It’s no secret. The injury-plagued Chicago Bulls have been short-handed all season but somehow someway, they’ve managed to get the job done. Who would’ve predicted that they’d stop the Miami Heat’s winning streak at 27 or bust the New York Knicks’ winning streak at 13 in OT during the waning days of the regular season without their full complement of players?
This time, though, it’s different and the stakes are much higher. Thursday’s Game 6 at the United Center against the Brooklyn Nets is a must-win. If the Bulls fall to the Nets for the second straight game in the series, they will face the dreaded elimination game in Brooklyn. Everyone knows that elimination games in the NBA playoffs are the toughest, especially on the road.
Can the Bulls wrap it up at the United Center? They can if the streak-busters show up and they will win if the walking wounded can play for 48 long minutes like their lives are on the line. The walking wounded for tonight’s game includes Kirk Hinrich or Captain Kirk as he’s been dubbed by the local media, is still recovering. Tribune reporter K.C. Johnson reports that Kirk is doubtful for Game 6. Hinrich, who suffered a badly bruised calf early in the Bulls three OT victory in Game 4, hasn’t played or practiced since then. So, chances are slim that Captain Kirk will man the ship at the United Center.
Joakim Noah is soldiering on with a nagging case of plantar fasciitis.
Luol Deng and Taj Gibson missed practice on Wednesday. Both Bulls forwards are reportedly battling flu-like symptoms.
Derrick Rose, of course, is out, but there’s always a chance that he’ll suit up in a Bulls uniform (and not the perfunctory suit and tie) before the end of the NBA playoffs.
For the Bulls, the end may be nearing and the ship may be sinking, Captain Kirk. A loss in Game 6 at home for the Bulls would be devastating. Sure, the Bulls would live to fight again in Game 7, but the odds would be against them. Calling all hands (Bulls) on deck!
Hollie M. Woods is a writer for Rant Sports covering the Chicago Bulls and the NBA. “Like” her on Facebook.