Wow, who saw that one coming? First of all, so much has happened since the Knicks game. Apparently, when Lin blocked Rose’s shot, Derrick landed awkwardly and strained his groin. Not Jeremy’s fault, but I can’t stand him now. Irrational and unfair, I realize. Sorry Lin, we are chasing a title and you put our #1 seed chances in jeopardy trying to make a big play on our MVP.
Anywho, Derrick just had a bad week overall. After blasting the officiating after the New York contest on Monday, he gets slapped with a $25k fine. To add insult to injury, on his way to get an MRI on his injury, some out-of-towner from Maryland manages to rear end Rose’s Bentley. He wasn’t injured but wow, after the back spasms he battled, it just makes you want to scream. Nothing he or the Bulls can do about it. He will have to sit. Melo sat for seven games with his groin pull so I’m putting the same timeline on Derrick as a soft guideline. Using that timing, I’m expecting him back as early as the Atlanta game on 3.28 or as late as 04.01 against OKC. We’ll see.
Anyway, the Bulls were faced with the task of facing their biggest competition and Eastern Conference Champions from last season, the Miami Heat. This is the team that the NBA community has already selected to come out of the East. They are “clearly the more talented team” quips Chris Broussard before the game starts. He even suggests that Miami should just send a message and “blow the Chicago Bulls out.” Two things. 1.) It occurred to me that Chris doesn’t watch many Bulls games because Chicago doesn’t get blown out. 2.) His hopes for a decisive, blowout win would not come to pass. No one, not even the most die-hard of Bulls fans would be ready for what would come next though.
- The Bulls started off a bit slow, trailing the Heat after the 1st quarter by 4 pts.
- Lebron and D.Wade scored all of the Heat’s 23 first quarter points, the rest of the team went 0-6.
- The second quarter saw the Bulls outscore the Heat 34-19. They did it with tenacious defense, causing turnovers and getting transition baskets.
- John Lucas, III surprised everyone by knocking down BIG shots for the Bulls in this period. He would come up big again in the 4th. He started with a runner, a three, a deep two and ANOTHER three.
- Bosh struggled, which always helps the Bulls. He had an off night, but he was also heavily defended.
- D.Wade and LeBron both had huge games for the Heat. No fluke win here. They really wanted this game. They combined for 71pts…
- The Heat made a run in the third quarter, but the Bulls again, held them off.
- The 4th quarter was the ultimate showdown. The Bulls had performed so well up til’ this point that it would be a shame for them to lose, but you couldn’t be mad if they didn’t pull it out.
- Lucas scored 9 of the Bulls 25 pts in the 4th. Including a tough, fadeaway jumper OVER LeBron James. James began guarding Lucas as the minutes waned in the quarter in an effort to slow him down.
- “We were fighting uphill since the second quarter,” agreed James. “We had a great first quarter, but we gave up too many points in the second quarter, and it was an uphill battle from there.” – LeBron James
- ““That’s a good story line for a lot of young players out there that don’t have mental toughness to stay with it,” said Eric Spoelstra, who once cut Lucas.
- Dwayne Wade’s father was curiously removed from the United Center by security for continuously using foul language
- Spoelstra, Deng and Noah all got technical fouls called on them
- Derrick sat in a suit on the Bulls bench and had an animated reaction for friend and teammate Joakim Noah after his dunk on Joel Anthony in the 2nd quarter
Next up for the Bulls: Portland Trailblazers come to town on Friday… Beginning of a back to back stand with Philadelphia following on Saturday.