Do you remember the 07/08 season? The Bulls started off cold, but that wasn't all that unusual. Fans hung on a long time still thinking the team would make the playoffs. What was anger and outrage at poor play turned into despair and apathy. That's when the tipping point is crossed. The point where no matter how bad things get, you think "I didn't expect anything better, and I can't summon up the energy to give a rat's ass".
The fans haven't passed that point yet. The team may have. We'll find out tonight in New York. Look at the anger in post game threads, and you know that Bulls fans still care. They are still passionate. They're still angrily ranting and raving about changes. However, the team has a chance to get them back, because you an turn around anger.
A win tonight, can help right the ship. In two or three games, this blow out will be just another game. Whether they can reclaim the fanbase is based on what the Bulls do over those games though.
Do they beat New York tonight? Do they beat the Hornets on Saturday? If the answer to those questions is yes, then this game will still be an embarrassment, but we'll be content with winning four of our last five and scorn the missed opportunity.
What remains to be seen is if the players have it in them to do that. They recovered after getting massacred in 8 of 10 games, taunted by LeBron, and beaten by the lowly Nets. They recovered to win two games before this stunning defeat. Do they have more left? Can they recover from this?
They don't have much talent. I've always thought the problem was the underlying premise that they're going to build a team based on defense and hustle rather than on offensive talent. You can teach defense. It's mostly effort and positioning. Even "poor" defensive players can buy into a system for a year and do well. Poor offensive players can't buy into an offensive philosophy and become good offensive players.
The Bulls are lacking in tools. Their number one tool is effort, and when they aren't killing teams in that department they aren't winning. When the season starts going badly, effort is the hardest tool to lean on. Can the Bulls offer us anything tonight? Anything to stave off the "I don't give a crap about this season anymore" apathy that's coming soon?
I'm not sure they can. I'm not sure I can even watch to find out [okay, you know I'm going to watch, but I don't blame you if you don't].