Bulls survive 3 OT in Orlando; The diary of a mad Bulls fan
Sometimes there's a game on the schedule fans believe their team should win regardless of circumstance. And let's be honest, playing in the Eastern Conference this year, you may tend to get greedy with what you believe the team you root for should win.
The Chicago Bulls had won 5 straight games, despite the injuries and trade of Luol Deng. Monday, the Bulls had a home game scheduled against an up-and-coming Wizards team. As a fan you believe it's a winnable game. However, much like Wednesday night against the Heat, the Wizards offense was too much for the Bulls. It was aggravating and a tough pill to swallow, but as fans we endure a lot of those games.
Wednesday night the Bulls went into Orlando, who came in with a 10-28 record. As a fan you see it's the Magic--a team entering the night having lost eight straight. Of course upsets happen. And perhaps the team you root for shares the same mentality you do regarding it being a game they should win.
Bad teams have great games, and as bad as the Magic have been this season, they still had ten wins. Then there’s the fact they are professional athletes, and with that comes professional pride--or it should. As a fan we never care about those things. It's all about getting the W.
First time I checked the score it was halftime. The Magic led 49-46. Now as a Bulls' fan, while the score annoyed me, the field goal percentage infuriated me. The Magic were shooting over 55%. You’d figure after the Wizards shot over 50% in Chicago, the Bulls defense would step up against a team who struggles to score.
Well, that was not the case, as it was turn back the clock night for Jameer Nelson, who scored 31 points. Rookie Victor Oladipo couldn't miss early on and had a career-high 35 points. You can somewhat live with Oladipo, but it makes you sick as a fan to see Nelson torching your team. In fact, the guys on NBA TV joked earlier this season about Nelson still being in the league.
If you know your team and aren't naive, you expect nothing to be easy on the road. There's just things that happen during the course of a game that boil your blood. Bad turnovers, missed assignments on defense, rebounds, poor possessions etc.
The Magic come out of halftime and hit the Bulls with a run that pushes the lead to 15. Yes, 15. At this point you're almost nauseous. As a fan you're cursing everyone. How the F$&@ is this happening? You start counting the game as a loss.
As great as Bulls' Head Coach Tom Thibodeau is, you will even question whether or not the team was prepared for this game. Then you question substitutions and why certain guys are on the floor. We all play GM or Head Coach as we watch a game.
So the Bulls make a run and trailed by seven going into the 4th. Naturally hope is restored, yet the thought of disappointment lurks in the back of the mind.
Despite the Magic still shooting around 55%, the Bulls stormed back and took a lead in the final minute of regulation. Now you become excited, thinking the defense will finally rise to the occasion and get a stop.
However, that Jameer Nelson guy had other ideas and tied the game with 11 seconds left. In what should not shock one Bulls fan, they failed to get a shot off and the game entered overtime.
The Bulls trailed by three in the extra session when Mike Dunleavy drained a triple to tie the game. Dunleavy had a poor shooting game but delivered in the clutch. I would love to poll Bulls' fans to see how many thought that shot was going down when he released it.
In the second overtime, I began to play coach again. The Bulls led 119-116 with under 30 seconds and three timeouts. Thibodeau elected not to use a timeout. The possession was an abortion to say the least. Joakim Noah, who had a phenomenal game with 26 points and 19 rebounds, ended up with the ball, and missed everything.
I know Thibodeau benches Carlos Boozer late in games in favor of Taj Gibson. However, Boozer actually had a quality offensive game with 23 points in 28 points. Thibodeau could've easily used a timeout and setup up a play for Boozer, which may have iced the game.
Instead, with the Magic down three, Glen Davis launched one from Miami that somehow found the net. It's one of those moments as a fan where you have a feeling that your team is not going to win tonight. You also want to strangle anyone.
In the third overtime, the Bulls had a key basket from a guy who may force the coach into giving him more minutes. With the Bulls down one, rookie Tony Snell got a pick and drained a 17 foot shot that gave the Bulls the lead for good. Free throws and good defense sealed it, but it was the rookie who hit a shot that I'm not sure anyone else would've.
If you aren't a Bulls fan and decided to read all that, I'm sure you're wondering why someone would get so emotional over a regular season game; especially rooting for a team that has pretty much no chance of winning an NBA title.
Well, first and foremost, it's the Chicago Bulls--6 NBA titles, which makes them the third most successful franchise in the NBA behind the Celtics and Lakers. There's a lot of pride in rooting for a uniform in which arguably the greatest of all-time, Michael Jordan, wore.
And, that's what die hard fans do. Do we need a little help mentally? Without question. Will it ever change? Highly unlikely.