Young Bulls show no fear
took a 1-0 series lead on Sunday night beating Washington Wizards 103-94
in the 1st Round of the Play-offs.
I have to say the atmosphere in American sports stadiums can be at best manufactured but the other night spontaneous singing and noise rained down and around the 22,655 sold out arena to create an electric and passionate atmosphere (sadly somehting not seen at the Valley in a while!)
The game was scrappy and close throughout but new fans favourite Argentinian rookie and Olympic gold medalist Andres Nocioni
was the hero netting 25 points and making 18 rebounds.
Another player in his first ever NBA season was Ben Gordon who was on fire again scoring 30 points (the best in a play-off since the glory days of Michael Jordan) and one sensed the Chicago crowd, starved of sports success for so long, think that this young team can recreate the all conquering times of the Jordan era, if not this year in the near future, under the guidance of coach Scott Skiles.
No fewer than 5 of the players on the roster are first year professionals but unfortunately (for me) Lewisham boy Luol Deng is out with a wrist injury.
It is true that baseball is the all American pastime and sipping beers and eating hotdogs in the sun at Wrigley Field is a great afternoon out but Basketball is the one sport that I have really come to appreciate and understand here.
Are the steroid induced pitchers and batters fit? No. Is it rounders in disguise? Yes, kind off. Are the 23 stone American footballers, where the game is broken up into 15 -second plays, athletes? No. Does anyone give a toss about the strike ridden Ice Hockey? However basketball players, all 7ft and 18 stone of them are quick, strong and agile and they motor up and down the court at lightning speed whilst launching balls into hoops with amazing precision under extreme pressure and they play 4 times a week.
It is often said (and is often the case) that you only need to watch the last 5 minutes (which can last 20!) of a basketball game because that is when all the excitement is condensed but it is a simple game, played by athletes that I have come to admire and follow and just like football no other team really interests me, just my local side the Chicago Bulls.
Game 2 is tomorrow night then it is onto Washington for game 3 on Saturday.