The Bulls season will potentially come to an end Tuesday night in Game 5 against the Sixers at the United Center. It's hard to believe that just over a week ago, the Bulls looked like they were poised for a deep postseason run and even a championship win.
When D. Rose's season came to an end in Game 1, it sent Chicago basketball fans into a funk.
But we'd work through it quickly, and instead of the "7 Stages of Grief," Bulls fans navigated the postseason in four stages.
Shock & Denial
When Derrick Rose crumpled to the floor in Game 1, nobody knew how serious it was at first. It was uncharacteristic of Derrick not to get up right away, yet everyone hoped it was just a bad ankle sprain that would force him to sit out the first round. When the organization confirmed a torn ACL, the worst scenario became real.
Anger & Bargaining
"Why did Thibodeau even have Derrick in the game?!" That surely was the thought on every Bulls fan's mind and the one that had them most livid. In fans' minds, Chicago had Philadelphia beaten and no one saw any purpose for him to even be playing. "Why can't we have Derrick back and the basketball gods take Carlos Boozer instead?!" I think we've all heard that one.
Depression, Reflection, Loneliness
Bulls fans felt badly, but for different reasons. Some were upset because a seventh NBA Championship likely wouldn't be coming to Chicago and others were depressed we wouldn't get a chance to see whether the Bulls could finally 'Beat the Heat.' Mostly we felt bad for Derrick. He's an incredible athlete that brought us so many amazing memories in a few short years, and we couldn't help but wonder if he'd ever be the same. It was a tough time to be a Bulls fan because you felt like there was no other team who knew the pain of losing their star player while having a legitimate shot at a title.
Acceptance & Hope
After a few days, reality set in and however far the Bulls got without their leader would ultimately be OK. Joakim Noah hurt himself in Game 3 against the Sixers – a game the Bulls lost – but it didn't matter. You felt bad for Jo, yet you knew the series was over anyway. The Bulls appeared to be a mentally broken team and a first round exit was the accepted reality. In a city that's been waiting 104 years to see the Cubs win a World Series, we know a thing or two about having hope in the face of futility. Every basketball fan in Chicago is now looking forward to a future when Derrick Rose is back to his old self and back on his mission to lead the Chicago Bulls to another NBA Championship.