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Thursday, February 22

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Bulls Sat Feb 18 2012

As The Bulls Turn: C.J. Watson's Hard Education Continues

This isn't CJ Watson's first polka, but to say the reserve point has been getting a hard education this week would be wholly accurate. After a remedial course against Charlotte's rookie point guard, Kemba Walker, CJ has faced Rajon Rondo ("The Cassowary Game"), Tyreke Evans ("Utterly blanketed CJ Watson. Gripping." -Roger Ebert), Rondo again (Hey, "only" 17, 8 and 7 for Rondo this time), and the brutal education continued yesterday as Deron Williams did his best Deron Williams impression. Scorching CJ (or any of Chicago's guards since we're being honest) for 29 points (five 3s, 6-7 from the charity stripe) while dishing out eight dimes, Williams was on point all game long. The Nets in general were on point all game long, which the Bulls, as it should be very clear, were not. And you know what? Bulls fans should've seen a game like this on the horizon. No Derrick Rose, two big games against the Celtics in five days, the Nets at the flukish time of 3:00 pm on a Saturday afternoon? Yeah, this had the makings of a "Toronto Raptors Sunday matinee" letdown game written all over it.

So the Bulls have now lost two at the United Center on the season and we've all now learned that even with a taskmaster such as Thibs playing mental chess with Avery Johnson ("NO! I will yell at my team to play better defense more loudly than you will."), the Bulls might take a night off every now and again. This was an ugly game for both teams, by the way. More of the grubby, college ball, game than an NBA beauty, lots of grabbing, bumping, "durr"-ing it up on both ends. With the Bulls in particular not even remotely aware of how to hit the broadside of a barn, and forgetting how to rebound. For the second time in, gasp!, three games, the Bulls were struggling for rebounds against a large-bodied tandem of power forward/center (DeMarcus Cousins and Jason Thompson on Tuesday night), Kris Humphries (24 and 18!) and Shelden Williams (14 boards) yesterday.

While not a major concern yet, it is still an eyebrow raiser. Toss in the fact that in their only other home loss on the season (to the Pacers), Roy Hibbert and Tyler Hansbrough cleaned the glass and outrebounded the Bulls. Strictly my opinion here, but well, Dwight Howard [Actually he is, but y'know, sacrificing Noah to get Dwight... -Ed.] isn't the answer for a quandary like that. You know who is? Chris Kaman. I know, I know, a column for another time, dear reader.

In any case, not the Bulls best effort and with no one capable of stopping Deron Williams from doing Deron Williams things, Bulls lose, Nets win. Tomorrow the Hawks and "Hey, another decent point guard, Jeff Teague," roll into the United Center for a 3:00 pm matinee. Maybe Derrick Rose won't play again, and maybe CJ's (face? concussion?) injury will keep him out and we'll see how Mike James/John Lucas III handle Jeff Teague. Sigh. Injuries. "Patience, gentle viewer." Let's see how the Bulls rebound from the Nets loss before we warm up the Chicken Little riot act.

Anything Else ?

Deron Williams. It's so hard to remember him as the nasty yin to Chris Paul's yang now that CP3 is a Clip and Deron is in the NBA-limbo of Newark --until next year, "Brooklyn Stand Up." But, yeah, Deron Williams in games like yesterday's? He would like to remind you that he's got a pocketful of knives and he's had it up to here with the likes of you. Lest we also forget that dude has been soldiering through the "season of the weird" with Humphries, half of Anthony Morrow, a roll of duct tape and the ghost of Brook Lopez. Soon though, Lopez will be back and rookie wonder Marshon Brooks was back for yesterday's tilt!, the Nets will be more entertaining (if not better) very shortly.

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