Final Bulls Possessions Utterly Mystifying

Credit the Bulls for hanging with the superior Heat, but what happened on those last two plays?


If you watched the Bulls last night, and that was your reaction when the final buzzer sounded, you can be forgiven. Surely, you're a busy person. You have better things to do with your time than watch NBA basketball. But you do so because you like it, and because you have DVR, which means you can record "The Office" and "30 Rock" until all the basketball games are over.

So you tune into the Bulls game and you're impressed by what you see: The Bulls, undermatched against an athletic and versatile Heat squad, hang tough until the closing seconds. Down by three with little time left, Ben Gordon headfakes, finds space, shoots from behind the arc, and is fouled. He makes all three shots, and the Bulls tie the game.

Then what happens? Miami attempts to inbound the ball to Dwyane Wade, who utterly abuses Kirk Hinrich on a cut to the near side block. If the pass is on time, Wade has a dunk; it's late, and Hinrich jumps on the ball before the Heat can recover. A lucky ending to a failed defensive play.

The Bulls have one more shot to win the game. Stay with us here. The trot out a lineup that doesn't include Derrick Rose, but instead Thabo Sefalosha, who is charged with inbounding the ball. The Heat deny the passing angles. Thabo turns the ball over to Wade. Possession wasted.

Naturally, the Heat run a similar play next time down the floor; Wade returns the ball to Marion, who scores a dunk and ends the game. Just like that.

It's one of those Bulls games that manages to simultaneously encourage and frustrate. They didn't get killed, sure. They also have a coach who decides it's a good idea to insert Sefalosha into a game in the closing seconds, and to take Derrick Rose out of it. What? It's that sort of stuff -- that complete inexplicability -- that makes watching the Vinny Del Negro Bulls so frustrating. They're improving, or at least it seems like it. But games like last night have to stop. If not, we're just going to watch "30 Rock" instead.

Eamonn Brennan is a writer, editor and blogger hunkered down in Lincoln Park. You can also read him at Yahoo! Sports, FanHouse, MOUTHPIECE Sports Blog, and Inside The Hall, or at his personal site,

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