Score the moral victory for the Chicago Bulls who almost outlasted the Brooklyn Nets losing 95-92 on Thursday in Game 6 at the United Center. The fact that the Bulls remained in it at all was nothing short of miraculous.
The Bulls were shorthanded which is a popular refrain now, but never has it been as true as it was last night in Game 6. Only two point guards dressed and only one of them was healthy. The healthy guard was the rookie Marquis Teague.
Point guard Nate Robinson was regurgitating during timeouts with a severe case of the flu. When he wasn’t on the court making three-pointers from downtown and courageous drives in the paint, he was sitting on the bench with a puke bucket in front of him and a towel over his head. Nate was the Bulls’ second leading scorer, playing nearly the entire game which was quite impressive for a guy who should’ve been at home in bed with a bowl of chicken soup.
Two other point guards were sidelined – Kirk Hinrich’s severely sore calf kept him on the bench for the second straight game and Derrick Rose, well…we all know that scenario by now. He didn’t play at all.
Undoubtedly, no one was more ill than Luol Deng who showed up at the United Center, but was sent home before the opening tip. According to CSN Chicago, Deng spent the previous day in a Chicago area hospital undergoing tests to rule out viral meningitis.
Taj Gibson was also battling the flu.
Had the Bulls been healthy they would be resting today in anticipation of the second round against the Miami Heat. As fate would have it, the rest that they sorely need has eluded them. If the Bulls can somehow regain their health in Game 7 with Hinrich starting, Robinson and Gibson flu-less, and Deng ready for action, they will certainly be contenders (not pretenders).
As it stands, they will live to fight again on Saturday night in the elimination Game 7. But will they have enough fight left?