Bulls vs. Mavs: Finding the Good in a Rough Sports Weekend

1 Apr

usbulls

It was all set-up to be a great weekend of basketball. My beloved Indiana Hoosiers were playing on Thursday night for a chance to get to the Elite 8 and we had excellent tickets for the Bulls-Mavs on Saturday. If all went well, we’d get to see the return of Derrick Rose, after a season-long absence, and get home just in time to see Indiana play to get into the final four. It didn’t all go well. Indiana got embarrassed Thursday night and not only did Derrick Rose not come back, but also our second favorite player Joakim Noah didn’t play, and didn’t even make the trip to Dallas*. And that was all before we found ourselves getting another loss literally rubbed in our faces by the drunk lady Mavs fan in front of us, but we’ll get to that.

*Joooooooo:( This broke my heart right in half. Joakim is one of my absolute favorites, especially as D.Rose has been warming the bench, and without him, the team just doesn’t have the same heart.

roseshoot

I’m normally a pretty relaxed guy about getting to things on time, but ever since I splurged for tickets 10x more expensive than what we paid to see the Bulls in San Antonio last year*, I had nightmares about being late. Caitlin helped put me at ease by being ready to go in her adorable ’92 Bulls shirt and out the door at 11 a.m., even though the game didn’t start until 1 pm. After a 35 minute drive over (and 20 minutes of driving around trying to find an ATM to pay $25 for parking**) we got a spot right across from the stadium and headed in to our seats. With an hour before game time, D. Rose was already on the court in warm-ups***. We watched him shoot threes, one handed free throws, and then he really wow’d us as he made those ballerina-esque moves to the basket for lay-ups. It was a thrill to see him move like that again, but also disappointing to know he may not play at all this season, even though he looks so close to ready. Catilin said, “Can we just not have a game and watch Derrick Rose warm up the whole time?” as we watched him finish up his workout before we grabbed some pizza and chicken fingers and got to our seats.

*Zack wasn’t exactly “relaxed” going to the Spurs game last year. He just delayed his anxiety until I’d made us good and late, which I now know is a sin against humanity. He’s relaxed about pretty much all other endeavors, but if it’s a music festival or if it’s a sports event, foggedaboudit.

**This is where acted like a child/nightmare. I HATE driving in confusing traffic when I don’t know the lay of the land, so I got super snippy with Zack, who remained calm and kindly attempted to imbue his calmness on me.

***He was so sweaty, I could tell he wasn’t going to be the comeback kid at this game. He was expending all his energy in his warm-ups. Still…he looked great and made me excited for the game.

natethree

The game itself was exciting early on, with a lot of lead changes, but the Bulls led, backed by a big start from Boozer and Deng and red-hot shooting from Nate Robinson*. The tiny guard was 7-7 from three-point-land, including an insane 32-foot shot as the shot clock expired. The Bulls led by 10 near the end of the third quarter, but a 10-0 Mavs run tied it up as we entered the fourth. The Bulls got the momentum back and piled on the points as Nate stayed red-hot and with just over three minutes left, the Bulls were in complete control, up 12. We cheered loudly, but respectfully, yelling our favorite players’ names out, standing for dunks and big threes and enjoyed a friendly afternoon crowd**, though the drunk Mavs fan in front of us kept jawing at us, even as her team was down.

*I had my doubts about this guy when he joined the team this year, but he put those to rest during this game. He was on. fire.

**There was an enjoyable amount of Bulls fans in the audience, which made me feel more comfortable.

dirks

After a Ri-Dirk-ulous cartoon featuring the big German ran*, the Mavs went on a tear, scoring on almost every possession as the Bulls just tried to run the clock out. Soon the lead was down to one with 27 seconds left as Jimmy Butler came to the free throw line. The stadium operators got the fans to boo by putting up a picture of Lamar Odom and the boo-ing helped Butler miss two free throws** and gave Dallas the ball with a chance to take the lead. Of course, Dirk made a three pointer with less than three seconds left and the Mavs stole a win away. It was pretty devastating, especially coming on the heels of the IU loss, but then it was literally rubbed in our faces. The drunk fan in front of us took her spirit sticks and rubbed them on our heads, tauntingly***. It boils my blood just re-telling the story. 

*I will admit, I respectfully applauded Dirk when he was announced in the opening lineup, and he was quite the specimen to behold. He’s so giant and his baskets appear to be so effortless. It’s fun to watch him play, even if there’s an undertone of “DAMNIT STOP BEING SO GREAT” when he’s not on your team.

**In the post-game interview with Butler, he took the entire blame for the Bulls’ loss. Poor l’il Jimmy. I think he definitely changed the outcome, but you can never put that responsibility solely on your own shoulders. There were other missed baskets, other bonehead moves that changed momentum and lost us the game in a few places.

***As this woman tried to engage us throughout the game, I ignored her, staring straight ahead at the game in front of me, because she was distracting and hardly even paying attention herself. She was very, very close to my breaking point, though.

But what can you do. Sometimes your team will be #1 in the pre-season and lose a few rounds too early. Sometimes your best player will go down in the first game of the playoffs and still miss the entire next season. And sometimes you’ll blow a 12-point lead and have some obnoxious fan rub it in your face. It happens. Sports is cruel to every team but one every single season. But if you have someone special with you, it doesn’t make the losses go away, but it makes them manageable. I still had a great a time with Caitlin and will think of the weekend of sports fondly, if only because I had her there with me. Win or lose. 

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One Response to “Bulls vs. Mavs: Finding the Good in a Rough Sports Weekend”

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. Weekend in Dallas with Caitlin’s Mom & 3 Dogs | rockloveaustin - April 1, 2013

    […] next day was the Bulls game, which you can read about here. My mom says that when Zack and I left for the game, Scooby camped out by the front door, sadly […]

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