Now THAT's a playoff game!
And to think, it all started with a missed dunk.
Not just any missed dunk – this was a two-handed missed dunk by a wide-open Brooklyn Net.
And not just any Brooklyn Net, but former Bull C.J. Watson, the man whose ill-conceived pass at the end of last season's Game 6 loss to Philadelphia put a cap on the Bulls' nightmare 2012 postseason.
And now here was Watson, elevating for the surest of NBA points, his team up 14 with 3:15 to play, and the ball fluttered off the rim. "Holy hell!" I shouted to my friends at the bar where my friends and I were watching. "Have you ever seen a guy brick an uncontested two-handed dunk?"
They shook their heads, all of us befuddled by what we'd witnessed, but that was nothing compared with what came next: a 14-0 run led by Nate "Ben Gordon" Robinson, who ripped off 12 straight points on a chaotic mix of off-kilter jumpers and down-the-pipe foul shots.
When the horn sounded on regulation and the ballgame headed to overtime, I texted my buddies Bryan Crawford and Chris Cason, two Bulls beat reporters at the United Center, and asked them to "describe the stadium right now in three words."
Bryan: Crazy as [bleep].
Chris: Absolutely [bleeping] crazy.
Well put, gents. What followed was an epic battle of attrition, one that announcer Steve Kerr dubbed "an instant classic" – and that was merely after the FIRST overtime. That period ended with Robinson and Brooklyn's Joe Johnson draining frantic jumpers in the final two seconds, Robinson's shot a leaner that can best be described as "off-balance," "unexpected" and "straight to the heart."
Despite fouling out, Robinson was the game's hero, scoring 29 of his game-high 34 points after the end of the third quarter. His performance epitomized the team's effort – his shots weren't always pretty, but they almost always went in.
With apologies to Sean Connery, THAT's the Chicago way: hard fought, hard earned and one win from the Miami Heat.
Go Bulls? [Bleepin] A.
Jack M Silverstein is a RedEye special contributor. Say hey @ReadJack
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