With the Bulls on the brink of elimination, Richard Hamilton said they have to make it personal, and I’m wondering, why didn’t that start after Game 2?
The Bulls got torched in that second half the last time they played in the United Center. They turtled at first, then they quit, wallowing in self-pity and requiring emergency spine implants. The Bulls haven’t won since they lost their best player. Then they lost their best defensive player and best rebounder. Lose players, choke in the second half, spout lame playoff aphorisms, lather, rinse, repeat.
I don’t know about you, but I’m tired of this garbage, especially against a lousy Philadelphia team. I don’t root for losses --- no, wait, there’s nothing like Notre Dame getting routed --- but if the Bulls can’t find the talent, brains and nerve to win a fourth quarter, I don’t want to to invest more time on the inevitable exit.
What’s more, the Bulls will be better off losing Tuesday night, and here are 10 reasons why:
1. No more replays of Derrick’s Rose’s injury. Same goes for Joakim Noah’s injury. Enough already. We get it. The Bulls own home-MRI advantage. Lose this thing Tuesday night so nobody else gets injured in a vain pursuit of nothing for a team going nowhere. The Bulls might not have gotten past Miami even if they had Rose and everybody else available, but they at least had a chance. Now, they’re a disaster and an embarrassment.
2. The Bulls can concentrate on pressuring Luol Deng to skip the Olympics in order to heal his injured left wrist. How stupid is this situation? Deng stinks right now. The so-called All-Star has been a joke when his team needed a leader. His injured left wrist has ruined his game. It needs rest, if not surgery. No more basketball would seem to be the answer. But yet, he’s planning to play in the Summer Games and then decide on surgery, which could ruin the first couple months of next season that Rose already will miss. Yo, Luol, listen up: That’s not Queen Elizabeth’s name on those paychecks.
3. We wouldn’t have to listen to Tom Thibodeau tell us the Bulls have more than enough to win. Win what? A February game against the Bobcats? Look, there’s a preponderance of second-half evidence that the greater the magnitude of the game in which the Bulls desperately needed to show their depth, the more they shrunk from the challenge. They have a whole bunch of “Mr. Octobers’’ in a sport where you need a "Mr. May."
4. We wouldn’t have to watch John dribble dribble dribble Lucas dribble dribble dribble III dribble dribble dribble after the coach has spent two years stressing ball movement.
5. No more Kyle Korver playoff 0-fers. The lowly 76ers aren’t the Heat or even the Hawks, but Korver apparently feels an obligation to choke a bunch of postseason games.
6. We might finally find out why Hamilton was brought in for his valuable playoff experience but barely plays when that experience would seem to be the most valuable. I thought the Bulls had it right when they brought in Hamilton to provide the Bulls backcourt with a second scoring option. Now it’s as if the coach thinks Hamilton has a curfew. If that mask wasn’t transparent, I’d swear the Bulls signed the guy from “Phantom.’’
7. We wouldn’t have to watch the Bulls give up more 25-point fourth quarters to a bad team with the worst half-court offense since Tim Floyd coached Dalibor Bagaric. The 76ers want to run the fast break because they can’t run sets. The Bulls know this, and yet, the Bulls let them get off when it matters most. Who needs to watch more of that ineptitude and stupidity?
8. We wouldn’t have to hear about Omer Asik’s defensive presence while Spencer Hawes turns into Bill Walton. Wasn’t Asik supposed to be the guy the Bulls couldn’t afford to trade for more scoring? Yes, I believe he was, same as the Bulls couldn’t trade Deng for Kobe Bryant years ago. Oy. Even if Hawes might’ve scored from the perimeter against Noah, at least Noah would’ve scored and led the team in rebounds. Asik was outrebounded by Boozer and just stands on top of the key with the ball, unguarded, being dared to shoot, the NBA equivalent of getting pantsed. The Choice (and remember, death is not an option): Asik as an offensive presence or Boozer as a defensive presence?
9. Someone might tell us why Ronnie Brewer was sent to his room without dessert. Thibodeau either doesn’t trust him or doesn’t like his act, take your pick. A year ago, Brewer was regarded as the most versatile Bull and a solid defender. This series, the coach decided he’d rather have his Smurf guards get torched in the second halves by the bigger 76ers backcourt. At a time when injuries have killed a big part of the Bulls roster and required use of the depth they love bragging about, the coach decided to create a new unit: the benched mob.
10. But perhaps the biggest reason to root for a Bulls loss Tuesday is that it allows them to amnesty Boozer on Wednesday. I realize there is almost no chance it will happen, not just Wednesday but not until next summer at the earliest. Still, that doesn’t mean it’s wrong. And that doesn’t mean I can’t root for it. In fact, with Rose out, Bulls fans need a new cheer, so everybody, come on, start the chant: “Am-nes-ty, am-nes-ty, am-nes-ty.’’