Last time the Pistons were in town, November 1st, I wore a Derrick Rose jersey to the game. The reception for D Rose was emotional and the show of loyalty & respect to a Chicago hero made me proud to be a Bulls fan. Last night, Detroit returned to the United Center. As I got dressed, word came down that Coby White turned his ankle in warmups and would be a game time decision. Shit. Chandler Hutchison was already out with “sore shins.” Chatter arose on social media about sore shins being a previously unheard of injury. Coach Jim Boylen didn’t do Chandler any favors with his comments on the injury saying Hutch didn’t feel comfortable going. Kind of put it all on Hutch with that quote, intentionally or not. Sounds like Hutchison made the call. Sucks because I like the 2nd year wing’s game. If this trend continues, he’ll be labeled injury-prone. Timing on the sore shins hurts, too. Hutch had a chance for an extended run as a starter with Otto Porter’s foot injury. Anyhow, with Hutch out and Coby a game time call, my thoughts turned to one player: Lauri Markkanen. The Finnisher is too talented to struggle the way he has been. I felt like we needed him to step up and he needed our support. So, I left my D Rose jersey at home and opted for my Markkanen shirsey instead.
I was ticked at Boylen’s decision to start Shaq Harrison over Denzel Valentine. Turns out there’s a reason Boylen’s on the bench and I sit up in the 300 level. Shaq was like a human can of Red Bull. He was everywhere, tipping passes, grabbing rebounds & representing team hustle. Dude ended up with 15 points and 11 boards.
Lauri was the other key. He broke out of his shooting slump, hitting 3 of 4 from downtown and three down some nasty dunks on his way to 24 points. Mr. Consistentcy, Wendell Carter Jr., double-doubled again with 12 points and 15 rebounds. Coby ended up playing and scoring 12. Gamer, that kid. He looked fine. Bulls won by 20. We gotta play the Pistons more often. But seriously, they stepped up the rebounding against nemesis Andre Drummond and Blake Griffin was a non-factor. D Rose was embraced again by the UC crowd – standing O’s & MVP chants.
Luol Deng recently signed a 1-day deal so he could retire a Bull. He chose to come back on a night when Derrick would be there. Joakim also attended. As did Ben Gordon, Tyrus Thomas, Nazr Mohammed, Aaron Gray, Jannero Pargo & John Lucas III. Luol is an all-time Bull, from the early Hinrich/Gordon/Nocioni years through the Rose/Noah should’ve been champs teams. Deng’s stats are top ten for almost everything in franchise history. Thrilled to see him honored.
I went with my buddy Blats, who made it a mission to get us each a Giordano’s pizza in the 4th quarter. Up top there was only one dedicated pizza stand and the other outside our section – the lady told me they sell out of em by the 2nd quarter. Blats escalated all the way down to the ground floor and grabbed us each a sausage, green pepper & onion thin crust. I think thin crust is the way to go at UC. Sometime those personal deep dish pizzas are more bread than cheese & meat. These thin crusts were elite arena food – as tasty a thing as I’ve ever had at a sporting event. Clutch run, Blats. We each ate an entire pizza. After 3 or 4 large Bud Lights, we were ravenous. People sitting near us turned to comment on how good the pizza smelled. Head-turners, those Giordano’s pizzas. Check out my Instagram story below for a full recap of the night!
Bulls host Jimmy Butler and the Heat tomorrow! Let’s get a streak going.