(Thanks for the link Duker)
Could we talk about this t-shirt for a moment? Because it is so very wrong.
I don't mean the possibly unwitting double entendre. I don't mean the fact that someone somewhere saw fit to put not just Bill Wennington on a t-shirt, not just Luc Longley, not just Will Perdue — but all three of them. And I don't even mean the profoundly sad image I have in my head of a kid strolling with his mom through a Kohl's in Des Plaines, seeing this shirt, and saying: "I want that one, mom. The one with Bill Wennington, Luc Longley, and Will Perdue."
No, what's so wrong about this shirt is that no one called them the Bang Gang. And with good reason! Bill Wennington didn't bang. Luc Longley certainly didn't bang. Will Perdue tried to bang once, and he wound up running into Tony Massenburg's elbow. This t-shirt must've been made sometime during the 1994-95 season. I figure I watched 80 percent of Bulls games that year. I read the Chicago papers. Nobody, I assure you, called them the Bang Gang. Not Red Kerr, not Tom Dore, not Norm Van Lier, not Bernie Lincicome, not Steve Rosenbloom, not even Sam Smith, in those spare moments when he wasn't daydreaming about trading Dickey Simpkins for the starting lineup of the Sonics.
You can't just stick a nickname like that on a t-shirt and act like it's in the common parlance. A nickname like that has to be earned, whether through tireless work in the paint or through actual polyamory. I know for a fact that Bill Wennington, Luc Longley, and Will Perdue never engaged in the former, and we should all hope to God they never indulged in the latter.
Awesome Chicago Bulls Vintage "Bang Gang" Shirt [eBay, via Ball Don't Lie]
More roadkill: 76ers 106, Bulls 103 (OT)
When Chicago lost at home to the Los Angeles Clippers on Tuesday night, I noted that as Derrick Rose goes, so go the Bulls. Rose didn’t play particularly well against the Clips (7-for-20, 4 turnovers), and the Bulls lost. And while that’s something of an oversimplification, his performance is a pretty good measure of how the team performs as a whole.
Well, Rose had a fantastic game last night against the Sixers: 30 points (10-for-22 from the field, 9-for-10 from the line), 4 rebounds, 9 assists. His scoring and assist totals were both game highs. He scored 13 of his 30 points in the fourth quarter and overtime. And yet the Bulls lost their second consecutive game to a sub-.500 team…which in fact dropped them back below .500 in the process. So what happened?
Defense. Or rather the lack thereof.
Again, I don’t mean to oversimplify things here. However, Philly typically connects on about 45 percent of their field goals (20th in the league), and their average Effective Field Goal Percentage (eFG%) is 48.6 (23rd in the league). Meanwhile, the Bulls usually hold their opponents to 43.6 percent shooting (3rd in the league) and an eFG% of 48.0 (6th in the league). So, all things being equal, Chicago should have shut the the Sixers down. With authoritah.
But they did not.
Philadelphia connected on 52.3 percent of their shots and finished with an eFG% of 55.2. Not only did those numbers exceed what the Sixers normally do and far surpass how Bulls opponents perform on average, they’re also significantly above what the league’s best team do on a nightly basis. The Utah Jazz currently lead the league in FGP (49.2) and the Phoenix Suns are tops in eFG% (54.1).
It was a classic defensive fail.
Random Thoughts about the Chicago Bulls: For One, Tyrus Thomas is a Bust
A few random thoughts in no particular order:
Joakim Noah is really hurting. Plantar fasciitis is an injury that doesn’t really go away, especially when you’re a seven-foot athlete who has to run and jump for a living. And for a player who specializes in offensive rebounding, his game is going to suffer. He’s the team’s second-best player and Vinny should pull rank on him even when he says he wants to play by resting him through the All-Star break.
Derrick Rose is not going to keep shooting 70 percent, and players like John Salmons and Brad Miller need to hit one out of every three wide-open jumpers.
I knew the Bulls would lose 90-82 to the Clippers on Tuesday. It had trap game written all over it, and I’m wondering how good LeBron James would look on the Clippers if he was plugged in at small forward with Baron Davis at the point, Eric Gordon as the shootey-two guard, Blake Griffin as the power forward and Chris Kaman at center. And being in LA, along with Kobe in town, California would soon be a basketball Mecca. Makes sense from a business and competitive perspective.
If Luol Deng comes out hitting his first six shots, including a three-pointer, it’s probably a good idea to keep him in until he goes cold. I know Vinny DelNegro has done a decent job the last month but it’s hard not to criticize a coach who doesn’t recognize a hot hand or a mismatch. Deng came back in the game after sitting for about half a quarter and was irrelevant.
And Tyrus Thomas is awful. He plays with the scrubs and fits with the scrubs. My favorite play was when he received a pass in the post and tried to back down Kaman and ended up turning the ball over. A quarter later the same sequence took place except he got an awkward shot off that had no chance going in. I’m convinced Tyrus Thomas doesn’t lift weights in the off season (and we see that he’s also prone to injury in the weight room as well) as he’s often overpowered when fighting for position. At this point, the Bulls will be lucky to get anything for Thomas in a trade, and they can’t even afford to put him in to rest Taj Gibson or Noah because he’s such a detriment on both sides of the floor. Remember when fans said they would never trade Thomas for Stoudemire? That makes me almost as queasy as the “I-wouldn’t-trade-Luol-Deng-for-Kobe” argument several years back by some media and fans.
Wow, hurts to see it in writing ... but hard to argue. Not sure what the Bulls can get for TT at this point. This whole thing makes me nervous that the Bulls will go into the summer hoping no one offers TT a legit contract and they can re-sign him on the cheap ... but someone is going to (slightly) overpay and the Bulls will let a young talent walk for the second straight summer. The road to the NBA title is not paved with letting young talent walk and getting nothing in return.
'Glue guy' Hinrich helps Bulls stick it to opponents
He has been called overpaid and overrated. He has been — and currently is being — bandied about in trade rumors. As far as fan opinion, he's easily one of the most polarizing players on the Bulls.
But to paraphrase Rasheed Wallace's classic claim of "ball don't lie," when it comes to Kirk Hinrich, numbers don't lie.
The Bulls are 50-39 over the last two seasons when Hinrich plays. Since Vinny Del Negro inserted the seventh-year guard into the starting lineup on Dec. 26, the Bulls are 13-4 in games Hinrich has played.
"That doesn't surprise me at all," Derrick Rose said. "Kirk's a glue guy."
Of course, this isn't to suggest Hinrich is the sole reason for that record. But beyond his modest averages of 10 points and 4.6 assists, Hinrich adds an element of toughness and defensive awareness and accountability that otherwise doesn't always exist.
And those who coach or play with him know it.
"He helps us play with pace and takes ballhandling pressure off Derrick," Del Negro said. "He gets us into our sets and execute better. He makes plays, whether it's defensively or offensively. That record speaks for itself."
That's a good thing since Hinrich might've set a record for uttering "um" when informed the Bulls' record when he plays. Hinrich might rather guard Wallace in the post than talk about himself.
"Um, I don't know, um, what that means," Hinrich said, before opting for the obvious. "I guess that means we get a little better with me playing.
I agree that Kirk is a "glue-guy" and a "winner" - 2 things we know this franchise values very highly ... but I also know that $9million/year for a backup PG is way too much - especially when your franchise player is a PG. Kirk's trade value may never be higher, and given the chance to move him for an asset (like cap space) would be crucial going into this summer. If we can turn Kirk and Salmons into Ray Allen's expiring contract, how do the Bulls not make that move? That would allow us to offer the max to a superstar (D-Wade) or a legit scoring big man (Bosh) - either way the team is much better than with a "glue-guy"
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