Today has been an emotional one for the city of Chicago.
The sun came up and the day began as millions of people flooded the streets to celebrate a championship. After all of the commemoration, a sobering effect came upon the west side. Not only were individuals leveling out, Bulls fans were accepting their new found reality; the straight-up weird truth that Derrick Rose and Joakim Noah are now New York Knicks. Folks observing at the United Center had to adopt the fact that Noah and Rose were not wearing the home whites -- they also had to watch as their old friends come back to bite them.
Two individuals who provided myself and many others around the Chicagoland area with so much joy over the last several years lead their new teammates to a 117-104 victory. Strange does not even begin to encapsulate the accurate feeling associated with this contest.
There was a different type of energy accompanying this game. Anyone who has watched Joakim Noah play in Chicago knows he likes to get amped up for certain match-ups. So of course playing against his old squad would take him to another level. He finished with 16 points, 4 assists, and 9 rebounds. The Rose-Noah pick-and-roll was highly effective, with the Knicks' new point guard dishing out 11 assists. The former league MVP also scored 15 points, shooting 6-for-16 from the field.
Whenever two former franchise return to their old stomping grounds, the reception can vary. During visiting player introductions, the homegrown product received some jeering, while the big man now playing for his hometown team got an encouraging ovation. However, even though the initial reaction was a little disheartening, the Bulls put together a very nice tribute video.
Video tribute for Rose and Noah pic.twitter.com/lT4cnudBNB
— Stephen Noh (@hungarianjordan) November 5, 2016
Believe it or not there was more to this game than the return of Rose and Noah.
Dwyane Wade continued to shatter the narrative of his rumored lackluster three-point shooting. Of course, that narrative has some validity given Wade's career 3pt shooting percentage is only 28 percent. So far, though, Wade has provided Chicago with a must needed boost from beyond the arc.
That rise continued Friday night as Wade went 5-for-7 from three, finishing with 35 points and 10 rebounds. Jimmy Butler was able to score 26 and get to the foul line 11 times, but the rest of the Bulls role players seemed to struggle, especially on the defensive end of the floor. The home team had trouble slowing the Knicks down as they registered 32 assists on 46 made field goals.
The Bulls now sit at 3-2 on the season. After their hot start this was perhaps a regression to a mean for a Bulls team that's so far exceeded many expectations. Clearly, New York were inspired, motivated, and ready to play, something the Bulls were not. That will need to swiftly change as the Bulls hit the road in a back-to-back game against the Indiana Pacers.