By Tyler Coppock
Derrick Rose has missed ten games this season. That’s more than he missed in his first three season combined. For some reason, one I can’t really figure out, Bulls fans don’t care.
How many times have we had to listen to ludicrous Bulls fans harp on about how the regular season means nothing? Are they mad, I ask? Does the one seed mean nothing? Who would you rather see in the first round, the Celtics or the Bucks? In the second round would you really want to go to Madison Square Garden and see “Linsanity” up close and personal? If the Eastern Conference Finals go to Game 7 then let it be on Chicago’s West Side.
These things matter, people. The Heat are neck-and-neck with the Bulls. In fact, as I type these very words, the Heat control the one seed. I’m not sure who the better team is, but let this be known, the Heat have beaten the Bulls in five-consecutive contests. That’s not a fluke, it’s a trend.
The Bulls and Heat are on a collision course. They have been since the final buzzer sounded after game 5 of the ECF last year. They are a perfect rivalry, one the media didn’t even have to manufacture. Blue collar vs. Hollywood, Rose vs. James, good vs. evil.
These teams almost undoubtedly will meet in the playoffs. Even with the rapid ascension of Jeremy Lin, there isn’t a team in the Eastern Conference who is on the level of the Bulls and Heat.
Each team is a defensively-minded machine focused on one goal: a ring. Lebron’s ego is real, but make no mistake, he will stop at nothing to win a title this season.
82 games isn’t just a catch phrase, it’s a reality. Kobe and Jordan didn’t rest “just because,” and neither should Rose. Resting just because you feel like it is for those who finish in second place. Yes, I’m absolutely referring to Lebron James.
Also, for those who are terrified that Bulls’ head coach Tom Thibodeau is wearing down his starters by playing them deep into fourth quarters, wise up. He’s not destroying their conditioning, he’s building it.
The Bulls had a chance to win every in the conference finals last season. Each game was won or lost in the last seven minutes. That won’t happen this year. Thibodeau is making sure his team is accustomed to fourth quarters. They won’t wear down, they will be ready.
If Rose can play, he plays. If he can’t, he rests. There is far too much on the line this season to take a game, or even a quarter, off.