I still haven’t understood if the Chicago Bulls are out to prove they’re the tougher team or actually win the series. It’s as if they were so surprised by their game 1 win in Miami, that they forgot to win three more in order to knock out the Heat and the “soft” LeBron James from the playoffs.
But the Chicago Bulls have this misguided notion that by becoming uber-physical, on the border of violent, towards the Heat, towards James and unfortunately towards the referees, they’ll be somehow negating and taking away the quality, depth and experience advantages the Heat have in this series. How’s it working so far? Well, after that upset in game 1, it’s been two double digit losses.
Derrick Rose knows why he’s not coming back. In this kind of series, in which he’s not going to play a factor anyway, there’s not a bad chance someone tries to injure him. There’s only so much cheap shots and “being physical, like proud men” the other team can take, and there’s nothing better than taking it out on the fragile, returning, Derrick Rose, who’s much better off waiting for an ordinary training camp, ordinary preseason, and hopefully a healthy season.
Flopping and Selling it
There’s a huge difference between flopping and “selling it.” The Bulls were frustrated with another example of their offensive ineptitude, so they talked about how James flopped to get Mohammed out of the game. But James actually lost his cool. Mohammed fouled LeBron with the wrap around, and didn’t expect to get tossed to the ground by the NBA’s reigning MVP. James actually got T’d up, and Mohammed still went on and shoved James.
But LeBron was already in the right spot at that moment. Standing firm and attacking back was just going to get him ejected as well. Mohammed did shove him aggressively. This isn’t a battle field or a gladiators pit. Bumping chests and being aggressive is one thing, but trying to hurt someone is another. Mohammed was out there to hurt James, but instead ended up hurting his team.
The Chicago Bulls are fighting windmills, ghosts and themselves. They can play good basketball and try to keep the Heat from running away with the series by doing what they did all season long. Play good, strong defense, without trying to prove some point by hitting anything that comes flying through their paint and then go on whining about being men who are misunderstood. This is the NBA, and this is a game of basketball. The Bulls know how to play it, but are so far refusing to show the world they know how, instead falling back on the comforts of complaining about the Heat getting preferential treatment from the referees.