Ugh. Double ugh. Triple ugh. Etc.
The Bulls have lost a season-worst five games in a row. Joakim Noah is out (plantar fasciitis). Luol Deng is expected to miss at least the next two games with a Grade 1 or 2 calf strain. Brad Miller (thumb) and Taj Gibson (plantar fasciitis) both missed practice yesterday, and Taj might miss tonight’s game against the Magic in Orlando.
We might see an Animal Style double-double from Dwight Howard. Maybe 30 points and 20 rebounds? Plus 5 blocks or so? And what if Brad Miller can’t suit up?
Said Vinny Del Negro: “We’re going to have to junk the game up as best we can. Maybe we can get a couple of guys with a hot hand or change up some defensive coverages. … We might have to bring (player development coaches Lindsey Hunter and Randy Brown) out of retirement. Maybe we’ll play small tomorrow — real small. But it’s hard to do that when you have that guy in the middle down in Orlando. You win in this league by controlling the paint and rebounding,” Del Negro said. “We aren’t able to do that as consistently as we would like because of our injuries.”
Injuries are strangling Chicago’s playoff hopes to death. Bulls fans can’t do much more than Vinny is doing: wait, cross fingers, and hope for a mini-miracle.
Anyway, let’s take a break from the morbid facts and talk about a funny story I touched on in yesterday’s comments section. My best friend, Dave, is in town for a work conference. He’s been a huge Utah Jazz fan since we were roommates at Purdue. When he found out about this conference six months ago, he immediately checked the Bulls’ game schedule and was stoked to find out the Jazz were playing in Chicago during his trip.
Now, let me take a step back. Dave and I also attended a Jazz-Bulls game waaaaaay back in 2001. We both showed up in Karl Malone jerseys (not matching). I had no other choice. My Marcus Fizer jersey was, uhm, “on order.” They weren’t yet offering a Jake Voskuhl jersey. Anyway, we had sprung for seats about seven rows off the floor. Somebody in Chicago’s PR department saw us and ending up pulling us out of our seats for a timeout gag. I don’t remember what it was other than that we got made fun of for the delight of the crowd, earning a couple free Big Macs for our trouble.
Malone ended up with 32 points (a game high), 10 rebounds (another game high), 6 assists and 3 steals as Utah won 94-83. Ron Artest led the Bulls with 27 points. It was kind of a rough game, and Artest ended up with more points off free throws (15) than field goals (12). That’s what I like to call a Dantley.
Anyway, all this other stuff became a sidenote in the bigger story, which was that the night’s halftime act of horror: Duo Design, a “strength and hand-balancing act from Warsaw, Poland.” Basically, they’re two topless guys in butt-hugging tights that do gymnastics — slow, sweaty gymnastics — off each other’s bodies. Seriously. About 75-80 percent of their act is one man slowly and dramatically lowering himself toward the other man’s nether regions.
In the weeks leading up to this week’s game, Dave kept bugging me about checking to see what the halftime act was going to be. I kept telling him, “Whatever, don’t worry about it, what are the chances we’d see Duo Design again?” He was insistent, but I was equally insistent in not checking.
Well, with about two minutes to go before halftime, the Jumbotron flashed an eerie message: “Halftime Show: Duo Design!”
Dave just looked at me, Dr. Cox-style.
Now, the L.A. Times supposedly said Duo Design is “guaranteed to set you roaring.” I’m pretty sure they meant ralphing. Or running. Or…is their an “r” word for weeping? (Note to self: buy thesaurus.) At any rate, here’s a gander at what we saw. You know, in case you just hate yourself.
There are a few aspects of a live Bulls game I don’t particularly enjoy. Like, for instance, the fact that the only time the crowd gets really, really excited is when McDonald’s t-shirts are being handed out in the upper sections. Seriously, you’ll be sitting there and suddenly one section will be going absolutely bonkers…for a $10 t-shirt. But the threat of having to see Duo Design is pretty much at the tippy top of the “In-Game Experiences That Make Me Fear My Own Eyes.”