To me, the highlight of Thursday’s season-opening win over San Antonio was the post-game hug between Brad Miller and TNT analyst Cheryl Miller in the Bulls’ locker room. I’m sure there’s an explanation beyond the last name they share.
There really isn’t much need to dissect the 92-85 victory. The Bulls showed nice balance and played good defense – the same positive trends from preseason. Luol Deng (17 points, 9 rebounds) looked very much like his old self, while Derrick Rose (13 points, 7 assists, 7 rebounds) showed that his ankle problem should be history.
The only real negatives were a 3-for-15 shooting night by John Salmons and a lack of perfection from rookie Taj Gibson. After knocking down most every open look in preseason, Gibson went 1 for 6 from the field against the Spurs.
TIME TO SEE GREEN
Granted, San Antonio was playing the second of back-to-back nights, so this was probably a game the Bulls should have won. Now comes the interesting part, a trip Friday to face the Boston Celtics, who are no doubt anxious to put the Bulls in their place with Kevin Garnett and Rasheed Wallace on the floor.
If the Bulls get blown out, it’s not a big deal. But they could send a strong message by giving Boston all it can handle.
“I think it was a great team effort,” Joakim Noah said after Thursday’s game. “Now let’s see how we do when there’s 20,000 cheering against us tomorrow in Boston.”
Here are some more quick quotes on the rematch with the Celtics:
Derrick Rose: “I can’t wait. It’s going to be fun out there, playing against the best players in the world. We’re going to play no matter who they have. We’re going to go out and compete against them and play our way.”
Tyrus Thomas: “It’s going to be good, but at the same time, it’s a new season. We’ve got to come in with winning this game in mind. That series is over. Everything that happened there is over. We’ve got to come in with the mindset to win that game.”
I’ll have plenty tomorrow from the Garden. For now, it’s time to go home.