HANG TIME HEADQUARTERS — The more we see of the Bulls and Heat, the more we want to see of the Bulls and Heat.
These teams were made to go at each other. The first of their four regular-season matchups this season lived up to every bit of its pre-game hype, adding more fuel to an already raging fire between the two teams that played in the Eastern Conference finals last season.
Did you see the reaction of reigning MVP Derrick Rose after he failed to snatch this game away from the Heat at the end? Did you see how sick it makes him to lose to the Heat again (not having Luol Deng certainly didn’t help the cause)? We’re talking about a competitive atmosphere between stars that could only be matched by a handful of others in the league today.
The late-game stumbles (of both Rose and LeBron James) aside, this is the sort of action that will ultimately determine the winner of the Eastern Conference champion. No one would be surprised to see these same two teams battling it out again.
And we’re not talking about some nasty, save-the-handshakes-for-later rivalry here. This is game recognizing game, great players rightly saluting other great players and fierce competitors showing one another the proper respect by bringing it right at each other all game long.
The Heat held on to win the game, but it would be hard to tell that from the way they talked about Rose when it was over, per the Miami Herald:
“[Rose] can go around anybody in this league — anybody in this world,” James said.
“He has an incredible gift to play at that speed and explosiveness, to get to the rim, finish over the top, and yet sprinkle that in with a 13-foot floater,” Heat coach Erik Spoelstra said. “To have that kind of touch, you don’t see that very often. That’s why he’s a special player and an MVP.”
As if this thing needed any extra spice, Vaughn McClure of the Chicago Tribune sprinkled a little more on the plate by raising the Dwight Howard-to-the Bulls idea that is making the rounds now that things have gone sideways for the Magic.
Sure, it’s a longshot if ever there was one and the Bulls would have to give up some serious pieces to get the Magic to even pick up the phone, but the far-fetched prospect of putting Howard in the middle of this already potent mix is just mind-boggling:
Approached Friday night in New Orleans after a 26-point loss to the Hornets, Howard shared his thoughts on a long-shot trade to the Bulls. “If I could play with Derrick right now and God wanted that to happen, it will happen,” Howard told the Tribune. “It has nothing to do with me not wanting to play with Derrick Rose. I love him. That’s my brother.”
With or without Howard, the Bulls and Heat showed us yesterday that they are more than ready to get back to what we saw from them in the conference finals last season. They’d do it every night if they could (the Hawks, Pacers, Sixers and other challengers to the crown doth protest).
And no one that loves the game would complain one bit.