down the court, D.J. Augustin was getting smothered by John Wall and Tom Thibodeau seemed about five minutes away from strangling Carlos Boozer. That's the context you need for why Wednesday's season opener felt so damn refreshing.
The last two seasons of Chicago Bulls basketball weren't all bad, but it mostly felt like making a call and being placed on hold for an eternity. Without Derrick Rose, we were biding our time. The arrival of this season truly feels like it's been two years in the making at this point. The NBA schedule makers must have known it, because there was no better way to welcome the Bulls back into our lives than by watching them completely destroy the Knicks at the Garden.
Considering the way the MASH units of the last two seasons have throttled the Knicks, it's no surprise the Bulls did it again now that Thibs has his full complement of players to work with. The game was in the bag by the third quarter and at that point the biggest concern was how embarrassing the final margin would be.
This is what the Bulls are going to do to bad teams if they can stay healthy. The Bulls are too big, too deep and too disciplined on defense to slip up against inferior competition very often. The Knicks simply couldn't match up -- New York has no rim protection, a noticeable lack of athleticism and the look of someone who studied all night for a test but still doesn't know the material. That's just what happens with the Triangle and maybe the Knicks will figure it out eventually. That eventually sure doesn't seem like it will come for several months, if at all this season.
This isn't about the Knicks, though, it's about the Bulls. We know the Bulls have always been a great regular season team under Thibs even when they didn't have the horses -- you don't win 48 games with D.J. Augustin as your best guard unless you're doing everything else perfectly. Obviously, so much of that turned out to be fool's gold in the playoffs against Washington, but the precision of everything the Bulls were doing on both sides of the court last night really felt like a throwback to Thibodeau's first season here. The Bulls were a machine and it was beautiful to watch.
Now, there is very little I enjoy more than watching the Bulls curb-stomp the Knicks, but this game ruled for reasons that stretch beyond on-court execution, too. For example:
Yeah, Melo! And while you're at it: #EnjoyYour50MillionDollars
The nice thing about 2014 is that it doesn't feel like there's many sports fans left like Dave Kaplan, or at least it's easier to avoid them. Carmelo didn't slight the Bulls by choosing to go back to New York. He's not a loser for deciding to take an extra $50 million.
What some people don't understand is that NBA players like Carmelo are often an economy unto themselves -- the money he made there isn't just going to a new yacht, it goes throughout his extended family, to charities, to his former schools and to other people or places that helped him get to where he is today. Melo might already have a bunch of money compared to extremely poor people like you and me, but you have to understand the dude has done a lot of shit just live this here lifestyle. He's not making that money up after basketball, either.
Anyway, I just love #FRAUDMELO for the being the stupidest goddamn thing I've ever seen in my life. It's amazing. Long live #FRAUDMELO.
(via Alex Goodlett)
Just admit defeat and accept it: Taylor Swift rules the world and the rest of us are living a completely meaningless existence. Doug McDermott knows what I'm talking about:
McDermott said his welcome to the NBA moment came when he saw Ben Stiller and Taylor Swift sitting courtside.— K.C. Johnson (@KCJHoop) October 30, 2014
Thanks to the intrepid work of The Friendly Bounce, we now know this isn't the first time Doug has expressed his appreciation for T-$wift. In fact, the Bulls new rookie forward is a FULL BLOWN SWIFTY:
Shut it down, because this is already the story of the year as far as I'm concerned. THANK YOU Friendly Bounce for bringing this into our lives. Jimmy finally has someone on the team he can talk about music with:
The Booze News
I think we need to make The Booze News a regular running feature this season if only so we can all feel a little better about ourselves.
What did Carlos Boozer do in his second game as a Laker on Wednesday night? Just a killer stat-line of four points and eight turnovers in 23 minutes during a 20-point Lakers loss to the Suns. This is what popped up when I clicked his name on ESPN:
Carlos Boozer: NO. Damn, that just makes me thankful to be alive.