WBEZ | Miami Heat http://www.wbez.org/tags/miami-heat Latest from WBEZ Chicago Public Radio en Bulls' hope fades, Blackhawks take on Red Wings http://www.wbez.org/blogs/cheryl-raye-stout/2013-05/bulls-hope-fades-blackhawks-take-red-wings-107169 <p><div class="image-insert-image "><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/rsz_bulls_fans_nam_y_huh_0.jpg" style="float: right; height: 260px; width: 350px;" title="Bulls fans are glum about the team's chances against Miami. (AP/File)" />The depleted, ailing Chicago Bulls are one game from starting summer vacation. Down three games to one to the Miami Heat, it feels as though the end is near. It has felt that way since early in Game Three when the listless Bulls could not muster the strength to avoid a lopsided loss to the defending NBA Champions.</div><p>This isn&rsquo;t a small hill the Bulls face to get back in this series. It is the Rocky Mountains. You could see it in the eyes of the players in the locker room following Monday&rsquo;s game.</p><p>They didn&#39;t concede anything, but slumped back in their chairs. At this point, the Bulls cannot compete in the same stratosphere as LeBron James and his teammates. Missing players have forced others to carry a load that is too heavy.</p><p>It really is amazing they were able to stun Miami in Game One. Since then, the Heat adjusted defense and took advantage of their size to trap Bulls guard Nate Robinson. The physical play in the first three games was missing in the last contest. The Bulls may try to pull out all the stops tonight. This is a team that would love to go down swinging.&nbsp;</p><p>Dwayne Wade&#39;s sore knee may force him to miss Game Five, but it doesn&#39;t matter at this point. He wasn&rsquo;t a factor in last game. The Heat is alreadly looking forward to the winner of the Knicks-Pacers series and will need Wade moving to the next round.</p><h2><strong>Better chances for the Blackhawks</strong></h2><p>Bulls fans may be gloomy, but Blackhawks fans heading to the United Center have high expectations as second round action against the Detroit Red Wings. You can&rsquo;t fault the Chicago hockey crowd for being giddy. This is a series that oozes great drama and of course, there will be the ever-present &#39;Detroit sucks!&#39; chant.</p><p>If there is one player with a smile on his face knowing the Wings are next it is Corey Crawford. The Hawk goalie is 11-2-2 lifetime against them with a 1.82 goals-against average and a .943 save percentage.</p><p>It has been a long time since the Blackhawks played, so recent practices have been important to keep focused for the challenge at hand.</p><p>It will be a quicker-paced series than Minnesota. Detroit has been resilient: getting into the playoffs, then forcing and winning a game 7 on the road.&nbsp; The Red Wings have two big-time stars Pavel Dansyuk and Henri Zetterberg who will challenge the Hawks. Of course, the Hawks have plenty of stars and are healthy.</p><p>The Red Wings have been the cream of the crop for years. Heck, the city is known as Hockey Town. These two teams&nbsp;met in the post season four years ago for the Western Conference Final. There were three overtime games and Detroit took the series in five games. This will be the last time Detroit will be in the Western Conference, so in the future the Hawks can only meet them in the Stanley Cup Final.</p><p>Nothing is better than these two Original Six teams doing battle with so much at stake.</p><p><em>Follow Cheryl on Twitter <a href="https://twitter.com/Crayestout" target="_blank">@CRayeStout</a> and Facebook <a href="http://www.facebook.com/CherylAtTheGame" target="_blank">Cheryl Raye Stout #AtTheGame </a></em></p></p> Wed, 15 May 2013 06:00:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/blogs/cheryl-raye-stout/2013-05/bulls-hope-fades-blackhawks-take-red-wings-107169 Chicago Bulls get no respect http://www.wbez.org/blogs/alison-cuddy/2013-05/chicago-bulls-get-no-respect-107147 <p><div class="image-insert-image "><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/AP93894188013.jpg" style="float: right; height: 200px; width: 300px;" title="Chicago Bulls forward Taj Gibson, left, and Miami Heat guard Norris Cole battle for a loose ball as guard Nate Robinson, far right, watches during the first half of Game 2 of their NBA basketball playoff series. (AP/File)" />When it comes to the Chicago Bulls, I&rsquo;m mad as hell and I&rsquo;m not going to take it anymore. I&rsquo;m not talking about Derrick Rose on the sidelines. Or whether or not Nazr Mohammed should have shoved LeBron James (he shouldn&rsquo;t have; but nor should James have pulled&nbsp; that Al Pacino-worthy bit of overacting on his way down to the boards). I&rsquo;m not even referring to what the Bulls need to do to stay alive in their series with the Heat.</div><p>I&rsquo;m talking about the absolute lack of respect that the Bulls get from the national media covering the NBA playoffs.</p><p>At first it was amusing, watching <a href="http://offthedribble.blogs.nytimes.com/2013/05/08/on-stubborn-bulls-robinson-is-a-standout/" target="_blank">The New York Times</a> scramble to give props to the team and to players like Nate Robinson, as the Bulls won their first playoff series against the Brooklyn Nets. Or, to hear some commentators, even as the Bulls trounced the Nets, refer to them as having &quot;<a href="http://bleacherreport.com/articles/1629141-chicago-bulls-vs-brooklyn-nets-game-7-score-highlights-and-analysis" target="_blank">outlasted</a>&quot; their Brooklyn rivals.</p><p>Then, the Bulls&rsquo; started their second series against the Heat. And I really started to really get my rage on.</p><p>Late in the fourth quarter, the Bulls trailed Miami by seven. The announcers stopped paying attention, and started a discussion of the Golden State Warriors. Bit by bit though, the Bulls pulled even with the Heat. Then Robinson sank his 20-footer, which put the Bulls ahead by three. But the announcer, thinking nothing had changed since he checked out of the game, updated the old rather than the new score. He quickly corrected himself but it was too late: the game had indeed changed, and the Bulls went on to <a href="http://scores.espn.go.com/nba/recap?gameId=400464356" target="_blank">beat the Heat</a>.</p><p>Of course the game has changed quite a bit since then. The Bull&rsquo;s second match with the Heat was disastrous and the third disappointing. Push has come to shove.</p><p>Some commentators get that the Bulls win <a href="http://espn.go.com/nba/playoffs/2013/story/_/id/9249754/nba-playoffs-2013-miami-heat-need-find-footing-chicago-bulls-game-1-win" target="_blank">wasn&rsquo;t a fluke</a> but a result of their hard work learning how to beat a player like LeBron James and a team like the Heat. But by and large, indifference to their play has been replaced by an insistence, at least on the part of some commentators, to talk about the Bulls in terms of the team&rsquo;s &quot;<a href="http://www.wunc.org/post/can-chicagos-bulls-beat-defending-champion-miami-heat" target="_blank">passion</a>&quot; and &quot;<a href="http://www.nba.com/bulls/news/noah-named-2012-13-nba-all-defensive-first-team.html" target="_blank">grit</a>&quot;.</p><p>And that has me seeing red.</p><p>Don&rsquo;t get me wrong. The Bulls do play with a lot of passion. And sure, with all their injuries, it must be painful duty in the paint right now.</p><p>But these are professional players and this is playoff ball.&nbsp; That the Bulls have gotten this far is because they&rsquo;ve trained to get here, and not just because they care or have passion. That&rsquo;s like saying a nurse is great at his job because he&rsquo;s just a genuinely caring person. That might well be the case, or it might not. Either way, it&rsquo;s entirely beside the point.</p><p>Similarly, the Bulls are a good team because in addition to whatever passion lies beneath their red jerseys, they&rsquo;re also incredibly talented. They have discipline. They work hard. They didn&rsquo;t get to the playoffs because they&rsquo;re gritty. They&rsquo;re got there because they have a phenomenal coach and because they&rsquo;ve learned how to play as a team.</p><p>I don&rsquo;t know what will happen tonight at the United Center.&nbsp; I know the Bulls have the skills to win. And if anyone still doubts that, today <a href="http://www.nba.com/bulls/news/noah-named-2012-13-nba-all-defensive-first-team.html" target="_blank">Joakim Noah was named to the 2012-2013 NBA All Defensive First Team</a>, the first bull to make it since the 1997-98 season, during the so-called Jordan years. Chicago has waited a long time for another basketball dynasty, for what some of us think, even if he&rsquo;s been sidelined all season, are the beginning of the &ldquo;Rose years&rdquo;.</p><p>I just wonder when &ndash; if ever &ndash; the rest of basketball nation is going to catch up.</p><p><em>Alison Cuddy is WBEZ&rsquo;s Arts and Culture reporter. Follow her <a href="http://twitter.com/wbezacuddy" target="_blank">@wbezacuddy</a>, on <a href="https://www.facebook.com/cuddyalison?ref=tn_tnmn" target="_blank">Facebook</a> and on <a href="http://instagram.com/cuddyreport#" target="_blank">Instagram</a>.</em></p></p> Mon, 13 May 2013 16:35:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/blogs/alison-cuddy/2013-05/chicago-bulls-get-no-respect-107147 Playoff ride continues for Bulls and Blackhawks http://www.wbez.org/blogs/cheryl-raye-stout/2013-05/playoff-ride-continues-bulls-and-blackhawks-107134 <p><p><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/rsz_1lebron_charles_rex_arbogat_2s.jpg" style="height: 377px; width: 300px; float: right;" title="Physical play has been big in the Bulls-Heat series. (AP Photo/Charles Rex Arbogast)" />It is not an overstatement to say the Bulls face a must win game Monday night against Miami. Chicago is down two games to one, and it is likely going to be another physical, tough game at the United Center.</p><p>It has also been a costly series for the Bulls so far. Coach Tom Thibodeau is $35,000 dollars lighter after his negative comments about the officiating last Friday. Taj Gibson had to cough up $25,000 for his dispute with referees in the second game.</p><p>There have been three Bulls players ejected from the last couple of games. The perception is this is a whiny Bulls team. When you look at everything they have dealt with this year, it is more like they are fighting to stay alive in the playoffs.</p><p>Nothing has been easy for them and facing the Miami Heat that is healthy and loaded with talent has been difficult. The hurdles they have dealt with would have weakened the resolve of most teams. The Bulls can not afford to lose the war with the officials. They must remain level-headed.&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;</p><p>Luol Deng is still struggling with his health after his spinal tap. Kirk Hinrich is not seeing much improvement on his bruised calf. Of course, you have to mention (and would rather not) Derrick Rose is unavailable.</p><p>Can this Bulls team win another game in this series?</p><p>You cannot rule them out, but they are treading on thin ice if they don&rsquo;t win tonight. Being home and knowing they were in the game last Friday magnifies the urgency to take advantage of favorable opportunities.</p><p>Having two days off between games may help the Bulls. At this point, you have to grasp at straws to find any positives.</p><h2><strong>Bring on the Red Wings</strong></h2><p>The Chicago Blackhawks now know who they will meet next in the Stanley Cup playoffs.</p><p>Late Sunday night the Detroit Red Wings finished a seven game series on the road in Anaheim with a 3-2 win. What a great matchup in the second round: two of the original six NHL teams meeting. It&rsquo;s particularly interesting because next season Detroit will move to the Eastern Conference.</p><p>The Hawks have home ice advantage and the first two games of this series will be played at the United Center. During the regular season, the Hawks beat the Red Wings in all four meetings. Since finishing off their first round series last Thursday, the Hawks have been able to mix rest with intense practices. Intensity was the magic word used by players at their practice on Saturday. Knowing it is Detroit will make it easy to dial it up a notch entering the next round.</p><p>The Hawks will have more players at their disposal. Coach Quenneville says he will have Ray Emery and Dave Bolland back from injuries.&nbsp; Bolland is known as someone who can get under the skin of his opponent.</p><p>Emery&rsquo;s return is good insurance to back up Corey Crawford between the pipes. Crawford is coming off a stellar first round and to have the Hawk fans back in his corner is an added bonus. There is no question that Crawford is more confident having that first series win under his belt. But if he falters (which seems unlikely), Quenneville will not hesitate to go with Emery.</p><p>It will be interesting to see if the Red Wings are worn down from their seven game series or if they have momentum from their series opener. Either way the Blackhawks will be ready, willing and able to meet the Detroit Red Wings. This is match-up the fans will definitely love. &nbsp;&nbsp;</p><p><em>Follow Cheryl on Twitter <a href="https://twitter.com/Crayestout" target="_blank">@CRayeStout</a> and Facebook <a href="http://www.facebook.com/CherylAtTheGame" target="_blank">Cheryl Raye Stout #AtTheGame</a>&nbsp;</em></p></p> Mon, 13 May 2013 06:00:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/blogs/cheryl-raye-stout/2013-05/playoff-ride-continues-bulls-and-blackhawks-107134 Chicago Bulls prepare for Miami Heat, Blackhawks beat Wild http://www.wbez.org/blogs/cheryl-raye-stout/2013-05/chicago-bulls-prepare-miami-heat-blackhawks-beat-wild-107116 <p><div class="image-insert-image "><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/rsz_1joakim-miami_tech_lynne_shadkey.jpg" style="height: 221px; width: 300px; float: right;" title="Chicago Bulls hope to have cooler heads tonight when they take on the Miami Heat. (AP/File)" />Stay classy, Chicago fans. Game three of the NBA playoff series tips off at the United Center Friday night.</div><p>With the Bulls and Heat knotted at a game apiece, most of the attention should be on the series. But antics and injuries off the court are garnering plenty of interest.</p><p>The Bulls had two players, Joakim Noah and Taj Gibson, ejected in the enormous 115-78 loss to Miami. As Noah was walking through the exit in the American Airlines Arena, one of the fans bluntly showed her displeasure with the Bulls center. <a href="http://deadspin.com/the-bird-flipping-miami-fan-was-once-accused-of-murderi-498713885">Filomena Tobias</a> flipped off Noah and the image went viral. This is not new. Several years ago the Chicago Sun-Times had a back page photo of a Bears fan doing that to players walking through the tunnel. I remember because it was my son&#39;s grade school gym teacher doing the gesture.</p><p>The Miami fan story shielded the Bulls from their crushing defeat by LeBron James and the Heat on Wednesday night. It must have felt like a freight train for the Bulls as James did what most people expected after losing the opener: he took over. The physical play was brutal and the officiating was a big factor, with nine technical fouls and two players ejected.</p><p>Friday the Bulls can expect the same tone from the NBA&nbsp;defending champions. Since the Heat formula is to be rough and tough, the Bulls have to play smart in response. They cannot lose their cool and they must still move the ball on offense. You can bet the officials will be calling this game close. That may make it harder on the Bulls since they are so undermanned and can&#39;t afford any players to get into foul trouble.</p><p>Two of the ailing Bulls, Luol Deng and Kirk Hinrich, were at Thursday&rsquo;s limited workout. It was mostly a film session (more like a horror film).&nbsp;It was the first day Deng has been able to get out of bed after an illness and severe side effects from a spinal tap procedure.</p><p>How bad has this past week been for the Bulls All-Star? Deng lost at least fifteen pounds, suffers headaches with too much movement and looks weak. Deng admitted he was frightened since he had many issues with bodily functions, speaking and walking. It&#39;s doubtful Deng will play for a while.&nbsp;</p><p>Hinrich&#39;s bruised calf is still causing him to walk gingerly and will likely keep him planted on the bench next to Derrick Rose. Of course, there are tons of rumors about the former MVP return and people are becoming more vicious by the day. It is extremely doubtful Rose will suit up.</p><h2><strong>Blackhawks slam door on Minnesota Wild</strong></h2><p>The Blackhawks slammed the door on the Minnesota Wild 5-1 to take the series four games to one Thursday. What a huge series for Corey Crawford. He played tough and atoned for early first round exits the past two seasons. Last night when Crawford made some terrific saves the fans chanted his name.</p><p>The heroes of the night, besides Crawford, were Marian Hossa scoring two goals, one each for Marcus Krueger and Andrew Shaw (his first career playoff goal). Patrick Sharp had a 3rd period 5-on-3 power play goal and finished with five goals&nbsp;for the series.</p><p>The penalty kill was again brilliant they denied the Wild twice on the power play and all 17 times for the series.</p><p>The Blackhawks will play either San Jose or Detroit after the Western Conference playoff series.</p><p>One thing we know for sure, round two will open at the United Center for the first two games and this Hawks team will be rested and ready.</p><p><em>Follow Cheryl on Twitter <a href="http://twitter.com/https://twitter.com/Crayestout" target="_blank">@CRayeStout </a>and Facebook <a href="http://www.facebook.com/CherylAtTheGame" target="_blank">Cheryl Raye Stout #AtTheGame</a></em></p></p> Fri, 10 May 2013 00:30:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/blogs/cheryl-raye-stout/2013-05/chicago-bulls-prepare-miami-heat-blackhawks-beat-wild-107116 Bulls odds improving after Game 1 upset http://www.wbez.org/news/bulls-odds-improving-after-game-1-upset-107090 <p><p>After a surprising Game-1 win against the Miami Heat Monday night, the Bulls&rsquo; odds seemed to be improving. But before what some have called the playoff upset of the decade, the battered Bulls were hardly a safe bet.</p><p><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/bulls2.jpg" style="float: left;" title="Chicago Bulls forward Carlos Boozer dunks the ball against Miami Heat guard Dwyane Wade in Game 1 of the Eastern Conference Semifinals. The Bulls lead the series 1-0. (AP/File)" />The Heat are the reigning champions and overwhelming favored to repeat.<br /><br />In a ceremony before Monday night&rsquo;s game, LeBron James was named the league&rsquo;s most valuable player for the fourth time in five years.</p><p>The only player to interrupt his reign was Derrick Rose.</p><p>But Rose didn&rsquo;t play in Game 1...or any other matchup this season.</p><p>And yet the Bulls managed to knock King James &ndash;&nbsp;and oddsmakers &ndash;&nbsp;off their game Monday night.</p><p>In fact, Miami was so favored to win the series that in order to win a single dollar off a bet in their favor, you&rsquo;d have to put up $30. Again, to win a dollar...you&rsquo;d have to bet 30.</p><p>But then the Bulls won--and the odds began to change.</p><p>&ldquo;A lot of people are betting on the Bulls tonight with the points...it&rsquo;s a lot of points, with 12 points. One book said it&rsquo;s like 80 percent of the bets so far were on the Bulls,&rdquo; David Purdum explained.</p><p>Purdum covers the sports-betting industry for<a href="http://www.OddsShark.com"> OddsShark.com</a>. He said the Bulls odds may still improve if they can get healthy. But, that some players&rsquo; return is more impactful than others.</p><p>&ldquo;Luol Deng coming back would even surpass the impact on the line that Derrick Rose, if he was to decide to play. You just don&rsquo;t know what you&rsquo;re going to get out of Rose,&rdquo; said Purdum.</p><p>Rose and Deng have both been ruled out for Wednesday&rsquo;s game.</p><p>But here&rsquo;s to Bull-ieving...</p><p><em>Katie O&rsquo;Brien is a WBEZ reporter and producer. Follow her <a href="http://www.twitter.com/katieobez">@katieobez</a>.</em></p></p> Wed, 08 May 2013 18:12:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/news/bulls-odds-improving-after-game-1-upset-107090 More wild playoff success for the Blackhawks http://www.wbez.org/blogs/cheryl-raye-stout/2013-05/more-wild-playoff-success-blackhawks-107067 <p><p>Blackhawks tamed the Wild 3-0 in Minnesota last night.</p><p>The Hawks lead the series three games to one, and can close it out tomorrow night at the United Center. After the underdog Wild played a tough physical game three, the Hawks responded and pushed back in game four.</p><p><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/rsz_corey_crawford_john_smierciak.jpg" style="float: left; height: 376px; width: 300px;" title="Corey Crawford stopped 25 shots posting a shut-out.(AP Photo/John Smierciak)" />It has been a terrific comeback for one Blackhawk-Patrick Sharp. He scored two goals last night and four in this opening series. Not bad for the Hawks left winger who missed a lot of time during the regular season with a bad shoulder. During the shorten season he only tallied six goals.</p><p>Minnesota was forced to go to their third goalie of this series when Josh Harding was injured stopping a shot by Jonathan Toews with three minutes left in the first period. Harding gave up a re-direct goal by Sharp in the opening period.</p><p>The Wild started the second period with inexperienced 23 year old Darcy Kuemper, the first shot he saw turned out to be an unassisted goal by Sharp.&nbsp; Another Hawk having a good series is Bryan Bickell; he scored on an awkward wrist shot late in the game. The big winger has three goals against Minnesota this series.</p><p>The home team had plenty of opportunities with six power plays, including back to back, starting the third period. The Hawks were able to turn them all away. The penalty kill for Coach Joel Quenneville&rsquo;s team has been one of their biggest improvements from the past couple of seasons. Of course, Minnesota is an offensively-challenged team.</p><p>For Blackhawk goalie Corey Crawford it was his second career shut-out with twenty-five saves on the night.</p><p>There was one tired player on the ice before the game even began- Duncan Keith. The Hawks &ldquo;iron man&rdquo; defenseman made a trip to Chicago hours before the game to see his wife Kelly-Rae gave birth to their first child, Colton Duncan Keith. Then the new dad was able to rejoin the team in time for the late game, but did not start.</p><p>One interesting note, Jonathan Toews still has no points in this series. It won&#39;t matter to the Hawk captain if his team keeps on winning and one more victory on Thursday will end this best of seven game series against Minnesota.&nbsp;</p><p>More playoff news&hellip;</p><p>The other UC tenant-the Bulls have another big game tonight. They will be facing an unhappy Miami Heat team looking to avenge their loss to the Bulls on Monday.</p><p>The past few days is seems the Bulls have become the darlings of the NBA. No one thought they could steal game one, but they did against the complacent defending champions. Jimmy Butler and Nate Robinson have become cult heroes in the sports world. Butler for his defense and late game scoring and Robinson for getting eleven stitches after being manhandled by LeBron James. Nate was a scoring machine again.</p><p>&nbsp;Look for the Heat to come out with more intensity, James will probably attack the basket more. Miami&rsquo;s perimeter players , Ray Allen and Shane Battier will attempt to score beyond the three-point arc.&nbsp;</p><p>The Bulls will try to continue their strong defensive stance, they know the heavily-favored Heat will try to break them down and entice more fouls.</p><p>Miami will also try to force more Bulls turnovers, so they can score easy transition baskets.</p><p>It is still an underman team for Coach Tom Thibodeau, Luol Deng and Kirk Hinrich will likely be out.&nbsp;&nbsp;It doesn&rsquo;t matter, this Bulls team believe in their coach, believe in the system, believe in each other and believe they can win.&nbsp; It won&rsquo;t be a lack of trying.</p><p>&nbsp;</p><p>Follow Cheryl on Twitter @CRayeStout&lt;<a href="https://twitter.com/Crayestout">https://twitter.com/Crayestout</a>&gt; and Facebook Cheryl Raye Stout #AtTheGame <a href="http://www.facebook.com/CherylAtTheGame">http://www.facebook.com/CherylAtTheGame</a></p></p> Wed, 08 May 2013 06:00:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/blogs/cheryl-raye-stout/2013-05/more-wild-playoff-success-blackhawks-107067 Battered Chicago Bulls take on Miami Heat http://www.wbez.org/blogs/cheryl-raye-stout/2013-05/battered-chicago-bulls-take-miami-heat-107023 <p><p><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/rsz_noah-nets_julio_cortez.jpg" style="float: right; height: 450px; width: 300px;" title="Joakim Noah and the Bulls will face the Heat in the playoffs Monday. (AP)" />The sweet smell of the Bulls playoff series win in Brooklyn still lingers today, however, it will dissipate soon enough. Tonight the Bulls are in Miami to play game one of a best of seven series in round against the Heat.</p><p>Fresh off winning his fourth NBA Most Valuable Player award, LeBron James and his teammates are also fresh since they have rested for several days. That is what happens when you dispose of the Milwaukee Bucks in a four game series sweep.</p><p>You could not use the word fresh for the Bulls, instead, ragged, undermanned or tired. On Saturday, they completed a seven game series with a win in Brooklyn, while missing two important starters (three, if you count Derrick Rose). With Luol Deng experiencing problems with his spinal tap for his viral infection and Kirk Hinrich still hobbled by a calf bruise it seemed like it was the end of the road for the 2012-2013 season.</p><p>What most Bulls fans have known and now is apparent to the rest of the NBA fans everywhere: this is a resilient team with heart and character. Joakim Noah would not let his team exit in the first round, which they did last year with him and Rose injured. Marco Bellini is back on track and filled in for Deng very well against Brooklyn. Coach Tom Thibodeau has proven time and time again he will get the most of what this team can give and they believe in him and the system. Throw another player&rsquo;s injury or ailment at him and Thibodeau responds, &ldquo;We have enough.&rdquo;&nbsp; Against a more talented and healthy Nets team, it was enough. Against the Heat, I&#39;m sad to say the Bulls likely do not have enough.</p><p>This Eastern Conference semi-final series will be a colossal challenge for the Bulls.</p><p>Deng&rsquo;s status is up in the air, he was weakened from his illness and if Hinrich tries to get back on the court, his movement will be limited. So no matter how you look at it, this is still a depleted Bulls club.</p><p>But the biggest factor is they face the defending NBA champions. James is playing at a super-high level. He has tasted the champagne after earning his first ring and he wants his thirst quenched again.</p><p>His teammate Dwayne Wade is expected to be back in this series after being hampered by a knee bruise in the Heat&rsquo;s opening round.</p><p>If the Bulls have any chance in this series, they must play a tough, physical game. Noah and Boozer must control the interior on defense and offense. The Bulls are prone to turnovers, especially without Hinrich. Nate Robinson has to think as a point guard and not act like a scoring machine. He will need to score, but he must keep the ball moving and make Miami play defense. It would seem without Deng that Jimmy Butler gets the short straw and will have to defend James. Bench play will be an important factor with all the maladies affecting the Bulls. &nbsp;</p><p>Forget about the regular season series that was a split with each team taking two games. One of those Bulls wins did stop the Heat&rsquo;s 27 game win streak.</p><p>And of course there is loud chatter about Derrick Rose and his situation. Fans and media are beating him up about not suiting up for the games. Everyone is an expert on Rose&rsquo;s reasons, but only he knows what he intends to do. It would be terrific if the former MVP was part of this series, but in the long run it will not matter. The Bulls are a huge long-shot are not expected make it out of this second round with or without Rose.</p><p>The Bulls will not go down without a fight and the Heat will feel it.</p><p><em>&nbsp;Follow Cheryl on Twitter <a href="https://twitter.com/Crayestout" target="_blank">@CRayeStout</a>&nbsp;and Facebook <a href="http://www.facebook.com/CherylAtTheGame" target="_blank">Cheryl Raye Stout #AtTheGame</a></em></p></p> Mon, 06 May 2013 06:00:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/blogs/cheryl-raye-stout/2013-05/battered-chicago-bulls-take-miami-heat-107023 History repeats itself: Derrick Rose loses, finishes first chapter of his championship story http://www.wbez.org/blog/justin-kaufmann/2011-05-27/history-repeats-itself-derrick-rose-loses-finishes-first-chapter-his <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org//blog/photo/2011-May/2011-05-27/photo(14).jpg" alt="" /><p><p>I wanted the headline of this post to be "Kurt Thomas takes his talents to South Beach." But that will have to wait until, um, never. The Bulls season is over. And the hated Miami Heat move on to the NBA Finals.</p><p style="text-align: center;"><img alt="" class="caption" src="http://www.wbez.org/sites/default/files/blog/insert-image/2011-May/2011-05-27/photo%2814%29.jpg" style="width: 446px; height: 593px;" title=""></p><p>Last night, I attended Game 5 at the United Center. It was an amazing experience to be in the building during an Eastern Conference Finals game. So real, so raw. And so great to not have to listen to Reggie Miller and Steve Kerr. The crowd was loud and proud all game long and then we all collectively went to the bathroom and came back with the Heat up with seconds remaining. What? What happened? What did I miss? <em>(Ed. note: While we're on the subject, I've never heard a men's bathroom so quiet after the loss last night. Just quiet reflection when we stood in line for the urinals</em>)</p><p>But as I wrote earlier this week, this is how it was supposed to be. The Chicago Bulls are a young team with a young superstar. If you want to make it in the NBA, and I mean elite status, you have to pay your dues. If you love Chicago basketball, there really is only one way to write this story. The MJ way. Anything else would be a fluke. It's like the Bears. We only settle for domination, otherwise it's bittersweet success. It's unfortunately our hang up as Chicago fans. We only know what we've experienced in the past.&nbsp; Like MJ, Derrick Rose fell to the hands of a superior basketball team that schemed to take his game away (remember the Jordan Rules).&nbsp; And now Derrick Rose has a summer to figure it out and counter. It's that chip on his shoulder that could provide a mental edge to push himself over the hump.</p><p>And when it happens, it will be right. It will be Chicago basketball. And I can't wait to be there as a fan.</p><p>That being said, this is a huge off-season for the Chicago Bulls. The team deficiencies are now papered all over Eastern Conference locker rooms. Next year, everyone will attack the Bulls in the same way. Let's be honest, the "let's play our big man on D. Rose" strategy is only going to work for one team. But they will try. So if we want to get past the Heat (and not to mention the Knicks, Nets, Celtics, Pacers, Magic and Hawks), we will have to tweak.</p><p>Gar Forman, you will now need to earn your GM of the Year award. If you sit on your hands, I will personally come up to the Berto Center and take back your trophy. Hiring away the Utah Jazz and getting super lucky in the NBA lottery does not make a good GM. Prove it this summer. Who's going to be the new Pippen?</p><ul><li>Hire an assistant coach that's offensive minded.&nbsp; It seems Thibs biggest deficiency is that he is all defense. Because of that, the Bulls don't seem very advanced in their offensive sets. We run plays for Kyle Korver. Really? May I suggest raiding Phil Jackson's squad for Triangle offense gurus?</li><li>Trade your babies.&nbsp; We famously passed up a would-be trade that would have sent Deng and Hinrich to LA for Kobe Bryant. Whether this was real or not, John Paxson did tell us that Deng was too valuable for that kind of scenario. Not anymore. I'm sure Doug Collins and Jerry Krause felt the same way about Charles Oakley, but he had to go. I believe any deal that would bring D. Rose his very own Scottie Pippen/Dwyane Wade would be huge for this ball club. Nobody is untouchable, sans Rose and Scalabrine.</li><li>Pick up anyone in free agency who has hit a big shot in the 4th quarter.&nbsp; Anybody. Backups in Milwaukee, small forwards in Golden State. Just someone who can knock down the jumper and stem the tide once in a while. And while we are on that subject, how much does Boozer get paid to sit on the bench in the 4th?</li><li>Upgrade the in-stadium entertainment between time outs. Right now, the "Old Time Rock n Roll" break and the Blues Brothers shtick is so old that it lulls you into passive cheering. Therefore, the players have no energy to feed off of and they blow 4th quarter leads. That's not on the players. That's on the mascots, trampolines, fat dancers and Dunkin' Donuts. And can I please ask for a risk/reward assessment on having Benny the Bull strung up, flying in mid-air? The audience doesn't really care and if something went wrong and fell to his death, the game would be postponed. So think about next year, just don't put him up in the rafters.</li></ul><p>So that does it. What a year for the young, upstart Chicago Bulls. Looking back to last summer, it would have been a dream to think of our squad playing in the Eastern Conference Finals. We did. And it was the most exciting basketball this town has seen since June, 1998.</p><p>I, for one, say we let football figure out its finances. Take a year off and broadcast Derrick Rose in the gym. Just taking jumpers and free throws.</p><p>Finally, a twist on the ole' Lebron James hatred. This t-shirt flips it. Ah, they put a twist on it:</p><p style="text-align: center;"><img alt="" class="caption" src="http://www.wbez.org/sites/default/files/blog/insert-image/2011-May/2011-05-27/photo%2815%29.jpg" style="width: 487px; height: 649px;" title=""></p><p>&nbsp;</p></p> Fri, 27 May 2011 13:51:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/blog/justin-kaufmann/2011-05-27/history-repeats-itself-derrick-rose-loses-finishes-first-chapter-his Miami's Big Three prove too hot to handle http://www.wbez.org/episode-segments/2011-05-27/miamis-big-three-prove-too-hot-handle-87115 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org//segment/photo/2011-May/2011-05-27/Cheryl Getty Jonathan Daniel.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>In what was the deciding game of the Eastern Conference Finals, the <a href="http://www.nba.com/bulls/" target="_blank">Chicago Bulls</a> lost to the <a href="http://www.nba.com/heat/tickets/heat_finals_landing_page_2011.html" target="_blank">Miami Heat</a> in front of a hometown crowd on Thursday.</p><p>Miami’s Big Three scored all 26 of the team’s points during its fourth-quarter comeback. The Heat’s trinity was an unstoppable force for the top-seeded Bulls this series.&nbsp;</p><p>And faked fouls aside, these foes won’t be going anywhere anytime soon.</p><p>To discuss how it went wrong, and what’s ahead for the Bulls, <em>Eight Forty-Eight</em> spoke with sports reporter Cheryl Raye Stout.</p></p> Fri, 27 May 2011 13:04:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/episode-segments/2011-05-27/miamis-big-three-prove-too-hot-handle-87115 Bulls have everything to lose in Game 5 against Miami http://www.wbez.org/story/bulls-have-everything-lose-game-five-against-miami-87078 <p><p>It's make it or break it time for the Chicago Bulls as they head into Game 5 of the Eastern Conference Finals Thursday night.</p><p>The Bulls have everything to lose in Thursday's home game against Miami. A loss knocks them out of the series, which is the furthest Chicago has advanced in the postseason since 1998, when Michael Jordan led the team to its sixth NBA championship.</p><p>The Heat are currently leading 3-1. Only eight teams in NBA history have overcome such a steep deficit in the playoffs.</p><p>Chicago is coming off a three-game losing streak - the worst slump the team has experienced this season. To win, Chicago will have to turn around its shooting game. Bulls star Derrick Rose has been held in check by the Heat defense. He shot just 8 for 27 in the Bulls' loss to Miami on Tuesday.</p><p>Tipoff tonight at the United Center is 7:30.</p></p> Thu, 26 May 2011 18:02:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/story/bulls-have-everything-lose-game-five-against-miami-87078