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benny-the-bull-flying

Anytime mascots get brought up on TBJ, I’m always quick to throw my hat in the ring for Benny the Bull. And while that may seem like a homer pick, I truly believe Benny’s the best in the business. He’s funny, his head is both silly and mischievous, he can dance his clip-cloppity hooves off and — most importantly — he is always doing something. Seriously, if you’re at a game where Benny’s at, whether it be Bulls or All-Star, he is legitimately always messing with somebody, climbing on something or just generally mascotting all over the place. He never stops. It’s awesome.

But now we can finally put this argument to rest because the people have spoken. From Forbes:

Benny the Bull, who’s been entertaining fans at Chicago Bulls games for more than four decades, keeps a killer schedule that goes way beyond the Bulls’ 41 home games a season (or more like 50 including the preseason and playoffs). Benny does 250 events a year, from appearances at Chicago businesses and charities to private parties.

The work ethic and the athleticism he displays during game breaks at the United Center have paid off: Benny stands as this year’s most popular sports mascot. That’s the word from The Marketing Arm’s Davie Brown Index, which is based on a survey of public perception of celebrities and their influence on brands. For mascots, the DBI measures popularity by the following criteria: Awareness, likeability, attention-getting, photo-friendliness, interaction and fun. Fans were also asked if a given mascot happened to be his “absolute favorite” or “one of my favorites.”

Benny led the pack in pure likability and gets more photo requests than any other mascot in sports. His ascension to the top is something of an upset, moving against this year’s anti-NBA trend. Perhaps the trampoline-bouncing, slam-dunking hoops mascots are starting to become old hat: past favorites like the Phoenix Suns’ Gorilla, the Denver Nuggets’ mountain lion Rocky and the San Antonio Spurs’ Coyote are nowhere to be found this year.

Boom. There it is. Forbes, you guys. Indisputable champion of the mascot game.

And really, the choice seems pretty obvious.

How many mascots would do this sort of thing? Maybe a lot, but only one has. And that one is Benny the Bull, America’s favorite sports mascot. No coincidence.

(via Chris)

Well, when you’ve played 11 seconds in the past six months, I guess it would be a pretty big surprise to get first half playing time. Nonetheless, this was a lot of fidgeting with his mask and a lot a lot A LOT of spandex showing while Rip ran around having no idea what to do on defense. Glad he finally got everything figured eventually. That headband over the mask is crucial.

P.S. Rip Hamilton tucks his jersey in to his spandex.

(via Oskar Jamtander)

luol-deng-looking-sick

At this point, talking about the Bulls’ injuries is passé, like considering Cameron Diaz an up-and-coming actress or using Cameron Diaz as a simile. But sometimes, you read something Bulls injury-related, happen to operate a basketball blog and just have to pass it on. This is one of those times.

From the Chicago Tribune:

“I did some individual work (Saturday) and I started throwing up a little bit. I couldn’t finish the workout,” Deng said. “I tried to practice (Sunday) and the same thing. I just warmed up and couldn’t get through practice. My body, my system is not reacting well to anything I’m doing right now.”

And also this.

Deng said he’s having trouble eating solid food and has regained only two of the 15 pounds he lost.

“Just because you get a spinal tap doesn’t mean (the flu) goes away,” he said. “I had that and then the reaction to (the spinal tap). It just sucks, man. It’s not like an injury where you can just play through it and it slows you down a little bit. It’s just one of those things where, not even basketball-wise, just doing regular stuff is hard.”

Oh, and also this.

Deng attended Game 3 but said he watched from the locker room because he didn’t want to cough on teammates.

OK, so just as a baseline, here is the situation — Luol Deng had some strain of the flu that presented with viral meningitis symptoms, which led to a spinal tap that caused him to lose 15 pounds, still has him unable to gain weight or eat solid food, and has him avoiding his teammates so that he doesn’t cough on them, which might lead to them going through the same thing. Also, all of this started happening less than two weeks ago, which is basically no time in flu land.

And that’s exactly why this part is so bonkers. From a different Chicago Tribune article:

Deng has yet to practice since experiencing serious complications from a spinal tap.

“He’s still not feeling well so we’ll see tonight but most likely out,” Thibodeau said. “He really didn’t do much.”

And this from the first one:

Indeed, Deng continues to sound doubtful for the remainder of the series, even though he admitted he talked to Thibodeau about giving “five or 10 minutes or whatever to give these guys a little break.”

So the guy who lost 15 pounds in like six minutes and who cannot be around his friends because he might cough on them is still getting a “we’ll see” from his coach because said coach would be OK with him giving “five or 10 minutes” to give some of the other players “a little break.” This is insanity, and that’s before getting in to the part where Deng is still dealing with multiple injuries. Deng didn’t want to be around teammates because he doesn’t want to cough on them, but the Bulls are still trying to figure out if he can play in a game. Madness, but also maybe a weird sort of biological warfare.

Kudos to Deng for trying to play through something that sounds absolutely terrible, but maybe it is time to just chill and shut it down for the season. That’d pretty much be the antithesis of how the Bulls have handled injuries this season, but when a guy can’t eat, gain weight or breathe without worrying about infecting his entire team with an illness that causes all these things, it might be worth shutting him down for the remainder of the season. I didn’t get in to medical school and am therefore not a doctor, but I’d say being sickly, weakened and injured is a pretty solid reason to start the summer early.

This is how you know you’ve made it — when the NBA tailors one of their current ad campaign’s ads to you because you’ve been playing so well and doing such amazing things that they just can’t help but promote you. That’s legit baller status. I haven’t been this proud since Joakim Noah got his own “Where Will Amazing Happen?”. Way to go, Nate.

nate-robinson-manu-ginobili

You could go an entire postseason without getting a game half as crazy as Monday night’s Spurs-Warriors contest, a double OT affair with countless bizarre plays, swings in momentum, big shots, and even a couple unforgettable broadcast moments. In the case of this year’s postseason, though — which I have to say, is off to an absolutely baller start through one-and-a-third rounds — you only had to go back nine days to another game of comparable lunacy.

Game 4 of Bulls-Nets, the triple OT game in Chicago now known familiary as “The Nate Robinson Game,” seemed for all the world like it would go unchallenged as the single craziest game from the 2013 playoffs. In my article listing the 10 craziest moments from that game — and narrowing it down to 10 was no small feat, mind you — I predicted that “you won’t see a zanier, more entertaining, and in all likelihood, more unforgettable game for the remainder of this postseason … and probably won’t for a couple more to follow, either.” I felt it was a sure bet at the time.

Yet just one series later, and we have a true challenger. Which of these two exhilaratingly surreal and unpredictable basketball contests was truly the weirdest? Let’s break down the qualifications, one by one.

1. More Overtimes: Let’s get this one out of the way first, since it’s important to consider — more overtimes, more time for further twists and turns — but obvious and inarguable: Bulls-Nets went three overtimes, Warriors-Spurs only two. Boring, but worth mentioning.

Advantage: Bulls-Nets

2. Single Biggest Shot Hit in the Game. For Bulls-Nets, this would probably have to be Joe Johnson’s rolling jumper in the lane in the first overtime, forcing the second OT and negating NateRob’s crazy banker (more on that in a minute) that seemed to seal the deal for the Bulls, a shot that totally deflated the Untied Center. For Spurs-Warriors, it’d of course be the Manu Ginobili three-pointer in the second OT with just seconds to go to put the Spurs up two, which had Gregg Popovich Googling how to make huevos rancheros. The Joe Johnson shot was huge but super-anticlimactic, while the Ginobili three seemed like the only way — minus a Steph Curry halfcourt swish — the Spurs-Warriors game should end.

Advantage: Spurs-Warriors

Read the rest of this entry »

joakim-noah-extinguishing-lebron

BURN. “In your face, Heat,” says this custom digital billboard that is visible from a major Chicago highway and is always zinging opposing sports teams while just generally being silly. And since I know that I would definitely Photoshop some jokes if I had my own digital billboard that you can see from the highway running behind my crib, I love this. It might not be the greatest billboard joke we’ve ever seen, but I’m of the opinion that any billboard joke is better than no billboard joke.

Not to mention, you have a built-in audience. There’s no one more attentive than a driver who is doing anything they can to distract themselves from the task at hand. Might as well give them a giggle.

(via BullsBlogger)

In a game full of crazy moments, this one stood out for some reason. Hard to figure out why.

(via Tassie)