These Bulls are sore winners

April 24, 2013|By Ben Johnson, For RedEye

I watched in horror Tuesday as the Bulls won a playoff game.

Don't get me wrong, I love the team and want them to win. They fight with the tenacity of a junkyard dog, ignoring injury and a lack of offensive talent.

But the Bulls as currently constituted are so obviously sore and tired and broken down that it's almost sad to watch them win a playoff game. Every victory forces another game.

Derrick Rose is the magic word when considering these Bulls. They have been gallant in his absence, but they top out at 90 points a night unless somebody has one of their two or three best games of the season. The Roseless Bulls are slow and methodical and boring, grinding out joyless victories through Coach Tom Thibodeau's aggressive defensive overloads on the strong side.

They are a team of warriors in an entertainer's profession.

Watching Joakim Noah play while less than 100 percent, I get the feeling he's out there begging for Rose to return, and that is the real message of his creaking bones. "Come back," they plead, "don't let me die in vain. However badly hurt you are, we could use you. Worst-case scenario is you're only exactly as good as Nate Robinson."

I want the Bulls to win, yes, but I might want them to not lose in 2014 more than I want them to win in 2013. I especially want them to not lose Noah because of some awful rupture in a left leg that is supporting the lion's share of a 6-foot-11, 230-pound body while Rose sits and watches in a nice suit.

At the same time, I don't want the Bulls to lose to Brooklyn. I want them to play Miami. I want the Bulls to swat the Heat in their smug little media-anointed faces, take LeBron James and company to the brink and put the fear of God in them. Maybe even win that series, and then it'll be wide open.

Then I want … uh oh. Turns out I'm all in. Let's go Bulls.

RedEye special contrubutor Ben Johnson is a comedian at iO Theater in Chicago. @itisbenjo

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