Frankie O's Blog: O-Bombs?

Frankie O's Blog: O-Bombs?

Wednesday, Jan. 19, 2011
2:31 p.m.

By Frankie O
CSNChicago.com

All the youngsters are adding Red Bull to almost any alcohol and making a bomb out of it. Oh to be young again! I dont go there, but if you give me some Red Bull and put me in front of my computer, this is what you get. Dont consume too quickly, or it will go straight to your head!

Are you ready for the biggest game ever? I dont know if I buy into that hype. In recent memory, it would be hard to top the San Francisco-Dallas NFC Championship games of the mid 90s. They were the 2 unquestioned powerhouses of the NFL and played for the right to win the Super Bowl 3 straight years. Those were huge games that captured the imagination of fans everywhere, no coincidence that both rosters were littered with Hall of Famers. Outside of Chicago and Green Bay, will this even be the most watched football game of the day?

I would say that it is one of the coolest games that I can remember. It defies logic, not to mention statistical probability that these 2 teams have not met in the playoffs in 70 years, let alone for a trip to the Super Bowl! In an age where old school is cool, it doesnt get more old school than this. What this game gives us, besides the obvious, is a chance to reflect on the previous 181 games that have been played by the NFLs most frequently played rivalry. I think in many ways that we dont take enough time to honor our past, this game will allow us to celebrate the many who have worn the uniform in anger and created a legacy that defines the NFL.

As far as the game against the worst playoff team ever, lost in the euphoria of the win was a play-call that could have spelled doom if the game was played against a worthy opponent. I would say it is in my top ten of worst calls ever. When leading a game 28-3, at home, with 13 minutes left and playing an opponent that has, rightfully, accomplished nothing all-day, the last thing you want to do is anything that would give them life, or a quick score. Mike Martz did something to give them both. Call me unimaginative, but I think that situation calls for running plays that will grind out the clock and not give up field position. So what does our boy do? He calls for a halfback option pass that is promptly intercepted and sets up Seattles first of three 4th quarter touchdowns. What was the risk-reward of that play? It was ALL risk! It was ALL ego! We get it. You are very smart! Just run the ball! And the knuckleheads in the bar who said it will give the Packers tape of a gadget play? Tape of what? Stupid turnovers? This response led me to ask if they were related. That kind of decision making against a real playoff team will get you beat.

One good thing, for me, is that my pre-season, and mid-season, pick of a Packer-Jets Super Bowl is still alive, not that any of my regulars want to hear that. But in the game of bar-room banter, its all about being right! So youre saying theres a chance!

Lost in the hoopla last weekend was the Cubs convention, or as I call it, a Star Trek convention in blue hats! (Im teasing! Sort of.) Im almost ready for baseball, at least the weather part. But whats this I hear of people booing Jim Hendry, among others, during his introduction? That makes a guy from Philly say, Cmon! Just proves what I say that these are not your fathers Cubs fans, this is one angry lot, even in a situation of off-season bliss. (Bliss because there is hope of NEXT YEAR!) I have no problem showing displeasure, but in the middle of a group hug? With the kids and grandparents there? At least they werent throwing their beers. I can see why theyre so upset with Ryan Theriot. What does he know? Speaking of The-riot, wow! Even I did not see that coming. Usually when someone takes shots at the Cubs, its a former child of scorn and easily discounted. But Theriot was a fan favorite, at least in the beginning. Just wondering if his comments give credence to the arrows that have been slung by others on their way out of town?

The new cult-figure in discussions at the bar is Blake Griffin. As in: Did you see what freaking Griffin did last night?!! This week it was putting up a season league high of 47 points, without a dunk! I cant believe it, but Im making sure I have the Clips game on TV at the bar while Im working. I cant wait to see what he does next, and what he has in store for the dunk contest All-Star weekend. Easy to say its been a while since I or anyone I know, has cared about that.

I was a little late driving downtown to watch the Bears game before I worked on Sunday and as it turned out I was glad I was. It enabled me to hear Jim Cornelison sing the anthem before the game. The energy just jumped out through my radio. If theres someone who does it better, I havent heard them. In this town, if its a game that means anything, you want to hear his voice before it starts!

The debate at the bar this week is tricky. Sell or go? It seems the Big Game has created a big ticket market with absurd prices. I still dont know if Ive picked a side. The romantic in me (stop laughing!) says that you must go. Its a memory for a lifetime. But then I think, would it mean any less if I watched it on my High Def TV, lying on my side because of the bulge created by the extra 5 grand in my wallet? Through my life there have been many games of great importance to me and the amount of them that I attended is minuscule. That fact does not take away from what those games mean to me. That being said, the few that I did attend were magical and etched in my memory forever. That being said, call me old, O.K., really old, but going to a game is a lot of work. Loud crowds, waiting forever and nowhere to go and thats only on the ride there. I guess if I had to make a choice, the bartender in me says to sell the tickets and go to my favorite establishment. You would get to enjoy the game with a lot of folks rooting for the same thing as you, but the crowd hassles would be minimized. So you could still be surrounded by your friends creating a memory for a lifetime, but still have a LOT OF CASH when the game is over. Minus that is, a handsome gratuity for the guy behind the bar, because we ALL know that he made the experience better! That sounds like a win-win to me! Go Bears!!

Doug McDermott's return boosts Bulls' bench

Doug McDermott's return boosts Bulls' bench

Doug McDermott wasn’t exactly hunting for his first shot, but the first time he touched the ball in an NBA game in nearly a month wasn’t the optimal situation for him to let one fly.

It wasn’t in transition where he runs to an opening behind the 3-point line, nor was it a drive-and-kick situation where the help defense collapsed and left him open. It was a regular, simple, pass to the perimeter and McDermott’s defender was in reasonable proximity with 3:23 left in the first quarter.

He launched and the crowd soon roared its approval as his sweet jumper was sorely missed by the Bulls bench brigade—and moments later when he ran the floor for a fearless layup that caused Spurs coach Gregg Popovich to call a timeout, McDermott showed he missed the United Center crowd too, calling for more noise on his way to the bench.

“Anytime you have a guy like Doug, he comes back and makes his first 3, that’s hard to do,” Bulls coach Fred Hoiberg said. “He stepped up with confidence on that first shot. I’m sure he had a lot of nerves getting back out there.”

Missing 12 games and suffering two concussions, McDermott looked right at home in 25 minutes of run Thursday as the Bulls were able to rely on their reserves in some form in their 95-91 win over the previously perfect road warriors known as the Spurs.

“We defended and kept them off the foul line,” McDermott said. “Coach (Jim) Boylen was with them, so we feel we know them and I think all this time they were missing my defense.”

[SHOP: Get your Bulls gear right here]

The last statement was certainly tongue-in-cheek, but the Bulls’ bench production was certainly missing in action while he was out with the concussion protocol. So much so that his return prompted the Bulls’ coaching staff to call out the reserves in the morning shootaround, demanding more.

“It’s definitely Dwyane (Wade) and Jimmy (Butler) and (Rajon) Rondo (but) the coaching staff kinda called out our bench like, we gotta have you tonight, bench,” McDermott said. “We took that to heart, we were really locked in.”

Seemingly his presence aided the Bulls’ spirits and production, as the Bulls’ bench had the least effective scoring bench in the NBA since Nov. 13, the day after McDermott hit the unforgiving floor against the Wizards for his second concussion this season.

Their net rating ranks ahead of only the Wizards, Mavericks and Nets, who are a combined 17-45 this season. Their effective field goal percentage, which takes into account 3-pointers, is worst in the league in that span (42.3 percent).

When McDermott was healthy for that smaller sample size, the Bulls’ bench ranked fifth in offensive efficiency, seventh in net rating, and fifth in efficient field goal percentage. Whether McDermott – and his absence – was directly related to those numbers, it’s clear the Bulls are better when they have their best reserve – and only true floor spacers on the second unit – on the court.

“We’re all professionals and we want to help the guys who are busting their butts in the first unit to get us the leads,” McDermott said. “Tonight we did a great job of sustaining it. We take it personal when teams come back on us.”

[MORE: Pau Gasol relishes consistency with Spurs he couldn't find with Bulls]

Nikola Mirotic was four of eight from the field, and Cristiano Felicio seems to be back in Fred Hoiberg’s good graces as he’s carved out a rotation spot for himself with nine points and seven rebounds in 18 minutes.

It seems as if Hoiberg will stick with this rotation of players, at least for a little while until Michael Carter-Williams returns from his injuries. If McDermott is the mark of the Bulls’ bench going from bottom feeder to adequate, it should show this month.

“When he’s out there on the floor and we get him coming off screens, it forces the defense to shift as another person they need to be aware of,” Hoiberg said. “It opens up driving lanes for our guys. It was great to have Doug back with us.”

Morning Update: Bulls beat Spurs in Pau Gasol's return to Chicago

Morning Update: Bulls beat Spurs in Pau Gasol's return to Chicago

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