Bulls Free Fall Continues…
Oh how the mighty have fallen. Just a couple of weeks ago, the Chicago Bulls seemed to be at the top of the world. Sure there were a few worries going into the playoffs, but an Eastern Conference matchup against the Miami Heat was all but assured. But after that game 1 loss (well, win I suppose you could call it), the Bulls have not been able to recover at all. It would seem that Derrick Rose tearing his ACL had a much bigger psychological impact on the team than previously suspected.
What about that stirring speech Kyle Korver wrote on his Facebook, encouraging fans to not give up on the team? Why didn’t the Bulls keep up their end of the bargain? The Bulls should get the benefit of the doubt, though. For game 4 of this series against the Philadelphia 76ers, Joakim Noah also was forced to sit out of the game after rolling his ankle in game 3.
So here we have the Bulls, without two of their biggest stars and most dominant players on both ends of the court. The bench was supposed to fill the gaps, but those gaps were left wide open, and that’s why we are in the midst of a three-game losing streak. If this had happened just a few years prior when the first round was still a five game series, the Bulls would be completely finished and the 76ers would have advanced after yesterday’s win. This next game truly will be a death march for the Bulls and their fans. As if the Chicago Blackhawks early exit from the NHL playoffs wasn’t enough for Chi-town fans, now they have this abrupt stoppage in playoff basketball on the horizon.
The “Bench Mob” just didn’t have it in game 4. Besides a ferocious game by Taj Gibson, with a double-double, the rest of the bench left much to be desired. It just feels like the life has been sucked out of them. That goes for the starters, too. Sure, there were little spurts of great basketball, but the Bulls just seemed hampered by the loss of Rose, and now Noah. Basically, everyone knew the season was over after Rose went down, but nobody thought it would end this badly.
This offseason, the Bulls need to take a long, hard look at themselves. Even without Rose, this team is capable of so much more than it has shown during the last three games. If nothing else, perhaps this shows that the Bulls need one more piece of the puzzle after all. This offseason will be extremely painful for this Bulls team however, that is no doubt. With any luck, reflecting on what went wrong will just make them that much hungrier for the championship that eludes them.
This is a guest post by Nick LaBanca from MidwayMadness.com. Midway Madness is a site dedicated to Chicago sports. It is written by Chicago sports fans, for Chicago sports fans. Nick LaBanca is a Columbia College graduate who grew up in Chicago and is an avid Chicago Bulls and White Sox fan. Wanna read more from Nick? Click here.