The Monday Morning G-Chat: NBA All-Star Game & First-Half Chicago Bulls Awards

The Monday Morning G-Chat is a weekly column where two guys waste time during the worst part of their work week. Topics will range from Chicago sports and pop culture to aliens. Nothing is off limit. If you have any pressing topics you’d like to read about, you can send them to @SecCity_Sports, @jerryscherwin and @davecreagh. God speed, friends.

Jerry: Yo, DC! Happy Monday my dude. Have you smelled spring yet all the way over there in Chicago? Not to brag but I spent my weekend brunching by a lake, walking around Epcot and golfing. I even got a little sunburn. It’s February and I got a damn sunburn. How CREAGH is that?

Now, before we get to our topic of the week, I have a legit question for you: How many minutes of NBA All-Star Weekend did you watch in total (and that’s not including stuff you saw on Twitter)?

DC: Jerome!

Risky start to this conversation by bragging about the weather you have in Florida. I was eating lunch Saturday afternoon and walked outside to a snowstorm, so no, I have not smelled spring yet and I’m quite frankly sick of waiting for it.

In terms of my NBA All-Star Weekend viewing, let’s just say, it’s a good thing the NBA lets fans post videos and pictures on Twitter. Without that, I don’t think I would have known what happened. I did see Donovan Mitchell win the dunk contest on TV, otherwise, I’m a millennial, I get my news from Twitter. It also doesn’t sound like you watched much action live with all the outdoor activities Florida living allows in February?

Jerry: I didn’t watch one single second. Yet — again, because I’m a millennial — I have thoughts:

  1. Dennis Smith Jr. is my dunk champion. You don’t just DO this. Only Griffin’s can do this. If a guy does this dunk and loses a “dunk contest”, I’m out.
  2. The dunk contest is as tired as saying “the NBA needs to do something to get the best players in the game to participate”. But there has to be a middle ground here. Outside of his dad, does anyone REALLY care about Larry Nance Jr.?
  3. They need to make the Skills Challenge a partnered event with a member of the celebrity game. And by a member of the celebrity game, I mean the worst members of the celebrity game.
  4. Instead of just marching out some retired NBA players to play basketball, I’d like it if they did MTV Challenge type events against one another. Let me see these guys do some shit over a some well known Los Angeles lake.

Do you have any sweeping thoughts on the All-Star game or are you ready to give away from awards to the Chicago Bulls?

DCIII: I have 2 thoughts from the All-Star weekend:

  1. Dennis Smith Jr. should have won, he’s MY 2018 Dunk Contest champion. Which leads me to my #2
  2. The judges for the Dunk Contest need to be impartial and unbiased. Perfect scores were handed out way too willy nilly Saturday night. We’re in the heat of the Winter Olympics were Figure Skating judges critique the most minute details of routines. The NBA needs more of that and less perfect 50’s for nostalgic dunks that in reality shouldn’t be repeated (looking at you, Donovan Mitchell).
I saw  Bobby Portis cracking his knuckles getting ready to throw hands so we better get into #AwardsSZN before we end up with our jaws wired shut. Which award, do you want to give away first?

Jerry: Woah, I’m not sure we should go that far. Olympic judging is make believe. It’s a fugazi.

Alright, let’s get on track here. Let’s start with your recipient of the most Compelling Storyline of the First-Half?

DCIII: I love this award, compelling storylines to one person could be totally boring to another so this is the best spot to start from. The most well-known storyline is obviously the Portis-Mirotic sucker punch heard round the world but that’s not the most compelling to me. To be compelling to me, it has to resonate for years after the season is over. The storyline that was the most compelling to me this year is one the just recently developed. Can Lauri Markkanen and Zach LaVine play together effectively and efficiently? #SeeRedNation has been very quick to call the Jimmy Butler trade a win for John Paxson, but how can you call that trade a win when Dunn, LaVine, and Markkanen have played a combined 4 games together? The brief stretch we’ve seen raises a number of questions for me and I’m fascinated to see it play out the remainder of the year.

Are you taking the easy way out and giving Bobby Portis this award since he’s still looking at us ready to throw a punch?

Jerry: I’m not (DUCK!).

I think you’re spot on with your assessment of the “Jimmy Butler 3”. All three of them have been compelling in their own right. But when I think about THE MOST compelling, I immediately think about Zach LaVine. I was nervous before his first game. I don’t know if you know it or not, but the Bulls don’t have the best of luck when it comes to players coming back to play after a knee injury like he had. He surpassed my expectations in the first minute (I won’t soon forget that perfectly drawn up play by Fred Hoiberg to get him open for a three pointer to start the game against the Pistons).

For a guy that hadn’t played a lick of NBA basketball since February of 2017, he’s put to rest any and all speculation game in and game out. He’s so damn versatile and dynamic offensively. He came into that first game and showed his elite ability to get to the rack at ease (blowing by fools left and right) and that he can still shoot the ball as well as he did to start the 2016-17 season. I have hope again!

Next up, Favorite Moment.

DCIII: I have no idea what you’re talking about with the Bulls injury luck.

In typical DC fashion, my favorite Bulls moment has absolutely nothing to do with actual basketball. My favorite moment was when the Bulls gathered all the mom’s and took them to NYC for a Mom’s Trip. Watching the interactions between the moms and their sons, moms and moms, and moms and coaches was amazing in all the best ways. Also, you can’t argue with a mom tunnel being the best thing ever.

You just can’t.

What say you? What’s made the basketball nerd in you perk up and hold onto during this tanking season?

Jerry: The fan boy in me wants to choose the Pelicans game. It was jam packed with greatness. It went into double OT. We may have seen Boogie’s last great game (44/24/10 in 52 minutes). Lauri Markkanen finished with 14 points and 17 rebounds in a game in which he went straight at Anthony Davis and Boogie as if they were college freshman.

BUTTTTTT, this also happened and it was amazing and glorious and perfect in that “we-all-lose-our-cool-and-wish-we-can-react-like-this” kind of way:

Best moment of the first-half, hands down.

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