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Jazz fans’ enthusiasm is dandy, but the Bulls are still champions

SHARE Jazz fans’ enthusiasm is dandy, but the Bulls are still champions

You asked for it; you got it. The Chicago Bulls are coming to town.

I'm right there with you; if you're going to win the NBA Championship, you have to do it against the best. If Karl Malone and John Stockton are going to get their day, then they need to beat Michael Jordan to the ring.However, during this nine-day layoff, we all have become a little touched in the head. I even found myself wondering if the fatigue of the Chicago Bulls would allow the Jazz to grab the first three games before the Bulls got their legs. The Jazz up 3-0 on the Bulls? You have to be kidding me.

It is so out of control that the raging debate around town is no longer if the Jazz can win but how many games it will take.

Hello McFly!!! This is the Chicago Bulls. The five-time NBA champion Chicago Bulls. The six of the last eight years in the Finals Chicago Bulls. Funny, in those two years they didn't win it, Michael didn't play the full season.

Have we forgotten that No. 23 is wearing the Bulls' red and black? No. 23 is Michael Jordan. As in, Michael Jordan the single greatest champion in competitive sports. As in, the greatest playoff player in the history of the NBA. As in, the 1997 NBA Finals Game No. 1 dagger over Bryon Russell. As in, the 1997 NBA Finals Game No. 5 miracle. As in, the man who last lost a playoff series when he played a full season on June 3, 1990. Yes, 1990 against the Detroit Pistons.

It's still uncertain how the layoff will affect the Jazz, but it's clear the layoff has made every Jazz fan a bit delusionary. Simply listen around town.

"I hope we don't win it in five so we win it in six so the celebration can be at home." Excuse me, but aren't these the Chicago Bulls who played the Jazz last year and in three of their four victories were trailing to start the fourth quarter? Each time, after waiting for the Jazz to grasp the game and squeeze, the Bulls realized the grip had been loosened and grabbed the game themselves - and the World Championship. Win it in five would mean winning two out of three at the United Center. Nobody wins two out of three from the Bulls in the United Center, not even the Jazz.

"Michael isn't the player he once was." This is probably true, but the player he currently still scored 28 points, had 9 rebounds and dished out 8 assists while holding Reggie Miller scoreless in the fourth quarter of Game 7. Michael's will to win is still unequaled. Michael's offensive game is the most unstoppable in the NBA. This is the most determined player and the mentally strongest player in the NBA. "At no point in the 48 minutes did I even think negative," said Jordan after Game 7.

"John and Karl want it more." How can anyone actually say that with a straight face? The Bulls showed the purest form of desire in Game 7. Without their A game, Pippen and Jordan won with rebounding, defense and teamwork. The Bulls simply outwilled the Pacers. Rebounding is about desire, and the Bulls outboarded the Pacers 50-34, 22-4 on the offensive boards. There is no doubt the Jazz want their first title, but there is absolutely no tangible way to claim the Jazz want this title more.

I love the unbridled love for the Jazz that has gripped this town and pulled the community together, but can we avoid acting like a bunch of illogical homers? The Jazz have a legitimate chance to win it all. In fact, what used to be a mild whisper around town - "I think the Jazz can win this thing" - has become a flat-out proc-la-ma-tion.

However, this is the Chicago Bulls. Sure, this year's Bulls don't have Brian Williams and Jason Caf-fey, and when Karl Malone gets Luc Longley in foul trouble and Dennis Rodman is recovering from a junket to Las Vegas their remaining answer is Dickey Simp-kins. But it is still the Chicago Bulls.

The Bulls have three of the four best floor defenders in the NBA. Pippen, Harper and Jordan simply eliminate people from games. Against Indiana, Pippen made Mark Jackson a non-factor.

Miller shot a blazing 7 of 12 in the first three quarters against the Bulls on Sunday. Then the Bulls placed Jordan on Miller and the Pacers' star disappeared: no points, one shot, no impact for Miller in the fourth quarter.

Everything you say is true. The Jazz have experience they have never had before. The Jazz have the homecourt advantage. The Jazz are rested and healthy. The Bulls have no answer for Karl Malone. The Jazz bench is rolling. These are all true, and the Jazz in six is a realistic pick.

But lets not get silly. These are the Chicago Bulls, and No. 23 still plays for them. Can you honestly look me in the eye and pick against Michael Jordan?