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Saturday, May 25

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Airbags

Bulls in Five - Back Down to Earth
by Jason Maslanka

Every time I listen to Wayne Larrivee on the Bulls' WGN telecasts, I note just how often he uses one of the oldest announcer tricks. If a shot is from deep or a pass goes too far or a player jumps really high, the announcer, in this case Larrivee, speaks in metaphor to describe the action with the name of a nearby place. During Sunday nights' Clippers game, he described an errant pass as being thrown to "Marina del Rey." A long three in Madison Square Garden might be from the Statue of Liberty, while a monster dunker may have jumped over the Lincoln Memorial at a Wizards' game. Does this matter, you ask? Well, no, but it does make me chuckle while I watch every minute of every game of a really dreadful Bulls' season. Next time you hear something about Tacoma, Washington or Space Mountain you'll chuckle too.

One: Oh, the Bulls...
There was a moment there where I wanted to write this column about something other than the Bulls and see if anyone noticed. I thought to pen some reviews of documentaries I've recently watched or maybe talk about that great little Guatemalan restaurant on Roscoe in my neighborhood. Alas, I can't do that. Like the old commercials, I am here through thick and thin... thick and thin, really thin. Every time the Bulls get me excited — like the win in Denver — they lose terribly. Then, after that terrible loss, they win again. This week it was the Clippers win after a disaster at Sacramento. Consistency, anyone?

Two: Home is Where Something Better Be
The last long road trip of the year is over, and the 2-5 record doesn't leave these Bulls in great shape on the season. They play six of the next seven at home and have nearly a week off upcoming to heal and practice. This week features only two games, both of which are not guaranteed losses. The first features the revenge game against Ron Artest and the Kings, who've played well since the trade and thrashed the Bulls at Arco by 18. Thursday's matchup is against the decent Bucks, with Michael Redd's 25 points per game and a chip on his shoulder from an all-star snub.

Threeeeee: Revisiting the Chandler-Brand Trade
Four and a half years ago, on draft day, Jerry Krause traded a second year player out of Duke, Elton Brand, to the L.A. Clippers for the rights to 7-foot high school player named Tyson Chandler. While Chandler's recent surge has been terrific, watching Brand and Chandler during Sunday's game was another painful reminder of just how bad that trade was. In that game, Brand had 29 points and 15 rebounds; Chandler had 3 points and 10 boards. Brand is headed to his second all-star game; Chandler is celebrating 3 weeks of solid rebounding. That single draft set the Bulls back a few years. They still haven't recovered.

Four: Missing Duhon
In injury news, Chris Duhon has missed recent games with what the team calls a "left thigh contusion." The injury happened last week in practice and initially didn't appear serious. It hasn't worked out that way, though, as Duhon has missed practices and games during the week and doesn't really know what the future holds. The injury is such that only rest will heal it and some days hurt more than others. Jannero Pargo's instant offense is a great key to this team sometimes, but Pargo doesn't have near the pure point guard ability that Duhon has.

Five: Style Watch
One might assume that a style watch segment of an NBA column would certainly have to be about the Clippers' Chris Kaman, and his apparent desire to look like a homeless alcoholic. One would then assume incorrectly. This first, and probably only, style watch segment focuses on Tyson Chandler's new well-shaven look. His hair is more closely shaved; his facial hair is completely gone and he looks 10 years younger. This look isn't about style, however. Chandler's uncle is battling lung cancer, and Tyson plans to wear his hair short to support his uncle's ongoing treatment. As with everyone in such a difficult situation, the staff here wishes Tyson and his family well.

Standings Update: The Bulls (22-28) sit in 9th place behind Philadelphia (24-26) by two games. The last playoff spot looks to be headed for the best of the incredibly mediocre teams... go Bulls! Sigh.

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Comments

p / February 16, 2006 3:46 PM

An awful bulls season? Don't you remember every year prior to last? Relatively speaking, this season is going pretty well.

Jason / February 16, 2006 6:24 PM

I'm not sure about EVERY year prior to last, but I know what you're saying. It's awful to me because it's so disjointed. I expected another playoff run this year. I expected Ben Gordon to be amazing, Tyson to be a monster, etc.

Like it says in my bio, I've never stopped watching, and awful is probably a bit strong...but it has been rough.

 

About the Author(s)

Jason Maslanka began his fandom of the Chicago Bulls in June of 1991, conveniently coinciding with the franchise's first championship. The years since the championships tested his fandom, but it never faltered. He believes that the NBA is more than dunks and hip hop, and that the NBA dress code is a good thing. He thinks most fans don't really understand basketball, and if they did, they'd love it even more. He knows that there are certain players who do the little things for no praise, and stat-mongers who don't really do anything to help their team win. Every week, he plans to execute a beautifully crafted column containing five points you should be thinking about and discussing as a Bulls and NBA fan. Send comments, questions, and arguments to bulls@gapersblock.com.

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