If Carlos Boozer was expecting a Gala Ball for his grand debut in a Bulls uniform, imagine how he must have felt when he showed up and was greeted instead with the equivalent of a really bad High School dance. It wasn’t a pretty site at the United Center on Wednesday evening; the Dwight Howard led Orlando Magic swept through the windy city like Gail force winds off of Lake Michigan. The term ‘beatdown’ comes to mind, especially when the visiting team comes into your home court and destroys you 107-78. The loss drops Chicago to 9-7 on the season and 2-3 against Eastern Conference opponents. The road ahead isn’t an easy one, but does have the chance to make up for the handling of the Bulls by the Magic.
Last night’s game had it’s positives. Of course the high point of the night was Carlos Boozer making his Bulls debut, playing 22 minutes. He, however, only mustered up 5 points, 2 rebounds and one assist; hardly mind blowing. The real mind blowing stat was Joakim Noah not getting any rebounds. None. Nadda, zilch, zero rebound in 25 minutes on the court. That was pretty much the Bulls night in a nutshell; whenever your leading rebounder, the one who is the league’s second best averaging 13.2 rebounds a game gets no rebounds, you know you’re in for a really long night. Noah did lead the team in points with 16, Derrick Rose scored only 15; again not good. Rose is currently the only player in the NBA who is averaging 26.0 ppg and really didn’t step up against the Magic. “It’s frustrating” said Noah of his performance, “That’s my job, to rebound the basketball. I wasn’t able to do that tonight.”
To put the focus back on the positive of the game, Carlos Boozer‘s return to the lineup after missing the entire season up to this point with a broken pinkie finger is a bright spot for more than just that game. We finally get to see how well Boozer will work in this lineup. As far as his hand goes, Boozer said, “My hand felt great.” That’s great news to hear, not that the Bulls were struggling without him, it’s just if you buy a $75 million car, you’re not going to keep in the shop the whole year, you’re going to want to show it off. As far as how quickly he will adapt to the style the Bulls play is unclear (5 points in 22 minutes is hardly a show-offable stat), but it really great and promising to see him actually playing.
As far as the whole rebounding goes, not just for Noah but for the Bulls as a whole, a win in Friday’s game against the Celtics would a more than perfect way to do so. But on the bright side the Bulls are in first place in the Central Division and were as of December 1st. The last time the Bulls were in sole possession of first in the Central was December 1, 1996 when the Bulls finished a run of 15-1. I think we all know what happened that year, let’s hope for the same results.