The Clippers’ and Lakers’ seasons ended with disappointments. The one solace for fans of both teams? The injuries to superstars. Kobe Bryant, among others for the Lakers. Blake Griffin for the Clippers.
Which makes what the Chicago Bulls are doing all the more remarkable. They’ve played all season without their best player — former MVP Derrick Rose, but still advanced to the second round where they had to play the mighty Miami Heat.
Then they lost another front line player for game one and probably the series. Luol Deng is in a hospital after complications from a spinal tap. So the remaining Bulls went out and beat the Heat 93-to-86 to steal home court advantage.
Now both Lakers coach Mike D’Antoni and Clippers coach Vinny Del Negro insist they stress defense. Their players talk about it all the time. But Bulls coach Tom Thibodeau actually gets his guys to do it — no matter how many stars are sidelined. Just like they did in the regular season when they ended the Heat’s 27 game winning streak.
Maybe it’s unfair to compare what’s going on in the Windy City with our two teams. But while everyone else talks about not using injuries as an excuse… looking for someone else to step up… Thibodeau is doing exactly that with the Bulls.