CHICAGO — Dust off the sports cliche books boys and girls and polish up your elimination game garbage talk because its (Enter cliche here) time for the Bulls.
“Win or go home.”
“Do or die.”
“They’re in a must win situation.”
It’s the magical time in the playoffs where the sports cliche is king and the kings on the positive side of those tired old sayings are the Heat. As we await Game 5, we all now what the implications are and what is at stake. But it seems all the negative cliches and sayings are being directed at the Bulls and the basketball worl d is acting as if the Bulls have already been eliminated.
Did I really sleep through Thursday? Is it already Friday!?
I checked, it’s Thursday and Game 5 is still tonight in Chicago. Coming back home down 3-1 may seem bad, but according to Luol Deng it’s not the end of the world.
“I really believe we’ve got a group of guys that are going to keep on fighting,” Deng said. “There’s no quit in us. There’s no quit in that locker room. It’s really going to come down to the end of the game again.”
Despite the negativity directed at the Bulls from the greater basketball universe, Derrick Rose also has positive vibes about tonight’s game.
“We still have games to play,” Rose said. “Thibs talked to us in the locker room about it, where we’re going back to play at home, and we have to stay positive, where they are beatable. But we just have to make sure that we play together and the turnovers have to be down, play defense.”
The numbers are tough to argue, only 8 teams have ever come back from being down 3-1. The Bulls have seemed a distant unit from the one that showed up for their first four games this year against the Heat. But another number that isn’t being brought up is the fact the Bulls are still 4-3 on the year against the Heat and Miami, despite the momentum, are still 1-3 when playing inside the United Center.
The support behind those stats is going to vary from person to person but you can’t deny they’re fact. Another undeniable is the Bulls are still very capable of beating the Heat. They did in Game 1 and should have in Game 4; when this team plays as a unit the best it can be, it’s unstoppable.
Game 5 tonight is exactly what all the cliches describe, but how about this cliche for your scrapbook: “Down but not out.”
No cliche better describes a team all season long as avoided becoming one. Yes the Bulls may be down 3-1, but nothing in this team’s history this season is giving any credit to the theory that the Bulls will lay down and let the Heat move on an NBA Finals rematch with the Dallas Mavericks.
Let us not forget that at the beginning of this very season, all the talk was much as it is now: all about the Heat. And what happened with that?
Why thanks for asking, let me tell you: the Bulls swept up (literally) on the Heat catching them completely by surprise and earned the Eastern Conference’s best record by beating teams the heat couldn’t and by sweeping the Heat in three games. While everyone was having joygasm about LeBron James, Derrick Rose was busy winning the MVP while everyone’s attention was drawn to South Beach. While the majority of the world was enamored by a team that hadn’t actually won anything yet, the Bulls were actually winning.
To put it in layman’s cliche terms: “it’s not over until it’s over.”
Josh Hill is the Editor and Lead Writer of PIPPEN AIN”T EASY. You can follow PIPPEN AIN”T EASY on Twitter to keep up with all the latest and best Bulls news.