Bulls welcome fans back to the United Center, hosting Pelicans for home opener
After winning in Detroit, Chicago is looking to play well at home against a New Orleans squad missing Zion Williamson on Friday night.
Remind Me Later •
Foot tapping and head bobbing and shaking.
Keyboard synthesizer, repeating, repeating, repeating.
Drum symbols crashing, a slice of violin and an easy guitar, a clarinet riff.
French horns, instrumental.
Keyboard synthesizer slam dunking over them all.
I am the eye in the sky
Looking at you
I can read your mind
I am the maker of rules
Dealing with fools
I can cheat you blind
And I don't need to see any more
To know that
I can read your mind, I can read your mind
-Alan Parsons / Eric Norman Wolfson
Welcome back to the United Center Friday for the Bulls and New Orleans Pelicans for the first time, really, in a year and a half. Sure, there were some games with a few fans last season as the Covid virus ebbed and flowed, but much removed and much limited.
No more. The Bulls are back—we'll see how much on the court, but with a good start with Wednesday's victory in Detroit—and the community is invited in full force to listen to Alan Parsons Project's Eye in the Sky and welcome the new look Bulls of Zach LaVine, DeMar DeRozan, Nikola Vucevic, Lonzo Ball and Alex Caruso, et al.
The one time studio band's song actually isn't an instrumental despite about a two and a half minute riff to begin. Longtime former Bulls public address announcer Tommy Edwards heard the obscure melody one night in a Chicago club in the 1980s and suggested to the Bulls it might be a nice idea for player introductions.
It helped that Michael Jordan was one, but nonetheless the rhythms became a symbol of the championship Bulls, the Chicago Stadium and United Center and the most famous introduction in sports that continues to this day, dressed up some with videos. The thumping and anticipation remains.
The lyrics have been interpreted as everything from a lover declaring a breakup by finally seeing who their partner really is, seeing clearly, to a dystopian Orwellian 1984 take—perhaps more appropriate today—of knowing everything that is happening, the eye in the sky.
Which is next about the Bulls. Just who are they?
It was just the beginning with much optimism and anticipation Wednesday, the Bulls with a bitter milestone of winning an opener and posting a plus-.500 record for the first time in five years with the 94-88 victory.
It wasn't exactly the audacious win many hoped for after a perfect preseason. But it remains a chance for a positive start with the Pelicans Friday without their star, Zion Williamson.
"It's a long season," predictably noted DeRozan after scoring 17 points in the opener. "We've got 81 more games. As long as we are healthy, we are going to try to trend in the right direction. We're going to have our ups and downs; that's part of the season. But we are focused on one goal. We are taking it game by game and each game to get better. There is going to be a new obstacle next game, the game after that, the game after that. So we just have to keep building and learning."
There's much to come. The team's pace and precision wasn't exactly perfect. Rebounding and defense, the questions coming into the preseason, weren't as problematic as the expectations for promptness and passing.
"I think probably opening night for us and Detroit, neither team really capitalized in transition with all the shots that were missed," said Bulls coach Billy Donovan. "We've got to get out and give ourselves opportunities to advance. We've got to play to the basket. We did not get to the free throw line (Zach LaVine had half the Bulls attempts). We're going to have to put pressure on the basket because when we do that we can spray the ball out."
The Bulls first time All-Star in 2021 and latest Olympic gold medalist often has been doubted and questioned, even at home, because of the team's lack of competitiveness since he was acquired in the Jimmy Butler trade. But now with All-Star teammates like DeRozan and Vucevic, the pressure is less on LaVine. Even if the demands perhaps are as great. Because this is his chance along with the team's. LaVine showed Wednesday's he'd be there when it appeared all that preseason optimism would fade with a sputtering start to the opening game and the threat of another disappointing beginning.
LaVine rallied the team not only with his scoring, which has become accepted, but all around play and defense that included a rare block of a long distance jump shot. While Caruso was the defensive instigator, LaVine held his defensive position and unhinged the Pistons defense that had to trap and blitz him and thus open the court for Bulls scoring.
"Zach was really great defensively," commended Donovan. "I thought DeMar was good defensively. Our perimeter guys did a great job. I thought Vooch, at times the roller got behind him, but for the most part he did a really nice job; Zach really worked on both ends of the floor. I think (Zach), the shots he made and the things he does athletically and talent wise, people have seen that for years. I think he's looking at things through a different lens. His voice is there. I think he sees things in a different way now based on his experiences, his first All-Star, the Olympics, being around those level players. He's very eager to learn and grow and I feel he really maximized this summer to learn and grow. He's put the work in."
The Bulls say they also are ready.
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