What’s impressive about the Bulls is that they, perhaps more than any team in the league right now, are greater than the sum of their parts. The Bulls play hard. They utilize the same defensive scheme coach Tom Thibodeau directed as an assistant to stymie Kobe during the ‘08 Finals. They have a full blown superstar, a decent second option in Boozer and a legitimate center who is a tremendous interior defender and rebounder in Joakim Noah. Beyond that is a group of role players who do their jobs and buy into the system. It works. It’s a team that, even if you’re not from that city, you can get behind.
Like the Lakers they too have suffered a key injury setback by missing Noah for two months. Also like the Lakers they seem to be hitting their stride just as the playoffs are approaching. And now with both teams playing their best basketball of the season they are essentially 1 and 1a in just about every set of NBA power rankings currently available on the internet. It would appear that what we’re witnessing is the revving up of two steam engine trains departing shortly, heading towards one another on a collision course. And if that were to happen I don’t think there would be anyone happier than I.
Will Thib’s defense work again on the Mamba? Will Rose shred Fisher like bagged lettuce? Will Noah slow down Bynum and Gasol? Will Carlos Boozer wilt in the clutch? Forget the circus that surrounds the games, these are the questions I want to see answered.
Of course it wouldn’t be the worst thing if we ended up with another Lakers and Celtics Finals. I mean, it is a classic isn’t it? The Shawshank Redemption of sports rivalries. And after all there’s something nice about that familiarity, isn’t there? I mean, thirty seconds of beautifully crafted Morgan Freeman narration and we’re hooked. We know what we’re doing for the next two hours and that’s that.
But here’s the thing. You know what I like watching even more than a great movie I have seen before? A great one I haven’t.