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Rose was able to get near the basket while taking Cleveland guard Matthew Dellavedova, absorb a bit of contact, and rise up for a floater.
Here’s the issue: James was on the prowl the entire time and swatted Rose’s shot attempt into the second row with 48.8 left in the fourth quarter.
The improbable chasedown block from James was just another opportunity lost for the Chicago Bulls in their quest to slay the playoff dragon that is LeBron James.
Since Rose drilled a game-winning three-pointer for the ages to cap off Game 3, the Bulls have had nothing but blown opportunities and bad breaks.
In Game 4, the Bulls blew a seven-point lead at the start of the fourth quarter and were crushed by a clutch James jumper from the corner to tie the series. On Tuesday, “Optimus Bron” appeared for four quarters, and yet, the Bulls still had their chances to take control of the series.
Not only did the Bulls jump out to a 16-6 start in the opening frame, they found themselves down 17 with 8:47 left in the game, and still found a way to bring the game to a one-score game before LeBron did his inhuman act defensively.
What haven’t the Bulls done?
Derrick Rose has shown many glimpses of the old “MVP D-Rose“, Jimmy Butler has emerged as one of the best overall players in the NBA, and veteran Mike Dunleavy has been a walking ball of fire at times.
But, when your free agent veteran goes down with a hamstring issue, your former First Team All-NBA center is a shell of himself, and your role players haven’t stepped up to the plate in the last two games, there’s no chance you’re beating LeBron James four times in a series.
And to put the cherry on top of this dysfunctional sundae, the head coach of this roster has one foot out the door and just might be the most stubborn man in America.
The Bulls will be a desperate team on Thursday night in Game 6 against the Cavaliers. This is the best roster the Bulls have had since the postseason before Rose’s dreadful ACL tear in 2012. Desperate times call for desperate measures in the Windy City.
Will Tom Thibodeau realize that playing Kirk Hinrich as many minutes than Nikola Mirotic and Tony Snell combined is a recipe for disaster? Probably not, but at this point, you’re searching for answers on the brink of elimination.
Sure, Mirotic has been awful from the field in the series (9-for-28, 28.6%) and not much better on defense, but what has Snell done to be buried next to Bulls assistant coach Adrian Griffin on the pine?
Whether it was James’ crushing dagger to end Game 4 or his heart-stopping block to halt any kind of Bulls miracle on Tuesday, this series feels like the conclusion is near.
But, when your backs are against the wall, and you’ve got nothing to lose on your home floor, desperation can turn the tide in any situation.
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