Hey it's not the 72-10 record on the line here, if it were, then protecting history might mean something to the Bulls. However, the Lakers have enough history that I'm not so concerned if one of their records falls. Of course, if it does, the Heat will then get more pub along with Bulls as one of the greatest teams of all time. With LeBron drawing more comparisons to Jordan.
However, the Heat ARE one of the greatest teams of all time, and LeBron IS the only player who deserves to be compared to Jordan. He loses the comparison due to lacking the mental toughness for much of his career that Jordan always seemed to have, but unlike Kobe Bryant, he at least deserves to be in the picture. His level of dominance is on a similar level now that he's gotten past his LeChoke mental block.
As for the game itself, the Bulls simply have no chance if the Heat continue to play basketball at the level they've been playing over the streak. Chicago doesn't have the horses to keep up with the Heat offensively. That said, Miami has shown cracks many times during the streak. They've had to win via epic comeback several times and have given up early leads frequently.
If the Bulls can find the shooting early to build a lead, then it's not inconceivable that they can bring enough defense to slow down a big comeback. That said, hoping for anything other than a 20 point blowout is probably wishful thinking.
Do you think Michael Jordan would ever miss this game?
Maybe it's totally obvious that Rose is no Jordan. However, with a chance at stopping a hated rival from making history, do you think Jordan would miss this game? I don't think Jordan would have sat out for a month while trying to overcome the mental side of an injury anyway, but if for some reason he did, there's no way in hell he'd miss this game.
Joakim Noah will be back, not officially. Officially he's day to day, officially there's no word. However, unless the trainers bar him from competing, it's hard to imagine him not coming back for this game. Maybe I'll be proved wrong, but I think Joakim would try to play through a broken leg Willis Reed style to go up against the Heat.
Don't you wish Derrick had a little bit of that in him? Doesn't seem like he does. Unfair? Absolutely.
Maybe he's being smart. Maybe he's doing the right thing. However, after a time it has to bother any fan that he's sitting out due to what he terms "mental" and seems to be lacking the fire to come back that the rest of the players in the league have.
Derrick's recovery from ACL surgery is likely the longest of any NBA player we've seen in years which is perhaps even more unusual given the fact that many players with ACL injuries also tear multiple ligaments while Rose did not. I get it, Derrick wants to come back like Derrick Rose rather than fighting through some pain and stiffness in front of the cameras and throwing up 12 point 5 assist games by shooting mostly jumpers and playing 25 minutes a night. There's some logic to that.
Maybe it's the safe thing. Maybe it's the best thing. However, I can't help but fear Rose is missing some part of the hyper competitive athlete gene that he can even consider it. Rajon Rondo played with one arm against Miami and led his team to victory after one of the more gruesome in game injuries you're likely to see.
We're probably all much better off that Rose is smart about this. Truly. The Bulls future will be better off for Rose being smart about this, but it still feels awfully empty right now, like something is missing.
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