Game Preview #70- Bulls vs. Miami Heat

[Ah, there it is! Thanks to Bullieving in Miami (naturally) for tonights' big game preview. -ed.]

I must admit I got a bit ahead of myself with my last preview. Since these two teams only met 3 times last year, I felt that last game in February was the only time the Heat would visit Chicago this year. This coming from the guy who has a printable schedule on his fridge and updates the record after every game. Anyways...

Here it REALLY is, my Chicagonese Bulls fans. Here is you last chance to sweet talk and serenade Dwyane Wade into your arms. Here is your last chance to... (ok, if you read the preview linked above, you get the picture).

At this point, everything that has to be said has been said. We all know where these teams stand. And no matter what games we as fans perceive as "acceptable" losses from here on out, the Bulls need every win they can get. So while looking around for material to talk about for this preview, I came across this over at ChicagoNow. Doug Thonus and I seem to share the same thought. (I get it, I MIGHT have a bias on this) There always seems to be a little extra something in the air when these two teams meet, and as if the excitement of a playoff hunt weren't enough, I thought I'd add fuel to the fire and get us all even more pumped up by revisiting some of the bad blood between the Bulls and Heat.

Living in Miami (as I'm sure is the case anywhere else, but just seems amplified here), six words repeat in your head: The Bulls are nothing without Jordan. Naturally, all you get down here is Heat fans, and they all have the same six words to say. I, personally, am not here to defend the "greatness" of this franchise pre- or post-Jordan because, honestly, there isn't much to talk about until now and the arrival of Derrick Rose. But Jordan is a source of much ire for Heat fans. What is it? Is it just plain bitterness which they share with just about every other great team of the '90s who got beat by the Bulls? Is it the fact that the Heat have the number 23 retired and its not because of Cedric Ceballos? Is it just a Miami- Chicago thing? If you'll remember in the '90s, Miami was still trying to tout itself as a top 3 market in the US, behind NY and LA. The discussion is debatable now. Having been to Chicago, I can say as far as what a "big city" should be like, Chicago is way ahead of Miami, but as far as exposure, Miami is the place to be. The media clamours for South Beach, the weather, the women, the tropical flavor (being the son of Cuban parents, I live this aspect). So the Heat teams of the '90s playing in those series represented that upstart attitude (Riley leaving sacred and almighty New York for Miami). Miami teams have always been quick out of the gates as expansion teams. The Dolphins reached the Super Bowl in their 6th season, won it the next year. The Marlins won the World Series in their 5th season. Heck, even the Panthers reached the Stanley Cup Finals in their 3rd season. Those Heat teams of Hardaway, Mourning, Majerle, Mashburn, that was their chance to follow suit and win as a young franchise and take down the mighty Bulls while doing it. Sure, the Heat won their title, 10 years too late. But that first round loss felt as good as a first round loss can feel (until Boston?). I was personally rejuvenated. The Bulls were back! And opening night the next year reaffirmed that. That 42-point drubbing after the rings got handed out (which I attended) felt great, though it ultimately may have just been that Heat team TOTALLY not caring that night, but what self-respecting defending champion comes out like that to open the season? The sweep in the playoffs that year was the high point. 

Look, we all know the history, so we don't need a recap now, but the connections between these two cities (Dolphins-Bears in '85, though the Bears won the Super Bowl anyways, so the one loss doesn't resonate as much I guess. at least they didn't pull a Patriots. hehe! Marlins-Cubs in '03, and I still get pumped {well, as pumped as one can get for baseball} when they play because I feel it still stings a bit amongst Cubs fans) and these two teams are unavoidable. Wade, being from Chicago and his well-documented struggles, and the Bulls with Hinrich, the "Wade-stopper". Riley, and his long history versus the Bulls. The double-overtime thriller last season. These teams always play each other close and hard. I mean, even the Bulls minus everybody played them close a few weeks ago. And then the relentless Wade-to-Chicago rumors heading into 2010 free agency. It goes on and on.

On that note... I read this from someone either on this blog or somewhere else, but I completely agree: Bosh, with a better supporting cast, can't carry that team to the playoffs. Wade MIGHT not be the better fit, but is by far the better, more impactful, more transcendent player. If you're giving out max money, go for the franchise changer. Though Lebron in option #1, and I really only say that because he's younger, Wade is option #1a in my book.


TV: TNT (EJ, Kenny, Charles with the call) 

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