With the Miami Heat putting away their arch rivals the Boston Celtics in the conference semis, they will now have to go through another elite team that they struggled against during the regular season, the Chicago Bulls. Both teams have explosive offensives and stifling defenses, but the ultimate winner may be the team that can withhold their existential angst; that feeling one experiences when standing on a cliff where one not only fears falling off it, but also dreads the possibility of throwing oneself off due to the absolute freedom of choice they’re presented with. Also, free throws. They should probably make them.
Assuming Derrick Rose doesn’t have to fight off a pre-game crisis that causes him to question his role in society – to ask himself if he is merely a jester performing his dance for the amusement of his lords, or if he’s battle scared warrior whose life is without purpose unless he’s bouncing an orange ball – then he should be able to exploit the Heat’s relatively weak defense in the paint. If his field goal shooting percentage drops below 40%, he may find himself feeling like a man that exists in a state of distance from the world that he nonetheless remains in the midst of.
Pictured: Derrick Rose attempting to mask his MVP-imposed sociopathic emotional distancing from the whole of humanity by smiling
Carlos Boozer, Luol Deng, and Joakim Noah each need to prove that the Bulls are more than just a one-man team with Derrick Rose putting up all the points. In the past few games, these integral role players are quickly encroaching upon a moral grey area where they begin to question how their actions are perceived in the public eye; if they settle for jump shots from outside the paint, their choices will be seen as rash, and fans and non-fans alike will question the worth as not only athletes, but as human beings. I mean, if they can’t do their only jobs and do them well, might as well down some Vicodins with a bottle of scotch and put an end to their miserable lives.
And this is also true of league MVP Derrick Rose: is MVP merely a title thrust upon a human so that it may heighten the agony of abject failure? Does the title of MVP cause one to relinquish their freedoms to perform unfettered and without backlash? Or is MVP a collection of words that isolate a person from the rest of the world, causing them to abandon their moral principles after an inflated sense of self-worth marks their slow decent in to a world where morality is determined by what one does when they hold an orange ball?
All of these questions will be washed away if Rose and the rest of the Bulls can sink some high-percentage shots early in game 1.
As for the Heat, Dwayne Wade and LeBron James have proven this season that they are the current kings of fastbreak offense. Getting solid defensive stops and converting them in to easy fastbreak points will be the key to Heat victory. The only thing that can put a damper on the Heat’s searing fastbreak skills is if D-Wade and LeBron experience a devastating awareness of meaninglessness as they soar through the air to score an easy two. As the pair sail themselves to the basket they may finally realize the absurdity of life, and the absurdity in living their lives in ways that put them in the perpetual danger of having everything meaningful break down; like a once mighty dam whose aged, cracked visage eventually unleashes a flooding torrent of water upon a town of innocents.
The Heat bench is also going to have to step it up in this series. If they don’t, the Heat may quickly find themselves in a two or three game hole, as well as a hole of impenetrable blackness entirely comprised of the Heat bench player’s futility in the face of adversity. They would then question the value of their motives and purposes of their basic human activities. If that happens, we might see Heat Guard James Jones wondering why he’s even needs to dribble the ball, or Heat center Juwan Howard refusing to bathe for the entire series because in his mind, hey, who the f*ck cares?
Pictured: Heat guard Mike Bibby (center) feeling the crushing weight of his profound futility under the watchful eye of monumental achievement.
In short, as long as the Heat can avoid being overtaken by a creeping sense of impending ennui that will engulf their minds and shroud them in the armor of self-loathing and madness, then their shooting percentage from beyond the arc may improve and give them the edge in this series.
Game 1 is this Sunday, and it should be a fantastic series that will showcase some of the best players in the league playing at the top of their game while feeling as worthless as they’ve ever felt.