"You can just see it," announcer Hubie Brown said during the Bulls' Game 4 loss Sunday to the 76ers. "It's like a nightmare unfolding."
That comment came after a missed shot by John Lucas III and another Sixers rebound, the Bulls trailing 66-63 early in the fourth. Made on a rainy, dreary day in Chicago, Brown's comment was a fitting eulogy for these 2012 Bulls. Hubie didn't mean it that way, but no matter. His words were truth:
This postseason has not been a death sentence. It's been a nightmare.
As if Bulls fans had, after Game 5 of the 2011 Eastern Conference Finals, dreamt of the 2012 playoffs and ended up with this.
You know the feeling, when your team gets knocked out in the playoffs. You say to yourself, "I wish we didn't have to wait a whole year to get back to this point. I wish next year's postseason could start tomorrow."
Well, tomorrow came. And our point guard blew out his knee.
Then the Sixers rocked Game 2, Joakim Noah sprained his ankle, and Games 3 and 4 slipped away like rainwater down a slanted street.
These are the plot points of a nightmare. Hell, even Noah's injury was fraught with irony, as our heart-and-soul center turned his ankle while running a 3-on-1 fastbreak, a job usually reserved for Rose.
The series has been so bleak that late in Game 4, I pled with the basketball gods to allow the Bulls to pull out the victory and save their season. Ten days ago, no one thought this team would face a do-or-die Game 4. But they did, and now Tuesday's game is their final hope.
I expect the Bulls to give the home fans one last thrill, yet even if they win Game 5, their season appears over.
The rain may stop now and again, but it's never gone. It covers the streets and sticks in the air. It leaks from tree branches and rests on cars. It has disrupted outdoor life for most of this past week. It is raining in Chicago and we have no umbrella.
Jack M Silverstein is a RedEye special contributor. @ReadJack