I know, I know, it’s the NBA playoffs, so everything is magnified 1000 x every game, but observers of the Chicago Bulls-Atlanta Hawks series need to regain some perspective. It seems that every game, “the momentum” shifts 180 degrees to whoever just won the last game, and whether the media actually says it or not, people keep crowning the NBA champion, and then dethroning, and then re-crowning, and then dethroning, and then crowning another after each game.
I’m here to make things grounded again, put them in perspective. With some help from Luol Deng and Tom Thibodeau soundbites.
The Los Angeles Lakers fell apart and got swept; a big reason is their public airing of internal trust issues. Don’t think the same thing is happening in Chicago. With all the booing and criticism of Carlos Boozer, you saw the Bulls personnel rally around him. All giving the party line speech in responses to the media.
“Our team has been together since the start of the season, this is the playoffs, we’ll be tested in a number of different ways, sometimes things are going your way, sometimes they’re not, and through it all you have to stay together,” said Thibodeau.
Then there’s the “Jeff Teague is the new Chris Paul/Deron Williams” storyline.
“If you recall he did that (scored a lot) in a game against us in the regular season. He’s been a good player in this league, he started 7 games this season, so now he’s getting an opportunity and playing well,” –Thibodeau
Luol Deng, on some of the stories that have come up with all the added media scrutiny:
“It’s fine as long as we win, there’s a lot of things being said, this, this, this and that, but as long as we win there’s (always) going to be something different each game.”
Deng on alleged internal strife:
“With us we know everyone is playing hard, win or lose everyone is doing what they came to do, everyone is here getting extra work in and we’re taking this thing very seriously.”
And on the extra noise in the postseason that surrounds the game:
“That’s going to be there, I’ve been here seven years, I know what it’s like, all the talk we need to tune it out, and just keep on concentrating, once we start listening to it, it’s all distraction.”
Then there’s the “Bulls, Rose are over-worked narrative.”
“I don’t know if he’s tired, at this point you’re not playing back to backs, the games are spaced out,” Thibs said.
Coach Thibs, on Rose’s injury, and the nature of dings, bumps and bruises this time of year:
“All these guys have something, whether it’s an ankle, a wrist, a toe or something, that’s the way it is and you got to get through it, and every team has the same issues.”
Now I’m the last guy to take what players say as prima facie all the time, or regard coachspeak as absolute truth, but there’s also something to be said for creating stories and controversy when it’s not there. As usual, the truth probably lies in the middle, not the extremes this NBA Playoff season.
He does a regular guest spot each week for Chicagoland Sports Radio.com You can follow him on Twitter @thesportsbank and FacebookFollow paulmbanks