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Crying game: Bulls bring Heat to tears after sweeping season series

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Michael Terranova
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« on: March 07, 2011, 03:09:41 pm »

Crying game: Bulls bring Heat to tears after sweeping season series

RICK MORRISSEY .hideTime { display:none; } Mar 7, 2011 02:07AM

Heat's Dwyane Wade shoots over Derrick Rose and Omer Asik late in he fourth quarter. (Charles Trainor Jr, McClatchy-Tribune / March 6, 2011)

Carlos Boozer and Derrick Rose celebrate the Bulls’ victory against the Heat on Sunday. | Mike Ehrmann~Getty Images
After a loss to the Bulls on Sunday, Miami coach Erik Spoelstra said “a couple of guys” were crying in the locker room.
For his sake, I hope it was the Big Three of the trainer, the ballboy and the physical therapist. If Spoelstra has players crying after a game in early March, I can’t imagine what he’s going to encounter in the locker room when the Bulls beat the Heat in the playoffs.
Actually, yes, I can. It will look like an audience that just finished watching “The Notebook.’’
There is nothing wrong with crying. Speaker of the House John Boehner is an inveterate crier. People cry on “The Oprah Winfrey Show” all the time.
But NBA players after a loss in March? Really?
If so, the Bulls can cross the Heat off their to-do list. Now, if they can only figure out what activates the Celtics’ sprinkler system.
But something doesn’t add up here. Grizzled pros + regular-season game = tears? I’m having a hard time buying it, but I’m having a harder time understanding why Spoelstra would make up such a thing. For what gain?
Well, if he wanted to take away from the Bulls’ 87-86 victory, mission partially accomplished. I just spent seven paragraphs trying to make sense of what happened after the game.
But nothing can erase the fact that the Bulls now have bigger things on their minds than Miami and its emotional state.
‘Champs’ has a nice ring to it
Instead of chanting “M-V-P, M-V-P’’ for Derrick Rose, maybe Bulls fans should start chanting “NBA Champs, NBA Champs’’ for their team.
That would have been considered delusional at the beginning of the season and wishful thinking a month or so later, but not anymore, not after the way the Bulls have handled themselves against the top teams in the league and especially not after the way they handled themselves Sunday in Miami.
You can probably come up with reasons why the Bulls won’t win an NBA title this year, but none of them will be debate-enders.
There’s no compelling reason they can’t do this crazy, previously unthinkable thing.
“We can play, man,’’ Rose said.
And that’s really the simple truth about this ridiculously hardworking team, isn’t it? Man, can these guys play.
The victory over the Heat said a lot of things, most of them having to do with the fact that the Bulls are the better squad. But it also reinforced the idea that you can’t throw three superstars together and expect them to run away with an NBA title.
There’s something comforting in that. It means that all the work Rose, Joakim Noah and the much-maligned Luol Deng put in together the last few years means something in terms of “team,’’ that underappreciated concept. It means that Carlos Boozer has done a great job of meshing his considerable talents with his new teammates’ skills.
Heat could have the wrong mix
And what about the three-headed monster of LeBron James, Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh? It’s called paying your dues together, and so far they haven’t had enough time to do it. Or — and this is the scary possibility for the Heat — perhaps their talents don’t blend well enough for a championship.
That certainly could induce early-onset tears.
What’s undeniable is that everything Miami does is watched carefully. People are constantly looking for stress fractures. The Bulls, on the other hand, have had the luxury of not living their lives on a microscope slide.
With the Bulls up by a point in the closing seconds Sunday, Noah hermetically attached himself to James, who drove to the basket and missed. The rebound went to Wade, who missed a shot from the corner. Keith Bogans rebounded the ball for the team that doesn’t boast a Big Three. Game over.
The Bulls, with the second-best record in the Eastern Conference, have won nine of their last 11 games. The Heat has lost four in a row.
The Bulls are 8-4 against the top six teams in the NBA. The Heat is 1-9.
The Bulls have Derrick Rose. The Heat doesn’t.
You can’t teach the things that Rose does at the speed he does them. In the third quarter, he sliced through Wade and James for a sweet left-handed layup. Just to be clear: He wasn’t slicing through Steve Nash and Carmelo Anthony, who play defense like laundry on a clothesline.
Rose has something Wade doesn’t have — Chicago — and the guess here is that their rivalry is going to get nastier as time goes on. According to Slam magazine, when Rose hit a big shot over Wade at the United Center last month, he screamed, “This is my [house]!’’ What did he actually say in that parenthetical? Let’s put it this way: If the house had an address, it would be No. 2.
Wade and James couldn’t coax a victory when it counted Sunday. Wade had said beforehand that the two of them needed to do a better job of finishing off games. He was right, of course, but just because he knew that didn’t mean he’d be able to do it against the best defensive team in the NBA.
The Bulls frustrate opponents. They play hard almost all the time. They crash the boards. Wade and James spent the last eight minutes of the game griping about every call that didn’t go their way. The Bulls will do that to you.
As part of the league’s Hispanic marketing campaign, the Bulls wore “Los Bulls’’ jerseys Sunday, the Heat “El Heat’’ jerseys.
What’s Spanish for, “The Heat sure can bawl”?
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Michael Terranova
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« Reply #1 on: March 07, 2011, 03:10:16 pm »

America loves hating the heat. So many reasons to,
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Michael Terranova
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« Reply #2 on: March 07, 2011, 03:10:32 pm »

At least Wade understands that the whole nation enjoys it when the Heat lose. Everyone wants to see that, so this has been a lot of fun. I can't remember a team more hated other than the Yankees for all of time basically. If Miami had just gotten these guys without the tv stuff, and without that STUPID intro when they came out on a lift with smoke machines and a light show and music blasting, they might not be having these problems. They put all this pressure on themselves cuz they thought they'd be so good that it wouldn't matter. They NEVER thought they have a tough stretch, they NEVER thought they'd be anything but first place the entire season. THinking that you can win an NBA title without even trying is the dumbest thing I've ever heard of. Lebrick and Wade and Bosh thought they were too good and its catching up to them, and its the reason everyone hates the Heat so much. If they had even been slightly humble they might not be so hated, but since they wanted to throw it in everyone's face without even playing a game, they have to deal with all this attention. And its that attention thats making them lose games. Lebrick has NEVER been clutch, he's NEVER been able to handle a lot of attention. Its the same reason he's never been a good playoff guy, the Celtics abused him last year and he quit, like always. Thats the same thing thats showing up now.
The Heat can eat it. They deserve it, mentally weak bunch. This is what you get for parading around for gloating about how "easy" it was gonna be when you eloped. Love how D-Wade talks about everyone hating the Heat. Damn right Dwyane, you of all people should've seen that coming from a while off, and you deserve no pity.
That's what you get for teasing your hometown, claiming how the Bulls aren't loyal, then acting like Chicago was even a choice for you. And yeah, when the grass is cut, the snakes come out. Funny thing is, D-Rose definitely had a problem playing with LeBron, but he would've loved to have you on his team. Remember how giddy you were during the 08 draft? When you knew D-Rose would be joining forces with you in Miami? You had your chance. And like Noah said, it has been REALLL Hollywood down there.

The Best Cry EVER!!!
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Michael Terranova
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« Reply #3 on: March 07, 2011, 03:12:08 pm »

Care, but don't cry

March, 7, 2011
Mar 7

"This is painful for every single one of us to go through this. There are a couple of guys crying in the locker room right now. It is not a matter of want."

With that single admission by Heat coach Erik Spoelstra to the media, the public focus shifted from the Heat's ongoing failures to execute in late-game situations to something completely different.
Victor Baldizon/NBAE/Getty
Did Erik Spoelstra expose his team as weak or human?

Statistics like 1-for-18 in the final 10 seconds of games when trailing by three points or fewer receded into the background. All of a sudden, we were discussing whether Spoelstra had emasculated his team when he told the press corps a couple of his players had responded to the loss with tears.

For critics, this revelation confirmed what they knew all along: The Heat were soft. For others, it proved that Spoelstra was inexperienced in the fine craft of ego management. Even if players were crying after the loss, a seasoned head coach should understand the realpolitik of the NBA and not disclose such an intimate emotional detail from the locker room. As they suited up for their game in Atlanta, Amare Stoudemire and Carmelo Anthony ridiculed the Heat. Assuming the unidentified crier was Chris Bosh, Anthony said, "Wait 'til I call him, man ... I'll be like: 'What are you doing?'" Asked over Twitter whether he'd ever cried after a game, Charles Oakley responded, "HELL NO. Why? Do better. This aint little league."

A conversation takes a certain course, one we can watch unfold instantly as our Twitter feeds and Google Readers unfurl opinion after opinion. And this discussion quickly became about manhood: What are you doing, revealing your emotions after you've failed at a task? This ain't Little League! How can you possibly be so fragile after a regular-season loss?

The more machismo worked its way into the bloodstream of the discourse, the more unsettling it became to listen to. The tone of the debate seemed adolescent, and even primitive.

If schadenfreude is your flavor, then mock the Heat for their ugly record against the league's elite, or their gaudy pep rally in July, or the pleasures of watching the favorites be knocked down a peg (or five). If you believe Miami's offense lacks creativity and exactitude, then critique Spoelstra as a tactician. Plenty of reasons exist to kill the Heat, but is this really one of them?

Furthermore, there seemed to be something more insidious going on here. Critics were conveniently using masculinity as a blunt object against the Heat. Their failures couldn't be a product of bad execution, distribution of responsibility or a lack of trust. It was because they were sissies, and we know that because their coach had told us as much.

Then again, maybe you have to compete at the level Bosh, James, Wade, Stoudemire, Anthony and Oakley have in order to have a proper grasp on what happened Sunday afternoon.

David Thorpe has worked with two dozen former or current NBA players. In addition to shooting technique and footwork, many of these players seek Thorpe's counsel on the stuff they can't go to their NBA head coaches with, largely because they're afraid that if they express any emotional vulnerabilities, they could be tagged as soft or fragile.

I asked Thorpe whether my impressions of the discussion were naive. Was it crazy to believe that not only had Spoelstra done nothing wrong by disclosing that players were crying in the locker room, but that the crying itself was neither evidence of any fragility nor an expression of weakness?

Thorpe remembered the 1993 Temple team with Eddie Jones and Aaron McKie that had lost a tough game in the Elite Eight:
After the game, [Temple head coach] John Chaney was talking about how badly his players were crying in the locker room. He said it wasn't just about not reaching our goal to make the Final Four. It was because they'd never get a chance to play with each other again. They understood that the pro game was just a business. These guys had chosen to be here, and they're playing as a family and now that's over.

This was true, but I asked Thorpe why we never seem to have a problem watching a 22-year-old kid bawl his eyes out each March -- in fact, we usually celebrate it as a beautiful display of competitive spirit -- but the idea of a pro player crying is, judging from the response over the past 18 hours, ridiculous:
When you're that invested in any activity and spending hours and hours every day together, pain can make you cry. The reason we see it so rarely in the NBA is because it's very, very difficult to get anyone to be that invested. Fundamentally, the reason why is because the origin of an NBA team is not typically one of choice. A good portion of the team is there because they were drafted. They didn't pick their coach. They didn't pick their teammates. They didn't pick their city. They didn't pick the franchise. They just chose the NBA. This doesn't mean that there aren't guys who are fully invested, but you tend not to have that extra dynamic you do in college.

But the Heat are different. It has that. For the most part, those guys weren't drafted by the Miami Heat. They chose to be in Miami, and especially the big three. They have as much ownership over this team and their careers as any player we can imagine. I'm not suggesting it was the big three who were crying. I talked with Udonis Haslem about this exact subject before the season. He's not in Miami playing for a second ring if the big three hadn't thought about him.

Thorpe was making a true and somewhat ironic observation. If you go up and down the Heat's roster, you'll find guys who chose the Heat much the way a star high school prospect chooses a college program. The recruitment and commitment were mutual. In that respect, the investment in the Heat locker room is real. They might be cocky or petulant or any number of negative qualities we can ascribe to them, but nobody on the Heat is a mercenary.

What about the tears?
Crying is a natural human reaction to pain. As far as Spoelstra's comments. I'm all for honesty, transparency and not treating players as if they're machines. He's not saying anything negative about a player if he says that he's crying. And anyone who reacts in a way that says, "Crying is bad in sports" is still in middle school or high school in terms of their mentality.

I guarantee you with 100 percent confidence those were not the first guys to cry in a locker room. And the reason I can guarantee you is because players I've spoken to have cried in a locker room. It wasn't always from a painful loss. Sometimes it was out of frustration born from an injury. But it wasn't the physical pain from the injury, it was the mental pain.

In fact, Thorpe said the guys most likely to cry were the players who had poured the most into rehabilitating, the ones who had busted their asses to get themselves into a position to compete again. The ones phoning it in? You'll never see a drop from their tear ducts.

These impressions were reassuring, but what about the political realities of the NBA? If Thorpe were the media relations chief for the Heat and Spoelstra told him on the way to the interview room, "Hey, I think I'm going to mention that a couple of the guys were crying," would Thorpe advise him against that?
If a player punches another player in practice or stole money from another player, you have to handle that internally as much as I agree with transparency. But telling the press basically, "My guys are extremely frustrated and feeling so much pain that some of them are in tears," I don't see a single bad thing.

Crying is as natural as eating or breathing. All he was really saying was, "We care! This means something to us! We're not losing glibly here! We are all in! And if I call practice at 5 o'clock tomorrow, my entire team will be there."

In a few hours, the Heat will be peppered with questions about Spoelstra's postgame remarks. Some of them will be asked if they were one of the players doing the crying. It's unlikely anyone on that roster -- or any roster -- will confess to having shed tears in response to a loss, lest they run the risk of having peers in the league poke them.

And at some point this spring, a player or two will fail in the postseason by what we perceive to be a lack of effort. We'll instinctively know they don't care enough about the game. How? By reading their body language.

But whatever you do, just don't examine their eyes.
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Michael Terranova
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« Reply #4 on: March 07, 2011, 03:13:18 pm »

Something else Heat can cry about: Rose is better MVP choice than LeChoking James

The Heat cried?

The Bulls made some Heat players cry after beating them in Miami on Sunday?

When did the Heat trade for Roberto Luongo?

"There’s a couple guys crying in the locker room," Heat interim coach Erik Spoelstra said.

Crying in March? Jeez, how weak is that locker room? And how soon will Spoelstra be fired for failing with that roster and for ratting out his weepers?

So many questions about Sunday’s losers. So many answers about the Bulls.

For one, they’re not a fluke. Not with that defense (Tom Thibodeau, hello). And not with that point guard (Derrick Rose, hello). Those are two of the biggest reasons the Bulls lengthened their lead on the Heat for the second seed in the Eastern Conference.

Miami might have the "Big Three" of Dwyane Wade, LeBron James and Chris Bosh, but the Heat also have a big hole: They don’t have a point guard, certainly nothing close to Rose, which has resulted in their inability to run a halfcourt offense.

The Bulls also answered, or at least confirmed, that the Heat can’t guard a team with a fast point guard. If the Heat gets to run, they can win. But good teams force you to work for each possession, and the Heat can’t. Not only did this underscore how right the Bulls have it, but it also shows how wrong the Heat have it for the playoffs when play gets excruciatingly tight.

You know what else might’ve been answered? Rose’s coronation, that’s what.

It has been building, what with his starting All-Star status and quality wins over Boston, a hot Dallas team, Orlando twice, the NBA-leading Spurs, and Miami twice, and that’s in just the new calendar year.

But here’s the clip&save: We’ll look back and say Sunday was the game that capped the week when Derrick Rose won the MVP award, in part because it also will be remembered as the week when James lost it.

James repeatedly and inexcusably choked in measuring-stick games. Rose repeatedly gave his team a chance to pass the Heat and threaten Boston.

It was the week when James and the “Big Three’’ were exposed as big losers -- bullies who can’t deal with a fair fight. The Heat can beat up the lousy teams, but they can’t beat top teams. The Bulls have beaten the Lakers, Celtics and Spurs, and if the Heat still count as a good team, the Bulls have beaten them three times. Swept the season series. Overtook them for the second seed. The Heat, meanwhile, have lost 9 of 10 to the top three teams in each conference.

How can your MVP come from a team that can’t beat quality opponents? You don’t matter if you can’t beat a team that matters.

And how can you elect an MVP who can’t close? Or at least set up the winning play.

James couldn’t score against Joakim Noah on a drive Sunday the way he blew a jumper in a loss to the Bulls in Chicago two weeks ago. Wade missed a jumper at the buzzer Sunday, and so, the Heat legacy grew to 1-for-18 when they were shooting to tie or win a game in the final 10 seconds. A hundred-million dollars apiece has to make that the most expensive pair of chokers in sports history.

Sorry, but your MVP can’t be a guy who comes up small at the biggest times. I mean, what’s so valuable about that? Beating the best would seem to indicate where a player’s value is.

In the past week, the Heat blew double-digit leads against the Knicks and Magic at home, got wiped out by the Spurs in San Antonio, then choked another double-digit lead against the Bulls at home. If it was close the past week, James missed the shot. Just to clarify: Not a good thing.

In the past week, the Bulls won three of four on the road, closing with a weekend when they beat the Magic on the home court of that whiny, cheap-shot goof Dwight Howard, then pantsed the Heat on national television.

Rose’s team has beaten tougher opponents and done it more often, while James’ gang has to pray that the Wizards and Cavaliers are playoff options.

"This is what everyone wanted," a sarcastic Wade offered Sunday. "The world’s better now because the Heat are losing."

Maybe, maybe not. But you know what’s decidedly better now? The clarity of which team is better and which MVP candidate is the better choice.
Posted at 10:46:49 AM in Chicago Bulls, Chris Bosh, Derrick Rose, Dwyane Wade, Erik Spoelstra, Joakim Noah, LeBron James, Roberto Luongo, Tom Thibodeau
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Michael Terranova
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« Reply #5 on: March 07, 2011, 03:14:02 pm »

Bulls complete the Heat sweep

The Bulls again fell behind big early in the game. Miami led by nine at the break. However, defense and Derrick Rose brought the Bulls back into the game in the third quarter.

Thibodeau remains the king of half time adjustments as Miami scored only 37 points in the second half.

Some people will talk about the Deng's cheap foul to build the lead, but on the final play LeBron James had a blatant offensive foul clearing out Noah on the drive. Mike Miller clearly went over Deng's back, actually tackling him in the process, but generating an offensive rebound for Miami.

In the end, LeBron missed. Dwyane Wade missed. The Bulls won.

Btw, Per Mike McGraw, the Heat were whiny bitches post game too, check out his twitter:

Heat definitely sent vibe postgame that Bulls didn't deserve the second set of Deng FTs that turned out to be game-winners.

LeBron: "I told my team I'm not going to continue to fail them late in games."

Wade:"This is what everyone wanted. The world's better now because the Heat are losing."

Derrick Rose puts another feather in his MVP cap

With the game tied at 76 all, Derrick Rose entered the game and scored six straight. An acrobat finish, a drawn foul, and a mid range jumper. The Bulls pulled up to 82-76. He also gave the Bulls a big lift in the third quarter to help close the gap.

Derrick didn't have the end of game heroics in this one, those belonged to Luol Deng, but in a game where the Bulls couldn't get much going offensively, a game where the Heat blitzed Rose constantly, he led all scorers with 27 points on 12 of 23 shooting.

Luol Deng was almost the goat, but ended up the hero

He hit a big 8 foot one handed running push shot to push the lead to five and when the Heat closed on the Bulls and took the lead, Deng slashed in the lane and drew the foul. After missing the second free throw to put the lead at one, Mike Miller got called for a BS foul, and Deng got another shot and knocked them both down.

Ignoring his luck at the end, Deng was the only one else providing any offense for the Bulls this game chipping in 18 points and playing excellent defense as well.

Joakim Noah played with great energy in hustle

Noah played outstanding help defense, He rotated well, he picked up LeBron and forced the tough miss at the end of game (despite the blatant push off). He had hustle plays, saves from out of bounds plays, and generally did what you expect him to do.

He had a lousy box score, but I thought he generally still played pretty well in the game.

Carlos Boozer plays much better defense in big games

Not that he becomes a warrior, but when it really counts Boozer steps up his d. If we could get him to do that every game, it'd be wonderful. Boozer did a nice job on the glass, kept a few offensive plays a live, and had a few tough defensive boards.

His offense wasn't spectacular today, but he stepped up and played more of a complete game.

The role players?

They generally played defense reasonably weell, they kept the Bulls in the game when they were on the court, but outside of Taj Gibson, the Bulls got precious little offense out of the bench.

However this game was really about the starters.

Final thoughts

It's hard to poke holes in the Bulls as championship contenders these days isn't it?

Bulls are winning all the big games. They're 13-7 against the elite teams in the NBA according to Jeff Sagarin. Only the Spurs (15-7) are better, but all of the Bulls losses come from early in the season.
Bulls are now winning road games against those elite teams.

I'll say this, the Bulls should sweep some awards.
« Last Edit: March 07, 2011, 03:14:29 pm by Michael Terranova » Report Spam   Logged
Michael Terranova
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« Reply #6 on: March 08, 2011, 03:08:04 pm »

Cry-ami Heat
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