On Tuesday, after Monday night's crushing loss to the Heat in overtime, Vinny Del Negro took the Chicago Bulls to a bowling alley. This is funny because the way our brain works, hearing the word bowling immediately brings to mind anywhere from six to eight scenes from The Big Lebowski, and there's no question, if we start picturing Lebowski scenarios, that Vinny doesn't resemble Steve Buscemi's timeless third wheel in the film, Donny. "You're out of your element, Vinny." That has a nice ring to it.
Anyway, the Trib's K.C. Johnson caught up with Ben Gordon during the bowling outing. Another familiar theme recurred; see if you can spot it:
"We've been resilient all season," Gordon said. "We have 18 games left and as long as we continue to play with effort like we have, we'll be fine. We have to limit our mistakes in key moments. We have to make better decisions when we have opportunities to close games out."
Johnson thinks Gordon could be vaguely referring to rookie Derrick Rose's decision to take the last shot in regulation on Monday night, which Rose missed. (For the record, Rose should have taken that shot: It was a good look from 10 feet. You take those shots.) Anyway, Johnson seems to have pressed Gordon on the matter, and this is as far as he would go:
"Any player wants the ball with the game on the line," Gordon said diplomatically.
That's it. No over-the-top complaints. No backhanded jabs at "inexperience." No Kenny Powers-esque third person nonsense about how when Ben Gordon is hot Ben Gordon wants the ball, and blah blah blah. Gordon refuses to go there.
In a way, that's admirable. The guard has every reason to feel angry at the Chicago Bulls -- his entire career, if you want to look at it this way, has been an exercise in disrespect. It took him years of scoring to get in the starting lineup, and despite that production, Luol Deng got the big contract, not Gordon. Now, in fourth quarters, when Gordon has scored 18 points and his clearly on fire, his coach doesn't defer to him but instead relies on the rookie to make clutch plays happen.
It's not that Vinny's wrong about that ... it's just that we can see why Gordon might not agree. You can see why he might be a little angry. But he's managed not to let it show, and the Bulls should be thanking him for it.
Eamonn Brennan is a writer, editor and blogger that thinks the Veteran Committee would give 65% approval to filet mignon. You can also read him at Yahoo! Sports, FanHouse, Mouthpiece Sports Blog, and Inside The Hall, or at his personal site, eamonnbrennan.com. Follow him on Twitter.