The Bulls were dead and buried and the people at the funeral procession were moving on with their lives. Michael Beasley scored 13 points for the Heat in the second quarter and Miami entered halftime with a 19-point lead. The game was over, the Bulls were broken and Tom Thibodeau was already looking at condos in a new part of the country.
Then the Bulls did something strange. They started scoring and getting stops ... at the same time! It turns out this is an effective way to get back into a basketball game, which is precisely what the Bulls did. Chicago stormed out to a 33-8 advantage in the third quarter and locked up the game in the fourth to seal a 89-78 victory. It moves the Bulls a half-game ahead of the Toronto Raptors for the No. 3 seed in the Eastern Conference.
The fact that this game had a 30-point swing speaks for itself, but it was the way the Bulls got down that made it even more improbable. To put it simply: they looked uninterested, old and just, well, bad. They only shot 25.5 percent from the field! They went 0-for-9 from three! Whatever Thibs said in the locker room should be videotaped and played for future generations forever, because that must have been some inspirational shit.
By the time they got rolling in the second half, the Bulls were even throwing alley-oops! Yes: the Bulls. ALLEY-OOPS:
Who are these dudes and where did you hide my terrible, unlovable Bulls?
The haters are probably going to come out for Derrick Rose after finishing 5-of-15 for 12 points, but whatever. I thought he looked alright. He (sorta) dunked and limited himself to only three bricked three-pointers (progress!) and generally seemed to move pretty well in his 21 minutes on the floor. The bar is so low with Rose at this point that whatever he's giving them is gravy. Also like gravy: without it, the meal isn't good. If the Bulls are going to win in the playoffs they need quality minutes from Derrick because Aaron Brooks and Hinrch are so flawed. I suppose I'll save that for another blog post.
There was a time -- say, even last season -- when this type of comeback wouldn't have been such a surprise. Hell, we probably would have expected it. Bulls go pedal to the metal to close the door on a bad team at the end of the regular season? Sounds like something a Tom Thibodeau team would do. Thing is, the Bulls haven't been playing the way we're accustomed to over the last couple months. I think I speak for everyone when I say this was very unexpected.
I'll leave this open ended: how encouraging was this comeback? Are you super jacked up about this victory or do you think the Heat should be embarrassed? Is the start more worrisome than the finish was promising?
I don't know. Even after nearly 80 games, it's still hard to get a read on this team. With three games left on the calendar before the playoffs, they're running out of time.