Bernstein: Bulls Waxed On Home Floor

By Dan Bernstein–

We were told the circus clowns had packed up their floppy shoes and red noses, piled themselves into their tiny car and left the United Center.

Seems they stuck around for an encore, this time wearing Bulls uniforms.

A long-held NBA belief is that the first home game after a road trip is really the last road game. Tom Thibodeau’s team gritted out four wins while away, too often needing rallies from double-digit deficits to do so, and one could understand – after the fact, certainly — that they might have been due for a clunker even with the insertion of Carlos Boozer into the starting lineup.

And, boy, this one was bad.

The Magic ran out early by spacing the floor, owning the lane, pushing the tempo and cutting off Derrick Rose’s penetration by switching screens and running bodies at him. Vince Carter and Jameer Nelson were able to go wherever they wanted with the ball, both off screen/roll actions and on the secondary break. Their second-unit players helped crack the game open in a 33-15 second quarter from which the Bulls could not recover.

Every time you thought the inevitable comeback run was igniting, Orlando drained another long, open three or a key defensive stop was wasted by allowing an offensive rebound and a second possession. It was a night of slumped shoulders and rolled eyes, as any positive effort was quickly negated or trumped.

There are no excuses for Joakim Noah, who played 25 minutes and grabbed the same number of rebounds that I did. The 21 total rebounds for the Bulls has to be some kind of record, particularly on a night with a normal number of missed field goal attempts (80)– it’s not as if there weren’t opportunities.

Noah also needs to realize that opponents will do what the Magic did defensively, and he needs to stop bogging down the offense when they sag from him. Too many precious shot-clock seconds were wasted by Noah holding the ball unguarded at the top, deciding what to do. His teammates need to cut, screen and flash, and Noah must know when to look for them, launch his funky shot, or put the ball on the floor, eat up the cushion and attack the rim. Rose can also fight back up to get the ball with enough time to reset the play.

Boozer looked like a guy playing his first game of any kind in months, and I’m not going to fall into the trap of blaming “chemistry,” or the difficulty of incorporating him into a successful operation. His absence or presence had little to do with why the Bulls lost. He’ll be fine.

Practice is set for noon at the Berto Center today, with the team then heading out for a meeting with the Celtics in Boston. Knowing Thibodeau as we already do, this won’t be the most fun workday they have had. He’ll have the attention of players who were reminded how it feels when you get clowned.

More from Dan Bernstein
  • Chet's Inflated Ego

    Bad loss to an excellent team.
    One game of 82.

    • Jon, Montgomery

      yes, but this was the bulls big chance to prove how they can hang with orlando, orlando was coming off a back-to-back after beating detroit, the bulls had 3 days off in between games, and you let the magic come into your building and pantz you. i’m sorry but the bulls just lost their credibility to be considered up there with orlando and boston, the bulls are a 2nd tier team until proven otherwise. let’s see how boozer starts to play as the games move along, but man… you guys had no shot whether he played or not last night. 0 rebounds for noah??? we completely owned the paint, and did anybody notice brandon bass like i mentioned on tuesday? yeah, bass is purty good ain’t he? and when we weren’t dominting inside we were shooting lights out on 3’s. and how are you letting that bum vince carter get into the paint and layup and dunk? total failure last night from the bulls.

  • Jon, Montgomery



    i’m sorry but i have to laugh at that one, i know boozer was rusty, but we totally owned you guys last night, think the bulls are ready to hang up in the east’s elite with US and boston? not so fast! sit down boy.

  • Chet's Inflated Ego

    Jon, the key point in your analysis was that the Bulls are a second-tier team.
    True. Totally true.
    I have never thought otherwise.
    I think that the coaching challenge has always been to get Boozer back and then make the move toward first tier.
    Right now, I’m not sure they could beat the Indiana White-Men-Can’t-Jump in a 7-game series, not sure they could even beat the Knicks in a 7-game series.
    That’s the cold bowl of oatmeal of reality.

    • Jon, Montgomery

      i didn’t mean you specifically chet, or anybody on this blog. but i’ve heard a ton of bulls fans on other message boards and bulls fans that i know and callers on the score, before last night’s game, that truly thought the bulls were ready to match up with orlando and thought they would beat us last night, i didn’t know how badly we were going to beat the bulls, but we waxed you guys. now i don’t mean anybody on this blog, but all of those bulls fans that were talking trash as if they should be up here with us and boston, you need to sit down and wait SON, you guys aren’t ready yet.

      and you can think of it as just one game, that’s fine, but it sure does not boost moral to get beat like you did last night on your homecourt by 29 points while un-vieling your shiny new toy boozer.


      sweet seymour skinner’s baadassss song!
      That was a good post Chet’s I.E.

      • Chet's Inflated Ego

        Why thank you Spaulding!

  • bronzo

    Jon you postaaid “We owned you last night” what position do you play on the Magic? I must have missed it.

    Yes the Magic are a MUCH better team than the Bulls

    • Jon, Montgomery

      i actually consider myself as part of the magic if you don’t mind. lol jk

      no, but i’m a diehard magic fan, and i just wanted to rub it in a little.

  • bronzo

    Sorry for the typo meant to say… Jon your post said…

  • Jon, Montgomery

    i still love the bulls as my 2nd fav team, and they’re good, but they just need to get boozer completely healthy first, if you watched last night when stacey king ran a slow-mo replay, he showed us (on more than one play) how boozer couldn’t even grip the basketball, boozer shouldn’t have come back last night, he obviously needs at least another week.

    and carmelo anthony is either going to be dealt to orlando or chicago in my opinion, and i’m not just saying that, that’s what experts are saying.

    • bigtime sucker

      boozers rustiness had nothing to do with that game, the bulls need to figure out how to guard those 3 point shooters and how to get long rebounds and NOAH needs to learn the consistent value of getting his hands up, he didn’t even challenge howard, not once!!! it’s like someone hit the bulls over the head with a stupid stick. also, the bulls just need to figure out how to play this team. the last 2 to 3 years, the magic have had their number. i am tired of excuses, roadtrip hangover and boozer not being in game shape and whatnot. THE 3 POINT SHOT HAS KILLED THE BULLS AND NOBODY INCORPORATES AND PLAY OFF THE 3 BETTER THAN ORLANDO. the bulls need to figure this out and fast

  • Jon, Montgomery

    how about the report of the orioles offering paul konerko a big deal? i say that report is total BS. paul isn’t going to baltimore even if they gave him 200 million

    • Chet's Inflated Ego

      Andy McFAIL underbid for VMart by only $2M.
      McFAIL was quoted as being upset that Free Agents are not attracted to Baltimore..he said, “it’s like I’m offering Confederate money.”

      I would be more concerned with the Angels going after Paulie.

  • Jon, Montgomery

    you don’t have to worry about those pacers, they won’t make they playoffs, and even if they did meet the bulls in a series, the bulls would cream that white corn, LOL
    and the bulls would beat the knicks too, so you don’t have to worry about that.
    and i honestly think that if boozer returns to his utah form (which i think he will) the bulls have a great shot against atlanta in a series, i think the bulls would beat them, and that’s a very real playoff possibility because i see atlanta and chicago getting the 4 & 5 seeds in the east, it’s just who gets homecourt in that series that i think would win it.
    and as far as MIA, BOS, & ORL… the bulls just aren’t ready to win a series against any of those 3 teams, maybe if the bulls get carmelo anthony i’ll re-consider.
    and yes, i do think the heat will turn it around. and i think it’ll be under spoelstra, riley doesn’t want to come down and coach the team this year, (i think he will next season), but riley is putting fire underneath lebron wade and bosh, yes, it’s not spoelstra’s fault, it’s his players, every heat player thought it would be easy and could just walk on the court every game and win, but they’re finding out it’s not, lebron wade and bosh didn’t want to have to work hard for this, but now they’re realizing they have to start moving, spoelstra isn’t to blame, it’s the heat players, but i think they’ll start playing harder and turn it around and get the 3 seed in the east.

  • bronzo

    Why would Konerko want to go to Baltimore other than money? they have NO CHANCE in th e NL east. As a life long Sox fan it breaks my heart to see him go. He was both mine and my daughter’s favorite player. For what he did on the fielad and the way he carried himself off the field.

    • Jon, Montgomery

      i think paul still wants to come back to the sox, but he is thinking of his family now a days and he wants to run his career down peacefully, he already has his WS ring, so i think paul would be just fine settling down with the angels or d-backs with a nice 2 or 3 year deal to finish his career. and i don’t have a problem with that, i love paul, he’s my favorite player too and i’d hate to see his leave, but i think paul IS ready to move on.

    • Chet's Inflated Ego

      I totally agree, Paulie is my favorite.
      I think that any offer from the Orioles just gives him some bargaining leverage.

  • Jon, Montgomery

    click this link, it’s a ‘cavs fan chant sheet’ for tonights cavs-heat game. it tells things for fans to chant at the game to humiliate lebron, it’s actually very funny and this ‘chant sheet’ is spreading around to alot of national outlets, so this might actually happen, but click the link for a couple good laughs.

    • Chet's Inflated Ego

      Great stuff, thanks.

  • Denny Craine

    Happy Hanukkah, Dan. Now do us a favor and take some time off.

  • Score Caller

    Is this the penguin?

  • Jon, Montgomery

    ESPN is reporting that the heat team plane had trouble with the wing flaps while they were flying, unfortunately the entire heat team and their plane landed safely in cleveland. god how great it would’ve been for everybody if that plane had come down in a corn field in west vriginia and not been seen again.

    • BearsFanInHoustonTx

      Jon, wishing a team to lose is one thing…wishing death is not the proper thing to do and post….

      Also, are you bored today? You sure have alot of posts …. job slow?

  • Jon, Montgomery

    does anybody know why the magic players were wearing RED shoes and wristbands last night???

    not complaining! if it helps to blowout your opponents by wearing their opponents color, that’s alright with me. lol

    • Chet's Inflated Ego

      World AIDS Day.

      • Jon, Montgomery

        oh, i had forgot, that makes sense. thanks chet

  • Chet's Inflated Ego

    Can you just imagine what the late Stormin’ Norman’s post-game would have been after last night’s game??????

    Moment of silence.
    I miss Norm.

  • Chet's Inflated Ego

    Shout-out to SHARK.

    Please comment on the new tv and radio teams for ESPN’s Sunday Night Baseball.

    What’s up with Dave Campbell???


    I heard an interview with Chicago’s own Michael Wilbon on the other all-sports station when Mac & Spiegs were in a break this morning. Wilbon mentioned as he & Tony Kornheiser were leaving the Washington, DC studio where they do “PTI” on the all-sports network that he feared a clunker vs. the Magic last night was bound to happen. In fact, I remember former Bulls’ head coach Phil Jackson always saying during his tenure that the first home game following a long, successful road trip was always the hardest. I think last night’s game vs. Orlando was quite a letdown, and I have a feeling it may take a few games for Carlos Boozer to get back into basketball shape. It might be another step or two back for Tom Thibodeau’s guys tomorrow vs. the Celtics in Boston. I wouldn’t overreact about last night’s 29-point loss to Orlando though. Even the top teams aren’t immune to such a stinker, regardless of team or league they play.

  • mad as hell fan....

    This early season schedule is beyond brutal. Their first 21 games are IMO unfair. Why are they scheduled to go to Boston twice around their circus trip? Orlando at home right after the trip? OKC twice, LAL twice, @ boston twice and of course the circus trip all before Dec. 11th? What the hell? Not to mention having the most back-to-backs in the NBA once again, and having THREE of them doing that last 7 game trip. That shouldn’t happen, the schedulers really put it up the Bulls arse each season. If they are 11-10 after Dec. 11th we should be all very very pleased.

  • Jon, Montgomery

    here’s some statage for ya.

    MAGIC: 4 losses-combined 49 pts
    LAKERS: 6 losses-combined 35 pts
    SPURS: 3 losses-combined 23 pts
    CELTICS: 4 losses-combined 16 pts

    • Jon, Montgomery

      BULLS: 7 losses-combined 68 pts

      kind of seperates them from the big boys if you ask me.

      • Chet's Inflated Ego

        Thanks Jon, excellent info.

        Yup, second tier……need Melo.

      • Marky Mark

        That’s just a convenient stat for your argument. Before last night’s 29 point clunker, the Bulls had 6 losses by a combined 39 points (fewer ppg than your Magic and just about on par with the Lakers), and those losses were to the Lakers, Celtics (OT), Knicks, Thunder, Spurs, and Nuggets (on a last second shot).

        The Bulls showed the basketball version of laying an egg last night, plain and simple.

  • Jon, Montgomery

    mark??? then can i take away my magic’s 26 point fluke loss to the heat??? if i took away that loss to the heat i could say the same thing.

    i’m keeping it fair.

  • meesohawnee

    Boy youd think for how much thought you get on the front end and back end of ONE bulls game in Dec they were the ones that won a title this year

    • BearsFanInHoustonTx

      people seem to forget the NBA is a LONG season….by the way…you think that Jon troll has a gig?

  • meesohawnee

    Roger Houston. Commanding officer in the LEM says one needs a high school diploma to get one. Over

  • puddin' head

    Cower and his beard to Miami Hurrricanes ?…heard that today in FL.

  • Jon, Montgomery

    hey meeso, it really shouldn’t matter whether i have a job or not. at least i have constructive things to say on this blog, all you do is complain about how much i post here, maybe post something about sports instead of trying to get into people’s personal lives, i don’t ask what you do for a living, so i’d appreciate it if you’d get off my back.


  • Marky Mark

    Not that I’m condoning what meeso said, because I’m not, but how exactly is anything said on this blog constructive? We are still just talking about sports, which are inherently unimportant in the grand scheme of things, so to say that you have “constructive” things to say seems inaccurate. You have well informed opinions, but they are hardly helping anyone.

    Just sayin’

    • Jon, Montgomery

      alright, I guess I shouldn’t have used the word ‘constructive’. I guess nothing we say on this blog could cure cancer, so I apologize.

      • Jon, Montgomery

        I’m just saying we shouldn’t be tearing eachother down. that’s all

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