I usually throw some stats and stuff into what I write, but today this
is pretty much just going to be limited to observations and opinions.
A lot of Bulls' fans seemed to be on the brink of euphoria after the
Bulls easily handled the Heat in game 1. After the Heat just about
completely shut down the Bulls in game 2, many of those same fans can
now be seen shivering in the corner with their heads between their
knees, muttering incoherently and just trying to catch their breath.
Seriously folks, you need to get a grip.
My guess is that the problem most Bulls' fans are experiencing is that
they can't get past their expectations, most of which were set before
this season began. Just about every expert saw the Heat as an instant
juggernaut...an irresistible force that would simply cut through the NBA
like a hot knife through butter. Never in the history of the league
have 3 players of the caliber of James, Wade and Bosh, in the prime
years of their careers, joined forces. Despite the fact that the Heat
had some problems over the course of the season, many fans have
continued to live in a state of dread for that day when the stars would
come out and exert their inexorable will, blowing past any unfortunate
team in their path.
On the other side, not much was expected of the Bulls. In September,
most fans felt that a trip to the Eastern Conference Finals would be an
absolute wet dream. As the team continued to achieve, we began to
believe, but always lagged behind the reality.
So here we are, facing the superstar-laden Miami Heat and a lot of fans
are flat-out intimidated. We just can't get over those expectations of
what the season would be for the Heat and for the Bulls. When the Bulls
easily won game 1 people got giddy 'cause, despite what the Bulls did
in the regular season, their inferiority complex about the Bulls and the
programmed concept of the Heat's invincibility led them to that state
and gave them hope they didn't expect to have.
Game 2 crashed fans back to earth and back into their pre-programmed inferiority complex.
Relax folks, while it certainly would've been better to go to Miami up 2-0, this series is far from over.
In game 1, the Heat learned that they can't simply rule the day on
reputation. In fact, when they gave only ordinary effort, they got
their doors blown off by the Bulls. In game 2, the Heat came out with as
much energy as they could muster and even played some nice team
basketball. They also dusted off Udonis Haslem who has been on the shelf
with a foot injury since November. When healthy, Haslem's legit...kind
of a veteran version of Taj Gibson.
It was a potent combination for the Heat, but it only resulted in a
victory because the Bulls scoring trio of Rose, Boozer and Korver shot
under 30%. Some credit should be given to the Heat's defense, but the
truth is that the Bulls missed a lot of very makeable shots and were
awful at the free throw line. If this continues to happen, then yes,
the series is over. The thing is, it's in the Bulls hands to win or lose this series, not the all-powerful Heat's.
The Bulls remain the better defensive team and the better rebounding
team. This won't change. The Heat have scored 82 and 85 points in the
first 2 games of the series. They averaged 102 per game in the regular
season. Although the mighty Heat pulled away from the Bulls in the 4th
quarter of game 2, they did it while scoring only 14 points in the that
quarter...14! In the second halves of the first two games, the Heat
have only been able to muster 71 points. Clearly, the Bulls know how to
D-up Miami when it matters.
This series is going to be tough and is by no means a sure thing. The
Heat are a favorite for a reason and they've wrestled away home court
advantage...for the moment. However, my advice is that you forget your
pre-conceived notions about these teams. There is no "super team" in
this fight. Both teams are very good, but both are also somewhat
flawed. It's going to be a helluva series and I still feel very good
about the Bulls in 7.
They can do this.