Heat 101, Bulls 93 in OT: Miami up 3-1, at least we have Closure

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You may be asking yourself “why the hell does a picture of John Cusack (or more specifically Lloyd Dobler in “Say Anything”) lead off an article recapping game 4 of the Chicago Bulls vs. Miami Heat Eastern Conference Finals?” And it’s not because Cusack is from Chicago. Well partially.

It really is because game four was all about heartbreak, and doing absolutely everything you possibly can, trying your damnest, yet still realizing- it’s over. In other words, the essence of Dobler, or the type of characters Cusack is best known for. Yes, I know he always gets the girl in the end, and yet the Bulls actually won’t find the feeling of true love that a NBA Finals trip would bring. However, what was so painful about that game, is what’s also the most painful part of break-ups- the not knowing; the lack of closure.

Now we do.

We knew heading into tonight that this Bulls team could NEVER beat the Heat three in a row. That’s the task in front of them now. Meaning it’s over. Maybe not in the next game, maybe not even until game 7, but it’s done. Officially. You have closure, you can move on to the NBA Draft, or White Sox or Cubs season now.

Paul M. Banks explains why:

rose-bulls

-Yes, Derrick Rose had an off-shooting night, but some of his drives tonight were just “ATTACKING THE TIN!” and “ONIONS!” and “YES AND IT COUNTS.” We all thought it was going to be their night at those moments. Also the Bulls had both Luol Deng and Carlos Boozer as legitimate scoring options tonight, double doubles all around. Sounds good huh? Throw in Lebron James and Dwyane Wade going 16-42 from the floor and that equals a Chicago win, right?

-No, because the Bulls shooting issues are more about the Miami Heat’s defense than we all care to acknowledge. The Bulls won’t just “get hot” because the Heat are too good at team defense and their individuals are too efficient at closing out space to let that happen. Yes, the Bulls were the #1 defensive team in the league this year, but they haven’t come close to playing the type of defense the Heat have in this series. If you enjoy good team defense, good defensive help rotations, good space close-outs then you should enjoy watching Miami.

-Given how the Heat have been portrayed as the league’s black hat (and for many good reasons), and given how this series was billed as “talent versus team,” it’s easy to overlook Miami’s grit. And if you do that, then you completely misunderstand or don’t fully appreciate this series and its zeitgeist. Defense is as much, if not more about hustle and effort than it is talent. And the team with the superior talent is working their asses off on the defensive end this series. Not saying Chicago isn’t as well. But the Heat will win this series, and the NBA title because of their defensive effort.

-Speaking of heartbreak in pop-culture…and of course this makes the obligatory and predictable pun off Rose’s name. Here’s a song for what Bulls fans are feeling tonight

-My brother-in-law Craig loves two things that people automatically associate with Chicago (blues music and the Bulls). If only he was really into deep dish pizza and Al Capone, then…I’ll just stop right there I don’t need to get those people with horribly inaccurate Chicago stereotypes going again. Anyways, this is what he said to me in email following the game:

The Bull’s last two possessions in the 4th quarter underscore the difference between Jordan and Rose. Rose is awesome but couldn’t finish with two tries.

Once it went to overtime I knew they’d lose. They were gassed and emotionally spent.

Noah was flat. And they had no 3-point threat. Despite all that they “almost” won.

I agree – they win game 5 and maybe even game 6 (wishful thinking?), but in the end they’ll lose the series.

-Exactly. Coach Thibs has squeezed so much more out of this team than anyone could have ever expected. And the Rose-Jordan comparisons need to stop.

-And again: I said when the playoffs started, Heat over Bulls in conference finals. So a rematch of the 2006 NBA Finals is imminent, and again Miami wins. I’ll say in 6.

Paul M. Banks is CEO of The Sports Bank.net. He’s also a regular contributor to Chicago Now, Walter Football.com, Yardbarker, and Fox Sports

You can follow him on Twitter @thesportsbank and Facebook

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