For Chicago To Win, It Has To Get Grimy

CHICAGO – Six points, none of them of the style variety, separated the Chicago Bulls from the Sacramento Kings Wednesday night.

And so it will go, as Chicago begins its 2012-13 season the way a rocket pushes up, up and away through the atmosphere: In stages.

Stage One fired against Sacramento, all defense and grime and a hundred tiny advantages that add up over 48 minutes to something that warms Tom Thibodeau‘s heart. Stage Two won’t come for 50 or 60 more games –- that’s when Derrick Rose returns from the surgery and rehabilitation on his left knee and the Bulls find out if they’re really going to blast off this season or not.

Stage Three? That would be the playoffs. But that’s getting way, way out in front of things, with November just arriving.

The opener for both teams at United Center Wednesday was a sober experience for fans in the sellout crowd. There were few YouTube highlights –- a cut-and-dunk by Luol Deng, a quick putback by Carlos Boozer as he got pushed to the floor for a 3-point play and a couple of hustle tip-ins by Joakim Noah were about it –- because Rose provides most of those in this building.

Instead, it was a night of closing out on shooters (Sacramento hit 40.5 percent), forcing and pouncing on turnovers (21 worth 25 Chicago points), hitting free throws (25 of 33)  and generally playing harder.

You know Thibodeau will be smiling, though. No coach in his right mind would rather work without Rose than with him, but Thibodeau is something of a mudder. He had to improvise, adapt and overcome plenty last season through injuries to Rose and others. This is the way the Bulls are going to look because this is the way they’re going to play, most likely until sometime after the All-Star break. Maybe longer.

“Most games are going to be like this,” Thibodeau said after the game. You want entertainment, call a clown. You want to win, the Bulls coach is your guy.

“We have to find different ways to win. We’re not going to change our style of play. That has to be consistent. It’s got to start with our defense and our rebounding, taking care of the ball, playing inside out … ”

You get the idea. Chicago got a monster game from Noah, who had 23 points, 10 rebounds and three blocks, played 40 minutes and pestered Sacramento’s DeMarcus Cousins into several of his seven turnovers. Boozer got touches as the hub of the Bulls’ attack and had 18 points and eight boards. Rip Hamilton looked healthy and active with 19 points.

“Like I keep telling people, it’s not going to be one guy,” Boozer said. “It’s not going to be me, it’s not going to be Rip. We all have the responsibility to step up without Derrick. That’s a tough void in our lineup, bro. Every game is gonna be a grind-out game.”

In other words, there will be many nights this season when Chicago sports fans show up to see the Bulls, only to have a Bears or Blackhawks game break out.


  1. Chitownray says:

    I also smile at times at the fact that so many people are doubting the Bulls this season. Grant it AT THIS POINT Miami and Boston are true title contenders. However keep in mind that just as the Bulls were shell shocked into the first round lost after Rose went down Miami, Boston, LA, OK and any other playoff team is one injury to a star player away from being in the same boat. What would Miami be without LBJ?…they would be just like the Bulls. Where would Boston be if KG or PP went down? As I see it IF (and as much as I love D-Rose..its still an “IF”) D-Rose comes back strong and injury free (not necessarily 100%) the Bulls will be back on track to compete for the ECF. If he doesn’t come back strong and injury free this season the Bulls will still make the playoffs and the bench players would have gained valueable playoff experience together to make that run next year when D-Rose should be 100%. My money is that given D-Roses age, determination and the advancement in medicine over the past 10-15 years, D-rose will be back in Late February or Mid-March and be just fine and we will see Miami, Boston, OK and LA Sweat a bit as they then try to figure out how to contend with a healthy and fresh D-Rose in a playoff game. GO BULLS!!

  2. Dust says:

    Chicago got six hanging in the rafters
    Thanks to Jordan
    Haters gun hate the bulls cause there the best dynasty ever our franchise buts all to shame we build a good team not hand out money to three ego hungry stars who are scamming their way into the hall of fame

    • teo says:

      miami paid the three and what did they got huh?THE CHAMPIONSHIP TROPHY…the bulls paid rose and boozer for what?nothing….stupid

  3. scott says:

    Blah blah blah, you beat the kings and not easy, the kings are among the worst teams in the nba so i wouldnt get to happy about it, once a few games in and start to play good teams… yeah its going to be ugly . its ok you will have a good draft pick next year. even with rose you still havent won a championship have you?

  4. Jahan says:

    The Bulls style of play definitely reminds me of old school basketball. Very few teams in the NBA can say they play with that style. It’s great to see. I really can’t wait for Rose to return so that everything can come full circle. I know that we aren’t the favorites in the East this year…. I know that all ANYONE can talk about is MIAMI…. but I wouldn’t have it any other way. Can’t wait to prove all of the naysayers wrong! BULLLLLSNATION!!!

  5. Kingk says:

    Dang, my boy rip lookin like he’s back in da d, and noah turnin it up! Hate to say this but when rose get back they can be the team that can dethrone the heat in the playoffs besides the celtics, no question.

    • MHM 35 says:

      No they absolutely can’t dethrone the Heat for a few reasons:
      A) Rose won’t stay healthy even when he does come back
      B) Luol Deng cannot contain LeBron James
      C) RIP Hamilton can’t contain Dwyane Wade, even though neither him nor LeBron can shoot a reliable jump shot.
      D) Boozer cannot play defense
      E) The Heat are a positionless team. They have enough options to move around and create mismatches that the Bulls don’t have.
      F) The Celtics are old, but play tough as nails defense and the fact that they grinded out to the ECF last season while the Bulls went home is indication in itself that the Bulls are only weaker as time goes on. They grind out wins in the regular season, but choke in the Playoffs without Rose at the helm.
      G) While the Celtics lost Ray Allen, they got back a healthy Jeff Green and got Jason Terry, who is the next best option for a guy who will hit 3 point daggers all night. They are still a very strong team.
      H) While the Bulls don’t have any good defensive options against the Heat save Joakim Noah, the C’s have KG to make life for Bosh difficult, Rondo is 4 times the point guard Mario Chalmers is. Paul Pierce is old but enough of a nuisance on the scoring end to make LeBron work hard.

      • man you have too much time on your hands to be writing all that. yes the bulls loss in the 1st round…. because rose got injured. If that didn’t happen they would’ve been in the eastern conference finals

  6. Ukyo says:

    This is the style of basketball I love, the grind it out and EARN the win by playing together and playing hard! Let LA high fly and crash, The Bulls go to work and win! “You want entertainment, call a clown. You want to win, the Bulls coach is your guy.” You’ve never said it better Steve!