The Bulls opened the 2016-17 regular-season with a 105-99 home victory over the Boston Celtics on Thursday night. In front of an electric United Center crowd, free agent acquisition and Robbins, Illinois native, Dwyane Wade got his tenure with the Bulls off on the right foot.
“I’ve been waiting for that moment for a long time,” said Wade after the game. Wade, who spent the first 13 seasons of his NBA career with the Miami Heat, contributed 22 points, 6 rebounds and 5 assist in the Bulls win.
On a night that was surely a childhood dream come true for the future Hall of Fame shooting guard, it without a doubt looked as though his play mirrored how good he was feeling to finally be home. He knocked down a mid-range jumper to open the season and scoring column for the Bulls.
Wade finished the game shooting 7-18 from the field, and to everyone’s surprise 3 of 4 from 3-point range. Out of all the shots he was able to see go through the hoop last night, none was bigger than… a 3-pointer. This 3-point shot was the proverbial dagger. He knocked it down from the right side -cementing the game for Chicago- and delivering a throat slash/scowl combo as the crowd erupted.
To many fans (myself included) to see him knock down the dagger to ice the game probably took them by surprise. I would even venture as far as to say it was an out of this world affair, because he only made 7 out of 44 attempts all last season in Miami---but I’m sure they’re not complaining.
Coming into last night, most of the talk was centered around how the additions of Rondo and Wade would mix with the mainstays in the Bulls’ organization in Jimmy Butler and cast, which is understandable. Well, Wade couldn’t do it by himself. He was aided by a 24 point and 7 rebound outing from Butler. Fans also witnessed a prerequisite double-double of 18 points and 10 rebounds from defensive anchor Taj Gibson and a solid 4 points, 6 rebounds and 9 assists from Rajon Rondo in his Bulls debut.
Another positive that came from the game was the shear difference the stars made. The Bulls “Big 3” (Butler, Wade and Rondo) outscored the Boston Celtics by 17 when they were all on the floor together.
With any team, they’re going to be faced with ups and downs during the season. The Bulls were able to survive their first test after battling back and weathering the Celtics many attempts to steal the game, to secure a win after surrendering an early game lead that at one point grew to be as large as 15 points.
At the end of the day, win or lose, this is only the first game of a long 82 game season. Although the Bulls and their fans are extremely happy to be in the win column to start the season, not a soul was happier than Dwyane Wade.
“It (the game) was just special. 23 years ago, I had a dream of playing basketball in the NBA, and I had dreams of playing with this organization, tonight it became reality…,”said Wade after the game.
Watch the highlights of Wade’s Bulls debut here.
The Bulls look to keep the train rolling in the right direction as they gear up to face Paul George and the Indiana Pacers at the United Center on Saturday night.