2012 NBA Playoff Postmortem: Chicago Bulls

Luol Deng walks off the court after being hit with an elbow
as the Bulls played out their last game of the season.
(image by Drew Hallowell/Getty Images)

This is the alternative ending to a Cinderella story.

Cinderella, in her desire to be with the one she loves, and partly because she’s missing a glass slipper, trips and breaks her leg (ACL tear or twisted ankle take your pick). She falls to the ground, and breaks her crown (yes, that’s from ANOTHER story). And all the Bulls come tumbling after.

You know the rest.

Of course, we can also say the Bulls (ahem, CJ Watson) didn’t make the clutch plays that would’ve propelled them to a seventh game at home.

But how can we fault these guys for playing just one way all season – hard!?!?!

How can we fault these guys who had to tough it out without their MVP (and Rip Hamilton) for much of the truncated season.

Once again, they topped the East.

Once again, they did it without the star power of Miami, New York, or the LAs.

This time, however, they fell by the wayside a lot sooner than EVERYONE had expected.

And all because of the past week or so.

Damn those injuries suck.

And, damn, if it were the Bucks at the 8th seed, the Bulls would’ve probably advanced.


Instead, Chicago is left wondering and wandering.

Will Derrick Rose ever be the same player?

Can they pull off another work-your-ass-off-and-we’ll-get-top-seed season next year?

How healthy will Luol Deng be after the 2012 Olympics?

Will they pull the trigger on an amnesty clause regarding Carlos Boozer?

Will this Bulls team ever meet get the just rewards of which they’re worthy?

Because this is a team that doesn’t play the lying game. They don’t play to the media hype. 

They just play hard.

They are the good guys.

They will be back.



Because nobody can ever really keep the good guys down.

Game Recaps:

PHI over CHI, 79-78
At least for one night, Andre Iguodala is in the city of Philadelphia's good graces. Iguodala drained two free throws with 2.2 seconds to play, lifting the Sixers past the top-seeded Chicago Bulls, 79-78, and into the Eastern Conference semifinals with a Game 6 victory. Chicago, buoyed by a staggering 56-33 rebounding edge, rallied from a 12-point deficit to seize the lead late, but Omer Asik missed a pair of free throws to set up Iguodala's dash to the rim and subsequent free throws. The polarizing figure galvanized for his late-game play rung the bell this time, making both shots and then watching as C.J. Watson's desperation halfcourt heave hit off the back rim. Iguodala scored a game-best 20 points to go along with seven assists, while Jrue Holiday joined Louis Williams in double figures with 14 points. The Sixers became the fifth eighth-seed to knock off a top seed and now will face Boston in the next round. Luol Deng and Richard Hamilton each posted 19 points, while Deng grabbed 17 rebounds as well. Taj Gibson scored 14 points off the bench for the Bulls, who couldn't find enough offense without the services of last season's MVP Derrick Rose, who tore his ACL in a Game 1 injury that altered the series' landscape. Joakim Noah dressed but didn't play again, missing his third consecutive game with an ankle sprain.

BOS over ATL, 83-80
Atlanta was fortunate to avoid elimination after a series of mental mistakes in the closing seconds of Game 5, but the late- game hijinks tilted Game 6 in Boston's favor on Thursday. Kevin Garnett swished a turnaround jumper with 30.4 seconds remaining to put the Celtics in front and they held on for a dramatic 83-80 series-clinching victory at TD Garden. Trailing 81-79, with possession and 3.1 seconds remaining, the Hawks found Al Horford -- who had erupted for 10 points in the fourth quarter to that point -- in the paint on an inbounds pass. He was promptly fouled. He missed the first free-throw, and with so little time on the clock, the strategic play appeared to be to miss the second and try for an offensive rebound. But Horford converted the second at the stripe, Paul Pierce hit 2- of-2 at the line a few moments later and the Celtics escaped to face Philadelphia in the Eastern Conference semifinals. Garnett finished with game-highs in points (28) and rebounds (14) in the victory, while Josh Smith led Atlanta with 18 points in the season-ending defeat.

Rajon Rondo and the Celtics drove past the Atlanta Hawks in Game 6
all the way to the second round of the Playoffs.
(image by Charles Krupa/AP)
DEN over LAL, 113-96
The Denver Nuggets set the tone early, responded to a dirty play in the middle stages with a furious rally, and battled until the end of a wire-to-wire Game 6 victory over the LA Lakers, 113-96, on Thursday. Facing elimination in the best-of-seven set, Denver opened the contest on a 13-0 run and never looked back, leading by as many as 28. Ty Lawson netted 5-of-6 three-point attempts en route to a playoff career-high 32 points, Corey Brewer poured in 18 off the bench and Kenneth Faried continued his strong rookie campaign with 15 points and 11 boards. Kobe Bryant missed the pre-game shootaround because of a stomach illness, but started and performed admirably nonetheless; he tallied 31 points on 13-of-23 shooting. He teammates combined for just a 22-of-60 mark from the floor, however. The decisive Game 7 will take place on Saturday in Los Angeles, with the winner advancing to play the Oklahoma City Thunder.

Andrew Bynum is probably thinking about the things
he said two days ago. They're gonna have a Game 7 in LA.
(image by David Zalubowski/AP)
*Game recaps were compiled and compressed from Reuters, the Associated Press and the Sports Network.

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