The underdogs grinding and fighting against fate, overcoming injuries, playing one handed, one legged or through any kind of illness, and still able to achieve big things. These heroic stories are inspirational, happy ending and are only supposed to be found in bad sports movies.
Or are they?
Watching the Bulls as they sealed their first round series against the apathetic Nets was not only a phenomenal sport experience (though the low block game with tons of fouls can be a pain to watch sometimes), it was a reminder of what is great about sport. And after they surprised the Miami Heat, the 2011/12 champions with the four-time MVP on their roster, on Monday, it must have hit everyone - this might be something big.
I know, I know - It's just one game and only fools that haven't really seen any of Miami's fourth quarter turnarounds this year think the Bulls will actually win the series. But they have left their footprints in America Airlines Arena already. These guys, lead by a coach preaching team effort, are a reminder of everything we love about our favourite game.
Watch Nate Robinson almost throwing up into a trash can during timeouts. Watch Noah limping, Hinrich and Deng dealing with injuries and of course Derrick Rose still not playing. This group of guys, coach Thibodeau's third or maybe fourth options in the rotation (Marquis Teague is just not your typical sixth man) are an inspiration to everybody who has ever dealt with disbelief. These Bulls have shown that everything is possible and they keep shocking the basketball world night in and night out.
It's clear they might not have enough skill and the could soon run out of juice to compete against the Heat. But let's play the "What if" game a little bit. What if they lose the next game and then shut down LeBron James in Games 3 and 4 at home as they did a couple of times in the regular season as they snapped Miami's 27 game winning streak and, of course, in the first half of Game 1 when James scored only two points. Chicago can then take a 2-1 or even 3-1 lead in the series and you can bet that Noah, Robinson and Butler would rather die on the court than let that chance slip away.
These Bulls have a great chance to achieve something big here. They reminded the Heat that no one in the NBA plays them any tougher. Said Nate Robinson: "I’ve played on some tough teams, but this one, there’s something a little different, something special about this group."
What if he's right? As LeBron himself pointed out, this is what playoffs are all about.
As Yahoo's Adrian Wojnarowski recently reported, Derrick Rose is not coming back this season. However, what if he decided to shock the world and jump right into the Miami series which the Bulls (in our scenario) will lead 2-1 or 3-1? He can talk about that "muscle memory" all day but I don't believe he can sleep peacefully after he saw how his shorthanded teammates sacrificed their bodies to make history out of nothing, while he is cheering them on from the bench.
To be clear, I love D-Rose. I love his game, his personality, his attitude, everything. I even love his latest signature shoe, the one everyone is ranting about (Yes, I saw Kevin Ware's injury and no, the shoes are not cursed). But if the Bulls get any closer to that sensation of forcing Game six or possibly Game seven, he has to rethink his values or at least set a tear publicly one more time to make everyone sure that there really is nothing he can do.
Let's hope the Bulls can win Game 3 at home. Then let's play that ¨What if¨ game once again.