Dunleavy’s temper was ignited Thursday when he was whistled for a technical foul after arguing a non-call on what he thought was a foul late in third quarter against the Boston Celtics. Over the game’s next six minutes, he scored seven points, grabbed three rebounds, dished out two assists, blocked two shots and recorded a steal.
In that span, the Bulls extended their advantage by eight points and took a 77-62 lead. They never led by less than double digits the rest of the game and ended with a 94-82 win over the Celtics.
“I think it got me going a little bit,” said Dunleavy, who finished with 11 points. “Sometimes when you get your blood boiling a little bit, it’s good to get things off your chest. You settle back in and play well.
“As Taj [Gibson] knows, that’s my New York state of mind. Sometimes you got to let people know when they’re messing up, whether it’s teammates, coaches, officials. With me, it doesn’t happen very often, but tonight it did. I knew Taj would be the first one to let me know about it.”
Gibson was as excited as anyone to see Dunleavy play that way.
“He went off, man,” Gibson said. “That’s the man right there. That’s the guy I always looked up to before I got to the league. You never want to get him mad.
“He gave us almost like college Dunleavy. Driving it, shooting it, getting angry on defense, blocking shots. We told him to be angry all the time when he doesn’t get a call his way. Right after that technical foul, he just went off.”
Dunleavy’s night also allowed Gibson to tell one of his favorite Dunleavy stories. Gibson and his friends ran into Dunleavy riding the train in New York years ago.
“It was like 10 of us,” Gibson said. “We were young, but I was on my way to college. When we saw him, it’s like, ‘Dunleavy, what’s up?’ He didn’t get scared. He’s like, ‘What’s up.’ He gave us a head nod.
“It stuck with me to this day. It was like on the A train. I think it was coming from the Bronx or Manhattan. I was shocked I saw him on the train. You don’t see NBA players on the train, especially at night. That’s how gangsta he was.”
Dunleavy laughed at the story and added his own punch line.
“We’re both not afraid to get on the subway in New York,” Dunleavy said. “You run into a lot of different people, a lot of characters. Taj Gibson is one of them.”