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Bulls Mon May 04 2009

Requiem For a Season: Bulls Say Goodnight


Cue Boys II Men

The Bulls hopes for a first round upset of the defending NBA champs came to crashing halt in Boston on Saturday night. After an astonishing seven game series with more twists and turns than a Grisham novel, the Bulls were outmatched in the deciding game. Sadly after a record setting seven OT sessions in the first six games of the series, this one wasn't nearly that close as Boston (after an early Bulls lead) grabbed the momentum and led from the second quarter on, with the Bulls only making it close in the fourth quarter for the requisite high-drama that this whole series seemed to be blessed with.

The series itself will go down as one of the greatest non-Finals series ever, having earned its rightful place alongside the 2006 San Antonio-Dallas series in the parthenon of, uhh, "great non-Finals playoff match ups." From the dazzling performance of Derrick Rose in game 1, to Ray Allen's hope-crushing 3 pointer in Game 2 those performances were just the start of a playoff match up that had the look and feel of a NBA "Best Of..." Time-Life video series.

For me the thing that will stick out from this series was the emergence of both Derrick Rose and Rajon Rondo as elite point guards, not quite at the Chris Paul-Deron Williams-level rivalry, yet, but these two essentially had dueling coronations throughout the series with Rondo averaging close to a triple-double! for the series and DRose displaying alternate moments of ecstatic domination (Game 1, blocking/embarrassing Scalabrine on the Game 7 block) and folly (way too many turnovers, that whole...cough...defensive effort.") Still Derrick's shining moment came in the waning seconds of Game 6, when after 3 OTs Rondo was ready to send the game to a fourth and Derrick Rose blocked Rondo's jumper to ice the game. Words fail, and really, if you missed Game 6, you missed what is poetic about the NBA.

Beyond the point guards, Tyrus Thomas and Joakim Noah had their national coming out parties with Tyrus displaying his nifty 15 foot jumper and his uncanny ability for blocking all shots that enter his air space. More impressive though was the emergence of the buffoonish (that's a compliment!) Noah, who has received far too much criticism for not scoring enough; yet, there Noah was, cleaning the glass, tipping the ball, diving for loose balls, blocking shots and generally driving Kendrick Perkins and Glen Davis insane.

Anyway, nice job, Bulls. You went much farther and pushed the champs much harder than nearly anyone thought you would. Later this week I'll dissect such varying topics as how VDN did in his first year, what Chicago should with Ben Gordon and what the Bulls should look for in the draft.

 
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