Bulls vs. Pacers: Game 3 Preview is as obvious as it should be

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When the ping-pong balls came up all things Chicago Bulls on that fateful night in 2008, the next month was filled with pundits prognosticating on the proper thing to do.

When John Paxson made his decision, many lauded the choice.

We knew Derrick Rose was going to be good. We knew he would be a solid addition to a team looking for an identity. However, no one can claim that he or she saw this coming. No one.

By Brian McCabe

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His dedication to improving his game day-in and day-out is refreshing. The story of him spending the summer busting his rump ten hours a day in LA to get better was inspiring. Especially when so many others are relaxing and, well, they should be allowed to do so. But the best of the best, they don’t relax. Ever. And he didn’t.

To see a young man so dedicated, so driven and so disciplined is a thing of beauty.

As Easter approaches, this Bulls team has been given the nickname “The Second Coming,” and, well, Derrick Rose just might be the second coming of another basketball legend in Chicago who has a statue outside of the United Center.

Michael Jordan was great, but did anyone think he was going to be the best basketball player that has ever walked this earth. No. And I can say that confidently because Sam Bowie was drafted before him.

And why is all this relevant to game 3 of the first round of the NBA Playoffs. Well, that is easy. The Bulls would not be anywhere near this if that beautiful and glorious ping-pong ball bounced any different way.

Rose is the heart and soul of this team. I firmly believe that Luol Deng would not have been able to elevate his game to a new level without Rose. Carlos Boozer would be under an even bigger microscope if not for Rose. Noah, who carries himself much like the point guard, would still be giving the same effort, but the results would not be as good without Rose.

Rose is the reason this is happening. Yes, I know that is obvious, but there is another reason he has been so successful.

The marriage of Rose and first-year head coach Tom Thibodeau might be equivalent to that of MJ and Phil. A great player is a great player. He can only get better through hard work and a having great coach. Thibodeau is that guy.

Rose worked his tail off, but without “Thibs” he would not have achieved the levels of success he has this year. Thibs is single, but has found his perfect match in Rose. The third-year player yearns for knowledge. He pushes himself to the edge to be better or better prepared, and Thibs is there, guiding him and supporting him every step of the way.

This brings us back to the ’08 draft. The Bulls had Kirk Hinrich, a well-paid guard who had achieved certain levels of success. Some thought this meant the Bulls should lean towards Beasley. But they didn’t. Paxon and company made the right choice and are reaping the benefits.

If the NBA has taught us anything, it is that in order to win a championship, you need a star. A true star. (Granted the 2004 Pistons did so without this, but one year does not prove the theory wrong).

As Paul Banks, esteemed writer and owner of this fantastic site points out, what is the biggest difference between the Bulls and the Pacers? It’s Derrick Rose. Nothing more, nothing less.

The Pacers don’t have him. They don’t have an answer for him. They don’t know what to do with him. That’s it. Game over, end of story.

So, that is the Game 3 preview. Seriously. There is no more need for analysis. There is no more need for discussion. If the Pacers do not contain Rose, they lose. If you need any proof of this, then you missed the first two games of the series.

And if they do contain him? Well, Thibs probably has a way to figure that one out as well.

Russell and Auerbach. MJ and Phil. Magic and Riley. Popovich and Duncan.

Those were the beautiful relationships that ruled the NBA. So, we will now see if it is time for Rose and Thibodeau to replace Kobe and Phil.

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