Posted by Andrew Shi
On Wednesday, the Bulls, without Derrick Rose, without Joakim Noah and without two more of their supporting cast members, defeated the red hot Miami Heat. They took the lead early but allowed the Heat to catch up before winning by four points. The Bulls' victory ended a 27 game streak that had put the Heat on the cusp of breaking the '71-'72 Lakers record of 33 games won in a row.
There had been three teams that could have plausibly ended the Heat's streak: The Spurs, the Knicks, and, tentatively, the Bulls -- very tentatively. What's important to take away from this game, though, is not the remorse of coming close to experiencing one of the greatest win streaks in NBA history, but the pressing thought of what would be the current seeding if the Bulls had Derrick Rose.
The Bulls were able to overcome the Heat without their eccentric center, Joakim Noah. But Noah has been intact for most of the season and the Bulls are just barely clinging to fifth place in the Eastern conference. If Derrick Rose, 2011 season MVP, was back, would the picture be different? Undoubtedly, yes. Many critics, analysts, commentators, fans and bandwagoners agree that the only threat to the Heat for the Eastern Conference championship is the Bulls with Derrick Rose.
Fortunately for every fan that just wishes to watch the Heat burn, rumors are circulating that the return of Rose is imminent, and many had expected him to return for the Heat game. But he didn't, and perhaps he shouldn't.
It might be best if Rose took the rest of the season off. It's possible that a Bulls rearmed with Rose could seriously challenge the Heat for the Eastern Conference, but Rose hasn't played a game all season; he's practiced, but that is much different than games.
There will be contact in games, especially in the playoffs. The same rumors percolating through the web also reveal that the only thing holding Rose back from the court is not a doctor's note (his doctor has been quoted as saying Rose is ready to return), but that Rose lacks the confidence to return. And that is fair; a knee injury as severe as his (torn ACL) is a frightening thing to return from.
For that reason, it's unlikely that the Bulls, with an overly cautious Rose who is unsure of his own abilities and body, can take on the Heat.
It may be best for the Bulls to let this season go and permit Rose to take off the rest of the season and summer to train and restore the confidence that allowed him to lead his team to victory and the best record in league in the 2011-2012 season. After Jordan, the Bulls waited a long time for another superstar of this caliber that could lead them to another championship. They can wait one more year.