Monday, January 08, 2007

Consistency

I didn't get to see the game tonight but it appears the Bulls couldn't hold on to another lead against a good team. Kirk and Du's combined 1-14 from the floor couldn't have helped. Wallace pointed out that the Bulls can compete with anyone, but they need to do a better job of coming to play every night.

"We've just got to come out there and work a little bit harder at it . . . Until we come out there and be a little more consistent, there's always going to be something missing."

If there's been a time all season to pick it up, it's now. Over the next 30 days, the Bulls will play home games against the Spurs, Jazz, Mavs and Heat and road games against the Bucks and Pacers before their second road trip out west (seven games, including battles with the Suns, Jazz, Kings and Clippers). And we all remember how their last trip to the left coast turned out.

But sitting here analyzing schedules and standings made me grin. I realized that after enduring seven horrid years and two teasers, the Bulls are finally back. Say what you want about their inability to close out games, but these Bulls are competing at the highest level in the NBA. The MO of the Bulls title teams was a dominant third quarter -- Phil and Tex would make adjustments at halftime and MJ and Pip would come out of the gate firing. Before you knew it, we were carrying a 25 point lead and Rodman was on the end of the bench icing his knees. When those guys left, the Bulls pulled a 180. They'd keep it close through two (if they we're playing well) and then the third would roll around and they'd get spanked. While the 06-07 Bulls aren't taking over games against title contenders, they are staying competitive every night. The big game experience will come with time. I'm starting to think that the ingredients are there.

Speaking of the horrible inter-dynasty period (yes, I'm working under the assumption that dominance is near), I found myself sifting through rosters on basketballreference tonight and thought it might be fun to highlight a few of my personal favorite Toros from 1999-2004.

PG-Rusty Larue
A three-sport star at Wake, Rusty was probably more cut out for football than hoops. He did last five years in the NBA, three in Chicago, and posted a career 5 ppg and a surprisingly positive assist-to-turnover ratio. He was just too slow and funny looking to compensate, though.

SG-John Starks
The four game, 82 minute experiment was well-publicized and strange to say the least. I can't remember why he didn't hang around longer after averaging 7.5 ppg and posting 11 assists to only 3 TO's in his stint. Maybe it was because he was a bastard.

F-Michael Ruffin
This big-eared defensive stopper was drafted by the Bulls and lasted two seasons. He has averaged just under 2 ppg in his career, but did come back to log some quality minutes against us during the Wizards playoff series. I'm sure he was invited to Agent Weirdo's birthday party.

F-Dalibor Bagaric
The second most-beloved Croat in Bulls team history was certainly a favorite of Johnny Redd, who yelled "DALI" whenever he did anything remotely positive. My brother and I will argue until death that he is the least skilled player ever to play in the Association; how can a 7-footer be a 36 percent career shooter from the floor?

C-Eddy Curry
I had to throw EC on there to rep my alma mater's conference, the always tough (and now reformatted) SICA East. One of the best high school games that I ever saw in person -- and I saw quite a few good ones -- was the 2000 Thornwood-HF showdown where Curry battled TJ Cummings into overtime. With time winding down, Curry knocked down two huge free throws for the win, something no Bulls fan would see in his four seasons on the Westside.

Two honorable mentions go to the always hurt, but hilariously electrifying, Eddie Robinson and Rick Brunson, the lefty version of Larue. Now let's all take a moment and thank Pax for complete reconstruction.

4 Comments:

Blogger chickensalad! said...

i'm sorry bigsweet, but brunson can take over a 4th quarter. ol' rusty never had rick's onions.

9:28 AM  
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