AL HAMNIK COLUMN: Bulls bracing for the end and probably know it

2013-05-14T16:45:00Z 2013-09-16T19:26:13Z AL HAMNIK COLUMN: Bulls bracing for the end and probably know itAl Hamnik Times Columnist nwitimes.com
May 14, 2013 4:45 pm  • 

CHICAGO | What do you do, what do you say, when the end is inevitable?

If you're the Bulls, you smile while blindfolded and defiantly stick your chin out.

The end won't hurt any less, but it's a pride thing, you know. And the undermanned, bruised and beaten Bulls don't plan to go quietly tonight in Miami.

It's just not in their DNA.

LeBron James' Heat are worlds apart from the Bulls in talent, and we all knew that. Being up 3-1 in the series doesn't surprise us, not really, even if a banged-up Kirk Hinrich and Luol Deng weren't watching from the shelf.

The Heat, of course, aren't thumping their chests as the end draws near for the Bulls, left with nothing to fight with but pride.

Their bench has been outscored 150-73.

The Heat have a 56-20 advantage in fast break points.

The Bulls are shooting 37.6 percent, Miami close to 50.

But the James' Gang has been classy and all business in their quest to repeat as NBA champions.

"They're in a tough situation," James understated. "They've had some injuries and illnesses. They don't have their full roster, but that's not for us to worry about.

"They beat a very good Brooklyn team (in Round 1) without their full roster."

One good thing about having the season end is no more sideline shots of Derrick Rose sitting on the bench, impeccably dressed, while teammates can't find the basket with a GPS and are getting their brains beat in.

Meanwhile, Miami's 31-year-old Dwyane Wade is playing with a bum knee and moving around like he's 50. But he's gutting it out, helping any way he can, even in limited minutes.

"Miami is a great team. We have to come out with great intensity — but we also have to make shots," said Bulls coach Tom Thibodeau, who could've mailed in his pre- and postgame comments much of this season.

The Bulls have no chance tonight. They're swimming with sharks and the sharks are starving.

"We have another game coming up. We have another crack at it," guard Nate Robinson said Monday night after shooting 0-for-12 and going scoreless.

"We'll put this game behind us. You have to play together and the shots will fall. You never know. I could shoot 12-for-12 next time."

It would help if we could see that in writing.

This Bulls are due for a major overhaul in the offseason because Miami will strive to get even better. So will the Pacers, Nets, Hawks, Knicks and Celtics.

Now is all that matters, going out with fists clenched and head held high. It's that DNA thing, again.

"You have to believe, keep your confidence up, and we'll be all right," Robinson said. "It will be a test for us. They said we couldn't win the series but we believe we can.

"We just have to muster up. It was the same with Brooklyn. They won the first game and took it to Game 7. We can do the same."

Nice speech, Nate. It may give some fans goosebumps but truth is, the Nets were fruit punch and the Heat is Dom Perignon.

This column solely represents the writer's opinion. Reach him at al.hamnik@nwi.com.

Copyright 2014 nwitimes.com. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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