CSN Bulls analyst and four-time NBA champion Will Perdue looks at the potential long-term impact, both individually and as a group, for the Bulls if they're unable to beat LeBron James and the Cavaliers in their current playoff series.
“1. to feel sad, repentant, or disappointed over (something that has happened or been done, especially a loss or missed opportunity).”
It’s been 14 years since I played competitive basketball in the NBA. Sunday afternoon's game between the Cavs and Bulls brought back memories of those "lost and missed opportunities" throughout my career on the floor. The difference between myself and this Bulls team is that I can no longer do anything to correct or change those missed opportunities. This series is tied at 2-2. The Bulls have an opportunity in Game 5 to correct their mistakes from Game 4, to not only help them win Thursday but also to help them win the series.
At the present moment this team may not understand the magnitude of what lies before them. On paper they have the talent, the skill and the depth to beat LeBron James, their nemesis, and the Cavaliers. I know from past experience that they may look at Game 4 as “just one game,” but it could be the defining moment of this series and quite possibly, for some, their careers. It’s not as easy as saying “just put it behind us and learn from our mistakes.” Games that end that way, especially in the playoffs, can leave mental scars and doubt that will carry over into the next game and quite possibly the next season.
Now is the time for this team to be proactive. Instead of looking back 14 years from now with the thoughts of regret of what could have been in this series against the Cavs, this team has the chance to write history that can be looked back upon and cherished, much like I was afforded the luxury of four championships. Those years bring back the fond memories of battles won, but there are still those memories of battles lost that resurface after watching games like Sunday's last-second loss.
Professional athletes are tormented about missed opportunities. Golfers have nightmares about the missed putts they feel cost them a win on tour. Hockey players have nightmares about penalty shots gone awry. Baseball players are haunted with the errors that may have cost their team the game. You understand my point.
I hope this Bulls team doesn't allow the outcome of Game 4 to define regret. Not only do they need to make the necessary changes required to win Game 5, but it also requires the necessary focus, determination, desire, drive, and both mental and physical energy. This may actually be the biggest hurdle for this team to overcome. Johnny Bach, assistant coach for the Bulls championship run in the 90s, used to always say, “Fatigue makes cowards of us all.” Do the Bulls have the mental fortitude to win and advance?
This is the challenge that lies before them. If they don’t win this series it’s not the end of the world, but if they do win it could be life-altering. Remember the Bulls in 1991? We finally beat our nemesis, the Detroit Pistons, 4-0. What happened after that was the first ever championship for the Chicago Bulls organization. There have never been any regretful thoughts of that season.
Moving forward, the future of this team and the history that they write is in the hands of the players and the coaches. I use this metaphor all of the time on CSN Chicago: I’m not Chicken Little crying that the sky is falling, but if the Bulls lose Game 5...run for cover.
Now it’s time to do your part and rally the troops. Wear your favorite Jersey, your lucky socks, your rally caps...whatever it may be, to show your support for the Bulls and help Derrick Rose, and the team take down LeBron and the Cavs. Let's dethrone “The King.”
This post originally was published on Will Perdue's tumblr page.
Will Perdue is CSN's Bulls analyst. Follow Will on Twitter @Will_Perdue32 and watch him on Bulls Postgame Live with Mark Schanowski after every Bulls playoff game.