As an uprooted long-time Pacers fan, I've accepted the Bulls as my 'hometown heroes'. But not out of admiration, but out of necessity, like the rickety old refrigerator that's waiting for you when you move into your new apartment. If you reject it, you have nothing.
But these are the Pacers. MY Pacers. Skiles, you're going DOWN.
E-tickets always make me nervous. The fact that a spam-filled inbox or a squeaky old inkjet printer can single-handedly ruin your trip to the game or your Vegas vacation never sits well with me.
My fear was almost realized when the ticket monkey at the front gate accused me of re-entering the game with a used ticket. When, in fact, fellow Basketbawfulite Pug handed him two tickets and he scanned the first ticket twice, ignoring the second. Can we just go back to tearing the gd ticket in half movie theatre-style? It's obvious the barcode concept is kicking people's asses.
Benny's "Sands of Iwo Jima" entrance is still awesome. But that old CGI of the Bulls running through downtown Chicago makes my eyes hurt. Maybe not as bad as a Playstation game from 1996, but it's close.One of the Lithuanian kids somehow scored a friggin' sweet Sarunas jersey from his Euroleague days. I assume he brought it from home. Pug suggests I go to the Bulls gift vendor in the lobby and try to find this obscure gem for myself, which would be like finding a Chris Duhon jersey at the Gund Arena. Cocaine is a hell of a drug.
The next section is jam-packed with literally 100's of flag toting Lithuanians. I love this section. Anyone outside of Indiana who knows Sarunas Jasikevicius, and then naively cheers him for successfully inbounding the ball wins points in my book. I hope Darius Songaila doesn't get a breakaway dunk tonight, one of these folks may explode.
Jermaine O'Neal was well on his way towards eating the Bulls alive when he lands on Hinrich in the 2nd and rolls his ankle. I'm not surprised; an injured Pacer is a familiar sight. 4 Pacers starters in street clothes? Been there. But I completely forgot Tyson Chandler was still in the league. Ol' Longhead had a cameo appearance in the 1st half, then sat down with 3 well-earned whistles.
Nocioni drives to the bucket like he was shot out of a catapult, usually ending up slamming into a defender or tumbling out of bounds. I can't talk about the Bulls for more than a few minutes without ripping on Nocioni, but Spaz is probably the Bulls best shooter right now, which makes it difficult to hate him. And that fact that he's less hateable this year makes me hate him even more. If that makes any sense.
The Bulls fouled their way out of a 12-point lead. In an unrelated story, the Bulls tallest player on the floor is 6'8", and Nocioni is not on the bench. I'm in full Pacermaniac mode, and the couple next to me is fighting the urge to punch me.
Most of Stephen Jackson's offense comes from that wind-up 18-footer with a hand in his face, but he's working on a 30 point game tonight. Austin Croshere hit a couple of 3's during the 3rd quarter run. According to my math, he needs to do that 3,756 more times to justify his contract.
The Bulls go to Songaila quite a bit these days. I expected Songaila to have a career year this season, if only because he's not playing 7th banana to all the guns on the Kings. But it's hard not to look awesome when you're in the Bulls cold-coffee offense and you're even remotely talented. And your name isn't Tim Thomas.
Anthony Johnson somehow gets a 3 point play to put the Pacers up two with seconds to go, nearly redeeming himself from the previous 47 minutes of mediocrity. Then he misses the free throw. Never mind.
Ben Gordon drives in and drop a floater that apparently sends the game into overtime. But wait! The refs spend minutes reviewing what would take seconds for the at-home viewer to see. The shot was after the buzzer, I'm estatic, and the row in front of me probably want to see me dead.