The Bulls produced a win against the Miami Heat in Miami during the playoffs with some of their bench mob in starting positions. "Adversity," head coach Tom Thibodeau undoubtedly scoffs out of earshot of the media. "We've got them right where we want them."
And that was exactly the case May 6 as the Bulls went on a 10-0 run late in the fourth quarter to win on the road in the Eastern Conference semifinals.
This is one of the most exciting Bulls teams of recent memory with enough heart, spirit and will to win that counts for more than just one playmaker. It's a team effort and it's taking nearly everyone to keep winning, but they continue to do so.
This team is shorthanded, has little margin for error and has overcome great adversity to do the unthinkable: beat the Miami Heat at home in the playoffs. When TNT commentator Marv Albert declared six points as the largest lead of the night deep in the third quarter, many fans thought that in and of itself was a win.
The Bulls had no such thought. Only a win counted as a win and showed the skeptics, myself included, they can make Miami "See Red."
But, again, there is little margin for error. With Luol Deng's return still questionable after complications following a spinal tap performed on May 2 and Kirk Hinrich still battling his bruised calf, any injury causing missed time could be the difference between a Cinderella season and the end of the season.
But even though the team is beat up, they're resilient. And that's truly exciting.
The Bulls are playing with a depleted bench and are injury ridden, but Miami is on their heels and confused at what happened in the first game of this series. And that's a wonderful feeling if you're a Bulls fan. This postseason is definitely rising the ranks as one of the most exciting in Bulls history.
With every good feeling, however, there comes a catch. The Bulls need to win this series quickly if they hope to keep this magical season alive and their players relatively healthy. The Heat may not have won the first game, but that doesn't mean they're going the pushovers at home on May 8. It's the playoffs and anything can happen.
Miami came back in 2005-06 and 2011-12 from first-game losses to the then-New Jersey Nets and to the Oklahoma City Thunder, respectively. They went on to sweep the next four games and win both series.
The Heat made the exact same mistake a lot of people do against the Bulls -- eight days of resting rust didn't help much, either. They looked at Chicago as wounded animals, but failed to remember that wounded animals can be the most dangerous. And a wounded Bull can be deadly. That's the impression the Bulls imparted on Miami and need to continue to impart while on the road. It'll make it that much harder for the Heat to win in Chicago. If Miami gets its bearings, however, and this series goes longer than five games, the wonder may cease.
The Bulls have to play with the same intensity they did in Game 1 this whole series to keep that from happening. It's the refusal to quit that makes this Bulls team who they are. And you have to admire them for that. Heart can win, and this squad is proving that to us.
Whether you think it's possible or not, we can all agree fans are looking at one un-Bull-ievable season with a team that just finds a way to win.
Tim Bearden has covered professional sports in Chicago since 2010. He's extensively covered the Chicago Bulls, Bears, Blackhawks, Cubs and White Sox. He graduated from Columbia College Chicago with a degree in journalism and has written sports for Buzz Magazine, the Chicagoist and his own blog FantasyFreakout.
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