For what I'm sure are very good and not at all dumb reasons, the Chicago Bulls' much-anticipated home matchup with the Brooklyn Nets tipped off after 9 p.m. CT last night. The late start time proved to be a blessing in disguise because it allowed more young, impressionable Chicago fans to miss the contest entirely due to hard-and-fast bedtime conflicts. The poor kids who were allowed to monitor the proceedings may be temporarily scarred as the Nets, including Kyrie Irving, constructed a 138-112 demolition.
It was a stark example of just how good at basketball a team with Kevin Durant, James Harden and Kyrie Irving can be when motivated. Many will be using it as an example of why Brooklyn, despite all its challenges, is still the team to beat in the Eastern Conference or possibly the entire NBA.
But First Things First's Nick Wright sees a fly in the ointment and came to this morning's episode with buckets of cold water at each side, like a scene out of Fantasia.
Wright cites a lack of continuity that's only getting less static, which is either a symptom or a cause of less-than-ideal team chemistry. He points to the prevailing story this morning being, once again, whether or not Irving will get vaccinated.
"I think the whole thing is just an insane way to try to run a basketball team," Wright said. "And to me it is indicative that after their biggest win of the year, this was the discussion — not that 'hey, we just kicked the teeth in of the No. 1 seed in the conference. I just don't think that's healthy for a team that's trying to win something big."
No one would argue the Nets are a paragon of stability. Or that they are operating without distractions. Negotiating these three egos, injury, and COVID won't be an easy task. Those problems would still exist had the Bulls won last night. So, in my naive mind, it sure seems like a good thing that they're pasting potential playoff opponents with ease. Winning while being erratic seems way more fun than losing.
The story of Brooklyn this year may in fact be just how much they were able to accomplish in an unhealthy fashion. In fact, that's where I think I'd put my money on the big ol' narrative wheel landing.