I made my first trek out to the United Center last night for the Bulls-Heat and I thought I might take a page out of Simmons' bag of tricks and keep a running diary of the proceedings. Here is what transpired.
6:35-We just got to our seats. They are pretty quality: second tier, just above where the Bulls enter from the locker room. Wallace just came out, sans cornrows. He proceeds to miss his first four jumpers.
6:37-Bill Wennington is wandering around courtside with a pair of brown slacks and a tan shirt. We agree that he looks a lot like his namesake, the Beef Wennington.
7:02-The folks at the UC just ran a long video montage of Benny the Bull highlights set to "Get Up Offa That Thing" by the hardest working man in show biz. I'm a little teary-eyed.
7:15-The Bulls squad all run in from the tunnel carrying t-shirts that they then chuck into the stands. I feel a little bit like I'm at the circus.
7:36-My brother and I contest that the best thing about the Bulls intro is not the Allan Parsons's Project but the Pink Floyd-sampeled away team intro music. By the way, Dorell Wright is getting the start.
7:42-D-Wade hits the side of the backboard on his first attempt from the floor. Let's hope it's an omen.
7:46-Luol just cut across the lane and snagged a ball out of the air instead of punishing it into the fifth row. I feel like an old man, but doesn't it seem logical to try and catch a ball if you can get both hands in the air like that? You don't see it very often.
7:48-I forgot how crazy it is to watch NBA sets in person. There are just a ridiculous amount of backscreens.
7:51-My girlfriend just told me that I "kind if look like Noce . . . but cuter." That's rough.
7:53-Kirk and Wade just got tangeled up and Wade looks to be holding his arm or wrist. My friend Bill thinks he got hit in the junk, but he looks to be in some serious pain. Everyone's favorite Bruin Jason Kapono checks in.
7:56-Just as I mock Wright, he's having a great first quarter, really attacking the rim. Who knew.
8:01-They just showed Wale and Thomas Jones sitting courtside. HUGE ovations from the UC crowd. Jones is wearing a Pirates hat for no real reason.
8:05-The bulls just played a good stretch of defense to take a 22-20 lead near the end of the first. Thabo is running the floor really well.
8:08-Down three at the start of the second, Wade is still not in. I wonder if we will see him at all.
8:13-The Bulls get a quick six before a Riley TO. This team seems lost without Shaq and Wade. Tyrus just had a sick oop. He is crazy athletic.
8:20-Two quick Bulls threes open up a 20-4 run and a 19 point lead with just over seven minutes left. The Heat is just having awful possessions.
8:26-Michael Doleac is Larry David bald.
8:29-Noce just got away with a charge and Haslem is understandably upset. My brother yells at him to "throw your mouthguard again." Classy.
8:30-57-45 at the half. BenGo filled it up in the second quarter.
8:56-At the start of the third, Jason Williams is hoisting. Good times for all.
9:02-The Bulls can't adjust to the zone and the Heat cut it to single digits with just under seven left. Really? With Chris Quinn, Doleac and Wright in the game?
9:16-All the plays they usually run for Wade, they are running for Kapono. He's heating up too, keeping them right in the contest. This is bad.
9:24-Gordon and Kirk sub in with about 10 minutes left. Will they be the spark that the listless team needs?
9:26-Williams just hit three trey's in a row, one in transition where I don't think he even saw the rim. We're only up two. AHHH.
9:27-Posey just absolutley LEVELED Deng across the court from us and is immediately ejected. That looked really bad. I think it's the hardest fould I've ever seen in person. A mother of a few teenagers just shot me a glare for loudly swearing at Posey. What a cheap bastard.
9:30-Deng gets up to shoot free throws to a standing ovation. Thank god.
9:40-Two bad calls on our end, one extending the Heat possession and one on a Noce tie-up they called a foul, leads to three points and a tie with 4:30 left.
9:45-Gordon with the floater in the lane for 30. He has such a quick first step. Noce fouls out on the next possession after a few tough calls. A quiet game for both him and Luol really.
9:47-Riles is trying the hack-a-Ben and it's working. He went one of four and aired two of them. But then Wallace comes up with the big steal and assists to little Ben! Up three with just over two minutes.
9:53-Williams gets Deng on a mismatch and hits a jumper from the elbow with 1:26 left to go up by one. He is killing us in the second half.
9:54-But Gordon with the answer! A one-hander in the lane and a foul. Gordon looks like he did his rookie year in the fourth. Bullies up two.
9:56-Bulls get a stop and then they iso Ben up top. He trips, the Heat double too early thinking they can trap him near halfcourt and he finds Tyrus underneath! Tyrus drains both free throws (big time for the rook) to take the four point lead with 24.5 left.
10:01-After a FT exchange, the Heat can't corral the rebound and Ben knocks down two more for his 40th of the night. That will do it! Bulls win 109-103 to move to 17-12. A strange, but exciting, fourth gets them the W. I hope Deng is ok.