Drop the Michael Jordan Narratives, Please: Bulls/Celtics Game 1, 2009 Playoffs

Posted on April 19, 2009 by



From the Bulls fans of RealGM

From the Bulls fans of RealGM

The Bulls beat the Celtics 105-103… at Boston…in a playoff game…despite the refereeing…winning for the first time…ever…against Boston…something even Michael Jordan himself wasn’t able to do.

Let’s just say a lot of mental blocks and hurdles were at least temporarily vanquished with this win over the Celtics.

Now that’s something I definitely did not imagine happening while I was watching the kind-of-the-same Chicago Bulls playing those kind-of-the-same-freshly-minted champion Boston Celtics this past Halloween 2008.

The Celtics won by 20 or something. I stopped counting after the beating set in. Tyrus Thomas went 2-17 taking all kinds of stupid shots. Derrick Rose was underwhelming. Ben Gordon was brought off the bench. Drew Gooden and Luol Deng were supposed to be doing something related to basketball. Joakim Noah apparently being badly out of shape. That Bulls team was really overwhelmed and the thought of competing this year for anything was just thrown off immediately by that viewing experience.

Today, however was the exact 180 of that. Derrick Rose with an NBA career high in points…in his first ever playoff game…against a “defensive” point guard who is probably every bit as fast as Rose. Ben Gordon scoring 12 of his 20 points in the 4th quarter.Tyrus Thomas completely reversing his Halloween act and actually making big shots as opposed to the garbage of All Souls Day Eve. Joakim Noah hustling for 17 rebounds and defending well. This Bulls team actually looked invincible…if only they’d learn to play defense, that is.

Everything was great about this game, except probably the way it’ll be remembered in the popular perhaps-Jerry Reinsdorf-belt-tightening-spend thriftiness consciousness.

Were too used to the Michael Jordan narrative, probably especially when it comes to basketball in Chicago. The one where the hero makes any and everything happen. The one where the hero gets dropped into a pile of crap and does any and everything for his team to win. The one where no one else on the team besides Michael Jordan matters. The one where the hero waits patiently for a Scottie Pippen and a Horace Grant/Dennis Rodman, who from birth were branded the words “2nd best” and “3rd best” players on a team, and they start farting out rainbows together.

Slam Magazine wasted no time talking about Derrick Rose in the MJ narrative form.

Rose took the Bulls on his back through the first four quarters and D’d-down Paul Pierce the majority of the overtime period, despite five fouls clinging to his name.

Magic Johnson in a postgame even said that Derrick Rose was effective on both sides of the court. If that was true, Rajon Rondo would’n’t have scored 20+ points of his own.

No…just no. Shut the hell up already.

Derrick Rose was great and all, but he didn’t carry the team for 4 quarters, and he didn’t play great defense. More like 3 1/2 quarters…offensively only.

If we were to be closer to the truth, more credit needs to be given to the other players. Joakim Noah, who had himself a double double, including 17 rebounds. Ever since the departures of Tyson Chandler and Ben Wallace, interior defense and defensive rebounding has been one of the team’s biggest problems. At least yesterday, Joakim filled their shoes…and more. He was key to getting the team running with confidence after throwing down a Dwight Howard-esque, oop from Derrick Rose.

Ben Gordon in typical clutch fashion did his thing in the 4th quarter with 12 points. We’ll be lucky if anybody else other than Bulls fans mention his defense on Ray Allen.

Tyrus Thomas’ ballsy shots in Overtime were also nothing short of miraculous, considering that he was the main goat last time around. And by “goat”, I mean goat, not G.O.A.T. This time he was the key to clinching the game. (I’d still he rather he taper down on those outside perimeter shots, considering his athleticism).

John Salmons was nice to have around for defense, especially on Paul Pierce and with Luol Deng out, has been a big part of our playoff run. Kirk Hinrich, whom I am not a fan of and would rather see in a different uniform, did little things to help move this team forward. Brad Miller usually does more than try to play point guard and turn the ball over.

I hate uttering maxims from the school of Wooden, college basketball fanalysts and experts, but this was a victory had by the team, today was Derrick Rose’s day to be the cherry on top.

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