The Chicago Bulls surprised everyone but themselves Monday night. They went into Miami, a place where the Heat had only lost four times this season and took a crucial Game 1 in the Eastern Conference semifinals with a 93-86 win.
Some will see Monday night’s win as a fluke, but that shouldn’t be the case. The Bulls held the explosive Heat to just 86 points. They did that with only six players getting into double-digit minutes and only seven players scoring in the game.
For basketball fans who no longer have a team in the playoffs I have a simple message: believe in the Bulls.
This is not a crazy idea. The underdog is far more exciting to get behind than the Evil Empire in Miami. It may come as a surprise that being from Cleveland I would propose such a notion, but Miami will always be the top enemy for Cleveland fans. Even if LeBron James does somehow miraculously return to Cleveland, Miami will be our top rival.
The Bulls are such as easy team to pull for. What’s not to like about a team that places a major focus on defense? They do not rely on spotty shooting, such as is the case with the Knicks, and don’t employ methods like Hack-a-Bosh. They play strong defense that was third in the league in points allowed. And that came without their star Derrick Rose, whose possible return is not even a distraction for the hyper-focused Bulls.
Now the first question of picking up fandom in the Bulls may be, “What if they lose against the Heat? Wouldn’t I be wasting my energy?” The answer is no. An emphatic no.
Cheering for the Bulls in this round of the playoffs only has positive effects, if you’re not currently a Bulls fan. If they win the series then it is entirely worth the energy and emotion. If they lose, then fans still have their own teams to cheer for next year, and the loss can quickly be moved on from.
Pascal’s Wager fits perfectly with this idea. Simply switch out believing in God with cheering for the Bulls, (a far different magnitude of choice, I know), and this fits the Wager’s description.
If the Bulls lose the series it will result in disappointment for those who adopt the Bulls as their team for the next week or so. However, during this time excitement and joy will be gained as a result of Nate Robinson playing the best basketball of his career, and Jimmy Butler becoming a household name.
If the Bulls lose the pain will not last all that long, but if they win an overwhelming joy will be felt that will overpower any negative feelings that would come with their defeat.