The Celtics host the Chicago Bulls tonight at 8:00, at the TD Garden. My brother Tommy will be at the game, thanks to the fact that my uncle is now dead to me. My uncle had only one extra ticket to the game, and offered it Tommy instead of me. If you ever see me in person, please remind me never to speak to my uncle again. Thanks.
Carlos Boozer recently returned for the Chicago Bulls, which means he has finally recovered from his “I tripped over a gym bag because it was dark in my house” injury. Frankly, I don’t care much about Boozer, nor his health. There’s something about him I always found boring. Sure, he’s pretty good and was also the subject of one of the greatest photographs ever, but Boozer’s game does nothing for me. I’m a Duke fan, too, so I should appreciate him. I just could never enjoy an undersized (yet brolic) big man who loves shooting rainbow jumpers.
With Kirk Hinrich (and his scrappy play) gone for less green pastures, there are only four Bulls I now honestly care about. Sorry, Luol Deng and C.J. Watson, you guys didn’t make the cut. Also, extra apologies to Kyle Korver. I’m normally quite fond of shooters who look like Ashton Kutcher.
A hypotethical conversation with Rose:
Me: Exactly how good are you, Derrick Rose? More importantly, what is your ceiling?
Rose: How good am I? 25 and 8 good, as a 22-year old. And, umm, ceiling? That word doesn’t apply to me.
Me: Oh, yeah. And you’re younger than I am? Making all that noise in the NBA? Hot damn.
There aren’t many things in the world better than watching a Rose-Rondo matchup. The matchup was great even before this season — blazing speed everywhere, two entirely different approaches to the same position, young studs on their way to greatness. And this year? The matchup is even better. Not only did both players take the leap to true stardom, but they are also now bigger rivals based on, well, whatever happened in the FIBA World Championships this summer.
One game, Rajon Rondo started over Rose. The next, he received a DNP against Ricky Rubio and Spain. A few days later, Rondo supposedly withdrew from the team. I still don’t know whether to believe that story, but at least believe this: Rondo doesn’t forget that DNP. He believes he’s the world’s best point guard, and probably thinks Coach K is nuts for putting Rose ahead of him in the rotation.
Noah’s annoying. He hates KG, and called KG ugly. He’s demonstrative, and his jumper makes people wish they were blind. And did I say he was annoying?
Still, I like Noah. I feel like I should apologize for that, but I will not apologize. Noah may not like KG as a person, but there’s still some KG to his game. The intensity. The motor. The tendency to scream, very loudly, and beat his chest like it stole something. The truth is, Noah plays basketball the way it is supposed to be played. He attacks every rebound, unselfishly finds teammates, and only occasionally forgets to throw an outlet pass near the end of a game. (Sorry, Joakim, I had to bring it up.) In all seriousness, if my unborn child one day plays with Joakim Noah’s passion, I’ll be a proud father.
There was that one “he forget to make a single substitution” thing during a game Doc Rivers got ejected from, but Thibodeau’s one brief snafu can easily be forgotten amidst his otherwise honorable term as Doc Rivers’ assistant coach. The Celtics are still a staunch defensive outfit, of course, even without Thibs. But he helped instill their defensive mentality. Along with Kevin Garnett, Thibodeau should be given the most credit for shaping one of the league’s most-respected defenses.
The same things he accomplished in Boston, Thibodeau is now doing in Chicago.
“I think that we’re definitely starting to get an identity because of him,” Noah told ESPN Chicago. “He’s a tough coach, nothing’s easy, you gotta work really hard every day. You have to come with the right mindset, no days off.”
“He’s definitely competitive, but that’s what we want,” Noah continued. “That’s what we want our identity to be, even though it’s frustrating at times because you’re tired. But I think he knows what it takes to win. That’s the beauty of it. I feel like he’s been in championship locker rooms before, and not everyone has the chance to play for somebody who’s experienced it before. You know he knows because he’s been there and that’s a beautiful thing.”
“Because of his work ethic you have to take your hat off to him,” Kurt Thomas added. “He’d stay here 22, 23 hours a day if he could. If he didn’t have to go to sleep and get rest, he’d be up here in this gym. If he’s not out here on the floor, he’s breaking down film and trying to figure out the mistakes he’s made and trying to correct them.”
Yup. That’s the Tom Thibodeau I remember. But fear not, Celtics fans: Lawrence Frank has done an admirable job taking over the ”little white guy who can’t stop screaming during games” position.
Last, but not least, comes Scal. And a picture is worth a thousand words.