By Wesley Kaminsky
It’s been about a week since the Chicago Bulls 2010-2011 season
came to a close, and forgive me for waiting this long to write this, but it’s
been a process of recovery for me. As a Bulls fan for as long as I can remember, this was the best season I had gone through as a fan thus far in my life. The regular season could not have gone more perfect. In an off-season in which the Bulls failed to land LeBron James, Dwyane Wade, and Chris Bosh, they still managed to jump from 41 wins to 62, securing the best record in basketball. Not only did they have the best record, but the coach of the year in first year
head coach Tom Thibodeau, and MVP in Derrick Rose. Heading into the playoffs, my mindset was if the Bulls did not at least make the Eastern Conference Finals than it was a waste of a season, and I firmly believed that. The regular season means nothing, and it’s all about what you do in the playoffs, just ask LeBron James from his Cavalier days. Although it wasn’t pretty at
times, the Bulls did reach the Eastern Conference Finals, something that Bulls
fans did not imagine happening in the beginning of the season.
When game one of the Eastern Conference finals rolled around, my nerves were at an all-time high. I was shaking with excitement and anticipation for the game ahead. I did not want to talk to anyone; I just needed to focus on the game. To think, imagine what the actual Bulls players were thinking before it. Here I am, an 18-year-old kid in Philadelphia, stressing over a game in Chicago that I’m not even playing in, but just watching on TV. In addition, get this: In the midst of the biggest Bulls game in my lifetime, I was stuck at a dinner, and would miss tip-off. I thought to myself, this just cannot be happening, no, not now. Thankfully though, the dinner did not run too late, and I was able to make it home a few minutes into the first quarter. Thus began the final Bulls victory I would witness of the season. After tying with the Heat at halftime, 48-48, the Bulls unloaded on them in the second half, winning the game by twenty-one points. It wasn’t just that the Bulls won, it was how they did it, and how electric the United Center was. Led by two emphatic Taj Gibson dunks, and dominating on the offensive glass, the Bulls were now just three games away from a trip to the NBA finals. Oh, how easy it sounded, but how difficult it would be.
Following the game, nearly every analyst was talking about how they were wrong about the Bulls, and that the Heat did not have the size to match up with the Bulls big men. In fact, Stephen A. Smith went as far as saying that he has never switched which team he thought would win a series after game one, until now. He now had the Bulls taking down the Heat. I was in heaven. The Bulls had won just one game, but I started believing in the hype from everyone around me. Why would I get my hopes up like that?
I will save your time, and mine, by not getting into what happened the next four games for the Bulls. But let’s just say it was not pretty. Game five was a dagger in my heart, and something I thought I’d never recover from. I’m still just getting over the loss, so forgive me when I am extremely bitter while watching the Heat play the Mavericks in the Finals.
Now, the question on everyone’s mind is where do the Bulls go from here? That’s simple really. After a season like this, in which the Bulls exceeded expectations, they have nowhere to go but forward. Derrick Rose is just 22 years old, and isn’t slowing down anytime soon. The Bulls biggest problem against the Heat was they did not have the second option that could create his shot at will like Rose can. Carlos Boozer was supposed to be that guy, but he clearly did not look like himself during the playoffs. Much of the blame has been put on him, and let’s face it; the Bulls $80 million man sure did not perform the way he was paid to do so. All season long the biggest knock on the Bulls was that they needed a shooting guard who could spread the floor with Rose and consistently score. That proved to be true against the Heat. This off-season, my eyes are set on a guy like Jason Richardson, or Jamal Crawford, an explosive scorer who can take the pressure off of Derrick Rose.
After reading this article, if your impression of me is that I’m a pathetic Bulls fan, then yes, I’m not going to argue with you, I am. I live and breathe for this team, and when they lose as a team, I feel their emotions, and heartbreak. Call me pathetic, call me whatever you want, but I call it being a true sports fan.
Stay tuned for the next edition of TheSportsKraze.