The "Return of Larry Brown" game has come and gone, much to my delight. Ideally, I would have liked to see Darko Milicic and Carlos Arroyo simply explode, but instead Darko played like, well, Darko while Arroyo committed four turnovers and four fouls in 15 minutes.
Rasheed Wallace had an odd line on Friday as well: 30 minutes, three points, 1-3 from the field, all from beyond the three-point line. He followed that up on Saturday with 41 minutes, 26 points, 8-15 from the field and 4-6 from three-point land. He's been nailing a whole lot of threes latelyHe's currently making .421 from beyond the arc, averaging 1.7 made shots in 4.0 attempts per night. Last year, he finished shooting .318, averaging 0.9-of-3.0., but I just hope he doesn't have many more games in which he forgets how devestating he is on the blocks.
On a sidenote, I was cracking up watching Rasheed on Saturday -- he finished with 26 points, but you kind of got the feeling he could have gone for 40 had he wanted to. He brushed off an early technical and was literally laughing on the court for much of the game. It was just silly how much he was dominating the Bulls, and he was really having a good time with it, calling glass on a bank shot and chiming in with his usual "Ball don't lie" banter during free throws.
Apparently, the Bulls took notice of Rasheed's merriment:
Back in the pre-glory days, Bulls fans used to get plenty annoyed with Detroit Pistons bad boys Bill Laimbeer and Dennis Rodman.
It would be interesting to compare the degree of blood boiling from the late 1980s to the sight of Rasheed Wallace breaking into laughter while being guarded in the post by Bulls forward Andres Nocioni on Saturday night.
"I would not have taken that very well as a player," said Bulls coach Scott Skiles. "I would have done something about it."
"When we see that as a team, somebody just has to step up and stop him," said guard Ben Gordon. "Hard foul or something. Let him know that we’re still out there on the court. He got away with that tonight. We just have to learn from that as a young team. Next time on our home court, we can’t let guys be in there laughing at us."
Luol Deng, who led the Bulls with 18 points and 9 rebounds, wasn’t as concerned.
"I think as a team, we just ignore it," he said. "When he was laughing, it wasn’t making us miss shots. It was their defense. So we didn’t care too much what Rasheed was doing. We just have to focus on us.""
Skiles, Gordon: No need for a hard foul, just take a note from Deng and realize you just need to play harder (and better).
The media used to tear Wallace apart during his days in Portland (and perhaps with good reason -- he was a loose cannon back then), and everyone still likes to poke fun at his technicals. But the fact of the matter is that he's a guy that plays with high energy every night and has one of the most infectious smiles in the game. If the NBA was smart, they'd forget about his past discretions and figure out a way to market this guy, because the fans in Detroit just love him.
This is as good of a time as any to point you to Need 4 Sheed, a relatively new Pistons blog and Rasheed fansite. I just came across it tonight, but there's some really great stuff over there such as original wallpapers and AIM buddy icons, not to mention near daily commentary.
Going back to the games, it was nice to see the defense clamp down on the opposing team's starters -- they allowed only one starter to top double-figures each night: Stephon Marbury with 11 points on Friday, and Michael Sweetney with 15 points on Saturday. Granted, Channing Frye (22 points) should be starting for the Knicks and Ben Gordon (13 points) should be starting for the Bulls, but still, it's a good sign that Detroit's starting five is matching up well and everyone is carrying their weight. On the other side of the ball, Tayhaun Prince's running hook shot is starting to become one of the best post moves in the NBA. As near as I can tell, it's simply indefensible.
Quick point on the Bulls: I'm a little disturbed by what looks like a growing trend by several of their players to occasionally tuck their jersey in so tight that the numbers on their backs are tucked into their shorts.I wish I could provide a picture, but I couldn't find a clear shot in five minutes of poking around on Google Images. I know it's basically been Chris Duhon's trademark going back to Duke, but Ben Gordon and Michael Sweetney appear to be following his lead. Guys: it just looks dumb.
Pistons 106, Knicks 98 box score [ESPN]
Bulls 79, Pistons 92 box score [ESPN]
No laugher for Bulls [Daily Herald]