Once again, it's on.
The Bulls and Miami will square off in the playoffs for the second time in three years, renewing an intense rivalry these teams have shared since the 2010-11 season, when LeBron James and Chris Bosh joined Dwyane Wade on South Beach.
These teams have made it clear they don't like each other. The Bulls recently snapped the Heat's 27-game winning streak; afterward, "King" James complained about how physical the Bulls were.
This series won't be the same without Derrick Rose suiting up, much to the dismay of Bulls fans who want nothing more than to knock the defending NBA champions off their throne.
That won't diminish how badly each team wants to win, however. Let's take a look at why the Bulls-Heat rivalry is so intense:
LeBron vs. Joakim
The emotional leader of the Bulls has a beef with "King" James that goes back to his days in Cleveland. Remember when James had a penchant for dancing? Well, Noah thought it was corny and told him so. Then he went and dissed the whole city of Cleveland.
Dwyane Wade vs. Chicago
When it comes to basketball, Chicago usually will embrace a player from the suburbs—except for Dwyane Wade. Maybe it's because of that time he proclaimed he was "from Robbins, Illinois" in one of his shoe commercials, when actually he grew up at 59th Street and Prairie Avenue. Or maybe it was the way he beat the Bulls in a thrilling game in Miami on a one-legged 3-pointer at the buzzer in 2009. Whatever it is, D-Wade doesn't get a whole lot of love in the Windy City. Just ask his dad, who got kicked out of a game at the United Center for cussing out fans harassing him about his son.
Five and out
Back when Derrick Rose won the MVP and led the Bulls to the Eastern Conference finals, fans were positive a seventh NBA championship was around the corner. The Bulls blew out the Heat in Game 1, Taj Gibson put D-Wade on a poster and then Miami proceeded to win the next four games and make it to the NBA Finals. It was the only time in Chicago history that Bulls fans bought Dallas Mavericks gear to wear during the finals.
In summer 2010, Bulls fans really wanted LeBron James to come to Chicago. The desperation reached such a level that somebody even put up a billboard downtown begging him to play here. But when LeBron chose to spend his winters on the sun-drenched beaches of Miami instead of the cold, snow and wind of Chicago, he officially became the No. 1 [bleep] in the NBA as far as this city is concerned.
Chicago Heat fans
We all know someone who's from Chicago but became a fan of the Miami Heat just because LeBron James is there now. We don't condone violence, but we understand that Bulls fans might want to beat the crap out of them sometimes.
Bryan Crawford is a RedEye special contributor. @bryancraw4d
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