Sometimes, teams fall apart, and they can’t avoid a huge loss. The Chicago Bulls, already shorthanded due to old and more recent injuries, might have to do without two more players, at least for the next game. Taj Gibson and Joakim Noah let the humiliation of being in the franchise’s biggest playoff loss ever get to them, not to mention some of the calls by the referees, getting themselves ejected, which might be costly in the long run.
Because there’s one thing to be ejected for regular technical fouls. It’s another thing to shout f$%^ you to the officials while being escorted off the court, and we’re pretty sure Noah’s words were the kindest in the world either. It also led to one of the most awesome and disgusting pictures of the season, as a couple of Miami Heat fans decided to show their class and dignity by treating Noah with anything but repulse as he left the court.
There wasn’t much basketball to think of for the Chicago Bulls. Simply erase and head on to the next game, at home. The Bulls were in the game for a quarter, maybe more, but some players, like Nate Robinson, drift around the NBA for a reason, in spite of some amazing performances they pull off once in a while. It’s because they don’t have the mental strength to remain focused and on plan for an entire game, or even more than that. At some point, hardships pull them towards the wrong instincts, and when he’s the only point guard the team has, the game unravels.
The Bulls scored only 18 points in the paint, and it seemed like they stopped trying to do anything but jack up contested shots, just like the Miami Heat were expecting them to, from a certain point in the second quarter. Noah, Boozer and Gibson were being beaten up in the paint, sometimes with the referees missing out on the action, and the Bulls slowly but steadily steered clear of making, or at least trying to make, easy baskets.
The Bulls might be a great defensive team, but at some point, even Tom Thibodeau’s system falls apart. Jimmy Butler explained it very well in the interview before the game – his defense on LeBron James was made possible because of the help and support he has from behind, allowing him to be more aggressive with James. Once that support evaporated, there was really no stopping the Heat from doing as they wished on the floor.
Game 3 is a new story, but the Bulls need to hope suspensions aren’t heading their way. It’s one thing playing without Deng, Rose and Hinrich. Throwing into that the possibility of either or maybe even both Noah and Gibson, and all the heart and defense in the world, even without anyone losing their head, won’t help the Chicago Bulls survive this series.