Saturday, February 11, 2012

Go Chicago Bulls

In contrast to the listless, indifferent leadership that Lovie provides the Bears, the Chicago Bulls are led by Tom Thibodeau, a focused and driven coach who had proven success as a defensive wizard with the Celtics and came to Chicago for the first time in a head coach role.

The Bulls focus on defense, a complete rarity in the NBA (except for the later rounds in the playoffs). By focusing on defense, the Bulls demand unselfish and focused players rather than offensive showboats that focus on statistics. Of all the leagues where "fantasy" players are in an alternate universe from what makes up a great team, the NBA has to rank high up there. Defensive statistics (especially team defense) are usually under-rated and yet a strong team defense makes the Bulls a solid contender, and one without the usual preening a**holes that wreck much of modern sports.

Recently the Bulls have been demolishing their opposition, especially the weaker teams, which is what a strong team that wants to contend for the championship is SUPPOSED to do. Dan and I were in Vegas and one day I put a few dollars on the Bulls when they were on the road with a small favorable line but then even I balked at putting up money when the line was 9 1/2 their next game. Nine and half points is a lot in the NBA, especially during "garbage time", since most teams don't play defense consistently or much at all especially when they are spotted a big lead.

But instead the Bulls are putting on a defensive clinic, never even giving up when their starters are off the floor and their 2nd team comes in. When the Bulls second team of Gibson, Korver, Asik, Watson, and Brewer (assuming Hamilton isn't hurt) play together, they often BUILD on the lead with strong defense and aren't just a random group of castoffs like a typical NBA "6th man" and below type bench.

The Bulls recently beat the snot out of the Charlotte Bobcats, Michael Jordan's team. The Bulls led by almost 15 at the end of the first quarter and continued outscoring the Bobcats EVERY quarter, which once again is unheard of in the NBA, where lackadaisical stretches of team defense are so common that you EXPECT a team to randomly come back from even a 15 point deficit with ease. This win was even more impressive given that Rose was out of the game and the guy that might be their 2nd best scorer (Hamilton) was also out and Deng is basically playing with one hand.

I am depressed when I contrast the focused style of Thibodeau with Lovie's crap style; Thibodeau's defensive focus means that the team only gets players that want to live that sort of NBA lifestyle, which as I said above excludes show boaters and the lazy. Also interesting was to see that Tyrus Thomas is now playing for Charlotte; I remember watching a Bulls game a few years back when Tyrus showed up to play (which was rare) and he showed amazing athletic prowess and focus; but nowadays he is another guy just putting in some minutes to no effect. Obviously Jordan's skills as a player (with his own maniacal focus on dedication and defense, and instilling this in his teammates) doesn't translate well to the owners box.

1 comment:

Dan from Madison said...

Slight correction, we were in the high roller town of Reno, not Vegas. That bet on the Bucks was awful, but oh well, I made a lot of awful bets last weekend.