Who needs Derrick Rose when you have Nate Robinson?

Watching Nate Robinson in the playoffs lots of thoughts enter my mind. Would the Bulls really be better off if Derrick Rose came back right now? Can the Bulls afford to keep Nate next year? Will they try? How much money has Nate made for himself with this playoff series?

It was a risk for Nate Robinson to come to Chicago. The prevailing thought at the time was he'd be the third string point guard after Rose returned, and Marquis Teague might even push him down to fourth string. He took a non guaranteed contract to come here. Now, he's the unlikeliest of playoff superstars, leading one of the most dramatic comebacks in Bulls history against the Nets, playing through illness and puking in a bucket in game six, and closing out the Miami Heat, in Miami, in game one of the second round.

I knew Nate Robinson would be one of my favorite Bulls this year when we signed him, but I never imagined this. I never imagined Nate Robinson carrying the Bulls to playoff victory after playoff victory. I thought he'd be fun, hit a few big dunks, swish a few threes and pump up the crowd, but little Nate has become a Bulls icon. There's no longer a decision about whether you bring Nate back or not. You offer the full MMLE at him and just hope he says yes. Nate may have earned himself more though.

How did this happen?

The Bulls shouldn't have had a chance. There should have been no hope. There's no way that the Bulls could beat the Heat without Derrick Rose. There sure as hell isn't any way they could beat them without Rose, Hinrich, and Deng.

It just couldn't happen. Can't. Not going to. Won't. Definitely not.

Until it did.

Miami has more talent. Immeasurably more talent. I don't need to tell you how talented, you already know. This is one of the best team's in the history of the NBA, but they don't have the heart of the Chicago Bulls. They'll still likely go on to win the series and the NBA title. However, they just got smacked in the mouth.

They just got reminded that no matter how talented you are, you have to work to beat Chicago. They got reminded that you can't walk into a game against the Bulls and try and coast to victory. You've got to put in your 48 minutes. You've got to punch the clock and go to work.

The Heat were outcoached, outworked, and outplayed in game one.

Nate Robinson was a superstar in the clutch while LeBron was simply ordinary. With the game on the line, Robinson hit a fadeaway jumper and drove in for a floater to build the lead the Bulls wouldn't relinquish. Joakim Noah killed the Heat on the glass all night long, and Jimmy Butler threw himself into the paint to draw fouls. It was a beautiful game by Chicago even if somewhat of an aberration.

Miami missed a ton of foul shots, didn't get to the line as frequently as Chicago, shot horribly from the three point line, and terribly from the field overall. In the end, all the areas the Bulls won this game in are areas Miami would typically crush Chicago in [with the exception of rebounding where Chicago will likely always hold an advantage]. Despite all of that, the Bulls still barely pulled the game out.

In that sense, I don't feel confident about the series, but I don't know if I'd feel confident if Chicago were up 3-0. The Heat are in my head. I'm scared. I should buy a dog. The good news is that I'm not playing the games, and our guys, our wonderful guys, they believe. They aren't afraid. They look forward to the fight, to the challenge, to proving themselves, to winning.

It's amazing and wonderful. This season won't likely end with an NBA title, nor will it likely go past the second round, but it's not a throw away season. This is some of the most heart you'll ever see left on a basketball court watching this team. If you can't appreciate that then I'm driving to your house and personally pulling your fan card.

Bench struggles

The Bulls went to a full bench mob at one point with Teague, Mohammed, and Cook in the game at the same time. The Bulls couldn't even consistently get the ball into the front court, turning it over repeatedly. The Bulls may need to keep Belinelli in with Teague rather than Cook to increase the ball handling ability of the team.

Rip Hamilton is somehow behind Deaquon Cook in the rotation. I don't know if he's hurt or in the dog house, but something's going on there. Daequon Cook is a nightmare on the court. He's a shooter who can't shoot. He's been abysmal all season long. Hamilton jacks up too many shots, but he can dribble and score occasionally. He's a better passer as well.

Boozer struggles shouldn't surprise

I predicted Boozer would have a great series against the Nets, but I think he'll be terrible against the Heat. Chris Bosh and Udanis Haslem can both bother him defensively much better, and his role as an interior defender is far more crucial against the attacking Miami offense.

Look for plenty more moments where Boozer sits at crucial points against the Heat, because I don't expect him to turn it around. Taj Gibson, for whatever reason, always seems to play well against Miami, so I think the Bulls will ride him more. He's perhaps energized by having to work so hard on defense the whole game. He plays to his strengths against the Heat where the Bulls desperately need a big man who can cut off penetration and challenge shots.

Winning game one is like buying a powerball ticket

I don't think the Bulls will ultimately win the series. If they did, it would be one of the greatest upsets in the history of the NBA [likely the greatest], but a game one win allows us to dream. It allows us to play what if. It allows us to hope. It gives us one more reminder of how awesome these guys are.

All the complaints about what the Bulls did this summer in letting go the supporting cast seem rather silly now. The non-Rose group this year carried the Bulls further than the non-Rose group last year [which went 1-4 in the playoffs against a far worse team in Philly than Brooklyn]. Yes, the Bulls probably miss Asik, but Belinelli's had more big playoff moments than Korver ever had for us. Nate Robinson's looked like a freakin all-star, and Jimmy Butler has blossomed with Ronnie Brewer's minutes opened up.

With one game down, I don't expect the Bulls to be satisfied, but I do expect Miami to come back with a vengeance. Now it's a series. Let's go.

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  • I just love this team! Behind drill sergeant TT they go to work and fight! They aren't scared of the opponents that should blow us out...they play as a team and TT has shown that he can go deep into the bench and still get production out of his players!
    I, like most everyone here, was upset with management letting our Bench Mob walk this offseason, but Nate and Marco made up for it....well still would love to have Asik this year guarding the hoop! I'm happy for him though and him starting in Houston!

    Game on....outside of Lebron...I know the Heat have a full arsenal of players to use...BUT they don't have TT! TT with the Heat, Nets, other super teams, etc would sure be amazing to watch...but it could just as easily go bad as they players would tune him out!
    This group of Bulls has listened to TT and have alot to be proud of achieving the success they have without Rose!

    I sure hope we keep Nate 1st, Marco 2nd. Especially Nate...him next to Noah have the hearts of champions...true warriors! I love watching them...they fight and fight and don't back down! :-)

    GO BULLS!!!!

  • I disagree that what the Bulls management did last summer in letting key guys leave the Bulls bench for nothing wasn't stupid or silly. When Rose got injured during last years opening playoff round this year was clearly considered a throw away season by the owner and management. And if the Bulls can't find someway to keep Nate around next year and damn a cap situation, the Bulls owner has no competitive drive about him when it comes to the game of basketball. If not for Nate the Bulls wouldn't be where they are now and he needs to be rewarded by the Bulls not some other team that I'm sure will offerNate a descent contract this off season. But this is the Bulls organization I'm talking about when it come to keeping good role players around. So it's been fun having Nate around this year and carrying this team for a good portion of the season and especially during this playoff run and i hope the best for him during the rest of his career that he won't be in a Bulls uniform.

  • In reply to Reese1:

    And people say who needs Derrick Rose??? Well...the Bulls will still need him now and in the future with the Bulls not really having a true all strar on the team, and no disrespect to Noah whose a all star in his own right.

  • In reply to Reese1:

    And one more last thing, i heard an interview with Noah and he was asked about the criticism being talked against Rose and Noah basically told all of the critics nationally and especially locally, that Rose is his brotherand everyone on the team backs his decision to sit out and he's working hard and putting his self through a lot to get back to playing at a high level and that if a person has never experience d an ACL tear to SHUT THE HELL UP cause they don't know what it takes to get back to the person physically that the person was before. So all i have to say is thank you Noah and maybe now some of the idiot Bulls fans will let all of the dumbass comments about Rose go...BUT I DOUBT IT cause that's just how stupid some of these Bulls fans are.

  • In reply to Reese1:

    +100 on stopping the Rose questioning and criticism.

  • In reply to Edward:

    The reason that questioning Rose might be legit, is that it certainly appears that his reason for not returning is mental, not physical. Ultimately, I have never had a problem if he skipped the season, but what is going on now is still worrisome, at least until he comes back and proves to us that he is back as a full on MVP candidate.

  • In reply to Reese1:

    In hindsight it's clear the Bulls management did an excellent job in the off-season. But even at the beginning of the year I thought they did at least a decent job of getting a little bit better while cutting a little bit of salary. On paper the new bench mob looked slightly better than the old. A prediction based on their career and 2012 stats would've said that the Bulls would lose some 3pt shooting and interior defense but gain in free-throw% and overall playmaking ability. So the new mob was statistically a net plus but a small one. But now we can see that they're a lot more so hats off to the Bulls management team for that.

  • Do you believe in miracles?

    1) Shorthanded, cut off Miami's 27-game win streak!
    2) Shorthanded, cut off Knicks' 15-game win streak!
    3) Missing starters and injured, win series vs Nets, including game 7 on road.
    4) Shorthanded, win game 1 on road against Miami.
    This may already be the biggest series of upsets in a season in NBA history. Wow!

    Obviously, none of these victories should have happened. We've seen something special this year. Certainly better than the playoffs two and three years ago when Rose was playing.

    As Smiley wrote, "hearts of champions...true warriors!"

    I am almost starting to think they might actually win it all! Impossible, of course, but ... And that would be the biggest series of upsets in NBA history.

  • That Game was epic. I was expecting a down game after the high of beating the Nets but they brought the fight and fire to game 1. Awesome!

    I could be wrong but I almost think Kirk and Deng missing may have been a plus. Nate doesn't have to worry about being burned as the Heat PG's aren't very dangerous and he can focus on lighting it up on offense. Jimmy brings more athletic ability than Deng to attempt fluster LeBron. Teague what a transformation this guy has had from someone that couldn't buy a layup in the summer league. He gets shaky at times but overall has played well and his speed on the breaks really helped too.

    Thibs is the man can't forget him! Noah with another great game too.

    Can't wait to see the next game see if Bulls can keep up with a pissed off baby Bron Bron and Wade. I am sure with all their b!tching about physicality they will get many calls.

  • In reply to Chad:

    Everything about last nights game was awesome, but, as Doug pointed out, Miami was clearly a victim of too much time off, and will almost certainly play and shoot much better the rest of the series.

    I do have to agree that Jimmy seemed to play Lebron better than Deng probably ever has.

  • If the Bulls let Nate walk, It will confirm everything we knew about Reinsdorf, but hopefully, the national media will know too.

  • In reply to YouBlewwIt:

    Of course they will let nate walk. they will say with derrick coming back 1000% healthy, minutes wouldn't be there for super nate show. Of course I will disagree with this thinking since I feel he's a perfect mini ben gordon bench scorer we've needed the last several years just like Asik was the perfect backup center. It's a vicious cycle with this management team, they plug one hole, only to let another one burst. so we'll have to assume that keeping nate will be impossible but maybe they will draft a viable backup center. Our bench scoring next year is going to suck big time.

  • Disagree with Reese about the throw away season talk. There's a very good reason the Bulls front office brought in 3 point guards this year.

    Totally with you on shutting up about Derrick already. Having an opinion is one thing but people need to quit questioning his dedication. There's a lot going on with this situation. Here's why I'm fine with how the situation has been handled.

    1) 10 years ago the ACL was a career-ending injury. Before you push Derrick to play ask yourselves, how's Brandon Roy doing?
    2) The lack of a clear announcement from Rose or management forces playoff opponents to game-plan for him.
    3) In 2009 Rafer Alston carried the Magic through the playoffs to the NBA finals when Jameer Nelson was hurt. Even though Alston was on fire and Nelson wasn't 100% Nelson replaced Alston as the starter for the finals against LA and that is one reason Orlando lost a very close championship series.
    4) Remember that Derrick was playing injured when he tore his ACL in the first place. He pushed himself to come back early from another injury (hamstring I think) and wound up worse. Why would he make the same mistake again?

    There's more but you get my drift. I want him back too, and if he returned it would be legendary. But I'm not going to join the chorus of asshats who think they should be making the decision for him. No way.

  • In reply to Redwhitenblack:

    Nice analysis. I don't really know what else could be expected of the Bulls organization in regards to Derrick's injury. Their stance has been very consistent, "Take all the time you need to get yourself 100% and come back when you're ready." What's wrong with that?

    I can't believe anyone thinks the organization should be pushing for Rose's return before he feels comfortable.

    Some think the Bulls should have declared him out for the year. Why? To protect his image? If the doctor says he'd be out 8-12 months, why would the Bulls have automatically assumed he would be out 13 months and declare him out for the year?

    I don't think the Bulls organization knows anything more about Rose's injury than we do. They're hoping for his return, and being somewhat held hostage by it, just like the rest of us.

    Imagine the conspiracy theories had the Bulls, and not Addidas, created "The Return" series!

  • Noah has bumped his play up to another level. This is his team now. No disrespect to any of the other guys who played well, but Noah impacted nearly every play he was a part of last night. His numbers won't show how he disrupted the Miami Heat offense time and time again, He ate "Birdman" alive, he created second possessions, He made some kliller passes, etc. And the beat goes on. I like to compare performances to what I've seen before. But I think Noah may be comparable to a player I never saw.....A Young Bill Walton.leading a hard working team past the Philadelphia 76rs. The 76rs were the Miami Heat of their time and all it took was a guy like Noah and a team that believed in their coach to beat them. Food for thought.

  • In reply to Villageworker2:

    Noah has shown up big time. I used to think of him as an "All Star Lite," similar to Deng in that regard, but no more. He's become a big-time player in my eyes. Just hope that wiry frame of his holds up.

  • As an avid Heat fan, I’m man enough to come on this blog today to give the Bulls their props. Tom Thibideau is a helluva coach, and Joakim Noah a helluva player. In the long term, Jerry Reinsdorf is your greatest obstacle to winning a championship. Bulls fans should start giving Gar/Pax the credit they deserve. Coming up with Jimmy Butler as a late first round pick reinforces that those guys know how to draft. It’s the one thing they do better than Pat Riley. Letting Omer Asik depart is more on Reinsdorf than it is on Gar/Pax. It’s obvious that the Bulls have tons of heart, but Doug should not underestimate the heart of the Heat. In the Big 3 era, the Heat have been down in a playoff series’ to the Bulls, Pacers, Celtics, Thunder, and come back to win.

  • In reply to RichG:

    Well they certainly aren't the Nets when it comes to heart, but I don't think they're one of the greatest heart teams out there by any stretch. More of an overwhelming talent. I guess it's all semantics, I've called them one of the best teams ever, so I'm clearly not taking away from them overall.

  • In reply to DougThonus:

    Depending on how this season plays out will determine if the 2013 Heat can be mentioned in the same breath with the 1986 Celtics, 1987 Lakers, and 1996 Bulls. It’s remarkable that coach Thibideau can implement Nate Robinson, Marco Bellinelli, and Carlos Boozer, and continue to thrive defensively.

  • In reply to RichG:

    The Heat were 41-2 going into last nights game, now they are 41-3, which just happens to be the same record as the 72 win Bulls started out their regular season. I believe that is the record for the best 44 game stretch in NBA history. I imagine that those who count the records don't count playoff games in such streaks. But the bulls still need to win game 2 to protect the 95-96 Bulls record.

    Among others you are leaving out the 97 Bulls(69 wins) and the 92 Bulls(67 wins), the 82-3 Sixers, the 68 Philly team with Wilt, the 72 Lakers(33 straight wins) with Wilt, Lew Alcinders 71 Bucks and maybe a few others.

  • I agree with most of what you said Doug except for the part of," if the Bulls win it would be one of the greatest upsets in NBA history." I think your giving Miami too much credit here and underestimating the Bulls which people have done all season long. On paper we shouldn't even be this far into it. Some people assumed it was a throw away season, some people even thought we couldn't make the playoffs at all this year much less advance pass the 1st round, and by all rights it did look that way at times. However our team is much better than they get credit for. When people thought of the Bulls Derrick rose was the only name to come to mind, but now without Rose the whole world is seeing how great the Bulls really are and it's not a fluke or sheer luck. It's called hard work, passion, and overall being a team. Maybe tanking the season was the Reinsdorfs and Paxson's plan originally when Rose went down, but I think even they underestimated how good the Bulls really are. In my opinion this season was a lot better than the last even if it wasn't pretty at times, and even without our franchise player. If we didn't win another game for the rest of the series considering all the injuries, I'm very proud of the Bulls, however I feel like we can take Miami even if they are a better team on paper. That's not fanboyism, that's called believing in your team as the players believe in each other. Don't underestimate the power of belief. If enough people believe in the bulls and they believe in themselves then we have an equal chance of winning this series.

  • Wondering what Nate and d rose can do together....or any wingman for d rose that can handle ball and can score.

  • In reply to bullzfan:

    Wondering the same thing. Both players are the types that really need the ball in their hands. Rose will have the ball so the question is whether Nate can play off of him effectively. I'm guessing he might do ok in that role but you wouldn't see the kind of heroics he's been producing of late.

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    Rose is a lost cause. He's a head case now.

  • Forget about Nate, he's played himself into a much bigger contract and role than the bulls will have space for next year, assuming Rose comes back finally. Plus, as soon as BG's contract ends, he will sign with the bulls for a minimum deal and take over the 3rd string change of pace role (you heard it here first).

    The one to worry about is Jimmy Butler. If he keeps playing like this he's going to get some ridiculous offers as a restricted free agent. If Landry Fields can get 3 years/$19 mil, Jimmy will get 4/30 easily. Can the bulls even begin to match that? Not with Rose/Noah/Gibson and probably either of Deng or Boozer and an MLE sized deal for Mirotic if he comes over.

  • In reply to bullshooter:

    Deng is going to go away when Jimmy is getting his extension, so that's where the money comes from.

  • In reply to DougThonus:

    If you jettison Deng, then you are right back where you started from with a hole at either the 2 or the 3. You've got to keep both Deng and Butler if you want to match up with Miami, or OKC. There is no way he gets the same kind of money with the new CBA so hopefully they can work something out.

  • In reply to bullshooter:

    BG? Ben Gordon? That's a joke that will never happen.
    Gordon burned his bridges with this organization and will not be welcomed back. He is not needed either as he is a one-trick-pony with no ball handling skills. As we've seen with Nate and Belli, ball-handling skills translate into shot creation and shot creation is a prerequisite to being an effective SG.

  • In reply to Edward:

    Quadruple Ditto on that one.

  • In reply to BigWay:

    I'm not a BG fan, but at the vet minimum, he'd be a good value. And he should have had enough practice time in the last 5 years to finally develop a decent handle.

  • All of the talk about the Bulls game 1 win over Miami is being totally overblown. I know LeBron and the Heat is hearing all of the chatter and will be looking to blow the Bulls out come game 2. Question is...can they do it with the way the Bulls have been playing and defending the last few games, we will see. And I look for LeBron to start guarding Nate just like he did with Rose a couple years ago. Thibs better be ready for it and as he keeps saying the next man needs to step up which should be Jimmy Butler. Jimmy should have another good game if LeBron is guarding Nate.

  • In reply to Reese1:

    I predict the Heat win the series 4-1 now, so I don't know how much you overblow the win today. I don't think anyone is picking the Bulls to win the series now.

    I agree that LeBron will be more focused, but of course. The only way he wouldn't get more focused is if he won every game which isn't a better scenario.

  • In reply to DougThonus:

    I disagree. Bulls will not be swept the next 4 games.
    I had the Bulls winning 1 game without stealing a game in Miami. It's a different series now.

  • In reply to Edward:

    Agreed Edward. Anyone who is "Sticking" with 4-1 after last nights win does not appreciate how the dynamics have changed. Doug, I'm a little disappointed that you'll be sticking with the same prediction (heat in 5) after a first game upset on Miami's floor. This is a different series now and should be viewed as such.

  • In reply to DougThonus:

    Doug i understand that you've already bow down to the Heat, and as I've said before it is understandable but let the series run its course and see what happens. This Bulls team isn't scared of the Heat and this Bulls team absolutely does not like theMiami Heat. The Bulls are undermanned and the talent of the Heat is superior to the Bulls in everyway anyone can think of, but i will admit and im surprised I'm even saying this...but there is something different voing on with this Bulls team and i really do feel they're up to the huge challenge of trying to beat the Heat in this series. Im not goi.g to say that the Bulls will win the series, but they will put up a hell of a fight trying to. Good luck to the Bulls for the rest of this series cause they will definitely need it, a lot of work to do.

  • In reply to Reese1:

    The Bulls aren't scared, but Miami had its blown game in game one. Now that the rust is off, I don't expect another one. Maybe, if Deng and Hinrich came back full strength we might make a long series out of it, but I doubt that either one does, if they make it back at all.

  • In reply to DougThonus:

    I know the Heat are really good at making adjustments game to game but 4-1? When the 5 game sweep happened in 2011 the Bulls were much more 1dimensional. Now they've got much better options if Miami loads up defensively on a single player. And Miami lost some frontcourt size too. The Bulls spent the 1st half doing the worst thing you can possibly do against Miami - turning the ball over. And they still held them to 37 in the 1st half.

    All this talk about grit l, drive, and heart is starting to make us forget the real reason the Bulls ate playing well. Execution. The Bulls are playing like they know what the hell they're doing. I always said I'd believe in the Bulls vs the Heat when they take a road game off Miami in the playoffs. That's what they just did so I gotta believe this thing goes 6 or 7 now.

  • In reply to Redwhitenblack:

    If you're trying to make the argument that the Bulls team that took the floor last night is better than the one that went against the Heat in the 2011 playoffs, you'd be 100% wrong. With Birdman Andersen, the Heat have actually gained front court size. I don't count Big Z, because he couldn't play the way Andersen can.

  • In reply to RichG:

    I was referring to Joel Anthony.

    Is this team better? Except for the loss of derrick, maybe because they're more experience. They make better adjustments, they're more locked in and executing on both ends. 2011 the system was still new and we were pretty much limited to rose on the high screen in late game situations. The heat opted to triple derrick and the bulls had no answer. Yesterday when they doubled Nate, Belinelli and Butler were able to relieve the pressure. That didn't happen in 2011.

  • Totally agree with you on Nate, I was both surprised and thrilled when we signed him almost as an afterthought at the end of free agency. I liked the Belli signing, but I think that I was more excited about the Nate signing. Like you, I thought I'd like him a lot, but I never expected that he would be closing games for us like a go to star player.

    Actually, the depressing thing about watching these past 3 games, as well as most of the later half of the season, is the realization that we might not be able to keep either Nate or Belli, and we will be lucky to be able to keep one or the other.

    I keep going back and forth as to who to try to keep first. My sense is that the Bulls will try for Belli, and may not try to keep Nate at all. The new CBA will bite us in the ass again, and it really sucks.

    Maybe this is the time to trade Deng for draft picks and/or no salaries. Like many others here, I thought we should have done it last year before the draft, look at the numbers that Harrison Barnes has put up since David Lee went down.

    Clearly Jimmy has proved that he can replace Deng at small forward without much if any letdown in performance. It is a tough call deciding what Jimmy is ulitmately going to be, a 2 or a 3. I have leaned toward a 3, where he might be just a bit undersized, but he can clearly play both throughout the course of a game. Not sure that trading Deng allows us keep both guys(Nate and Belli) anyway, but it would get us under the tax line, at least until we start signing guys.

    Right now, we wouldn't be playing without both of those guys, and Noah, of course.

  • In reply to BigWay:

    I can understand the Bulls trying to keep both guys and they absolutely need to, but the biggest sting imo will be losing Nate. The guy has proved he's exactly what the Bulls need in a backup point guard. Trying to guard Nate and Rose on the floortogether would be a hard check for any team in the league.And yes that would be a small back court but they would be on the floor together all of the time.

  • In reply to BigWay:

    Trading Deng last summer would have been the smart move and would have likely netted Harrison Barnes which is also looking like it would have been a smart move. That was too ballsy a plan though for the conservative GarPax. They will probably hold Deng till his contract expires then may or as I hope won't resign him. They have a long history of letting valuable players walk instead of trading them knowing they wouldn't likely be resigned. It is the likely senario.

    I think Nate walks as someone will give him a little more than the MMLE which I am doubting the Bulls would even offer. Glad its looking like RIP will be gone though as Thibs doesn't even play him anymore. What a waste of an MLE he was. Between him and Kirk the stats and games played for their last two big FA aquisitions are pretty terrible.

  • In reply to BigWay:

    With only 1 season left before unrestricted free agency, I'm afraid the Deng window has closed and Bulls lose him for nothing a year from now.

    I was a HUGE advocate for trading Deng for that Sacramento draft pick (use it on Harrison Barnes) plus taking back a bad contract. It was a proactive move for the future, but GarPaxDorf didn't have the guts, or refused to take back a bad contract. That trade was not a money saver - it was an asset saver. And avoided negotiating another long-term contract with Deng who screwed the Bulls last time, remember?!?

    Getting something back for Deng who just made an all-star team and was at peak value would have been shrewd. The time was ideal with Rose being out with the ACL. Deng's best basketball is behind him, and Harrison Barnes' best is yet to come. It was a great opportunity, GarPaxDorf passed, and the window has closed I fear.

  • The analysis of the game on Yahoo is pretty funny. Probably written by the same guys who call Kirk Hinrich "Kurt" on TV and gush about him. They say the Bulls won with an unlikely hero. Nate Robinson has been doing this all year and all playoffs for us.

    I'm glad to be right about him. Here's what I wrote before the first preseason game they played:

    "Hunter said October 9, 2012 at 12:00 am

    I'll be excited to see Nate Robinson play. He was a good grab this past offseason. Nate has been a fan-favorite everywhere he's played and I don't see that being any different in Chicago. The guy is fearless. Just last season he earned mythic status in GS for the way he caught fire against the Heat."

    I can't pat myself on the back at all, though, because I'm also glad I was so wrong about this!:

    "Hunter said 3 weeks, 1 day ago

    The writeup on Blog a Bull says the Bulls would be the favorite against the Nets. You say Doug that the Bulls match up relatively evenly with the Pacers (though you do gives the Pacers the advantage). I feel like I'm living in a world where the last two playoffs didn't happen. Even with Derrick Rose, they struggled to find offense in both the series against Indiana and against Atlanta, then Miami all but completely shut them down in the fourth quarters of each of the last four games. Then the Bulls last year could only manage to win one more game after Derrick went down to a Philly team which isn't as good as either Indiana or Brooklyn is this year.

    The regular season is fool's gold. Working harder than the other team isn't a recipe for playoff wins. I think the Bulls will be extremely lucky to win two games against Indiana in the playoffs."

    It seems in retrospect we were very lucky to get to play the Nets, who may be the only team in the playoffs incapable of playing with any more passion than they did in the regular season. But then we take game 1 in Miami, what a memory that will be forever, shutting up that crowd. I love how all the analysts, who were ready to say when they thought Miami would win by 30 that the Heat remembered losing history on that win streak to us, blamed it all on rust. I know there's next to no chance the Bulls can string together four wins, but the first one was real. No excuses. They played harder and they executed better. And Nate Robinson was a closer.

  • In reply to Hunter:

    The Bulls lost to Philly because Noah wrecked his ankle in game 3, a healthy Noah and the Bulls beat Philly and advance to round 2 just like this season, and as the #1 seed, they would have played the 4-5 winner, whoever that was, the Hawks maybe, and might have made the ECF even without Rose. It was the loss of Noah that tanked last seasons playoffs completely.

  • In reply to BigWay:

    We'd already lost game 2 in Chicago and we still had Asik for the rest of the games, who Thibs tended to play a lot in fourth quarters anyway. It was really the loss of Rose if anything, so suddenly. Perhaps people, like myself, underestimated the mental effect that had on the team. But I don't see the Bulls beating Philly last playoffs with Noah unless they had Robinson and second year Jimmy B. too.

  • The strategic adjustment I'll be watching for from Spoelstra is to play Wade more at point guard, forcing Nate Robinson to guard him. Take Chalmers and Cole out of the game for periods of time to force that matchup.

  • Here we go again....Alex Kennedy from hoopsworld reporting rose may "suit up" for game 3.. No not a dress suit but in uniform. Smh. When will it end?!!! Lol

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