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By Jim Coffman
The second most appealing thing about Ben Gordon is his cool (do you hear something? Wait, I can just about make it out . . . ah, yes . . . it's a perfect, high-arching jump shot chanting "I'm number one. I'm number one"). Gordon never loses it when things don't go his way. Heck, his expression never even changes. But every once in a while when he hits a big shot, he can't help himself. And after dropping in the three-pointer to tie Sunday's game at the end of the first overtime, Gordon called attention to what our most recent former governor once referred to as his "testicular virility." When Gordon finally wrapped up his extended crotch grab, the Bulls were on their way to a double-overtime triumph and a 2-2 tie in the best-of-seven series.
Even after Sunday's win I'm guessing the Bulls will soon be calling it a season. Rajon Rondo is too good. Paul Pierce and Ray Allen hit more big shots than they miss (it looked like they would overwhelm the Bulls with that ability in the first overtime until John Salmons' ultra-clutch three-pointer kicked off a comeback from a five-point deficit). And the Bulls defense continues to astound with its fundamental shortcomings (Hey Derrick Rose, it's time you figured out that in the final 10 seconds of a game your team leads by three, it doesn't matter if the guy you're guarding penetrates and scores a "two" - make sure you watch the tape of John Salmons guarding Paul Pierce in the final seconds of the second overtime for a fine example of how to defend in that situation).
And when the season comes to an end, Bulls fans' attention will quickly turn to Gordon's free agency. At a time when plenty of smaller market NBA teams desperately need drawing cards, it is hard to believe someone won't offer Gordon a large contract despite the economy. The guy is, simply, such an exciting player. Then John Paxson will either have to make a trade to unload some salary, venture into the land of the luxury tax (which teams pay when player salaries cross a certain threshold and which isn't going to happen with the Bulls), or let Gordon go with no compensation. It might be Chicago's biggest free agent loss since Greg Maddux.
The Bulls and Celtics have now played all three of the most exciting games of the NBA playoffs so far.
Don't denigrate the Bulls' efforts by yammering about the Celtics' injuries. The Celtics brass decided to go with a veteran nucleus and the downside of that is the increased potential for injury. The Bulls suffer for their youth (with so many stupid turnovers for instance) - they shouldn't be begrudged benefiting from less wear-and-tear.
A quick question for our coach Vinnie: Surely you've heard the line about those not studying history repeating it? Rarely do we get a quicker turnaround on an illustration of that wisdom than Game 2 of this series, when Del Negro again failed to marshal his timeouts properly. In doing so for the second straight game, he again put his team in the position of having to heave a no-hope three-quarter court shot in the final seconds rather than still having a great chance to set things up after moving the inbounds play inside half-court thanks to a timeout.
For the first time in the playoffs, the Hawks came out, grabbed a game by the throat and never let go on Saturday on their way to a 5-1 win and a 3-2 edge in the series. The first two games of the series with Calgary were nail-biters, and a few breaks had to go the Hawks' way for them to pull out wins. On Saturday, the Hawks dominated. Let's hope they find a way to close it out tonight.
Jim Coffman brings you the city's best sports roundup every Monday. And he does it because he loves you. He welcomes your comments.More from Beachwood Sports »
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Posted on Aug 2, 2020