I went to a funeral on Tuesday (May 1). Actually, it might have been two funerals, although it’s difficult to say that today with any degree of certainty. There was the celebration of the life of Bill “Moose” Skowron in the morning; then, in the evening, there was the Chicago Bulls’ Game 2 against the Philadelphia 76ers in their first-round NBA playoff series.
The second event is the one that might not qualify officially as a funeral. All this observer can tell you is there was more joy and more enthusiasm at the funeral for the former baseball standout of the the New York Yankees and Chicago White Sox at Queen of All Saints Basilica than there was at the United Center for the Bulls-76ers contest.
The Bulls’ performance in a 109-92 loss to even the first-round series at one game apiece had a certain solemnity to it, starting with Derrick Rose — the injured Bulls guard and reigning MVP who is to have surgery on a torn anterior cruciate ligament in his left knee — presenting the game ball to one of the game officials before the contest. A 36-14 Sixers advantage in the third quarter broke open a game that had been 55-48 in the Bulls’ favor at halftime.
Among those showing up at Skowron’s funeral were former Yankees teammates Tony Kubek, Don Larsen, Bobby Richardson and Bob Turley. All were honorary pallbearers, as was former White Sox standout Minnie Minoso. Among those serving as pallbearers was Sox and Bulls chairman Jerry Reinsdorf, who appeared moved during his duties at the church.
Also among those attending were Sox broadcasters Ed Farmer and Darrin Jackson. Richardson and Kubek delivered short eulogies.
Among those showing up at the Bulls game were Bulls center Joakim Noah (he scored 21 points on 10-of-11 shooting from the field) and reserve guard John Lucas (he scored 15). Not showing up were forwards Luol Deng and Carlos Boozer, who combined for 17 points on a combined 7-of-22 shooting.
Showing up big-time for the Sixers were starting guard Jrue Holiday (26 points on 11-of-15 shooting, including 3-of-3 on three-pointers) and reserve Lou Williams (20 points on 8-of-13 shooting). Sixers guard Evan Turner, who started after coming off the bench in Game 1, had 11 of his 19 points in the third quarter.
“I thought the third quarter was the game,” Bulls coach Tom Thibodeau said.
“We have to come back [Friday in Philly for Game 3] much stronger.”
“The third quarter we played was as good of a one as I have ever seen this team play,” Sixers coach Doug Collins said.
Any psychological boost that Rose’s pregame presence might have provided evaporated quickly.
“It was a disappointing overall effort,” Noah said. “We didn’t play well defensively; we didn’t play well offensively. We got our asses kicked.”
Has this space told you lately who is scheduled to appear on “Sports & Torts” this Thursday (May 3) with co-hosts David Spada and Elliott Harris? For those who might have forgotten or who are unaware, the May Playboy Playmate Nikki Leigh is scheduled to be on the show that airs at noon Chicago time on talkzone.com. Also booked to be on the program is former baseball player and National League president Bill White.
OK, how about some video from Game 2 of the Bulls-Sixers series. If things go according to plan (and on the rarest of occasions, they actually do), there will be more videos featuring the Chicago Luvabulls, the Bulls’ dance team, another day.
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