Tuesday, May 02, 2006


Listen, after having twice played the Heat tough down in Miami and running the Heat off the court at the United Center, the Baby Bulls are beyond the point of moral victories. They've proven that they're more than a collection of young guns just happy to squeeze into the playoffs. They belong. And tonight they have a golden opportunity to sway this knotted series in a possibly irreversible way.

The dimwits in this town (you know, guys like Jay Mariotti) keep running with the theory that what the Bulls need is a superstar. When you're clueless like Mariotti, you hear a cliche repeated once and then keep pounding it into the dirt until, somehow, it becomes almost fact. I guess it beats actually thinking. Mariotti is at it again today, mentioning how the Bulls may acquire the likes of a Kevin Garnett or Jermaine O'Neal in the offseason. Well, fine, dandy. But so what? What does that have to do with now, right now?

The Bulls' biggest problem hasn't been the lack of a superstar. No, their biggest problem has been the lack of a killer instinct. I'm not about to look up any stats, but just think of how many tight games the Bulls lost this season in the final moments, or how many times they blew sizable late leads. Those 41 wins easily could have been much higher. Easily.

Granted, every team could cite a list of woulda, should, coulda games, but the Bulls' list was extraordinary. They were always right there and just out of reach all at the same time. They were in limbo. Sure, a superstar may have helped, but it was always more about mental lapses and costly turnovers and one horrible stretch here or there.

Now, don't get me wrong. A superstar such as Garnett ot O'Neal would be nice, but that has nothing to do with tonight. Nothing at all. So stop mentioning it.

Tonight is all about taking what has been placed right in front of you, within reach and beautiful. It's all right there for the taking. The Bulls have the momentum and the Heat are bickering and yapping and crumbling right before our eyes just as anyone with any basketball wisdom could have forseen the moment Pat Riley brought in the likes of Gary Payton and Antoine Walker and eased himself into Stan Van Gundy's position.

The Bulls have been here before. In Miami. On national TV. They've seen this. They've done this. They came agonizingly close.

Now is the next step. It has to be. You don't want to return to Chitown in desperation mode. And as nice as Miami is, you don't want to return.

Right now.

Hopefully, Tyson Chandler's ankle is workable. If not, Luke Schenscher may get some burn, and Schencher is crazy. Crazy! Look at him. Just look at him! I wouldn't want to run into a crazy mofo like Schencsher in a dark alley. Dude is frightening. A cold chill rattles my bones just hearing his name mentioned. Dude's scary. Look at him!

"I'm a bad motherfucker."

Here we go now.


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