Derrick Rose looked like a bad ass for three whole minutes

I don't know what Tom Thibodeau's half time speech is. Maybe he made a bunch of defensive adjustments to a defense that gave up 37 points in the first half to allow 60 in the second. Maybe the team was too tired after playing its second game in five days compared to Indiana who was playing off a back to back. Maybe this is 07-08 redux and Chicago will leap to the #1 spot on the draft and win titles with Rose paired with Andrew Wiggins.

Whatever it is the Bulls sure as hell aren't a second half team this year.

Sadly, this was Rose's best game of the season

Yes, that 6/15, four turnover, one rebound, two assist game? Probably his best of the year. It was the first time he scored more points than shots taken on the year and 40% was his highest FG% this season by a good margin. He raises his season PER from 1.7 to 2.9 with this epic performance.

We still haven't seen a game where he has more assists than turnovers, but in fairness no one he passes the ball to can throw the ball in the ocean.

What's kind of sad is that after the first few minutes it looked like Derrick was en route to a monster performance. He knocked down his first three shots, a three and a pair of mid-range jumpers, his first of the season.

A shade over three minutes in and Derrick is 3-3 from the field, and it feels like the Bulls are finally on track.

Then we saw the Rose we've seen most of the season so far. The one that turned the ball over too much, had trouble defending, and could barely throw the ball in the ocean [3/12 the rest of the night]. He didn't even have to contend with George Hill on the evening as the Pacers started C.J. Watson at PG.

The rest of the starters weren't much better

Joakim Noah's still looking for his first good game. He scored just four points and while he mostly kept Hibbert in check and picked up some assists early, he didn't have a great impact on the game.

Carlos Boozer whom had carried the Bulls on offense fell flat with just a 3-10 performance and that's the problem with Boozer. If he's not bringing you offense then he's just bringing you down.

Luol Deng continued his pedestrian shooting ways, and Jimmy Butler still doesn't look confident enough to get up enough quality shots.

As a unit, the Bulls starters shot 33% and Rose's 40% was the high water mark for the team. Three point shooting continues to be a big issue in the staring lineup where the starters were just 2/11 while the bench knocked down three of four to give the Bulls a remotely respectable 5/15 on the night.

In the end, the starting lineup was crushed and that was the game. I'm sure someone will complain about Dunleavy again or how the bench is too weak, but the Bulls problems still largely come from the fact their best players have stunk up the court.

Bench play was somewhat of a silver lining, sort of

Kirk Hinrich, Taj Gibson, and Mike Dunleavy played really well in the first half and were the core reason the Bulls took a lead into half time. They weren't able to reproduce the magic in the second half but weren't nearly as atrocious as the starters.

Taj Gibson's minutes are still too low

Thibs needs to figure out a better way to divvy up his minutes to his big men. There are 96 minutes to split between the three quality big men on this roster. That's 36 minutes a piece if we're keeping track at home. Noah and Boozer are both playing well under 36 minutes a piece which means there's still 45 or so minutes left to fill.

How is Taj Gibson only filling 24 of those per game when he's possibly been the best big man on the floor for Chicago this season and the other big men options are god awful?

Simply put, the rotational shifts need to be made however necessary to get Gibson more court time. The Bulls will be vastly better for it, especially since the small ball players the Bulls have frequently used instead aren't playing well.

There are several times this season where the phrase "We need Gibson for his offense" would have fit in naturally and that's on top of the great defense. Given the Bulls offensive woes lately, it might be interesting to get a Rose, Hinrich, Dunleavy, Gibson, Boozer lineup out there to try and give the Bulls a better shot of scoring.

That lineup has four players who can play off of Rose rather than this motion offense which seems to jam the paint with our own players as much as it does defenders.

Softening schedule

The Bulls are about to head out of town for the circus trip, but the schedule is still generally easing up on them. Their next two games are home against Utah/Cleveland followed by a road trip to Toronto.

If the Bulls can't stabilize against this group then it's time to get officially worried. After that they get a rematch against Indiana, this time in Chicago. Hopefully by then they'll have worked out the kins of the offense, Derrick Rose will have thrown off some rust, and the team will remember that the ball is supposed to go through the hoop sitting 10 feet off the ground and not just make contact with the red circle.

Beating up the poor teams shouldn't be a big challenge, nor would it indicate things are turning for Chicago. Our aim this year isn't to knock out all the crap teams of the league, but to compete with the good ones. The Bulls may find themselves against these teams, but they'll need to prove they can bring it against the best afterwards.

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  • This season has proven how fortunate Bulls fans have really been the last three years. Chicago wasn't able to win a championship, but they at least played competitive basketball, and had a reasonable chance to win most games. Even last season's injury plagued team generally played themselves into games through effort, and were entertaining to watch.

    The 2013-14 season has been a complete train-wreck thus far. This is the ultimate proof as to just how meaningless pre-season games really are. It's still early, and I'm (mostly) sure things will turn around. But the state of things does start to raise questions in the back of my mind. Will Rose be able to fully return to MVP form? Are the guys starting to tune out Thibs and lose favor with his coaching style? Is the FO going to start seriously considering blowing this team up mid-season, and try free-agency?

    All I know for sure is these guys are playing bad basketball right now. Even the defense is seriously lacking. Things will probably get better, but man, these games are getting hard to sit through.

  • In reply to BullsMan:

    It's interesting because similar things were said about 07/08 and it never turned around.

    However, I mostly agree. I think things will turn around, but I'm not overwhelmingly certain of it. I've thought Luol Deng was on the downside for awhile now, so his crappy play isn't surprising to me.

    Derrick Rose is coming back from a really serious injury and if he turns into Steve Francis after it then that shouldn't be a complete shock either.

    Jimmy Butler's a guy who's been hyped but hasn't had much time to prove himself.

    There are a lot of legit questions with this lineup where we've all mostly assumed the best, and to be this bad things would all have to stay at the worst.

  • In reply to DougThonus:

    Doug, you're bumming me out.

  • In reply to Hoover:

    Doug is bumming you out? How about the play of the team?

  • In reply to BullsMan:

    Unfortunately, despondently, I have to totally agree with you.

  • This team has lost its soul. There is zero chemistry with the starters. There is a lot more going on than we are hearing about. The Reggie Rose stuff and letting go of Ron Adams and Deng's contract negotiations are probably all part of it, but it'd be interesting to know exactly how its playing out.

    Also, I hope all of the people who are clamoring for another "shot creator" and missing Robinson realize what they are asking for is to take the ball out of Rose's hands. The team is actually playing better with Hinrich running the point. Think about that for a second.

  • In reply to bullshooter:

    The team losing it's soul is a really good way to look at it.

  • In reply to DougThonus:

    That is very disappointing given all the feel good talk emanating from all the players during the preseason. They really sounded like they had the one for all, all for one attitude.

  • In reply to bullshooter:

    Not sure that I agree that the team is playing better with Hinrich, it is just that Rose is playing so badly, not just for him, but for anybody.

    To me Hinrich has always been painful to watch, and it seems to be as bad as ever this season. In fact, I've been thinking of giving him a new nickname, the anesthesiologist, as in it is so painful to watch him play that the only way to do so is under general anesthesia, or that when he is on the floor the bulls offense is put to sleep.

    Unfortunately, right now we have way to many, virtually all of our guys playing that way. I don't think that you can point to anyone and say that he is playing great.

  • In reply to BigWay:

    I didn't say he was playing great, just that the team is playing better with him running the point. There is more ball movement and more decisive action. Rose's biggest problem is he is still thinking and not reacting. Reading comments about how people don't appreciate how Hinrich runs the team are what's truly painful.

  • In reply to bullshooter:

    Great post.

    It's funny that so many people want Nate back so bad, when the offense scored more efficiently with Kirk on the floor instead of Nate for the year. And it seems to be happening so far this year.

    I haven't looked at the most recently updated stats, but I'm pretty sure it's safe to say that the Bulls offense has been more efficient with Kirk on the floor and Rose on the bench this season. It's a safe guess cuz Rose has played like crap, but Kirk has played fairly decent as well.

    Some people can't appreciate a grinder like Hinrich whose game isn't pretty, just effective. And of course he's no superstar, or probably even a starter on a championship team any more, but so far this season the offense has been more efficient with Kirk at the helm (due to Rose's struggles).

    JMSO, but a lot of fans either don't or can't appreciate a player unless he's high-flying and dunking and making SportsCenter plays on a nightly basis. Just what I get from all the Bulls boards I read anyway.

    But anyway, I'm sure Derrick will get the rust knocked off by Christmas or so, and then we'll have a better idea exactly what kind of team we have this season.

  • In reply to Don Ellis:

    What people mean is that we need "good Nate," I don't believe many who are crying about Nate are really considering the whole package.

  • In reply to Roman F:

    Very true, some folks only remember Nate's game 1 vs Miami, not the 0-12 game or the 28% he shot over the final 4 games.

  • In reply to Don Ellis:

    Look I defended Hinrich all last season based on the fact that he was getting results, i.e. we were winning significantly more when he played. That doesn't change that fact that he is very painful to watch play and that he doesn't look like he is accomplishing much while on the court. The guys that I appreciate are anything but the Sportscenter highlight guys, i.e Noah, Taj, Butler, dare I say Asik.

    As for Nate, the Bulls are struggling mightily to find anyone who can create offense, and that is the one thing that he can do. I would argue that you need him even more with Rose struggling not less.

    I understand all the reasons for the Bulls signing Hinrich to a 2 year deal 2 years ago, they made sense, at least last year. While our defense has been especially bad in the second half of games this season, our offense has been especially bad in all but one half of the entire season. A little NRob type offense in the second half probably wins us the Philly game. So far this season you can't say that Hinrich's play is winning us any games.

  • In reply to bullshooter:

    Not sure about losing its soul but there is a lack of fight, starting from the "energy guy" who looks like he'd rather be watching Cheech and Chong movies.

    Why would taking the ball out of Rose's hands more be a bad thing? Why wouldn't you want to have some plays where instead of starting the play he ends up on the end of them? He's as good a finisher as there is on this team. Even before the injury Miami was shutting down the everything runs through Rose, the Bulls need to be less predictable and that is going to have to mean Rose plays off the ball some more.

  • Can we stop drafting or signing players from Duke unless they're Grant Hill. Damn, it is getting hard to watch teams around the league get better and the Bulls sit around and play their "the little engine that could brand of basketball". Coach Thibs stubbornness is very apparent, why not play Teague and Snell some, what do you have to lose. If the Bulls are about defense then why not start Gibson and have Loozer come off the bench and become the Bumslayer.

  • I'm officially worried, too. Thibs has never been a great offensive coach, but even his D schemes are letting us down. Watching the Pacers (and the Heat earlier this year) drain open jumpers in the 4th was simply depressing. Why is letting 4 healthy players just sit on the bench?? Snell and Teague, at the very least, need to play because they'll be needed come playoff time. This team doesn't seem to be having much fun, either. I miss Nate Rob and Belinelli, both of whom brought points and panache.

  • In reply to Curious E:

    Definitely Snell and Teague will be needed later, if not sooner. They need to play. Their practice must stink if Thibs is unwilling to put them in, but still they need the game experience to see how they develop.

    Thibs and the FO thought Dunleavy would be better than Belli and Nate - that needs to work out, the sooner the better.

  • 96 minutes / 3 = 32, not 36...

  • In reply to chris:

    yea, noticed that, I assume that Doug's math mind hadn't received its morning jolt yet.

  • In reply to chris:

    My bad!

  • guys like Noah and Butler haven't scored well. I think Noah will be ok in getting 10 pts 10 rbs per game once he's in game shape but Jimmy Butler's offense progression hasn't looked very good so far. It's still early but the Bulls should not give him 9 million+ a year unless he can prove he can score 14 pts per game and hit the open 3pter instead of hesitating. Deng has struggled but he is being aggressive which is a good sign and Dunleavy still looks lost. You do start to worry if this is a Thibodeau offense scheme problem but it gets worse when the team defense is getting ripped to shreds. I don't think its 07-08 bad but its looking like 45 wins and the 5th seed again. You know things are bad when Kirk Hinrich is one of the better offensive players on the Bulls.

  • In reply to Defense-Rebound13:

    It is really hard to figure out what is wrong with Jimmy. He played so well down the stretch last season and in the playoffs. There is no reason that play should not have translated into a breakout season this year. It just can't be possible that he is a better player playing without Rose than he is playing with him, that is so counter intuitive.

    Hopefully, as Rose returns to form so will Jimmy.

  • While the Bulls look like offensive roadkill early on, and it's way too early to be calling anything, but right now any NBA hardcore fan outside of Chicago likely is growing concerned, concerned with the future success of one player on the Chicago Bulls, that being Derrick Rose.

    If his struggles continue, I say IF, at some point you will hear the name of Steve Francis trotted out(as Doug has mentioned in passing) and the potential parallel between he and Derrick Rose as in similar traits and similar tales of early mega success followed by precipitous decline or even dare say potential downfall.

    You'll know the sh*t has hit the fan if and when that occurs in any kind of main stream media be it ESPN etc. Google Derrick Rose and Steve Francis, as Doug has mentioned the impending doom parallel more then once, and several comparison articles already exist.

    Just for the hell of it, I Googled Steve Francis, and in his picture mosaic a larger stand out photo shows him smoking what appears to be a crack pipe?? I doubt Derrick's career is going 'up in smoke'(sorry, couldn't resist) the way Francis' did, but he sure seems to be if not at, then rapidly approaching a crossroads.

    If Rose does continue to crash this season, or even slowly declines, I think a lot of people will be looking for scapegoats: Reggie Rose meddling and or exploitation, Gar/Pax (mis)handling, Thibs run them into the ground reputation etc.

    Manufactured ratings drama equals money as in profit so overreactions will soon abound if Derrick's horrid start lingers on into say.. December.

    Still, despite phony or exaggerated worries, one has to be concerned. Between taking a year off and the terrible way it was handled(by both sides), the ACL injury itself, Derrick appearing at times passive mentally while his self-appointed mouthpiece Reggie 'the sycophant' Rose prattles on in ominous tones about the Bulls better bring in more offensive talent, or Derrick may... not play a whole year, eventually leave, check out etc.

    This is a story that if it continues into the days and weeks to come Doug and others will surely venture into. Let's just hope Derrick Rose and Steve Francis in name never the twain shall meet. One thing's for sure, even if it takes a month or two to regain his from, it is WAY the hell too early to begin righting off Derrick Rose. We owe him patience as in Loyalty for all the great moments he's given us already. But be prepared Bulls fans for the ensuing sh*tstorm that is likely coming if this goes on much longer.

  • In reply to RoadWarrior:

    I agree with what you say about Rose. Of all the problems with the team, Rose is whom I'm the least worried about. I'm concerned, but I'm think he will come around.

  • In reply to RoadWarrior:

    I think that's always been the question, which small scoring guard is Rose most like? Is Rose's career arc the Wade/Payton/Iverson one where they remain effective through their 20s and into their early 30s or the Marbury/Francis one where it makes pretty bleak reading after the age of 25.

    I honestly don't know, but it's something I was worried about even before the ACL, that the Bulls needed to win now because Rose might be here for a good time, not a long time.

  • Derrick isn't doing anything right now that wasn't predicted by lots of us when he refused to come back and play last season once he was healthy and cleared by the doctor who did the surgery.

    Many of us tried to point out that the doctors made it clear that the final step in his rehab was getting back out on the court in actual games.

    Many of us also tried to point out that no matter if Derrick came back in March (when he was healthy) or April (when he was very healthy) or May (when he was very healthy) or November (when he was very healthy), there was going to be an adjustment period to the new knee, and there was going to be rust to knock off, and there was going to be an adjustment period back to actual game speed.

    Now he's rusty, big freaking surprise. People are asking if he'll ever be back to the old Rose. I guess there's a chance he won't ever be back, but he still has about 6 to 8 more weeks of rehab to go through before he's even back to 100%.

    And we don't owe Derrick 1 ounce of patience- he owes us for jaking his rehab and not coming back when he was healthy, within the same time frame as *everyone else in history* who has had ACL surgery. If he would have played the last 15-20 games last season and the playoffs, the rust would be gone, and the Bulls would most likely be 3-1 right now.

  • In reply to Don Ellis:

    *everyone else in history*- an intentional exaggeration, though it's basically true that nowadays all other ACL players are back within 12 months at the most

  • In reply to Don Ellis:

    Hyperbole, yes, some of us get it, and use it regularly, even if some people jump down our throats when we do so.

  • In reply to BigWay:

    I hadn't done the research, so I can't say for sure that he took the most time off from any NBA ACL in the last 10-15 years, but I'm guessing he did. I didn't want to mislead folks by stating something and having it understood to be a fact when I dont' know if it is or not.

  • In reply to Don Ellis:

    Not sure that 15-20 games at the end of last season would have made all that much difference for this season. Rose(unlike many players) by design does not play any competitive basketball in the offseason. So even if he played some last season he would have had all summer to get "rusty" again.

    For what it is worth, If he had come back last season, we have to assume that he would have played even worse than he is playing now. The entire world would have eviscerated him for that kind of play, heck we might not even have beaten the Nets with him playing this badly.

    While his legs look healthy( even though I don't think that his vertical is all the way back), there is simply no guarantee that he will be able to return to his former MVP form, and we likely won't know for sure until the second half of this season, irregardless of what he did at the tail end of last season. In basketball, there are probably more horror stories(the aforementioned Steve Francis, Gilbert Arenas, Bernard King) than fairytales

    As someone who has had a half dozen minor and major surgeries, the one thing that I do know is that everybody, every body and every surgery is totally different, some people recover fully(Joe Montana), some people are better than ever(Adrian Peterson), and some people are never the same(Larry Bird).

    As Bulls fans we have to prepare ourselves to deal with the fact that the odds aren't any better than 50/50 that we get the fairytale.

  • In reply to BigWay:

    I agree with most of your points, especially Rose returning last season. I didn't think there would be enough continuity between the end of season/post-season to training camp for him to really sustain enough momentum to ensure he didn't have a similar rusty start.

    I thought of it this way, if he came back last season he'd not only be extremely rusty but extremely hesitant (overcoming the mental aspect)....he would've been really bad.

    Yeah, some folks say he doesn't deserve patience, etc. but keep in mind that CP3 took a little over a season to look like his old self after his knee injury (yes, I'm aware it was a different type of injury.)

    Rose's rustiness is magnified since he's the superstar on this team which certainly is an important factor to their slow start. I'm not worried about him; just needs more games under his belt. But the bigger factor to me is that this starting lineup had played exactly 0 minutes together and are now tasked to learn a new offense. Then also consider that out of the 4 games, 2 were against arguably top2-3 defenses in the league.

    I'll start worrying if there's no improvement around mid-December. Until then, I expect a bounce-back game for everyone against the Jazz this Friday.

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    The cheapshots on Carlos Boozer are getting a little old. He has been your most consistent player thus far and NOBODY's D has been all of that. He is the ONLY proven scorer on the team besides Rose and has probably been underutilized here. He was brought here to provide scoring and rebounding. The unspoken truth is the All-Stars have been underperforming. If you want to get more out of Boozer, give him more consistent touches, not less. No matter how much you like Taj, good luck running the offense thru him. We seen the Bulls without Boozer, a .500 team with the real Derriick Rose. This team should be inside out, meaning playing more off of Boozer instead of standing around the top and ignoring the pick and roll.

  • In reply to Charles Johnson:

    I don't think that it is a cheap shot to say that Boozer was Boozer last night, a complete disappearing act in a big game when faced with a man's man frontline of West and Hibbert.

    I just don't get why people can't see that this is who Boozer is, a giant phony and a pussy who should be padding his career earnings while playing for a crappy team like the Bobcats, you know just like his baby brother, Ben Gordon.

    But I'm sure that the next time he puts up 20 & 10 against the Hadley school for the blind everybody will scream, see I told you he's the man, only to be fooled again within days.

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    In reply to BigWay:

    Where were you when Boozer scored 31 against Miami? Again, Boozer did not shoot enough and frankly, the Bulls shooting did not justify ignoring Boozer for long stretches and just dribbing at the top of the key. The Bulls are too quick to get away from the post. I would make West and Hibbert block 10 shots and get some fouls. The Bulls settle too much.

  • In reply to Charles Johnson:

    Where were you and Boozer in both of the Bulls 5 games series losses to Miami in the playoffs. The guy has a good game or 2 every month or so and people go nuts. The fact is that he has averaged 15-16 ppg and 8-10 rpg over his 3 years as a Bull. That is what he is at best, he is not a go to scorer, he is not a post scorer, he is just a guy taking using up 30 minutes a game and that is on offense. When you factor in his worst defense in the history of the world, he becomes a useless sack no matter how much people hyperventilate over one game a month. It is time for those people to wake up and smell the reality.

  • In reply to Charles Johnson:

    Whatever offense the Booz cruise gives you is overrated because he turns around and allows his man to score on him. I can see if he was commanding a double-team and you played inside out with him but that is not happening, teams are not worry about him. In fact teams want him on the floor because his man to man defense is horrible and his team defense is nonexistence, guys are also covering and picking up fouls because of his poor and or no rotations. You have to ask yourself when was the last time he block a shot or took a charge.

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    In reply to juice44:

    Let see. Boozer scored 31 and Bosh scored 16. That's not point for point. Boozer does command attention and that is the whole point.
    Even if he is not scoring he provides better spacing.
    Noah should NEVER get more shots than Boozer like he did against Philly.

    BTW, Derrick Rose has gotten abused more on both ends than Carlos Boozer this year. Fact. Constantly going 6 for 22 with more turnovers than assists is not a good look.

  • In reply to Charles Johnson:

    Obvously you didn't watch the game, as Noah as usual had to cover for Boozer's ass and chase Bosh around for most of the game while Boozer played his one man zone defense standing in the lane and ostensibly covering Haslem. But at least you can read a box score, just like most Boozer and Ben Gordon fans.

  • Schedule looks MUCH easier for the next couple of weeks. As Derrick gets less rusty the rest of the team will play better. Relax, it was always going to take a few real games for him to recover confidence, timing, just getting and staying in The Zone. Let's see how long it takes. Five more games? We can handle that. And Jo too, and Lu, after their most difficult ends to last season, still regaining their zone. Jimmy Butler too, no longer unknown, and playing away from his natural position... (I try not to talk about Boozer any more...) This season is still very much a work in progress...

    Maybe THIS year. Maybe THIS year, we'll start slow and finish strong and healthy. Good gosh, Thibs has even cut back on the minutes, just like we all wanted. Yay! Way too soon to panic... unless you really want to... :)

  • Worth noting that even those first three shots Rose hit were all assisted. While it's encouraging he actually hit some shots, Rose still sucked at creating anything for himself or others all night. Bulls are going to continue to look awful until the real Rose gets back, you can't run an offense around one guy when the one guy can't create shots.

    Noah has been the biggest beneficiary of Rose sucking as his own sucking has gone under the radar a bit. Even on one leg it at least looked like he was trying, right now he's being outworked by everyone. Never thought I'd say it but right now I like Boozer more than Noah.

    You know what else I thought I'd never say? I miss Keith Bogans. Bogans couldn't do jack on offense but camp in the corner and hit the three, but after a bad start at least he did that reliably. Butler and Deng can't even do that, playing them together is not a good look. The Deng for Eric Gordon gamble looks better by the day.

    The 07/08 stuff worries me a little bit, I don't think it would happen but if it does the Bulls are screwed. That season tanked everyone's trade value and only a lucky shot to get Rose saved the team from a long rebuilding project. If this season goes down badly re-tooling will be hard because you wont get value for anyone.

  • In reply to Shakes:

    You need to lay of the arsenic, besides killing you, it can make you say really stupid things(see paragraph 2 & 3)

  • In reply to BigWay:

    Man, there used to be a time when Doug's comments had actual discussion and we saved the petty sniping for Mr Happy. Maybe we need him back.

    I know your dislike of Boozer is strong, but surely even you can see right now he's playing better than Noah. I don't think it will last - heck I hope it doesn't last because if Noah isn't better than Boozer sooner the Bulls are in a ton of trouble.

    As for Bogans, he was crap but he could hit open threes. I'm not asking for the Bulls to go out and bring him back, but it's more than a bit of a worry that in the entire time under Thibs he's the best shooter they've had in the starting lineup.

  • By the way, with Steven Jackson now out of the league, last night was the night that Lance Stephenson officially took over the title of the most despicable human being in the league. Never liked the guy, don't like the way that he looks, don't like the way that he acts, just a playground punk, bad attitude jack ass who somebody needs to kick in the balls every time that he sets foot on the court. I can't believe that Larry Bird is that guys biggest fan.

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