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Lessons from the Last Short NBA Season

Can the Bulls follow the Spurs' path to victory?

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    NEWSLETTERS

    TK
    Getty Images
    We know the Bulls have chemistry. Can they pull it together for this crazy run?

    The last time the NBA put together a short season, it was 1998-99. That year, things went crazy bananas in the playoffs. An 8-seed beat a 1-seed. That almost never happens. What's more, an 8-seed made it all the way to the Finals. That's never happened ever. But the Knicks made it there.

    In the end, the Spurs won. And they were the #1 seed in the West. But there were so few games, they won the title with just 37 wins in the regular season. They won fewer than three quarters of their games.

    Right now, the Bulls have won 78 percent of their games.

    The '98 Spurs featured an emerging superstar in Tim Duncan and a supporting cast comprised of vets. Sound like a team you know?

    With a short season and the physical pounding awaiting all these teams, anything can happen in the playoffs. The key is to get in the playoffs and stay healthy. Right now, the Bulls are managing wins without their most important player. That's encouraging.

    But this season, like the '99 playoffs, will require a team to get hot late. In that way, these NBA playoffs will more closely resemble the NFL or NHL playoffs, where one player on one team can suddenly shift into "beast mode" for a month. Such teams cut through the league like a hot knife through butter. What's scary is that the hot player could be anyone. Anyone.

    We know the Bulls have chemistry. Can they pull it together for this crazy run? Just say a prayer for Derrick Rose's back and hope for a few lucky bounces.