Game Notes: Wizards at Bulls
On our Bs and Q’s.
by Bryan Crawford and Quinn Peterson
This ain’t Appleson, so don’t you dare laugh. Nope, this is just two cats from ‘The City of Wind’ who happened to get credentials on the same night and joined forces for a recap of the final preseason game of both the Chicago Bulls and the Washington Wizards Friday night at the United Center.
These notes are brought to you by Quinn Peterson, the guy who gave you solid pieces on the Chicago PG and the pride that is DePaul Blue Demon basketball; and Bryan Crawford, the guy who was once miraculously healed by the “air-ogance” of Michael Jordan.
While Quinn and myself admittedly will never be able to, or try to duplicate the genius of Jake Appleman and Russ Bengston’s classic game note collabo’s, we decided to put our heads together to see if we can come up with something at least half as good. So, with that being said…
Talk to the people, Q.
Say no more, B. The Wizards looked like they were bored, and ready for the preseason to end Friday night. Their lackluster performance on offense looked a bit…
Languid – \lan-gwid\ – adj.
1: Sluggish in character or disposition
2: Lacking force or quickness in movement
The Bulls defense was on point, so give them credit. It’s an area they’ve been focusing on all preseason. They held the Wizards to 37 percent shooting from the field, including forcing them into an atrocious 13 percent shooting, 3rd quarter.
“I think our defense has been a lot better. That’s a bright spot, I think, for us. Compared to last year, I feel like defensively we’re really getting after it. It’s a positive sign because it’s all about rotations and effort. And I feel like we’ve brought, and we’re getting better at it every day,” said Bulls center Joakim Noah.
Tyrus Thomas co-signed with his teammate. “We gotta make sure that’s one of the things we keep rolling in the right direction. Defense,” said Thomas. “It’s still some things we need to work on. That’s one of our main [points of] emphasis, making sure we keep playing defense. Keep playing aggressive, smart defense.”
Quinn, I feel you fam… But did you see the way the Wizards were playing? The Bulls were short handed again Friday night. Kirk Hinrich was out, Jannero Pargo too. And Derrick Rose didn’t play, again. Not to mention the fact that Lindsey Hunter started at PG and Gil was supposed to give him 50!
Yeah B, as good as the Bulls defense was, Washington’s offense did look bad. The Wizards looked worse than Wendy Williams on Friday night.
Or any other night of the week, Q… How you doing? But true dat… The Wizards offense was extremely bad on Friday. But I think I may have found the reason why. From a coaching standpoint, Flip Saunders was really…
Munificent – \myoo-NIF-uh-sunt\ – adj.
1: very liberal in giving or bestowing
2: characterized by great liberality or generosity
Like Q said, the Wizards looked worse than Wesley Snipes in Too Wong Foo.
No I didn’t. I said Wendy Williams on Friday night…
Same thing, Q.
Yeah, you right B. I didn’t mean to cut you off and I’ma let you finish…
Q, you not being very munificent right now son.
The Wizards had no energy and what seemed like no rhythm and never matched the Bulls intensity on the offensive side of the ball. What should’ve been an easy ‘W’ for DC, quickly turned into a 23 point victory for the team from ‘The Chi’ whose previous preseason wins were all decided by five points or less.
After realizing his squad was giving a lackluster performance, Flip Saunders decided to just let his guys try and figure things out for themselves. “It was a good learning experience [for the team], to understand that you can’t just go out and just play. That’s why I kind of just sat there and let them play and let them understand the mental approach to the game.” When asked what he took from this game heading into the regular season, he responded, “Nothing.” Good idea Flip. I know it’s only preseason, but good head coaches never let the inmates run the asylum. Just a thought.
That’s a good point, B. But there was something else I saw last night too. The Bulls frontcourt got the job done and they were very…
Cogent – \co-gent\ – adj.
1: convincing or believable by virtue of forcible, clear, or incisive presentation; telling
2: to the point; relevant; pertinent
With the guards out, it was the Bulls big men who stepped up and did their thing. Tyrus Thomas had the energy, Joakim Noah brought the hustle, and Brad Miller of all people, had the flare, as the three combined for 50 points, 28 rebounds, and 14 assists, while shooting 18-30. Thomas’ mid-range game looked particularly good, as he let it ride with confidence time and time again. Noah looked great as well, notching a double-double by the 5-minute mark of the third quarter and looking much improved on offense.
“I do [feel much more confident]. I feel, you know, we’re [the Bulls big men] being used a lot more on the offensive end. I’ve been working on my game all summer, just getting into a routine,” Noah said. “I try to do at least 20 minutes a day working on hook shots, touch around the basket, and things like that.” He continued, adding that he’s been working with Sidney Green on a daily basis.
But Brad Miller may have had the most eventful night, as he showcased his guard skills, driving to the basket and knocking down some three’s, including a buzzer-beater at the end of the first.
Yo, Q… The last thing I want to see is Brad Miller showcasing his guard skills, son. I don’t pay money to see that.
Yeah, but B, you don’t pay to go to games anyway.
Oh yeah, but still…
Plus, the game was out of reach.
So Q, you’re saying you’re cool with Brad being the GWCH?
Yeah…the Great White Chocolate Hopeless.
There was a couple times where he drove from the top of the key all the way to the hole, finishing at the basket. It was awkward but it got the job done, B.
Whatever you say, Q.
Brad Miller certainly enjoyed the win, as he walked to the locker room after the game with Joakim Noah on his back, and…
Joakim Noah on his back, ha! Is that all your boy Brad can carry? Yo, Derrick Rose got the whole city on his shoulders fam! Derrick Rose is for the kids! Derri…
B, now you’re the one not being very munificent.
A thousand pardons, Q. Please continue…
Taj Gibson, the Bulls rookie forward also had a strong game, going 6-10 from the field, finishing with 13 points and 5 rebounds, while knocking down several shots from mid-range. They may not have any All-Stars, but the Bulls will be a scrappy group that will give teams headaches night in and night out.
No All-Stars? Um, Q… Derrick would like to have a word with you. And speaking of All-Stars, last night after the game, Gilbert Arenas was very…
Curt – \’kert\ – adj.
1: sparing of words; marked by rude or peremptory shortness
After missing the previous two games with flu-like symptoms, Gil’s return the court last night was less than stellar. After being guarded by Lindsey Hunter most of the night, you almost expected him to go into attack mode matched up mano-a-mano against the oldest player in the League, but he didn’t. He scored 15 points and got to the rim with ease and drew fouls to get to the line (he hit on 9-11 FTs), but his outside shot wasn’t falling as he finished the game 3-12 from the field. But he looked like the Gilbert of old, and it was good to see him out on the court after playing only 15 games the last two seasons due to injury.
B, Agent Zero had an interesting night. At times he looked good, but there were other times when he looked uncomfortable and was more rigid than an NBA Jam athlete.
That’s cold, Q. It could’ve been worse though. Ever play Double Dribble?
Good ol’ gunnin’ Hibachi!
I don’t think he wants to be called Hibachi or Agent Zero anymore.
Oh yeah? So what’s he calling himself these days, B?
Gil? That’s it? Just plain ol’ Gil?
Yep. He said he retired from blogging. No more nicknames either. He says he just wants to play basketball. He even tried to stop talking to the media.
I feel that, B. Silence is golden.
And it costs $50,000.
Much has been made of Gilbert Arenas’ refusal to speak to the media before and after preseason games which recently caused the league to fine both him and the Wizards $25,000 apiece for his actions. So on Friday night, he fulfilled his media obligation by giving one-word answers to questions while keeping his head down and never making eye contact with anyone. When asked if he thought he’d gotten what he wanted out of playing in the preseason from a confidence standpoint, he responded simply with, “Yep.”
Yo B, that dude was probably an amateur. I know you asked him some questions that made it hard to just say one word?
Actually Q, “that dude” was the Wizards beat writer. But you know I hit him with something good.
So what he say?
SLAM: After being out sick the last couple of games, how did you feel out on the floor tonight?
Gilbert Arenas: Sick.
Gil: Uh, huh.
I know. He should call himself Agent Zero Words.
It was that kind of night. To make things even more interesting, he had his Beats™ By Dre headphones blasting ‘One More Chance’ by the Notorious B.I.G. I’m sure he knew that would make transcribing what he had to say virtually impossible for members of the media—like myself—who used recorders.
That’s why I take my notes on paper, B.
Yeah, yeah, yeah…
But it really wasn’t all that bad and as it went on, Gilbert started to expound on his answers. But to those of us who didn’t understand in the beginning, it became quite clear at the end that he was just having fun with us media guys and that it was all just an act. There were even a few moments where he actually cracked a smile in the three minutes of time he so graciously donated to us. But despite his post-game antics, at the end of the day I could see that Gil is back, he’s focused, and he’s ready to go.
Speaking of ready to go, B. Derrick Rose is very…
Restive – \’res-tiv\ – adj.
1: stubbornly resisting control.
2: marked by impatience or uneasiness.
“It’s great to see the guys get a win like that,” said Rose, who has his eyes set on being ready to go for Thursday’s season opener. “It’s also kind of scary, because I don’t want to come back and mess up their rhythm or timing. They’re out there playing hard. I’m loving it right now.”
I’ve heard that before, Q. Derrick is saying all the right things, but believe me when I tell you he feels ready to go and it’s making him sick that he has to sit out.
I know, B. I could just see it in his face.
The good thing is, in light of so many injuries, the Bulls have guys, that when called upon to step up and contribute, actually have. But, anytime Lindsey Hunter is your starting PG, you know you’re not at 100 percent.
So, as much fun as things are in the preseason, it’s go time now. Things ain’t sweet no more. Now it’s time to get after it. But that’s a good thing according to Joakim Noah: “Yeah I’m happy it (the preseason) is over. It just sucks to go out there, and nothing counts, you know. Nothing really counts. But if you look at the big picture, I feel like we competed, and we got better.”
The Bulls played well in the preseason, but starting Thursday, we’ll find out just how much better they are as they will face The L’s finest right away when they kick the season off against the Spurs.
So B, I think that about covers it.
Yeah, I’d say so Q. But it still feels like we’re forgetting something.
I know. What did we miss?
Oh, I know!
When Randy Foye baptized Taj Gibson!
He did? Damn B, I think I missed that one. I must’ve gone back for some more free popcorn.
Yeah Q, it was nasty. It’s cool though, it didn’t count anyway.
Why not? Did one of the scab referees make another traveling call?
Worse, it happened during preseason.
Damn. No video.
Yep. Like it never happened.