Call it whatever you'd like.
Lackluster, disinterested, or maybe relentless, these types of adjectives could summarize the Bulls' and Heat's play in the past 24 hours. As lucky as I was last evening to have an opportunity to watch the Heat's 99-95 win versus a very hot Phoenix Suns team, I was luckier to watch the MVP-less Bulls get another win and move forward in attaining that coveted #1 seed in the Eastern Conference. But after watching Miami's game last night and as the Bulls are making their 4th Quarter comeback versus Toronto tonight, there was one thing I couldn't help but notice. I was almost watching the same game in consecutive nights.
Ok, let's not get contrarian with the situation. Yes, the Bulls were away from the United Center and the Heat were at Home. The opponents were different; Bulls played the Raptors and Miami played the Suns but if you were able to catch the Miami game on NBA TV on Tuesday night, try to remember how both teams played. Lethargic, again disinterested, and most importantly, both teams played without the sense of urgency that's given them the type of success this year so far but... it was until the 4th Quarter. By playing with complete antonyms of the previous adjectives, energetic and with a sense of urgency, the Bulls and Miami were able to build their comebacks on the defensive end of the floor. For God's sakes, the Bulls, at one point were at a 20-0 run. By cooking the usual recipe for both teams, Miami and Chicago turned their defensive stops to points on the offensive end and increased the defensive intensity as the stops began to accumulate. In the end, both teams won and made the final two meetings, 1 in Chicago, and 1 in Miami mean so much more. But there was one glaring difference in these eerily similar games.
The Bulls came back without their MVP Derrick Rose (and surprise! Without Richard Hamilton) and Miami's big 3 played.
Again, by taking a national perspective, the Bulls had every reason to lose this game and not get their 39th victory of the season. These types of wins for the Bulls are great. Tom Thibodeau adds to extremely impressive 2011-12 season portfolio when its submitted to voters for Eastern Conference Coach of the Year. It gives the other 13 guys on this roster not named "Derrick Rose" the confidence they can win without their star but Bulls fans cannot turn their heads away from the big white elephant in the room. These Bulls are crippled injury-wise and even worse, there are more question marks as we approach the end of the season than there were last year. Will Carlos Boozer be able to take his improving game to late April and May? Will the Bulls starters remember how to play together when everyone's back? Will Derrick Rose re-aggravate his groin again in the playoffs? Will Richard Hamilton even come back? If you think John Lucas III is the answer to the Bulls' question marks and Miami's anti-Christ, I have a reservation placed for you at the Elgin Mental Health Center; I read their green jello and padded rooms are awesome there. Every team has its own question marks, even Miami, but the Bulls and fans should know, it will not only take a perfect game to beat Miami, it will need 4 perfect games to beat Miami. The Heat can afford question marks and the Bulls simply can't. Each question mark leads to a larger possibility for error but Miami can easily correct those errors and those correctors are named James, Wade, and Bosh.
No Ryan McKevett, I'm not being a traitor but despite the Bulls improving their record without Derrick Rose, avid Bulls fans should be aware of the question marks that lie ahead.
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