Bulls best post-dynasty year? 2004 or 2008

I was attempting to come up with a top 10 list of the best moments for a Bulls fan post Jordan, and what I found was that virtually every moment on my list came from either the 2004/5 season or the 2008/9 season.   This prompted me to consider the similarities of the seasons as well as whch one was more enjoyable.
In 2004, the Bulls played the whole season as the cardiac
kids winning most games and playing them all close.   After a 3-14 start, the
Bulls finished 44-21, a pace which would have been good for 55+ wins if they
could have maintained it throughout a season. In 2008, the Bulls entered the all-star break at 23-30. They finished the season 18-11, a pace which would give them 50+ wins if they are able to maintain it this season.   Both seasons gave you great play down the stretch with reason to be excited for the next year.

In 2004, the Bulls acquired a new hero.  Ben Gordon scored
over 10 points in the fourth quarter 21 times.  Second only to LeBron James on
route to winning the 6th man of the year award and prompting the moniker 4th
quarter Gordon.  Despite his heroics at times, he was plagued by turnovers,
inconsistency, bad defense, and long cold stretches.

When Derrick Rose jumped on the scene in 2008 he had many
remarkable performances early on in the season willing the team to victories on
the circus trip against Utah and Golden State while looking absolutely unstoppable.  Rose went on to win rookie of the year,
and the heart of Bulls fans.   However, much like Gordon, he was also plagued
by inconsistency, struggling with assertiveness and defense for long stretches during the year.

In 2004, the Bulls suffered a playoff loss, but had hope
going into the off-season.  They would have Curry and Deng coming back for next
year as well as a young cast expected to improve.   That hope then transformed
when Eddy Curry, the Bulls leading scorer, was traded for future draft picks
and the Bulls were in a holding pattern for a season to cash in those assets.

In 2008, the Bulls suffered a playoff loss, and also had
hope going into the off-season with Luol Deng coming back from injury and a
young cast which would improve.  Then that hope transofmred when the Bulls let
Ben Gordon walk in order to collect future assets in terms of 2010 cap space
leaving the Bulls in a holding pattern for the next season.

2004 had the better regular season with closer games, more
wins, more moments, and a team that had a very good young player at every
position on the floor going forward.  On the other hand, 2008 featured a team
with a potential future superstar and had by far the more exciting post season
with a number of extraordinary games against the Celtics.

Interestingly, the two best plays of the post Jordan era, in
my mind, are easily "the steal" and "the play" which broke
open tie games in the final seconds where we should have been at a
disadvantage.   Both plays were then followed by a block to shut out the other
team and clinch the game.   Below are some descriptions and youtube videos of
my favorite moments of both seasons:

2004 Great Momments:

There weren't quite as many unique moments in 2004, and
youtube wasn't as big, so they aren't chronicles quite as well.

Gordon hits game winners against the Knicks in back to back games (2nd game winner shown)

Nocioni's Birthday game
Unfortunately, I couldn't find a youtube video of the game, but real Bulls fans will remember this one well. Up until this past season it easily ranked as the greatest moment in the past decade at the UC for me. It was the first playoff game for the Bulls since the Jordan era, and the crowd was absolutely incredible. You could feel the desire from every person there for Bulls basketball to get back on the map.

The Bulls were playing without Eddy Curry and Luol Deng who were out with injuries and fans were wondering who would step up and whether we'd have a chance in the series. Andres Nocioni may not have been able to keep it up, but in game one, he was the difference maker with 25 points, 18 rebounds, and 4 assists while drawing a blocking foul on Jarred Jeffries to seal the game in the final minutes.

As Nocioni shot the free throws to ice the game, the crowd broke out into a NO - CI - ON - I chant that filled the stadium and the parking lots afterwards. For however much the Bulls may have overpaid Noc, and how his health and chucking may not have made him fit in well with the team going forward, I will always remember him in this moment. After the game, Antawn Jamison said it was Nocioni's birthday mocking him in that it wouldn't happen again. Bulls fans took delight in the comment after a game 2 win, asking who's birthday it would be next, but Jamison and the Wizards did get the last laugh winning the series in six.

The Brawl
Surprisingly, I couldn't find the video clip on Youtube of Antonio Davis brawling with Brendan Haywood in preseason. The moment seemed to set the tone for the toughness of the team as Luol Deng was undercut wheb Larry Hughes pushed Kirk Hinrich into him. Hinrich gets up in Hughes face only to have Haywood get into Hinrich's face. Davis goes in there to protect Hinrich and Haywood throws a punch while Davis isn't looking.

Davis then charges the fleeing Haywood and body slams him to the ground while Eddy Curry, for who knows what reason, decides to run into the action and sucker punch Haywood in the balls while Davis holds him down.

The Block
Chandler blocks a last second attempt for the Knicks to tie the game, right after the play.

The Play
The Bulls make an incredible play to break open a tie game in the final seconds.

2008 Great moments:
There are too many moments from the Boston series to even list them all without being repetitive, but here are the moments in the season and playoffs that stuck out to me the nost.

Rose breaks Andre Miller's ankles

Gordon's 4 point plays against the Clippers and Detroit (this is Detroit)

Ben Gordon grabs his balls after sending game four into double OT

Rose blocks Rondo
He clinches game six by making a defensive play, shortly after the steal.

The steal
Noah makes perhaps the most exciting play in the post Jordan era.

So what's it going to be 2004 or 2008 which season was better and left you feeling better about the Bulls future?


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  • Fun thing about Rose breaking Millers ankles, he also had amazing block on him either right before or afterwards. Miller had the last laugh though dominating Rose in overtime, if my recollection is correct.

  • awesome post. i remember every single moment u posted. one of my favorites was also the NOCHIONI chant. i was at that game. it was amazing. but my favorite of all time had to be the steal and dunk by noah. i was there and it was the best thing ever since Jordan

  • uh, i'll take the 06-07 season. you know, the one where we won 49 games, actually won a playoff series, and swept the defending champions (who we had developed a bit of a rivalry with) in the first round.

  • In reply to Calogero:

    i should say that i still enjoyed the post, it's just that to me the 06-07 season was the best post-dynasty season.

  • In reply to Calogero:

    I think 08 was a better year just due to finally getting a superstar and BG having his best and most consistent year but 04/05 was so much better to watch. After that bad start, that team was dominating for a long time. And even though we had no stars, that team would always have someone step it up. I am also partial to BG and TC, as outside of Rose, they were my favorite post dynasty players. I just loved watching those two own the 4th quarters. TC on the defensive end swatting shots and getting rebounds and BG hitting clutch shot after clutch shot. That team was just so incredible to watch. This years team was good and memorable but outside of Rose, BG and a little Noah, they really weren't as likable or as good. I mean in 04/05, we clearly weren't one of the most talented teams in the league but they did it as a team, played defense and anyone on that roster could step up at any moment and win a game.

  • You put in the right one. That play was THE play that put Rose on the map in the regular season. EVERY sports show was showing that play.

  • I really don't like Ben Gordon's obsession with his balls. That's one thing I won't miss.

    I thought about it a bit and I think I felt better about 04/05 than I do currently about 08/09. But I think it's because now I have 04/05 as a cautionary tale to temper my enthusiasm. That 04/05 team seemed perfect--we had high draft picks who were good, young, and ready at every position. It seemed like we could only go up, and we would be there for a long time. Now I know that things don't always turn out like that, so I'm not getting myself worked up.

  • Memphis may lose 38-win season; Rose SAT may be at center

  • http://www.suntimes.com/sports/1726584,memphis-derrick-rose-20.article

  • The '04 season was probably the most fun. It was all new and fresh and exciting, just being able to feel the thrill of competing again, and as you detail, there were so many emotional high points. Nothing can compare to the playoff series win over Miami for a smaller moment, but even that season didn't have the many peaks of joy that the '04 season did.

  • As far as excitement goes, gotta go with 04/05.
    Bulls had a really strong and tough defense; 26 consecutive games where opponet was held under 100pts (isn't this a NBA record?)
    I was also at the game when NO-CI-O-NI chant errupted during his FT.
    What was kind of funny was that the chant stopped momentarily after Noci missed the first FT; I think everyone (including myself) thought the chant was distracting him!

    I think the Bulls had a great home record also. They would win a lot of games in a row, that they almost seemed unbeatable at the UC.

  • it does seem like we just blew a lot of teams out or lost close games in 06/07. i distinctly recall losing to phoenix at home that year in a great game when Gordon went off for like 40 points or something. I guess the moments that stick out in my head that season are opening night vs. Miami, all the crazy Tyrus dunks throughout the year, sweeping Miami, and destroying Detroit in game 5 to give us some hope-- before that was crushed at home in game 6.

  • Don't forget Houston Doug where we came back like crazy in the 4th quarter sparked by Thomas throughout the game and with Benjamin and Derrick taking it to Houston in the 4th.

    I want to say this year was better simply because we had a superstar PG, and at least offensively, the best complementary piece to Rose and I would've loved to seen them grow together. Honestly, a guy like Eddy Curry('04 version) would fit well with those two IMHO and the rest of the pieces we have. We're without that Curry now and we are without Gordon now. We better hope 2010 works out, but it don't look that way with most of the guys seemingly ready to resign with their teams like Wade and LeBron and Bosh and Johnson unless something crazy happens.

  • yo doug i left u a link to the nocioni birthday game on ur facebook. Anyhoo, this is a tough question for me. 2004 was just mind blowing for me because I really didn't know how to feel after going through so many putrid seasons. I would be rejoicing with one win every 5 games let alone the run we went on. So I have to say that one was a bit more special..that and the way we were doing it. Ben Gordon was a man possessed that year, and based off that year alone, he really made us think that we were gonna have a guy that simply wouldn't let us lose in the clutch. The playoffs that year weren't half bad either..Its hard to remember because there isn't much footage online, but the bulls wizards series was pretty good. Nocioni stole game 1, I believe Hinrich stole the show game 2, then I don't really remember 3 and 4 cuz we lost, but game 5 featured the incredible Pargo 9 point comeback (in his only 2 minutes of action) as well as the heartbreaking arenas finisher. Game 6 was very very close as well, the bulls had the lead with minutes to go and just barely let it slip away.

    every season really had its great moments though. I even liked 2005-2006 alot. We really had to scrap that year to make the playoffs, and still gave miami one hell of a run. Highlight of that season was the season opener where we made a record comeback against the bobcats led by non other than the gangster himself eric piatkowski.

    As for 2008-2009, along with the ones mentioned, I really enjoyed the bulls celtics regular season game in chicago where john salmons put us on his back. That was a very fun game, and some great foreshadowing for what would be the best first round series ever.

  • 08 pretty much sucked except for the playoffs, which are by far the highlight of the post Jordan era.

    The 08 team was uninspired and unwatchable until after the trade deadline, which coinsided with the easiest part of our schedule.

    Even though we won the Miami series(in a sweep) it can't even compare in terms of thrilling basketball. In fact it was the first time that I felt that way since the 98 finals.

    put the 04 season together with the 09 playoffs against the Celitics and you would have a season to remember. but you are right about the similarities going forward. Hopefully, this time turns out better than the last.

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