Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Big Win, No Bull[s]

New Orleans 108 | Chicago 97
[league standings]

Let the record be clear: the Bulls are much better than they appear in the standings. They have a lot of young talent, and if they can get someone in there who knows what they are doing, they might be able to mold that bunch (or at least the core) into a bona fide contender... in the East, at least. Hell, it almost happened last year.

In fact, it was the Bull's talent that nearly cleaned the Hornets out on Monday night. D. West missed yet another game (let's pray he's healthy for Wednesday against the Rockets... why does it fee like we play them every other game?) and Byron saw fit to start... wait for it... here it comes... no, not Julian Wright, even though that would have made a world of sense (he finished with 14 points, 4 rebounds, 1 block, going .750 from the field)... no not Melvin Ely or Hilton Armstrong, who have both been added to the endangered species list... brace yourself... we started Uncle Bowen. Again! Why? Well because he matches up so well against Drew Gooden, of course. Wait. FALSE! I feel like Bob Uecker in Major League II when he's trying to rationalize Taylor's [Tom Beringer] decision to let Rick [Charlie Sheen] walk Beck so he can face the ever dangerous Parkman: "Obviously, Taylor's thinking... I don't know what the hell he's thinking". Seriously, we almost lost because of a mismatch that Mr. Gooden rightly took advantage of to the tune of 23 points and 12 rebounds. Drew Gooden. The Duck Foot guy. Really? Actually, Tyson was also having a little trouble locking down Gooden. Probably had to do with the fact that, soaking wet, Tyson weighs half of what Gooden weighs. But seriously Byron, we're in the most heated playoff push of the millennium. Now is no time to start Ryan Bowen. I actually can't think of any appropriate scenario to start him without using the word "Knicks". And even then it's a close call.

The main reason we won is CP3 played out of his mind (which was partly due to the sudden appearance of bricks in the third quarter). Seriously, Byron actually called him a "Hall of Famer in the making" after the game. Even Tyson chimed in with some praise. Check out this quote that appeared in the Daily Dime:

It was all Chris Paul. The little man was all over the floor. It was incredible. It's one of the best performances I've seen from him yet. He, at least to me, made his bid [Monday night] to consider him the MVP.

I guess 37 points, 13 assists, and 3 steals will get you that kind of attention. Peja also showed up for 21 points; however, most of those came off the dribble as he only landed 3 of 11 from beyond the arc. We desperately needed both of these performances as Ben Gordon appeared to be on a mission from god. He single handedly (along with Duck Foot) kept this game close until the fourth by dropping 31 points (at 59% from the field). Oh, and for those of you who are wondering why the Gooden thing didn't put the Bulls over the top? I've got two words for you: Bonzi Wells. This guy is insane. He can cover any position (maybe not center... but definitely the 4) and he's extremely physical. He's aggressive in the paint and his seeming recklessness puts him at the line quite frequently. at 7 points, 4 rebounds and an 80% stroke from the stripe, he's exactly what we need (never mind his filthy dunking skills). It turns out Jeff Bower knows what he's doing... well, sort of. Ask me about that Mike James contract in two years. All the same, I never imagined the day when I would be rooting for Bonzi Wells. But that day has come. That day has come.


Unfortunately, I'll be missing Wednesday's match-up against a 23-0 or 22-1 Rockets. This may turn out to be good thing, though, as the Hornets have won all but 1 (November 21 against the Pacers) of the games I've missed at the Hive. Either way, it'll be the 1 and 2 seed in the Western Conference going head-to-head. This Chrisette Michele better be everything she's cracked up to be.

See you Wednesday. Peace.

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