Well, they certainly put up a hell of a fight, and for that I will always remember this Bulls team. I may have been down on them most of the year and knew this result was inevitable, but as many here have said, once tip-off occurs it is hard not to root for a win and cheer on the Bulls. So it goes...
Yes, the Heat will go on and probably win another championship, but I for one will be watching as I feel their two likely opponents the remainder of the way are teams in the same mold as the Bulls. If indiana finishes off the Knicks, the Bulls would then serve as a good warm-up for the Heat in prep for the Pacers. Only thing is Indy is actually healthy (Granger almost hurts them at this point). Hibbert may not be as active as Noah but he is a legit big threat in the paint and could possibly make life difficult for any Heat venturing into the lane. Also, I will be interested in the evolution of Paul George and see if he can take that next step in his climb up to the NBA's elite as he matches up against the best himself, one Mr. Lebron James. But don't get it twisted... #FuckPsychoT
Then, if they happen to get past the WCF is Memphis. This team is playing incredible defense right now. I know they played an OKC team without it's second star but regardless OKC still has one of the best scorers in the league in Kevin Durant and the Grizzlies just completely dismantled them. The best defensive team in the league this year with the DPOY, the Grizz are also very much in the mold of the Bulls; two skilled bigmen (Gasol & Z-Bo) with better offensive skills than the Bulls' pair of Noah and Boozer. They also have a premier perimeter defender in Tony Allen who can be used to make Lebron work. Jimmy Butler, a second-year player who is still very much inexperienced, just pestered Lebron into 44% shooting for the series against the Bulls. That is 12% less than what he shot on the season. That is a huge drop off. His per game number might've not taken that big a hit, but the one thing that has made Lebron's season truly remarkable was his efficiency. By shooting a noticeably worse percentage, he had to get up more shots to reach his averages, including a lot of long jumpers. Those are the kinds of shots I felt Lebron stayed away from for the most part this season. For a player who was playing smart all season and making the proper decisions as the focal point of his offense, Lebron settled for stretches against the Bulls. So it'll be interesting to see what Tony Allen and the Grizzlies defense in general can do against Lebron and the Heat. Oh, and Zach Randolph is a MAN.
I also don't want to totally count out the Spurs. This has actually been the team I hoped all year long would face the Heat in the Finals. And since both teams held out their star players in their two regular season matchups, I'm even more intrigued to finally see these two teams do battle when everyone is on the court. The Spurs are efficient, play good team ball, and don't necessarily go through the offensive lulls a team like Indiana or Memphis might go through. I think they would be the perfect matchup. I just feel Memphis is a team on a roll and will be an extremely tough out for the Spurs. So tough that those two may beat each other up and just have nothing left for a potential matchup versus Miami.
As for our Bulls, it was definitely a memorable season in spite of the disappointment of Derrick Rose not returning all season. Just when we counted them out, they always surprised us with #Streakbusting and such. Some good storylines came from it: Nate, Jimmy, Noah becoming a true all-star. There is a lot to look forward to: Derrick's return (I hear he is now no longer listed as day-to-day), Luol regaining his health, Rip getting the hell out of town. This should not be a sad day for Bulls fans as there is a daylight on the horizon.
For the meantime, night sets on the beach. Gone are the bikinis, umbrellas, and cold drinks. As the sun sets on this Bulls season, the time has come for drum circles and mysticism and good vibes to take over as the Bulls look forward to a new dawn... a new beginning.
I thank you all for taking the time to read through my musings of this series and know I will always carry that Bulls banner proudly down here on the beach. 'Til next season.