Heat losses are bittersweet

Watching the NBA playoffs feels bittersweet right now. Let's face it. If you're a Bulls fan you're probably rooting for Miami to lose. They've managed to capture the hate of the nation like few other teams ever have.

Now it's too early to count Miami out. They already proved they could storm back against the Pacers, and quite frankly, Boston's nothing special in terms of team quality. Much like I said on my podcast when the Heat went down 2-1 to Indiana, I still felt they'd win. I still think this series is a toss up rather than the 83% chance Boston wins as history would tell us.

Ignoring the fact that the Heat could still come back, it's hard to take much joy in the losses, because watching them play, I realize that if Derrick Rose doesn't tear his ACL, the Bulls would have just closed this thing out in five. It'd be over.

We'll never know for sure what would have happened, but Miami has played terribly and Boston barely scraped by the Philly team that the Bulls almost beat without Rose. A healthy Bulls team would have been in the finals this season, and we were robbed of that.

Perhaps it's some sick delayed reaction to the injury, but my anger at Thibodeau for playing Rose and the organization for seeing nothing wrong with playing him has actually increased rather than decreased.

After the fact, how do you not say that this was a mistake? How do you not look at a guy who's been hurt all year and say if we lower his minutes by 10-20% we're probably reducing the chance of injury by 20-30% (injuries are more likely to occur at a point of higher fatigue).

I get why you played him at the time, but I don't get how you don't look back and say "In retrospect, this decision cost us a 50/50 shot at a title, so yeah, perhaps we should have been a bit more careful there even if the conventional wisdom was that you keep your star in the game.".

Looking at the Thunder, I have serious doubts as to whether the Bulls could beat them in a series. I don't know that the Bulls could have won a championship, but I feel really confident that they would have taken one step towards it.

Instead of debating who to add to the mix this summer, we'll spend as much time debating how to blow this thing up and rebuild because the present core is going to lose quite a bit by the time Rose is really ready to roll in 2013/14. I expected to take great joy in Miami's struggles as a consolation prize, but instead it simply adds on to the pain I feel for not having our team causing them.

Filed under: Miscellaneous

Tags: chicago bulls, miami heat, nba


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  • Doug, I feel differently. I totally enjoyed every clutch Pierce shot, Rondo rebound, or Garnett block. It was about as enjoyable as a non-Bulls win gets.

  • In reply to HINrichPolice:

    I enjoy it initially, but then I have a tinge of sadness after the game.

  • Watching Miami lose last night, I was thinking about if the Bulls were healthy. I also wondered about how many Bulls fans would be furious because of Miami looking so beatable. I jumped on the Spurs bandwagon after the Bulls lost because, 1) they're a really underrated dynasty, 2) Duncan and Pop are the ultimate professionals, and the most important, 3) the Thunder/Heat are long term rivals with the Bulls, and if either one of them win a championship this year, it'll be that much harder for the Bulls to beat them in a few years. Plus, the teams will inevitably be compared to each other.

  • In reply to bpmueller:

    I agree, the Spurs winning would be the least disagreeable to me, anybody but Miami, then the Lakers, Knicks and Celtics.

    I won't mind if OKC wins, but if they start this soon, we could really get sick of them in the future.

  • Maybe the Bulls would have closed it out in 5. But this is a Miami team that pretty much gave up on chasing the #1 seed because they wanted the Bulls to knock the Celtics out for them. Potential home court in the conf finals wasn't as important to them as not facing the Celtics! They just seem to fear them for some reason, in a way they don't seem to fear the Bulls. So who knows.

    On the other hand the Heat again showing they're mortal is even more reason not to tank next year. The Bulls still have a real shot at the finals next year if Rose can get back around the all-star break.

  • In reply to Shakes:

    No they don't. Minus Rose they couldn't even beat the 8 seed. Plus most their team is at an age where you won't see a big gain in player development during the offseason. Given that Rose won't be explosive probably all next season and he is their only guy that can create and close clutch games how do you see them contending?

    They have no shot next year. It is time you get out of the denial stage.

  • In reply to Chad:

    They lost to the 8 seed because Noah went down. If he played they would have won. Plus, Watson was hurt too. I think if Rose is at fifty percent that makes the Bulls the best team in the league. You say anyone who thinks they have a shot is in denial, but I think you are in denial that this team is really good. And with the Celtics possibly going to the finals, how can you say the Bulls have no chance?

  • In reply to PaBullfan:

    I said they have no chance next year. They lost to the 8 seed because they fell apart at the end of games. Does Noah help that? Maybe he isn't a scorer though so its tough to say. Its not like Noah is a proven playoff stud last season he didn't even play in the fourth during the playoffs due to his ineffectiveness.

    Bulls are clearly not the best team in the league with Rose at 50% that is just crazy talk. With Rose at 50% they were losing to the Heat during the regular season. It wasn't till they benched him that they pulled out the tough win. Even with Rose and everyone on their roster at 100% The Bulls would not be the favorites against the Thunder, Spurs or Heat (with Bosh) and I could see Celts giving them a run for their money.

    You sir have been chugging the bulls koolaid.

  • In reply to Chad:

    The reason Noah would have made a difference was because the Sixers had no answer for him. He was dominating. He has been a playoff stud. Last year he was hurt. The year before he was putting up 20-20 games against the Cavs. That game you talk about benching Rose, he had 8 or 9 assists in that game. People forget that. The game he didn't play in at all the lost with Watson and Lucas combining for about 5 assists. They lost bacause they didn't move the ball. Even though Rose didn't score, he got others to score. Plus, I believe that he will be working on that jump shot a lot while he is recovering, so I'm looking for him to be a much improved shooter when he comes back. I agree they would not be the favorites against the Thunder right now, but they Rose dominated the Spurs in San Antonio a few times already. Parker can't guard him. The Sixers almost beat the Celtics. They were not healthy in the last round and the Bulls would have taken advantage of that.

  • In reply to Chad:

    I like the Koolaid.

  • In reply to Chad:

    Minus Noah + Rose they didn't beat the 8 seed, and even then they grasped defeat out of the jaws of victory with what they had left.

  • In reply to Chad:

    Yeah, the failed to beat the #8 seed without Rose, with his replacement banged up and putting up the second worse shooting playoffs in NBA history, no Noah for 3.5 games and their best remaining player playing with one hand.

    Yeah, I think that's indicative of how good this team can be when healthy. Absolutely.

  • On a related note, who else wants an all geriatric nba finals, Tim Duncan Ginobli and the younger parker v. Garnett, Allen, Pierce, and their court-appointed guardian, rondo.

  • In reply to pinkizdead:

    I'm rooting for the Thunder myself, but I think whomever makes it in out of the West simply rolls Boston.

  • In reply to DougThonus:

    (assuming Boston is in, which I actually think is only 50/50 at this point. I think Miami could still easily win the chip if they make it to the finals)

  • In reply to DougThonus:

    I think the reason that you are not as committed to your hate of the Heat this season, is because we didn't get the chance to play them. Had we played them and lost, which I still believe we would have, even if healthy, your hate level would be fully stoked.

    I also don't think that you can't make a straight line analogy about the Bulls beating the Heat because the Celtics are giving them such a hard time.

    The NBA is more about match ups than just about any sport. The Bulls, Heat and Celtics have a circular matchup where the Bulls have an advantage over the Celtics, the Celtics over the Heat, and the Heat over the Bulls.

    I agree with you that the Heat are still just as likely to beat the Celtics, and that if they get to finals they are at least even odds to win it all, whereas, the Celtics get wiped if they make it.

  • In reply to BigWay:

    Doug a little something from Paul Pierce to remind you why we all hate Miami.

    Jennifer Floyd Engel: Overheard: Pierce on his way back to huddle after draining monster 3 "I got your five, six, seven right here bitches".

  • In reply to pinkizdead:

    It would be like those Betty White Snickers commercials. Except they wouldn't need Betty White.

  • If Rose doesn't play, then the bulls look exactly like the Heat do at the end of games. Think about it, the reason the Heat are losing is because they have no cohesion at the end of games. If Rose isn't playing, the Bulls don't develop that either. The Celtics are winning because they've spent the last five years playing together in situations like this. Pierce is hitting late 3's because he knows that even if he misses, KG is going to get the rebound and kick it to Allen for another 3. You don't get that if you don't play.

    Yeah, the Bulls might have missed a golden chance to play in the finals, and maybe even win a championship. But this isn't NBA2K where you can just stick a guy in a lineup and the team is magically a contender.

  • I think the difference in the series is Rondo. The Heat have a tough time with a distributing PG, it is hard for them to put Wade or Lebron on him because he can get them in the pick and roll and typically find an open man. In watching the game, the Celtics probably should have blown the Heat out last night, to start the game they kept missing wide open shots, the Heat missed challenged shots.

    So that said, I do not think we would have closed the series in 5, simply because they could guard the Bulls. Derrick is a great scorer, he isn't a great distributor, this makes it fairly easy for the Heat to guard us. Like many have said we need to bring in a PG to play with Rose. If the Celtics are still wanting to trade Rondo, I would look into that. Yes our backcourt would be small but they can both guard. I would include Deng and Taj in a trade for Rondo if necessary because I think that is the trade that puts us over the top (even more so than Howard).

  • In reply to do53:

    Playing another PG with Rose is something that's always discussed and could work, but having a SG capable of handling the ball and creating off the dribble would be a more preferred option. I'm not saying the Bulls could get these players, but someone like James Harden or even Evan Turner would be nice to play next to Rose. It would give them size at SG but also someone who can run the team and allow Rose to play off of them to create different looks on offense.

  • In reply to NateTags:

    Evan Turner? He is like the Dalibar of SG. While he is driving to the basket you have time to order a Pizza and grab a drink and still get back in time to see if he makes his shot.

  • In reply to Chad:

    I didn't say that Turner was great, just someone with his type of game, where he has size and can handle the ball. He thrives on initiating the offense. He was a bit of a bust initially after being drafted but actually improved a lot this year. He still has a ways to go but calling him the Dalibar of SG is a bit of a stretch.

  • In reply to NateTags:

    I do agree that a ball handler like Harden at the 2 would be great. I am not a big fan of Turner but sure if you like him that works too. However, both of these guys and guys similar are untouchable. The best 2 that we could realistically hope for is JR Smith. I think that in the upcoming offseason we can get a better 1 and play Rose at the 2 as opposed to getting a good 2 to play along side of Rose. While it is not ideal I think we are better with a Nash/Rose backcourt as opposed to Rose/JR Smith.

  • In reply to NateTags:

    I don't think that Harden has all that much size for a 2. He is more of the combo guard type.

  • I have to disagree with Doug on this one. Derrick was relatively ineffective in last year's playoffs shooting for a terrible percentage. Look at every Final's team, and you see a scoring leader leading the way shooting near .500 or better. Garnett, shedding his Depends for a cape and boots, is scoring 20ppg on .500 from the field.

    Derrick Rose shot .396 for the playoffs last year. That is beyond unrecognizable of a leading scorer for an NBA Finals team or Champion. And the thing is, when you have an OKC, S.A., and Boston in all of those teams you have two or more players who can legitimately perform at an All-Star level. OK, Boston maybe only one and a half due to age, but importantly also a legit elite, championship caliber head coach

    It's not only Boston with an elite sideline general. Scott Brooks has the steely demeanor of a Chuck Daly. His offensive adjustments and in game feel for where his team is at offensively bespeaks a talented head coach. In fact, he's been seen as a head coach at a fairly young age as was Daly.who started at 39. Popovich began as a head coach at 30. Doc Rivers, 38.

    Despite running on fumes talent wise due to age, much of the time Boston's execution against the hyper extended double teams Rondo is seeing is masterful. Sure, you can give Rondo all the credit as his passes have been HOF, series MVP caliber. Still, the way they approach those doubles as a team with delayed bigs releasing and reading the weakness and gaps created by such an over extention.is something to marvel at after seeing so many teams suffer ineptly with the newly emerged, post Rose league wide strategy.

    The team's execution and in game adjustments, handling of players and timeouts sees a dynamic head coach in Doc Rivers IMO. Tom Thibodeau and his staff for an entire playoffs did a poor job dealing with extended doubles after seeing them much of the season. And while Derrick is no Rajon Rondo, he's an inconsistent but talented passer who certainly with his speed could have had much better success with the right adjustments i.e coaching IMO.

    The Bulls, IMO, were in no position to win an NBA championship. Yes they might have downed an inept Spoelstra and a souless, rudderless Miami team, but I doubt it. Boston is exhibiting all the savvy and know how that the Bulls lacked. They would have been shredded by OKC with a legit coach with three players capable of All-Star level performances. Not to mention proven Finals studs , yes studs, in Kendrick Perkins and Derek Fisher. I don't care what their regular season numbers are or were, these guys both were huge in their past teams winning in the NBA Finals. Many would say in at least one year each were Thee reason. Game 7 Perkins down, run over.

    Finally, unlike Doug, I love seeing a legit TEAM(albeit with a punk ass in Garnett) taking down an immitator to the throne in the Miami Heat. ESPN the lie ends. Super team? Huh. Make that Super Dud. I'm loving Boston taking out Miami. Doc Rivers for President and K.G. gets a pass for life in my book. OKC will knock them off in the Finals anyhow for the K.G. haters(myself included).

    The CW that says players win championships and coaches really not a big deal in the NBA, maybe regular season, but post season, that's Bullshit. Look at the History of Championship NBA teams. Larry Brown, Phil Jackson, Pop, even Riley despite that Miami fraud enabled by Stern and the refs.

    The Bulls need a second All-Star level offensive performer as we have been saying, and a head coach which defensive architect Tom Thibodeau is not. Meanwhile I'm loving the sacking of South Biatch.

  • In reply to RoadWarrior:

    For the most part, I have to agree with you. Even with the Bulls at full health, Boston would have given us all we can handle do to their veteran savy and leadership, Miami would have managed to beat us with their superior top level talent to close out games, and OKC would basically do the same, if not run us off the court.

    Which is why, especially with a lost year of Rose, we need to blow things up in a responsible manner, starting now with Deng and boozer.

  • The Bulls with or without Rose were not going to beat the Heat in a series because of the Bulls inability to score when needed. Boston at the moment is leading over the Heat in this series because of clutch scoring, something that the Bulls can only get out of Rose sometimes. Bulls need to swing a homerun trade with someone because this core of guys for the Bulls will never get past the Heat. Boston need to take Miami out in game 6 cause they don't want to play a game 7 in Miami. The C's need to do what the Pacers couldn't when leading in a
    series against Miami...TAKE THEIR ASS OUT!!!

  • I can't believe that jerk from Blogabull was pulling for Miami to win a title. No wonder that blog sucks now. The guy ruined his on blog.

  • Everyone who says that the bulls have no shot next year and that they could never beat the heat with this team, I want to ask you some questions. When the Celtics were in third place in the Atlantic division earlier this year, how many of you thought they would still beat the Heat in the Conference Finals? When the Spurs lost in the first round last year, how many thought they would be considered the best team in basketball two games into this series? When the Heat beat the Celtics in five games last year, how many of you thought the Celtics were done? And how many of you thought that nobody had a shot to win a championship for the next couple of years when the Heat got together? Things don't always go as planned. Things happen. Maybe Rose is a fast healer. Maybe they get a Ginobli, Arenas, Ibaka, Tony Parker type of guy with their 29th pick. Maybe Steve Nash says he'll play in Chicago for a year and then you replace Rose with a top ten PG. Maybe you are all right and the team only win 10 games and they go into rebuilding mode and hope to have a competitive team in about 5-6 years. But maybe not. Maybe they are actually a good team. Is it really so bad if some of us believe in them?

  • In reply to PaBullfan:

    I think the team could be good enough to beat the Heat if Rose were healthy. I just don't think he'll have enough time to get healthy and a rhythm, plus they'll likely need to play several series on the road.

  • In reply to PaBullfan:

    It's all about match UPS, the Bulls don't play well again.st the Heat in a playoff series imo. You guys can keep fooling yourselves if you want, but the Bulls would not beat the Heat even with Rose in a series...BOTTOM LINE!!!

  • I've been suggesting trades for Luol Deng since we got bounced, as I think moving his salary is step 2 of fixing our salary cap situation and moving forward into phase 2 of the Rose era starting in 2013. Step 1 is obivously amnesitizing boozer.

    About a week ago I suggested Deng to NO for Ariza and the # 10 pick, today comes this tweet from someone who covers the Hornets.

    "Shaun Powell: Hornets will entertain offers for 10th pick if someone also agrees to take Ariza or Okafor contracts. Twitter"

    I have also suggested that Deng could be in play for every lottery pick between 2 and 14 except for the Portland picks at 6 & 11 because they have Batum at small forward, and he, along with LA is part of their 2 man core.

    Every other team in the lottery has a need at small forward, and Deng is better than all the current starters on all the Lottery teams except for Portland. Today comes this from ESPN.

    "The Toronto Raptors know exactly what they want out of the 2012 NBA draft: An established, athletic wing man. And that's why the Raptors have already made it known to rival teams that their lottery pick on June 28 -- No. 8 overall -- is available to a trade partner that can provide the elite small forward they seek, according to sources close to the situation. ESPN.com"

    Unfortunately for the Bulls, it appears that Deng is not that highly regarded in the league, as Rudy Gay or Iggy are mentioned as targets for the Raptors, and Danny Granger is usually the third small forward mentioned by the many teams in the lottery needing a veteran small forward. I have yet to see Dengs name among those mentioned.

    Never the less the Bulls should be aggressively working the phones with all the lottery teams to see what they can do.

    As I said a week ago when I proposed it I would do the Hornets trade for Ariza and the 10th pick. Ariza has 2 years left @ $7.25 million and $7.75 million(the old MLE numbers for a 5 year deal), so we save $6 million in 2012 and $6.5 in 2013. That pays for Asik without needing to amnesty boozer this year and allows us to keep Watson without going over the cap. Ariza and Butler should be a serviceable unit at small forward for next season, especially with Rose gone for most of it.

    Then we draft the best scoring wing available at 10, whether than is Terrance Ross, or Austin Rivers, or maybe Moe Harkless or Percy Jones III, or even Tony Wroten.

    If we had to I would even consider taking back Okafor, as he makes exactly what Deng does each of the next 2 seasons, and he would make a great 4rth big if we amensty boozer.

    In any event, if the Bulls want to be bold there are moves to be made to get a top 10 pick using Deng as bait.

    The Bobs @ 2, the Wiz @ 3, the, Cavs @4, Sacto @5, Golden State @7, the Raps @ 8, the Pistons @9, the Hornets @10, the Bucks @12, the Suns @13, and the Rockets @14 all have a need at small forward, and Deng is superior to any small forward on any of those rosters

    If the Bulls don't make a move into the lottery using Deng I will be extremely disappointed as it shows that they just can't get off their asses and don't have the urgency of now with regard to winning.

    I am actually somewhat stoked with a mini burst of optimism.

  • In reply to BigWay:

    The Warriors are looking to trade the #7 pick, one of their picks in the 30's, and Dorell Wright for an upgrade at SF. Sounds like another good option for Deng.

  • In reply to NateTags:

    You are right, here is the story,

    "The Warriors ideally would like to deal the No. 7 pick, one of their selections in the 30s and Dorell Wright for an upgrade at small forward. Then, they could use the remaining pick (No. 30 or 35) on a big man, like St. Bonaventure's Andrew Nicholson, and have the mid-level exception to offer an experienced free-agent point guard. San Francisco Chronicle"

    So they are willing to give up the 7th pick, and an early second and a serviceable NBA backup in Wright for a veteran all star caliber small forward. How do not take a shot at that.

    Then we might package the 29th and 30th picks to move up into the late teens or early 20's, at that point targeting Austin Rivers or Tony Wroten.

    While they have expressed interest in Iggy, Rudy Gay or Dannny Granger, Deng is at least in the discussion.

    Here is the link to the entire SF Chronical story.


    I am telling you, there is a deal to be had for Deng, all we have to do take his blankey(Deng) away from Linus(Thibs).

  • In reply to BigWay:

    Doubt we could get #7 for Deng, but I'm in if we could.

  • In reply to BigWay:


    You will be extremely disappointed.

  • In reply to BigWay:

    yep, I'm reading the same reports. The lottery teams want an "athletic wing" so they rather have Iggy who can't shoot to Luol Deng( a great system's guy who rebounds like a power forward). Ok so he is a bit unathletic and can't dribble well but he also doesn't dominate the ball and is a team player. Teams should give more respect to Dengo. Probably the easiest thing for the Bulls to do is trade Noah for a lottery pick, I think that was probably their original plan with the idea of keeping the cheaper Asik going forward. I just can't imagine Tom Thibmeister without his beloved 40 minute man, He would just fall apart with the idea of playing young players.

  • Nothing bitter about Heat losses. I was even rooting for the Pacers, hoping they'd draw blood as they humiliated Miami with a second round exit.

    On Bullsbeat a couple weeks ago Doug said his hatred of the Heat was wearing off. I agree, it's been wearing off for me, too, but it shouldn't be. Last year we hated them for general douchebaggery (preseason celebration), for feeling rejected, and because it felt unfair for three Olympians to gang up on the rest of the league. But this year we have so much more reason to hate them, even though we're hating them less. They've been despicable, dirty punks all season. These are incredibly talented players who should be a pleasure to watch, but they are destroying the game.

    The favoritism they get from the refs is absolutely sickening. Haslem shoves both forearms into Hansborough's face, and Wade sizes up Collison and checks him out of bounds with the ball so far out of the play that it bounces off Wade's back afterwards. Both called Flagrant 1 without ejections or the *required* replay review for flagrant fouls to see if it was worse. That gifted Miami the game, Pacers would have been up 3-2.
    When Wade threw Rip Hamilton to the ground with a forearm to the chest, how could they in good conscience call it a F 1? A legitimate attempt on the ball with some uneccessary contact? Bull! It was obviously a Flagrant 2, but no ref will dare eject Wade, and now he realizes it.

    When 225 lb LeBron leans into a blind pick and lays out 160 lb JL3, it's not even a foul (they tried to make it about if - he did - and how much he lowered his shoulder, which is irrelevant, since JL3 only comes up to his elbow. He clearly leaned in and hit him, he wasn't just standing still.) But Chandler does the *exact same thing* to LeBron, and thanks to a delayed neck snap it's a Flagrant. All of the "compensating for something 3"...I mean "Big 3"...have mastered snapping their head back any time an arm or elbow passes within six inches of their face, getting calls for phantom fouls. That's not basketball, and such gifted athletes have no reason to be resorting to such tactics. There was LeBron's flop out of bounds when the KnIcks beat him to a rebound, getting them a critical endgame possession.

    There's the constant protesting, bitching, and pleading, when the replay shows that they did in fact clearly commit a foul.

    "I don't foul out." Prick. "If they're gonna call them, then I'm gonna make fouls that count for something." You don't foul out, LeDouche, because they never call them on you! Not because you never foul!

    And then there's the mother load: after an all-time great playoff performance, Rondo loses the ball on the drive because he got jacked in the face. On the other end, Wade kicks Garnett in the ribcage, sending him out of bounds, and therefore gets an And 1*. They gave Game 2 to the Heat...this series should already be over!!!

    *Apparently it's a defensive foul if you fail to establish position with your feet before someone drop kicks you. We should bring black belt James Johnson back, he could do some serious damage with that new rule.

    The simple fact is that it's in the NBA's best (short-term) interest for Miami to advance for ratings, and do they're trashing their long
    term product. I've hated Miami since Posey checked Hinrich in the open court, but I didn't hate Wade until this year.
    Ray Allen's my boy, but Garnett, Rondo, and Pierce? I never though I would be rooting for those cocky m*****f*****s, but you better believe I'll be screaming for them to destroy the Heat tomorrow. Miami losing - all sweet, no bitter.

    And if you haven't seen any of the events I referred to, please look them up on YouTube. Or just "Miami flopping."

  • In reply to Gringo Rican:

    Sorry that was so long. I meant to say "screw Miami."

  • The Suns have announced that if Steve Nash wants to leave to pursue a championship, they will work with him to effectuate a sign and trade.

    What about Deng for Nash and the 13th pick, they need someone to take over for Grant Hill. Austin Rivers, Terrance Ross, Tony Wroten, or RW's guy Moultrie should still be available.

    What do you guys think, would the suns do it should we do it.

    I still think that Nash ends up in Miami, if not him then Andre Miller.

  • Looks like the NBA will get its dream TV ratings matchup. OKC v MIA

  • Its an older quote, but one that makes me want to spit fire out of my eyes.

    Quotes: "I thought I played well, especially with the kind of season it was," Boozer said,, when asked to assess his second season in Chicago. "We had the best record again in basketball, won our division again, had the top seed again, that's all that matters, yo."

    Somebody needs to turn that quote into a fathead and put it on the ceilings in Reinsdorf and Paxson's bedrooms.

    The guy is nothing more than a human piece of feces.

    Amnesty, that's all that matters, yo.

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