Know thy enemy. Keeping up with your Chicago Bulls is crucial to being a devoted fan, but to achieve the ultimate baller-babe status you must also be knowledgeable about the entirety of their Eastern Conference and fiercest competitors. Let’s break it down!
The beasts of the east are separated into three divisions: Atlantic, Central and South East. The Bulls exist within the Central division with the Milwaukee Bucks, Indiana Pacers, Detroit Pistons and Cleveland Cavaliers. Although division rivalries are generally the biggest, plenty of other rivalries develop throughout the years especially during playoff games. Each year only one Eastern Conference team fights their way through conference playoffs and makes their way to the NBA Championship round.
It seems within the NBA rivalries change most frequently depending on what players are on the team. For instance, back in the ’90s with MJ and Scotty Pippen the Bulls and the New York Knicks had a crazy rivalry, but today the teams just get down to business when they meet on the court. Same goes for the Bulls and the Detroit Pistons, during and after their Championship in 2004 Chicago played hard against the top dogs. Now that the Pistons have fallen to the bottom of the conference it seems the rivalry has fizzled out.
Rivalries add the story lines to sports and make them that much more fun to watch. Get in the know this season and be aware of which teams to pay special attention to. Here the Bulls top Eastern Conference foes in 2012:
It pains me to say this, but the Miami Heat are one game away from clinching the NBA Championship title. They lead the series 3-1 after they topped the OKC Thunder 104-98 in Game 4 and with the 2-3-2 format of the NBA Finals they have another home game for Game 5, all the odds are in their favor.
Here are some memorable moments from Game 4:
This little lady, Julia Dale, sang the National Anthem at last night’s game and man does she have some pipes for an 11-year-old. Don’t be fooled, this isn’t Julia’s first rodeo, she sang the anthem during the 2011 NBA Finals as well and received a standing ovation from the crowd.
In general, people don’t like the Heat because of their attitudes and diva-like habits. Dwyane Wade embraced stereotypical Heat behavior when he “injured” his back on a nicely braced fall, hobbled off the court holding his back, and was back in the game bouncing around within seconds. FAKER. Wade finished with 25 points on 19 shots, five rebounds, three assists, two steals, and two blocks.
The West’s favorite fashion forward point guard has a brag and boo for Game 4. Russell Westbrook’s explosive 43-point performance in Game 4 ranks up there as one of the best in recent NBA Finals history (brag). Unfortunately, I think the majority of fans will remember his lapse of awareness in the finals seconds that cost the Thunder a chance to tie the game and sealed the deal for Miami (boo). Since 1985, only three players have scored more points in the finals and the list includes: Michael Jordan, Allen Iverson and Shaquille O’Neal. That’s an elite bunch if you ask me.
King James had a king cramp in the final minutes of the fourth quarter. Why was Bron Bron so dehydrated? Can’t handle the Heat? Or was he out at the clubs partying too hard? Regardless, watching Lebron sit on his little blue mat to stretch at the end of the game gave me a chuckle. James led Miami with 26 points, 12 assists and nine rebounds.
The Heat’s Mario Chalmers had one of the best games of his career; coming up big when it mattered most. Chalmers had a post-season high scoring19 of his 25 points in the second half, 12 of them coming in the fourth quarter when Lebron was struggling with his man cramps.
It’s not very likely that the Thunder will come back from being down 3-1 in the NBA Finals to claim the crown, but hopefully they put up a decent fight in Game 5. I’d like to see at least one more game in Oklahoma City before this series is over. Make’em work!
Tonight the Bulls host the Miami Heat at home. This will be the third time these Eastern Conference powerhouses meet this season, and we’re all squared up (Maimi won at home and the Bulls won at home), it’s a best of three situation tonight. We all expect big performances out of Dwayne Wade and Lebron James, but in Bulls-Heat match-ups one of the most essential players has been Chris Bosh. Containing Bosh is a key element in tonight’s game for the Bulls. In January Bosh had 24 points in the Miami win, but in March when the Bulls won, Bosh had a quiet game with only 12 points. We’re counting on you Carlos Boozer – shut down the Snoop Dogg-Velociraptor – please and thank you.
I really need to invest in one of those “Beat the Heat” t-shirts.
John Lucas III showed up to the United Center last night with something to prove (there’s no way any of us forgot how Lebron James actually dunked over him in Maimi earlier this season, it still hurts to see it replayed as a top dunk). Lucas was like a spark off the bench with 24 points – missing his personal high by one point – he hit 9 of 12 shots and 3 of 5 3-pointers. He just didn’t miss much and Bulls fans were eating it up.
As I watched John Lucas III destroy the Miami Heat and his defender, who happened to be “King” Lebron James, I couldn’t help but notice the crazy resemblance between Lucas and Carlton Banks from The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air. I immediately had to google image “Carlton Banks” where I finally learned the actor’s name, it’s Alfonso Ribeiro if you didn’t know, and they’re definitely long lost brothers. I was reassured when I saw this photo floating around online, I was not alone in my observation.
There is one thing I know for sure, if Lucas can have more games like last night coming off the bench like an animal, I will be doing the Carlton Banks “happy dance” for all to see.
WHOA, this just looks uncomfortable Mr. Lakeshow. However, I can’t imagine playing a NBA basketball game with a broken nose, ouch. When the Los Angeles Lakers beat the Miami Heat 93-83 on Sunday, the most impressive performance seemed to come from Kobe Bryant’s face mask, it’s 3-0 for the season.
I’m used to seeing Rip Hamilton, the Bulls newest edition this season, who has been rocking his mask for so long it looks like part of his uniform. This current mask just isn’t cutting it for the Prince of LA, Kobe is reportedly still struggling with all the sweat that’s trickling into his mouth during games when he wears the mask (super sexy). Lakers trainer Gary Vitti has been working with basketball mask innovator Jerry McHale, the man behind Rip City’s mask, to try and come up with a better one for Kobe, we should expect a new and improved mask during the Lakers game tomorrow. I think you need to get a sweet purple sweatband to complete the ensemble and collect that sweat.