Posts tagged ‘Chicago’

February 25, 2011

Chris Bosh had a Rough Night

by Jeeves

The .5 in the Miami Heat’s Big 2.5 had himself a rough, rough night. Not only did his Miami Heat lose to the Bulls in Chicago falling to 1-6 against the top-5 teams in the league, but he was one of the main factors contributing to the loss. Bosh went a whopping 1-18 from the field. You read that correctly one for freakin’ eighteen. It was the worst shooting performance by a player since Tim Hardaway went 0-17 back in 1991. Bosh also had the most misses in a game since Mike Newlin went 1-22 in 1973. Bosh’s performance was, without exaggeration, historically bad. To add insult to injury, he was also outrebounded by Lebron James, Luol Deng, and Omer Asik (who played half the amount that Bosh did). To really put the cherry on top, there’s the horrendous flop you can see in the .gif above or the video below:

I really, really wish the league could retroactively fine him for that flop job. I’m a big soccer fan and that’s way worse than what you normally see...this video, notwithstanding.

I would love to be a fly in the wall in the Heat locker room tonight. It would be really interesting to see how Lebron treats Bosh after this performance, especially after Bosh dissed his teammate by saying he’d vote for Rose as MVP. It’s one thing to be honest and forthright to the media, it’s another thing to be honest at the expense of one of your teammates. Lebron did say he’s taking names of those that disrespect him; I guess we’ll have to wait and see if he puts Chris Bosh on his list.

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February 2, 2011

The Chicago Bulls: Not Quite Road-Warriors, as of Yet

by Jeeves

The Chicago Bulls have been playing great basketball so far this season. They have compiled the 4th best record in the NBA and are within spitting distance of the top two teams in the East (.5 games back of Miami and 3.0 behind Boston). All this has been done while integrating a handful of new players into a completely new system and juggling the rotation around the absences of Carlos Boozer (18 games missed due to injury) and Joakim Noah (23 games missed due to injury). To say they’ve out done expectations would be an understatement. The pundits, generally speaking had the Bulls pegged as a solid playoff contender, but nowhere near title worthy. Marc Stein, of ESPN, had the Bulls 9th in his Preseason power rankings and Britt Robson, of SI, had the Bulls 12th in his poll. They were viewed as a fringey contender, one that, perhaps, could make a deep run in a year or two.

As the Bulls stand now, they have to be viewed as one of the favorites to come out of the East. They may rank a bit behind Boston and Miami, but they have to be taken at least as seriously as Orlando. I would be zero percent surprised to see the Bulls in the ECF. I would, however, be surprised if they make it that far while maintaining their pedestrian road record. The Bulls home record (3rd best, behind only Boston and San Antonio) buoys their 10-10 road record. It should also be noted that only the Clippers have played fewer road games than the Bulls which can be used to further discount the Bulls’ overall record. This isn’t a horrendous mark, especially considering they didn’t have Boozer during the annual rodeo trip, but it’s not befitting of a title contender. The average NBA Finals team since the year after the lock-out has had a record of 24-17  on the road, with a numerical mode of 27-14.

Derrick Rose and company embark on a 5 game road swing through the Western Conference. Though the team is still not at full strength, it provides an opportunity for the Bulls to at least show that they are legitimate Finals contenders and not just Conference Finals contenders. The Bulls play, in order, at the Clippers, at Golden State, at Portland, at Utah, and at New Orleans. There is not a single back-to-back in that stretch which will aide the Bulls as they try to improve their road mark.

While maximizing their wins on this West Coast swing would obviously be best, I’m most interested to see how they perform against the Jazz and the Hornets. They are two of the better home teams in the league and either game would count in my books as the Bulls second impressive road win of the season. I don’t mean second most impressive; I mean their second impressive, period. The Bulls beat a full strength Mavs team way back on November 11th. Other than that game, their best road win is either their win in Memphis or their win in Phoenix, two teams that are around .500.

These 5-games won’t make or break the Bulls in the public’s eyes; their sparkly 33-14 record takes care of that. This stretch, though, represents their best chance to legitimize their championship aspirations that is, at least, until Noah returns.

January 23, 2011

Defending Jay Cutler

by Jeeves

Full disclosure: I am from Chicago and am indeed a Bears fan. I think it is important to get all biases out front and center

Update: Turns out Cutler has a torn MCL, so I suppose I was correct.

Update 2: The official prognosis is a grade 2 MCL tear which takes 3-4 weeks to heal. Also it should be noted that a tear and sprain for all intents and purposes are synonymous when dealing with the MCL, per here.

The above picture is from the front page of Yahoo! Sports’ NFL section and is a large motivating factor for this post. I realize that Cutler didn’t play a great game today; his deep ball was off and the pressure limited his performance on shorter routes. He missed Hester a couple times though he did make a nice pass to Knox, but that’s not why I’m writing.

The excessive hyperbole and complete vilification of Cutler for being forced out of the game is absurd. I realize and understand that part of sports writing is to capture the emotion of the moment and the feelings of the fan, but I think it’s clear that the ensuing clusterf*** (or Cutlerf****, if you will) is going to move beyond the means of any reasonable literary device. Steve Bartman (rightly or wrongly) is one of the most hated ‘characters’ in  Chicago. Fans were so angry, so enraged at him, that the governor recommended he go into the witness protection program. Naturally, Yahoo! equates the Bartman situation to Cutler having an, at best, sprained MCL, at worst, torn MCL.

It just strikes me as absurd that this amount of vitriol is coming out when the extent of the injury hasn’t even been determined. It strikes me as doubly absurd when you question Cutler’s toughness, as Kerry Rhodes of the Arizona Cardinals did, because this requires you to also forget every other game that he has played for the Bears. Cutler has been the picture of resolve in his short time in Chicago. He has been sacked 87 times and hit countless other occasions in just 31 regular season games due to a horrendous, porous offensive line. Up until today, save for his concussion against the Giants, he got up, dusted himself off and went back to work. You would think that such continual perseverance would buy the guy the benefit of the doubt. Please correct me if I’m wrong, but I don’t think he’s even complained about the line and how often he’s been hit let alone sulk his way off the field because of it.

If you really, really think about it; separate out the emotion and the magnitude of today’s loss, and ask yourself, what is more likely?: “Jay Cutler was legitimately hurt and unable to plant while throwing the football, thus rendering him useless” or “Jay Cutler is a gutless wimp who quit on his team during the biggest game of the season even though he had absorbed countless hits this season and never asked out of a previous game.” I don’t understand how you can reconcile Cutler as gutless while completely ignoring his body of work/toughness up until now.

I realize the rebuttals to this line of thinking would go something like, “Yeah, but he wasn’t even limping after he came out!” Right. Ligament damage, though, isn’t necessarily crippling during low impact movements. I have a friend who has torn multiple ligaments in both knees on multiple occasions. Prior to surgery he was able to walk around no problem. Granted he was moving around slowly, much like Cutler, I’ll add, but he looked totally fine until being faced with the task of climbing stairs. It’s dynamic movements like pushing upwards and forwards or planting to throw a football where the lack of stability in the knee comes into play; so the fact that he could pace the sideline shouldn’t be used as an indictment of his character or his toughness.

Jay Cutler may come off as brash or whiny. He may not have charmed the media with his interactions or endeared himself to Bears’ fans with his interceptions, but the one thing I could always say without reservation is that, at least, Cutler is tough as nails. No matter what the others may say, I will still continue to consider Cutler one tough S.O.B.