What do you expect from a team playing without their star point guard for the entire season, 2 starters out due to injuries, a starting center playing with plantar fasciitis and 2 key eserves also dealing with injuries, playing in a pivotal Game 7 on a hostile crown in Brooklyn.
I’d probably say, “What else could go wrong? Look at the bright side, at least we reached Game 7 despite missing our key cogs.”
Think again folks. As the saying goes, the basketball is round my friend.
No one ever see this coming. Not even Nostradamus could predict this turn of events.
It’s not about talent and payroll. It’s about heart and will.
Bannered by the hurting Joakim Noah, Chicago Bulls played with great desire and passion despite their backs behind the wall to win Game 7 and advance to the Eastern Conference Semifinals. Down and battered, the Bulls were never rattled and proved their identity as warriors all over again.
When the going gets tough, the tough gets going. Given the odds of playing without a true point guard for the most of the series, Noah carried the team on his shoulders as he delivered an epic performance in his hometown. Dubbed as spoiled and immature, Noah silenced his critics as he gutted his team out of peril and now face a new challenge in Miami Heat.
It would be interesting to see how the role players of Chicago, some of which has limited playoff experience fare against the King in Lebron James and his robin-batgirl tandem in Dwayne Wade and Chris Bosh.
This is also the redemption of two aging veterans of Chicago to make their mark in the playoffs. Carlos Boozer and Nate Robinson, who both shared criticism from the past now found themselves in the perfect position to turn it around. Labeled as choker during last year’s playoffs, Boozer came out with a vengeance by emerging as the focal point of offense for the Bulls. Robinson meanwhile, who has been known as being wild and immature, steps in for two injured point guards to provide stability and scoring punch for the injury-prone Bulls
Chicago bucked the odds against Brooklyn. This time around, they need more than heart but perhaps luck and the help from the basketball Gods.
After winning his fourth MVP plum, Lebron James also has his eyes on the prize for the second straight year. The enormous odds are on Miami’s favor, with home court advantage plus the fact Chicago is playing short-handed and James draws the sophomore Jimmy Butler as his assignment.
Lebron will be Lebron. His numbers will continue to fascinate us fans on how we will remember him as probably the greatest player that ever played the game. The questions remain how the Bulls will contain the other role players of Miami. Mario Chalmers, Ray Allen and Shane Battier will have their hands full against the emergence of Marco Belinelli, Nate Robinson, Taj Gibson and Jimmy Butler.
Will over talent. This is the battle cry of Chicago in the first round. This time though, they have a simple request. Let the lady luck be on their side and hopefully have the stars aligned for them in order to dethrone the King and his muggles.
With their $94 million star guard in Derrick Rose out for the playoffs, this will the Bulls testament whether they could get past Miami without their star guard. We’ve seen warriors from the past, Willis Reed to Michael Jordan, to Paul Pierce and to David Lee, and even Joakim Noah. But with the decision of Rose to sit the entire playoffs despite being cleared to play, it just questions Rose’s motive as a franchise player.
It’s hunger and will against talent and payroll again. The question that hangs in the balance is: who wants it more? Who is hungrier? Can over-achieving team in Chicago survive and advance to Eastern Conference Finals against the well-predicted-to-win-it-all in Miami Heat.
To make this series even better, it’s a battle between two sci-fi characters look-alike. It’s Gollum (Noah) versus King Kong (Lebron).
Kidding aside, let’s get this series going.