Wednesday, November 01, 2006

First Impressions...

...of a 42-point beatdown (108-66!) of the defending Champs on the road.

1) The Bulls can really rebound this year, and they're looking to run right away off of them. Enthusiasm here should be somewhat tempered by the fact that the Heat's transition D is notoriously bad, particularly when they're complacent, as they certainly looked this game. But Big Ben is great at the outlet pass that revs up the break. If they can do it again consistently tonight against Orlando---a younger, hungrier and (aside from D Wade) more athletic team than Miami---then we should have a better idea of what we can expect throughout the season.

2) Ty Thomas actually gives the ready-made, brain-deadening phrase "freakishly athletic" profound meaning. His block on Shaq was truly one for the ages. (Also one for the ages, though, was D-Wade's strip of Thomas for a fast break dunk. It was a "Welcome to the NBA" moment, although it's good that Thomas had his when the game was already well in hand.) [See post above.] But his freakish athleticism might also get him in some serious trouble in the NBA, much like the shadow side of large-scale technological improvements is the possibility of large-scale, technological disasters. His blazing speed and dynamic ups mean that when he gets fouled hard, he plummets to the earth faster than (and from just about as great a height as) Icarus. (And indeed, one game in, he's already broken his nose, which means we should look forward to him sporting a Rip mask the next couple weeks.) I'd be surprised if he doesn't miss a lot of games this year due to injuries because until he puts on some more muscle mass so that the can absorb the hard blows he's going to regularly receive while going hard to the rim, you can expect him to have some utterly horrific crash landings.

3) A Thomas injury, however, wouldn't be the worst thing in the world, because the Bulls are incredibly deep this year. Ridiculously so. And I for one want to see some more Viktor Khryapa, who had as many assists as Hinrich in 20 fewer minutes. (And they weren't goofy big-man assists either, dished out to some wide-open jump shooter. These were drive-the-lane-and-find-the-cutting,-open-man-for-easy-dunk/layups assists.) Sefolosha also looks pretty intriguing, although it would be nice to see him against players other than Heat scrubs.


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