|Living In The Moment|
The biggest thing for the Bulls was that center Joakim Noah, one of the playing wounded with a case of plantar fascitis that clearly would have had him on the shelf during the regular season, threw down the game of his life with a 24/14/6 line. It also didn't hurt that Marco Bellinelli came through with 24 on his own, including a dagger three late that he actually punctuated with the Sam Cassells Big Balls Memorial Celebration. As if you could love the Bulls more, really. We also shouldn't discount the contribution of Jimmy Butler, who gave lockdown defense on Joe Johnson, who went 2 for 14 in this one and looked utterly lost.
But still... road teams should not win Game Sevens. Especially after they lose Game Six at home. By the numbers, the home team wins this game over 4 times out of five. They really should not win when their real starting point guard (Derrick Rose) has still not played this year, and when the back up (Kirk Hinrich) was also out. Then there's also the lack of Luol Deng with the spinal issue, Nate Robinson and Taj Gibson fighting off Mongolian death flu, and the psychic toll of blowing home cort.
And as much as I'd like to praise the Bulls, who play great defense and have coaxed a highly effective year out of the unloved Carlos Boozer. it's hard not to hate on the Nets here. They shot 40.7% from the floor, missed five three throws out of 20, were -3 on blocked shots and didn't have anyone on the bench that could spell Johnson when it became apparent that it wasn't his night. The drumbeats for P.J. Carlesimmo's job are going to rise after this, and on some level, they should. Chicago just beat his team without home court advantage and with half of its roster tied behind its back; there is no reason on Earth to think that they are going to be better in 2013-14 with the same coach.
The Bulls get the Heat in the next round after this, which hardly seems fair. No one really expects them to win. But no one expected them to win Game Seven, either. When it comes to showing up for a fight, they do that. And a lot more. Short of the Jordan years, this might be the favorite team for Bulls Fan to root for, and that's with the full knowledge that the ride isn't going to end in the Finals.