Decimated Bulls head to Miami with little break

The Bulls reward for winning game seven? One day off, and a game one match against the well rested Miami Heat in Miami. No one ever said it'd be easy.

So here's the thing, there's no rational reason to pick the Bulls to win even a game in this series. Luol Deng and Kirk Hinrich are likely out for at least game one, and it wouldn't surprise me if both miss the whole series. Miami is an absolutely elite NBA talent, one of the best teams in the history of the league.

Chicago? Well, we'll be relying on Marco Belinelli and Nate Robinson for offensive firepower instead of LeBron James and Dwyane Wade.

The Bulls want this series badly. They'll play possession by possession. They'll hustle, work, bang, fight, and scrap for every second against the Heat. In the regular season, that might be enough to steal a couple games. In the post season? Chicago's fighting an uphill battle.

A fully healthy Bulls team with Derrick Rose playing at his peak would be underdogs against this group. A team without Rose has virtually no chance. A team without Rose, Hinrich, and Deng should hope to simply not get embarrassed.

The Bulls overachieved by a million to beat the Nets in the first round, but as presently constructed with the present injuries, this Bulls squad should offer little more resistance to the Heat than the Bucks.

That's what should happen. What should happen is a 4-0 sweep with the Bulls losing by 20 points a game.

The funny thing about sports is that what should happen sometimes doesn't. Make no mistake, I think the Bulls have no shot at beating the Heat in the series (less than 1% chance), and I doubt any NBA pundits disagree with me. I'll be impressed if they can take a game. Shocked if they can take two.

However, I know this. No one in that Bulls locker room agrees with me.

No one in that locker room doubts they can win.

That locker room is filled with irrational confidence. Irrational belief. More will and more heart than I'll ever have about anything. The players in that locker room will come out fighting like animal protecting its young. The players in that locker room make me proud to be a fan.

In a seven game series against Brooklyn, they left it all on the floor, sweat, blood, and puke. They lost player after player, played through injury and illness. They never doubted, never wavered, and they came out triumphant. They'll be carrying that attitude into Miami.

I doubt the Heat want it as bad as Chicago. I don't think they have as much heart. However, they aren't the cowardly lion Nets either. They'll be dialed in. They know what it takes to win a title, and they have the offensive and defensive power to crush anyone in their paths.

Game one is tonight. Can Chicago shock the world and smack the Heat in the mouth? I doubt it, but this team has a habit of rising to the occasion, a habit of proving me wrong, and a habit of doing what people say they can't. My brain says they have no shot, no chance, annihilation coming.

My heart can't close the door on them though. My heart will never doubt this team's will again.

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  • Good luck to the undermanned Bulls...and that's being nice calling this team undermanned. But a team with the injuries that they have and maybe still players with illness that have all the heart and will in the world with their key players not being there will not get it done in this series. Miami...just too much offensive scoring punch. At least that's how things should go, we will see.

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    Nice writeup, I can see game 1 being a throw away game after the New Jersey high. Miami must be itching to play as well after the long rest. Talk about 2 teams at the opposite end of the health and fatigue spectrum. Go Bulls!

  • It could happen, right? We could add Joakim Noah's name to the list that includes Joe Namath, Jim Valvano, Buster Douglas, and David Tyree's Helmet.

    Yeah I didn't think so either. The thing with most great sports upsets is that they happen in one-and-done situations. Seven game series usually don't lend themselves to that kind of surprise outcome.

    Still, like Doug, I'm holding out a small sliver of hope that the Bulls will be the 1990 Cincinnati Reds or 2006 Warriors.

  • In reply to Tyler Soze:

    I agree. In a one and done moment, I could see the Bulls pulling a rabbit out of a hat, but not in a seven game series. Miami is simply much too good.

  • I think these games are going to go down much like last year's series. We'll hang close through heart, hustle and muscle - rebounding and limiting the corner 3s. Then LeBron will kill us at the end. If LeBron has an off night** we might win.

    **I think LeBron is still mentally weak. I think he can be frustrated into cry-baby mode with the right kind of defense/harassment. Interesting whether defensively you take the tack of a) anybody but LeBron, or b) nobody but LeBron. Tactic b might be easier....but not without Kirk and Lu. Sigh.

  • We made the 2nd round and greatly over achieved in the 1st round against the Nets who should be really ashamed of themselves losing at home in game 7 to a extremely limited group we had! With all the $ being thrown around by that rich Russian owner and their new home in Brooklyn! Ouch!

    We need Kirk and Deng back to have a chance as everyone knows! We can't, and many would say, shouldn't count on Rose even playing 1 minute in this series but man would it be nice to have Rose with Kirk likely being out!

    Deng on Lebron
    Butler on his fellow Marquette alumni Wade
    Dominant performances by our front court of Noah and Boozer...we could do this actually!

    The Heat just got so much stronger with Allen's shooting and the Birdman's energy grabbing the rebounds!

    GO BULLS!!!! :-)

  • I didn't think they could make it to the second round as the talent divide was huge with the Nets, so even if they get blown out four games in a row to the much hated Heat I will still be proud of the players and Coaches.

    I think after missing huge parts of their last two playoffs Jo had a lot of pent up aggression and he took it out on the Nets. He stepped up huge and is runaway MVP of the series. We gotta keep this guy healthy at the end of our seasons going forward.

  • I'm still giddy over them beating the Nets. They've achieved more than anyone could have expected. If they go out and get badly swept by the Heat, I'll still love this Bulls team.

    I can't see them winning more than one game, and the only reason I can see them winning one because this team doesn't lose 4 in a row but if there's ever a time for them to lose 4 straight, this is it.

  • the bulls can't give up easy baskets off of turnovers and they have to dominate the boards. It's pretty tough since Miami goes with 4 wings and a distance shooting PF at center in Chris Bosh. Without Deng, its going to be hard to match that lineup unless the bulls make them pay by killing them on the boards and attacking the paint with the bigs.

  • It will be interesting to see how well the Bulls can compete these first two games in Miami. They are fatigued, sick, injured, and very short-handed. However, the Bulls are also dialed-in right now. They've learned how to play together with this limited group.

    After an easy series with Milwaukee and a long layoff, Miami in contrast is not particularly dialed-in right now. But I can see the Heat getting quickly dialed-in during the course of this series.

    I think the Bulls can win 1 game in this series. However, if the Bulls can steal a game in Miami this week, just like with Brooklyn, it becomes a different series.

    We'll see... Key contributions from the bench along with Thibs willingness to play the bench extended minutes (like in Game 7) will be key to Bulls being competitive. Will we see a difference in heart, will, and character between these two teams? Will the refs call a fair game and not give Miami unwarranted ticky-tack calls? Will Miami get away with flopping?

    I'll be rooting hard for this Bulls team!

  • In reply to Edward:

    Good call Edward! I thought game 1 would be the best chance to steal one, let's see if they can get one out of the next 2 now

  • Somebody better tell Taj that Battier only does 3 things on offense, he sets great picks, he offensive rebounds and he takes 3's, can't baskethang(i.e. play bozohole defense) while guarding him. I know that Taj is hurt, but he hasn't looked like himself pretty much since signing his contract.

    Anybody miss Asik now/yet as Noah gets to cheap fouls early. Without Asik and an injured Taj he(Noah) has to play flawlessly and without fouling.

  • Don't know if the Heat's rusty shooting can last throughout the entire second half, but that would appear to be our best shot at stealing a game.

    As I've said since the big 3 got together, irregardless of what the stats say, the best D in the league for the past 3 years has always been Miami when they want/need to play it. Obviously, in the playoffs they want to almost all of the time.

    O.K. now that we spent an entire half trying to force feed the ball into Shaquile O'Bozohole and it resulted in only a dozen turnovers and blocked shots, maybe we can try running some offensive sets that have a chance of succeeding. Bozo is not a go to low post scorer, he is at best, on a good day a 50% midrange jump shooter, at least when not matched up against length.

    Awesome defensive help effort on Anderson by the BozoHole on Miami's last basket of the half, just beautiful to watch him retreat away from the player and the basket. Just like he did on both Lebron's and Wade's layups in the first quarter right after Noah went to the bench with 2 cheap fouls. Must be nice to get paid nearly $200,000 per game to be a spectator.

    I guess that we'll see how many of you are still singing his praises 4 games from now when he reprises his performance from the ECF of 2 years ago.

    If the Bulls want to stop Miami's hounding them full court, they need to set some bone shattering picks in the backcourt, knock somebody on their butt, crack some teeth, lay some wood, that will make them think twice about it. Nothing dirty, just clean hard picks.

  • In reply to BigWay:

    I must say, I have to agree with you on Boozer's pathetic performance thus far. Usually he does enough good on offense to make up for his lack of effort and defensive ineptitude. He is atrocious tonight; poor shooting, no effort on offense or defense, and a turnover seemingly every time he has touched the ball.

    Gotta love the grit of this Bulls team though, holding the Heat to a measly 37 points at the half. Lets see if we can't keep pace during the second half too.

  • At the half, Bulls won the boards. Turnovers only reason Bulls were not leading. Miami wise to pressure Bulls guards, especially Cook and Teague off the bench. Bulls guard play must improve for the 2nd half. And if Miami is smart they will increase pressure on Bulls guards.

    Boozer having a poor game - turnovers and missing his shots. I would not hesitate to play more of Taj and Nazr.

  • I forgot how much I hate the entire Heat team. The entire attitude of that team just sucks.

  • In reply to Motoman:

    + 1

  • I wish the Bulls had a player to frustrate LeBron cause when a team plays him tough he's really close to losing it.

  • Read my post above from before the game began.

    Bulls were dialed-in. Miami was not.
    Bulls have heart, will, and character. Miami does not.
    Bulls stole a game in Miami. NOW ITS A SERIES!!!!

  • In reply to Edward:

    Absolutely! Bulls would have to lose the next 2 in order for in not to feel like a series. We got a shot!

  • BULLS PULL IT OFF! Boy I can't wait for the rest of this series.

  • Do you believe in miracles?

  • Bulls steal game 1 in Miami, good win for the team but lets not get too excited, remember 2 yrs. ago the Bulls won game 1 in the playoffs against Miami so still a lot of work to do...WAY TO GO GUYS!!!

  • In reply to Reese1:

    True, but Bulls never stole a playoff game in Miami against the Big 3. This is different.

  • In reply to Edward:

    Don't matter if it was a bulls win in Miami or Chicago, still a long way to go, a lot of work to be done for the Bulls to win this series.

  • Wow this is crazy!!! Boozer cant let bosh punk him. Step up please!!! Anyone notice how heat just quit with 20+ seconds left??? Didn't even try to play the foul game

  • #bulls you are ridiculous!

  • What was the key difference in the game besides the continued clutch if not always stellar play of Noah, Robinson, Butler and Belli, Taj Gibson played the entire 4rth quarter and the BozoHole never left the bench except as a cheerleader.

    I said during the Jersey series that even though he wasn't playing all that great Taj needed to play more minutes to get into the flow. He still isn't rebounding or playing his normal intense level of D, but hopefully, given some extended minutes, he can work his way back into being that player again.

    On what planet would anyone have ever thought that this Bulls team, never mind any Bulls team would/could score 35 points on Miami in the 4rth quarter of a playoff game. It is even more of a miracle that we did so without our offensive MVP(the BozoHole) on the floor for even a single minute. How is that even possible? I thought that we couldn't win a game without him because he is such an offensive force, especially in the low post. Maybe Thibs read my halftime post.

    As perfect of a 4rth quarter as we could ever hope for. I'm sure that Miami will come out breathing fire and hitting shots on Wednesday, but his sure was a great 3 days for Bulls fans.

  • In reply to BigWay:

    By the way Jimmy Butler 21 & 14, when was the last time that Deng put up those numbers either in the playoffs or against Lebron in any game. I'd venture to say never, and he played better defense on Lebron than anybody on the Bulls has probably ever played. Is he better than Ronnie Brewer yet????

  • In reply to BigWay:

    Please shut up!!!! Killing the unBULLievable buzz!!!

  • In reply to bullzfan:

    Really, giving Jimmy his props is killing your buzz, exactly what kind of bullzfan are you?

  • In reply to BigWay:

    Dude didn't even read ur post all I have to see is your childish names for bulls players. Just seeing ur name on post kills any bulls buzz.

  • In reply to BigWay:

    Let's just come out and say it:

    Jimmy Butler won his matchup against LeBron James.

  • In reply to Edward:

    Damn right Jimmy Butler won the matchup with James.

    In the last two minutes Lebron James never saw the paint. A couple times he actually started to drive and then pulled up and passed it out. I will never, ever understand that part of his game.

  • In reply to BigWay:

    from ESPN

    Those three guys alone -- Butler, Robinson and Belinelli -- combined for 58 points, 24 rebounds and 13 assists against Miami in Game 1.

    Those three combined make $4.2 million this season.

    How bout them Bench Mob

  • In reply to BigWay:

    For the game Taj was +9 and Boozer -5. Even though Taj played during Dequan Cook's poor 2nd quarter stint, Dequan was -7.

    Bulls D was amazing! Held Miami to just 10 points in last 6:30, and scoreless the last 2:22.

    Did everyone notice how Miami quit and settled for poor shots down the stretch?

  • In reply to Edward:

    That's who they are. I don't care if they won it last year, their road was easy. They wanted it easy, ever since the big 3 got together. This is why Chicago has a winning record against them, because they are exponentially mentally tougher & refuse to be intimidated. 2 years ago I thought the difference in the series was officiating, and I hate to be that guy, but it's true. If they can get a fair shake from the officials and continue to contain LeBron ( Go Jimmy!), then this is anybody's series. Yeah, Miami might not miss so many open shots, but I don't see Bozohole playing so bad either, and reinforcements could be on the way.

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    Wow! Great steal, great heart, great coaching! Definitely Jimmy's game tonight. Game three will be great in UC. Like others, I was shocked they did not start fouling, I attribute that to either arrogance or petulance.

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