This isn't meant to read as a "we're down in the playoffs, so let's just quit" post, because I legitimately believe the Bulls can win game 6 at home, then have a coin-flip chance at game 7 in Boston. Looking back to the pre-season, if you'd have told me that we would be at this point without Luol Deng, I'd be pleasantly surprised (read: shocked!).
That being said, we've already "won" in these playoffs. The NBA, more than any other sport, has a playoff system that "requires" learning (read: losing first). Many of the great teams had to lose (multiple times) in the playoffs before getting over the hump (much in the way the 1990s Bulls had to overcome the Bad Boy Pistons).
I say we've already "won" because this series has been a great learning experience for the young guys (possibly excluding TT because VdN loves that 4 Gs and a Center line-up, or playing Brad Miller the entire 2nd half of games). D-Rose has played great (game 1) and not-so-great (game 5). But remember, he's 20 years old!! He would not even be allowed to watch these games with us in a bar if he weren't playing. Noah has made a name for himself, and established that we have a legit center.
That means we have the 2 toughest positions locked up with 2 good, young players (Rose and Noah). We have a decent (albeit overpaid) SF that can shoot (Luol), an athletic 4 who's only getting better (TT), and a scoring/slashing 2 guard (Salmons), with BG as the possible 6th man?? - that's a GREAT team going forward!
Plus, we're "learning the playoffs" as we speak. The NBA playoffs are a different animal than the NBA season, and this is a great experience for our young guys (read: Rose). We blew a 10 point lead with 6 minutes to play last night ... 3 years from now that won't happen because we will have done this all before. This has been an emotional, exciting, possibly-greatest-first-round-series-of-all-time ... no matter how this thing turns out, we fans are all lucky to watch such fun basketball, and the inexperienced Bulls are getting the experience needed for the future.
(Note: I'm still picking the Bulls in 7)
I thought Doc Rivers said the Celtics aren't allowed to complain? But he can complain and get fined? -
Celtics coach Doc Rivers was surprised the league fined him $25,000 for comments he made Monday about the officiating in this series.
''Yeah, because the question came from you [media] guys about what the Bulls were doing,'' Rivers said. ''What can you do? I'm the personal stimulus package right now. You guys ought to take up a collection. Actually, I think it is tax-deductible, but I don't need any more deductions.''
Rivers was fined for saying referees are looking to call moving screens on Celtics center Kendrick Perkins.
I can't stress enough how much I hate this whining, bitching bunch of whiny bitches. HATE. THE. CELTICS.
And Dan was right, it was a flagrant (the Bulls are sending in the tapes -
His upper lip was swollen and cut, the blood gushing out of the corner of Brad Miller’s mouth and the Chicago Bulls’ trainer reached inside and furiously sewed those stitches. Discombobulated, dizzy, his eyes rolling back, Miller was fighting to keep his mind on the magnitude of the moment.
“I shut my eyes,” Miller said, “and waited until he told me he was done.”
Two seconds left in overtime, two free throws, after the Boston Celtics met Miller with mayhem and malice at the rim. Rajon Rondo never bothered to swing for the ball with Miller on the move, just a forearm to the face that crumpled him to the floor. Bulls coach Vinny Del Negro screamed for a flagrant foul, and Miller looked like a lost soul, wandering in a fog between the bench and the free-throw line, between consciousness and confusion.
“It was just another one of the many shots to the head that haven’t been called this whole series,” Miller grumbled.
Out of nowhere, these Bulls and Celtics are playing a playoff series for the ages and, now, groggy and glassy-eyed, Miller had a chance to push the defending champions to a second OT on Tuesday night at the Garden. The Celtics wouldn’t let Ben Gordon catch an inbounds pass to beat them with a jumper, so the ball found its way to Miller at the free-throw line extended. He faked once, lost his man and had a clear path to the basket for a dunk.
Rondo hit him at the rim with two seconds left, with Kendrick Perkins closing fast. “No layups,” Celtics coach Doc Rivers said, and that “won the game for us.”
Miller is a career 80 percent free-throw shooter, but he never had a chance. Rondo has done everything for the Celtics, including the clocking of a 7-foot, 270-pound tractor out of Purdue.
“I don’t even know if they cleaned up all the blood around the basket,” Miller said.
Maybe it was a flagrant foul, Miller mused, but how could he tell. “I missed it,” he said. “I was getting a forearm shiver to the face.”
“There were arms coming from everywhere, and I knew they weren’t going for the ball,” Miller said. “I was just trying to get [the shot] up before they called some crap like ‘on the ground.’ ”
The Bulls aren’t done. Not even close. They’ve sent film to the league office on the Celtics’ physicality, Miller said, but those never go anywhere. That’s all right. This is good for the Bulls, good for the game. Another night, another epic. Pity poor Brad Miller. He had two free throws, two rims and two seconds left on Tuesday night when little Rajon Rondo had a free shot and pounded him upside that woozy head.
When it was over, Miller was drinking a bottle of water at his locker. He tipped the bottle to one side of his mouth, where there were no stitches, no blood. His knees were wrapped with ice. His eyes were glassy. There was no second overtime on Tuesday night at the Garden, but there’s still a chance for the Bulls to come back to Boston for Game 7, to take the champ’s best shot.
“We’ve got another game to play on Thursday,” Miller said. “Let’s strap it on and see what happens.”
'Painful' loss -
Brad Miller spoke slowly with stitches that had just been sewn into the inside of his lip. He made it clear, though, that he disagreed with the call that followed a swat across his face.
It was "absolutely" a flagrant foul, the backup center said after the Bulls' 106-104 overtime loss to the Celtics on Tuesday night. That would have given Chicago the ball after he took two free throws. Instead, he missed both and a chance to tie the game with 2 seconds left.
Boston, which overcame an 11-point deficit in the fourth quarter, took a 3-2 lead in the best-of-seven series going into Thursday night's sixth game in Chicago.
Observations from Game 5 -
The Bulls had this one.
They had it … then they let it slip right through their fingertips. They had an 11-point lead in the fourth quarter; they had Ray Allen fouled out; Ben Gordon had a 17-footer to win the game. All the pieces were in place for an upset, for a 3-2 lead and then -- poof! -- they vanished faster than Vinny Del Negro's timeouts. The Bulls have played great throughout this series (minus Game 3, of course), but mentally, they aren't ready to take the next step that great teams have to take. The team is too young and hasn't figured out how to close out games yet. Here are a few other postgame observations from Game 5 …
Beaten and bloodied -
From Ben Gordon's strained hamstring to Kirk Hinrich's cut forehead and Brad Miller's lacerated mouth, the blood-pressure-challenging 53 minutes at the TD Banknorth Garden on Tuesday turned out to be the anatomy of heartbreak for the Bulls in a 106-104 overtime loss to the defending-champion Boston Celtics.
The game made the Bulls-Celtics series the first in NBA playoff history to have three overtime games.
Refs (and Bulls) blew it -
I’m here for the fun . . .
Brad Miller got fouled flagrantly. It was an obvious play. It was an obvious choke by the officials.
The Bulls should’ve had Miller go to the free-throw line, his team down two with two seconds left in overtime in Game 5 on Tuesday. Miller should’ve gotten his shots and the Bulls should’ve gotten the ball out of bounds after Rajon Rondo raked Miller’s face and gave him a fat lip.
But no. It was simply a two-shot personal foul. It probably would’ve been called a flagrant foul if this game was in Chicago, or if the Bulls were the defending champions.
It wasn’t, they aren’t, and Miller missed the first shot. Now he had to miss the second. He did. He missed everything, which is an automatic change of possession. Ballgame.
But forget about that.
Remember instead that the Bulls blew an 11-point lead in the fourth quarter.