By Miguel Flores
“They are Hollywood as hell.”
This quote from Joakim Noah sums up everything the Bulls and Heat rivalry is about. Ever since Chris Bosh, Dwyane Wade, and Lebron James formed the “Big 3” down in South Beach, no team relishes the opportunity to beat them more than the Bulls.
The contrasting styles of both the Heat and Bulls are what makes this the best rivalry in the NBA bar-none. The Heat features multiple superstars that garner the Hollywood-type attention with all of their championships, MVPs, and All-Star appearances. However, the Bulls contain a grit-and-grind, blue-collar mentality filled with NBA outcasts that don’t have the household names recognized throughout the league.
Whenever these two teams lock up, the rivalry between both teams sparks a nostalgic-like feeling reminiscing those old classic NBA rivalries in the 80s and 90s. You can feel the dislike both teams have for each other whether it’s Nazr Mohammed shoving James in last season’s 2nd round playoff matchup, or James and Jimmy Butler getting tangled up in Sunday’s contest, or Noah verbally abusing Bosh and the rest of the Heat at the free throw line.
For some reason, despite Thibodeau and the Bulls hardly being at full-strength in their regular season showdowns, they still contain the best record against the Heat in the “Big 3” era posting a 9-6 record, including their most recent 95-88 overtime victory this past Sunday. It’s something the NBA doesn’t have enough of because this is a time where players want to be friends rather than develop a hatred for each other. Thankfully, the Bulls don’t fall into that category as they enjoy pestering the Heat. Even after it’s over, you don’t see either team exchanging pleasantries like other teams in the league. Fortunately for us, we are able to witness the one true rivalry four times a year when these teams face off. Although a playoff series between the two would only last 5 or 6 games due to Derrick Rose’s season-ending knee injury, we can only hope that they meet again in the playoffs to add another chapter in the rivalry.
Miguel Flores is co-host of the sports show Nothing But Net. You can listen to Nothing But Net on WCRXFM.COM and 88.1 FM (and on the Tune in app search WCRX) every Tuesday night from 7-9p CT.