With the absence of the Rockford Lightning this season, Ive actually started paying more attention to the Chicago Bulls again.
During the Michael Jordan era, I would make sure I never missed a game. Since then, it has pretty much been hit or miss. Mostly miss. If they were on one of the televisions I would pass by at bowling, or on at one of the restaurants I frequented, I would glance over to catch the score, but thats about all. As a person who considers himself a sports fan, I am embarrassed to admit I couldnt have named the starting five over the past few seasons.
Now thats changed. The Bulls are fun to watch again. Granted, Im not scheduling my life around their games as I did during the championship years of the 90s, but if I know they are on and Im going to be home, Ill watch the game. General manager John Paxson and head coach Scott Skiles have done a good job putting together a competitive and entertaining group of players.
Recently, the team put together a seven-game winning streak. It wasnt until last Saturday that they were beaten 91-81 at home by Kevin Garnett and the Minnesota Timberwolves to end that streak. At press time, the Bulls had won seven of their last 10 games to even their season at 10-10. I think they are the most entertaining .500 team in the NBA.
The combination of Ben Wallace, P.J. Brown, Luol Deng, Kirk Hinrich, Ben Gordon and Andres Nocioni may not necessarily be household names like Jordan, Pippen and Grant were, but they do seem to possess some of the same heart and intensity as their forefathers. They hustle and actually do something very rare these days in the NBAthey also play defense.
If youre looking for something other than hockey this winter, I suggest you might take a look at this years Bulls team. You may find them to be a reasonable replacement for any longing you may have for professional basketball. I even put my Bulls ornaments back on this years Christmas tree. Wouldnt it be fun to see them start winning big again? Ill gladly keep an eye on them for us.
Doug Halberstadt can be reached via e-mail at Dougster61@aol.com.
From the Dec. 13-19, 2006, issue