By Shawn Muller–
Wednesday night at the United Center was supposed to be one of anticipation and excitement for Bulls fans.
Chicago was returning home after playing seven games (going 4-3 on the trip) on a twelve days circus trip out west. The Bulls were also sitting alone at the top of the Central Division standings. Topping it all off, Wednesday marked the potential season debut for big free-agent acquisition Carlos Boozer. Yes, Wednesday night had the makings of a special night for Bulls fans indeed.
What’s that? Oh….the Bulls were supposed to play a game too?
Apparently, Chicago didn’t get the memo that the Southeast Division leading Orlando Magic were in town. Orlando, on the other hand, received the message loud and clear.
The Magic embarrassed the Bulls 107-78 in Boozer’s season debut.
This game (if you can even call it that) was over from the opening tip-off. Chicago looked like a team that had been on the road longer than U2 during a world tour. The players appeared sluggish and seemed to be going through the motions for the better part of the 1st half. The Bulls trailed the Magic by 24 points after the first forty minutes were in the books. It could have been 4 points at the half and it wouldn’t have mattered.
Nothing the Bulls could have done in the second half would have changed the outcome of this game.
As for Carlos Boozer and his United Center debut….yawn. He would end up with just 5 points and 2 rebounds in 22 minutes of play. While he didn’t light up the stat sheet, I have a hard time looking at his performance as a disappointment. After all, Boozer was a game-time decision and he hadn’t played at all this season. He is going to need a couple of games under his belt to knock the dust off before we can properly judge the way his game is shaping up.
So for those reasons stated above Mr. Boozer, tonight, you get a pass.
As for the rest of the Bulls….ouch!
Fact is, there wasn’t one player in the lineup tonight that I would have wanted anywhere near the basketball court. Not one player had a solid game….and I am being nice when I say that. Now, was this a simple case of a team trying to “gel” with their new floor mate? Could be. Remember, the Bulls have been playing the entire season without Boozer. But I am more apt to lean towards the side of Chicago being a little run down from the long road trip.
If Phil Jackson can use west coast travel as an excuse as to why a Western Conference team won’t break the Bulls regular season wins record, why can’t I use the same excuse to explain why the Bulls came out flat against the Magic (I feel so much better now….thanks Phil)?
Look. There is no reason for Bulls fans to panic. The Bulls will be just fine. Bad games happen and tonight was just a bad game. Nothing more and nothing less.
Time to move on and focus on getting back on track Friday against the Celtics.
Shawn Muller has lived in Chicago for 7 years. He is a graduate of the University of Wisconsin-Madison and just recently received his certificate in radio broadcasting in October of 2010. Sports have always been a passion of Shawn’s. In his free time, Shawn enjoys spending time with his wife Melissa and 3 year old daughter Ava, catching any live sporting event, and traveling. Check out his radio show, “Grab Some Bench with Muller and Bangser” at www.blogtalkradio.com/spmuller24.