Archive for the ‘Chicago Bulls’ Category

nate-robinson-looking-to-the-side

When I placed my NBA MVP vote a few weeks ago, I knew I would be in the minority. I knew LeBron James was the prohibitive favorite to win his fourth award because he unquestionably is the best player in the game.

I voted for Nate Robinson based on his importance to the Chicago Bulls, who, if you haven’t been paying attention the past decade, have failed to be hilarious.

When the voting was announced Sunday afternoon, I was flabbergasted to learn I was the lone voter among 121 to not give LeBron a first-place vote, truly believing Robinson, Kevin Durant, Chris Paul, and perhaps even Carmelo Anthony would snag a first-place vote or two, though I was fairly certain a vote for Anthony would be considered purely a vote for the idea of a “narrative” and that no one would actually consider him a viable candidate.

Firstly, when I submitted my vote in mid-April, I had no idea I would be the only voter to leave LeBron out of first. This isn’t Chipotle, I don’t walk around asking fellow bloggers what kind of burrito they got. I had no idea what the bloggers were eating, so this was no LeBron conspiracy. For the record, I usually get barbacoa with beans and rice, hot and corn salsa, guacamole, cheese and sour cream.

Secondly, this isn’t the Best Player in the Game award, it’s the Most Valuable Player award, and I think what Robinson accomplished this season was worthy of my vote. He made the Bulls funny for the first time since 2001.

That’s a long time ago.

Robinson led the league in scoring average for players listed at 5-foot-9 or shorter, which is amusing in and of itself, and he was basically the only joker on a boring Bulls team who finished as the No. 5 seed in the Eastern Conference. Derrick Rose missed most of the season with knee issues and has not smiled once in four NBA seasons, Joakim Noah missed 16 games while retiring his silly finger guns, and Carlos Boozer didn’t paint his hair on once this season, leaving Robinson, Rip Hamilton’s continued insistence on wearing a headband over his mask, and a bunch of Italian accent jokes about Marco Bellinelli to bring the only bits of laughter to the United Center.

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nate-robinson-high-fiving-fans

What a game.

I don’t know if people really properly appreciated it while it was happening. Around the times of the second and third OTs, my Twitter timeline was mostly filled with NBA fans irritated that the game simply refused to end, while TNT simultaneously refused to find another home for the concurrent start of Game Four of the Grizzlies-Clippers series, of which national viewers ended up missing the entire first half. And it’s true that in the grand scheme of things, this game was almost completely inconsequential — barring the miraculous return of You Know Who for a second round series against the Heat, neither of these teams have much chance of surviving to the conference finals, thus making it more of a curious footnote to these playoffs, an amusing distraction amidst the actually important dramas of the first round.

Still. You won’t see a zanier, more entertaining, and in all likelihood, more unforgettable game for the remainder of this postseason than Game Four of Bulls-Nets, and probably won’t for a couple more to follow, either. By my estimation, it’s the best game we’ve seen in the first round of the playoffs since 2009, when the Bulls played the Celtics in a series that had three or four games as good as this, because that was the greatest playoff series ever. (Thibs was even asked in the postgame conference if this game reminded him of that series; unsurprisingly, he denied any such connection and looked pissed that the question had even been asked.) I gasped, I screamed, I jumped out of my seat so many times eventually I just kept standing. It was awesome.

Because there’s a chance that the team that wins the series — probably the Bulls, though I wouldn’t count out the Nets just yet — ends up getting blanked in the second round, and then NBA lore forgets about the game altogether, I wanted to make sure that there’s at least some sort of historical record of all the crazy crap that went down between the Nets and Bulls on Saturday. Here are the 10 things that’ll stick in my mind the most about this game.

10. The final score was Bulls 142, Nets 134.
Even though it was inflated with the three OTs, let’s not lose sight of how bizarre it was for so many points to be scored in this game, especially considering that the last contest between the Bulls and Nets ended at 79-76. The teams combined for 121 more points this time around, in just 15 minutes of bonus action. Even by the end of regulation, with the two teams knotted at 111-111, they had already outscored their combined total from Game Three by 67.

I saw the final score of this one flash across my screen a couple times on the TNT and ESPN tickers while I was watching the later games, and pictured how much my mind would be blown to see that final score for the first time completely out of context. Pretty hard to imagine.

9. In a game where five other players fouled out, Brook Lopez somehow ended up getting whistled just three times.
I didn’t even notice this until well after the fact. Kirk Hinrich, Taj Gibson and Joakim Noah all fouled out for the Bulls in this one — meaning Nazr Mohammed was playing crunch time in the third OT, actually making a couple game-saving plays, an Honorable Mention crazy thing from this game — as did Gerald Wallace and Reggie Evans for the Nets. Yet Brook Lopez, the Nets’ seven-foot rim protector, who not only led the game in blocks (along with Noah) but leads the entire league for the playoffs with his 4.3 rejections per contest, plays 51 minutes and still ends with three fouls to give? How the hell is that possible?

Of course, most Bulls fans would protest that Lopez actually committed far more than three personals over the course of the game, but that referee Tony Brothers just wouldn’t blow the whistle on them. One no-call on a possible Joakim Noah and-one towards the end of the first overtime seemed particularly egregious, with Lopez clearly raking Noah across BOTH arms, and Noah seemed to draw enough contact from Lopez on a last-second drive in the second OT to get to the line as well. You’d think the home team would be the one to get the preferential treatment in a game like this, but the Nets got whistled eight fewer times than the Bulls over the course of this one, and Lopez didn’t get whistled once over three OTs, until an intentional end-of-game foul on Marco Belinelli. Bizarre.

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joakim-noah-looking-sideways

Do you like having feet? Do you like walking on those feet? If so, how would you like walking on those feet if there were hundreds of needles sticking in to the soles?

You probably wouldn’t like it very much, but that’s exactly what Joakim Noah says he’s been dealing with for the past couple of months. Sounds really fun. From CSN Chicago:

“It really sucks. Plantar fasciitis sucks. It feels like you have needles underneath your foot while you’re playing. That’s what it feels like, so you can imagine. You need to jump, you need to run, you need to do a lot of things while you’re playing basketball, so you don’t want needles underneath your foot, right?” [Noah] went on to explain. “It’s not easy, but at the end of the day, you’ve got to do what you’ve got to do. These are the hands I’ve been given, so I’m just trying to stay focused on trying to get better every day and I’m just happy to be able to be on the court.

Yep, that pretty much sounds like the worst. And it’s made even more so the worst by the fact that Noah is a) seven feet tall b) at least 230 pounds c) plays professional basketball for a living d) plays professional basketball in a way where it’s basically impossible for him to “take it easy.” Other than those four things, I’d imagine playing with needles underneath your feet isn’t that big of a deal.

And that’s why there are so many results from this week for a Google search of “joakim noah inspiration.” Playing basketball is hard, playing basketball injured is even harder and playing basketball with injured feet might be the hardest of all. Just ask Bill Walton or the thousand other big guys who have had their careers affected by foot injuries. You use those suckers every second you’re on the court and then you overuse them every time you jump. That’s why Joakim Noah looked so miserable during his entire 25 minutes of court time in Game 1, not because Brook Lopez ripped a really nasty fart, as previously believed.

Lastly, just to answer Noah’s question — you’re right, you don’t want needles underneath your foot. Obviously.

nate-robinson-jordan-collection

Not that I think anyone was planning anything, but I wanted to let anyone who was thinking they might want to touch Nate Robinson’s Jordans know that they should reconsider. Why exactly? Because he has a rule in place, should such a thing occur.

From ESPN:

“Michael Jordan was my Hercules, Zeus and Napoleon. When I was 7, my father bought me my first Air Jordans, the VIIs, and I cried right there in the mall. I own maybe 150 Jordans. My rarest of all is the all-yellow IVs. One of the worst days of my life was when my brother, Anthony Stewart, broke in to my closet last summer and wore those IVs before I’d rocked them myself. He even rubbed it in by posting a photo on Instagram. I was like, ‘Oh, hell no!’ Never been so mad. Now I have a rule: You can drive my car, sleep in my bed, use my toothbrush, but if you touch the left side of my shoe closet, the Jordans side, we’ll have problems.”

There are a few conclusions to draw from this. One, I guess we all have free reign to borrow Nate Robinson’s cars, crash at his house and brush our teeth with his toothbrush whenever we want. I’ll definitely take him up on all those things the next time I visit home. Not only will it save on lodging, it’ll be nice to have a car to cruise around in, plus I don’t have to worry about forgetting my toothbrush. Thanks, Nate. Two, I guess we finally know what made Lil’ Nate so mad during that Knicks-Nuggets fight from a few years ago — J.R. Smith must have tried on one of his Jordans without asking at some point. It’s nice to finally solve that mystery. Three, Nate Robinson does indeed consider Napoleon a hero, which is perfect.

So yeah, don’t even think about trying to touch any of Nate Robinson’s Jordans. You don’t want to end up getting punched in the knee, do you? No, you don’t. It really hurts.

(via Nice Kicks)

carmelo-anthony-fouling-carlos-boozer

The equally injured Bulls and Knicks played basketball last night. And even though Steve “No Contact” Novak is the only player who took the court who is listed taller than 6-foot-9, there were still physical moments in a game that most closely resembled a men’s league, where the tallest player on the court is the default center and everyone just guarded whoever on the other team was their same size. The majority of those moments came when Carlos Boozer and Carmelo Anthony were matched up in the post, which makes sense since those were the only two players in the game who have any sort of postup acumen.

But even though Melo has been getting his power forward on this season, he wasn’t quite ready for Boozer’s shoulders and screaming style of basketball. Which led to this quote, courtesy of Newsday’s Al Iannazzone:

“Boozer is Boozer,” Anthony said. “Sometimes I don’t think Boozer be knowing what he be doing out there as far as clearing out and the way he plays. He’s so wide, shoulders is wide, elbows just be flaring. I think sometimes he doesn’t know what he’s doing out there.”

Yes, fair. That is a big part of Boozer’s weirdly effective offense game — he’s just one of 17 players this season who is averaging at least 16 points a game on at least 47 percent shooting, and the other 16 players are all really good — wherein he just bashes in to people because he’s certainly not jumping over them. And even though I can’t confirm this, I feel like that’s part of the reason he has a last name that rhymes with “Bruiser.” It can’t just be coincidence.

But since he mentioned it, we should probably let Carmelo Anthony know that there are a whole bunch of other times when Carlos Boozer doesn’t know what he’s doing. These include but are not limited to the following:

  • When playing defense.
  • When deciding the proper times to scream about and-ones or rebounds.
  • When deciding how much paint to put on his head.
  • When rapping.
  • When figuring out what really matters, yo.
  • When throwing skip passes.
  • When renting his house to Prince and not expecting it to turn purple.

Obviously there are a lot of times when Carlos Boozer doesn’t know what he’s doing, but like Carmelo Anthony said, “Boozer is Boozer.” That doesn’t hold quite the caché of “Manny being Manny,” but I think it’s a fair substitute. And hey, if you can think of other times Carlos Boozer doesn’t know what he’s doing, let’s hear em.

(via Beyond the Buzzer)

nate-robinson-hermit-crab

“I just go like a hermit crab. I go place to place if I have to. So whatever it takes to put food in my kids’ bellies and a roof over their head. It doesn’t matter to me.”Nate Robinson, on if he’ll be with the Bulls next year

tom-thibodeau-frown-face

“I’d be concerned about any happy coach.”Tom Thibodeau, about liking the Bulls’ intensity but really about life