Daily Herald - Suburban Chicago's source for news This copy is for personal, non-commercial use. To order presentation-ready copies for distribution you can: 1) Use the "Reprint" button found on the top and bottom of every article, 2) Visit reprints.theygsgroup.com/dailyherald.asp for samples and additional information or 3) Order a reprint of this article now.
Article updated: 3/27/2013 11:17 PM

Bulls show us anything's possible

By Mike Imrem

Now that the Bulls beat the Heat on Wednesday night, there are few things all of us should do.

Ride Florida Gulf Coast all the way into the Final Four. Bet a three-legged horse to win the Kentucky Derby. Expect the Cubs to lose fewer than 100 games.

As the Lottery ads put it, anything's possible.

Think about it: The Bulls -- without Joakim Noah, Marco Belinelli and, of course, Derrick Rose -- ended Miami's winning streak at 27.

The Heat hadn't lost since Feb. 1. All sorts of events have been mentioned as happening since then and predicted to happen before they lose again sometime in 2014.

Bulls coach Tom Thibodeau said when asked whether his players were hyped to ruin the Heat's run: "The challenge is to not get caught up in the media (hype)."

Whatever the motivation, the 101-97 victory extended the Bulls' winning streak to three and raised a new question:

Are there enough games left in the season for them to break the Lakers' record of 33 straight victories in 1972?

The answer is no. Only 12 games remain. Ah, but they could race through the playoffs ...

OK, let's stop being silly and consider how the Bulls did what they just did.

"We had a lot of resiliency," Bulls coach Tom Thibodeau said. "We kept battling and pulled it out in the end."

Indeed, the Bulls needed to keep on keeping on in this topsy-turvy game.

They scored 32 points in the first half and 55 by halftime after scoring only 67 the whole game the last time they played Miami.

The resiliency came when the Bulls were held to 14 points in the third quarter, the Heat took the lead and another Miami victory appeared to be inevitable.

"(The Heat) bring it every night and we have to learn to do that," Thibodeau said. "The way they play, you have to play with great intensity."

So that's what the Bulls did in leaving the Heat 7 victories from breaking the Lakers' record. Now all Miami has is a one-game losing streak.

Miami was supposed to beat the Bulls without breaking a sweat, which it looked from the start how players were trying to do it.

Heat coach Erik Spoelstra seemed to sense something was wrong. When the Bulls led 7-2 less than two minutes into the game he buried his head in his hands.

Then when Birdman Anderson took a jump shot from the top of the key early in the shot clock, Spoelstra's hands went to the top of his head like he was being led to lockup.

The Bulls had a lot to do with the Heat's problems on this night, shooting 47 percent from the field after struggling on offense the past month.

"Give them credit," Spoelstra said of the Bulls. "They made big plays down the end. That's what usually happens in this league. The team that competes harder and with more focus will usually win."

The way the game was unfolding, or unraveling for the Heat, it looked like LeBron James was going to have to do what Michael Jordan used to do for the Bulls: Will his team to victory or win it by himself.

James did that several times during the winning streak. Not on this night, however.

The Bulls knocked James around, fouling him in his head and around his neck and wherever else they could to keep him from getting to the basket.

"Welcome to Chicago and Miami basketball," Spoelstra said of the physical play.

Actually, welcome to the Bulls accomplishing the improbable and making everything else seem possible.


Copyright © 2014 Paddock Publications, Inc. All rights reserved.