By Doug Halberstadt
Fans of the National Basketball Association (NBA) got a nice Christmas present last Sunday, Dec. 25. The work stoppage is over, the league is back, and the season has been saved.
The NBA got the new shortened season started with five games on Christmas Day. Professional hoop fans all across the country can let the cheering begin.
Fans of the Chicago Bulls got an excellent Christmas present Sunday, Dec. 25. The Bulls defeated the Los Angeles Lakers 88-87. The drama was intense in their first outing of the 2011-12 season. Things looked awfully bleak for reigning league MVP Derrick Rose, Luol Deng and the rest of the Chicago players as they trailed Kobe Bryant and his Lakers teammates by as many as 11 points with a little less than 4 minutes left in the game.
That’s when Rose and Deng put on their Superman capes and rallied the team back into the game. Rose finished the game with 22 points, but none was bigger than his final jumper with 4.8 seconds left on the clock. The shot gave the Bulls the 1-point lead.
Deng then took over on the defensive end of the court. He blocked a last-second shot from Bryant that sealed the victory. Deng finished the game with 21 points, nine in the final quarter. Carlos Boozer added 15 points. He was the only other Bull to score in double figures.
Bryant led the Lakers with 28 points, but also added eight turnovers. Bryant was playing with a torn ligament in his wrist.
Chicago will play three more games in California this week before returning home to face the Memphis Grizzlies at the United Center on New Year’s Day. They faced the Golden State Warriors Monday, Dec. 26 (results unavailable at press time). Tomorrow night (Thursday, Dec. 29), they are up against the Kings in Sacramento, and they finish the West Coast road trip with a return trip to the Staples Center in LA to battle the Clippers Friday (Dec. 30) night.
If they can continue to play as well as they did in that fourth quarter against the Lakers on opening day, it’s highly possible they could come back to the Windy City with a 4-0 record. That’s what I would call a sweet end to 2011, and a great way to start the new season and the new year!
From the Dec. 28, 2011-Jan., 3, 2012, issue