The Chicago Bulls Big Three of Jimmy Butler, Rajon Rondo and Dwyane Wade have been through a lot this NBA season. At times it looked like the team was ready to dissolve. They were blowing big leads late in the fourth quarter. Shots were being fired on Instagram. There were injuries and benchings. It just wasn’t good at all.
So for them and this team to somehow find their way through it all to reach the playoffs was a minor miracle in itself. Being the 8th seed and taking a 2-0 series lead for the top seeded Boston Celtics? That’s just mental. Yet it gets even crazier. After stealing Game 1, the trio met privately away from other teammates and coaches. It was something Wade got to doing all the time with LeBron James and Chris Bosh in Miami.
The meeting was intended to be a place where the men could discuss anything and everything on their minds. No restrictions. Topping the agenda was the same feeling.
The Bulls Big Three felt the Celtics would quit in Game 2
One huge advantage Chicago had going into the series was Wade and Rondo. The two men were longtime veterans with a literal treasure trove of playoff experience under their belts. They knew from hard-won experience how to sense the moment in big series. It’s why each man has a championship (or four).
After the stunning Game 2 victory, they revealed that during their private meeting it was believed Boston would quit if pressured.
“The TD Garden was the Bulls’ personal playpen on Tuesday night in their decisive 111-97 win, as the veteran leaders sensed before the game an opportunity was upon them and weren’t going to leave anything to chance.
They wanted to make the Celtics quit, and Rajon Rondo wasn’t shy about letting everybody know exactly what his intentions were.”
They proceeded to do just that. The Bulls came out firing to start the action with some outstanding ball movement and offensive execution. Even after narrowing the gap later it felt like the surge really stunned the Celtics. So much in fact that they never seemed in control of the contest. Towards the end it was Rondo who saw the cracks starting to show, and he wasn’t afraid to shout it at teammates.
Panic mode in Boston? pic.twitter.com/j55cjfQQjV
— Bleacher Report (@BleacherReport) April 19, 2017
Some Celtics players would dispute that, saying it was just another tough night where they couldn’t find any momentum. Then again Marcus Smart didn’t help matters. Trailing 100-86 with just over six minutes left, the Celtics guard launched an unsuccessful three-point attempt. As he was getting back on defense, a fan in the crowd shouted something at him. Already frustrated, Smart just couldn’t keep his cool any longer and flipped the unknown person off.
You know you’ve gotten a team to quite when they’re flipping off their own fans. Boston of course is notorious for having some pretty nasty supporters. Maybe that’s why the Patriots keep winning Super Bowls. They don’t want to incur the wrath. Either way, it’s a huge credit to the Bulls leadership that they saw the entire sequence coming.