UPDATED 05/13/11 6:55 a.m.
CHICAGO (CBS) – The last time the Bulls advanced to the Eastern Conference Finals, it was 1998, and Michael Jordan, Scottie Pippen, Dennis Rodman, Luc Longley and Ron Harper comprised the starting lineup.
Now it’s Chicago native Derrick Rose’s turn.
Under the glare of the big stage, the entire club came up big, similar to the days when Jordan’s supporting cast did its job. Carlos Boozer and Joakim Noah both played impressively, and because of it, the Rose, the pride of the Englewood neighborhood, is now the pride of all Chicago as he leads his club against LeBron James and the Miami Heat.
The Heat will be in town on Sunday for the first game of the Eastern Conference Finals at the United Center, and as CBS 2’s Susanna Song reports, fans are thrilled.
At the White Palace Grill, 1159 S. Canal St., one man even started tearing up.
“It’s awesome. It’s just like the ’Hawks taking the Stanley Cup. Bring another title back to Chicago. We’d like to see it. I hope it happens, but like you said, the Heat are bringing some challenges,” the man said. “I love Chicago. I would love them to make it. I would love them to make it. It benefits everybody in the city of Chicago, not just the Bulls.”
Another man chimed in: “This is a new Bulls, and Derrick Rose is making his own team. It’s his team right now, and he’s going to do what he’s got to do with the team, so we’ll see where they do it; take it, you know, a championship would be nice, but from barely making the playoffs last year to being first in the whole NBA, it’s pretty good.”
Another group of men at the restaurant were particularly impressed by the Bulls’ performance in the game Thursday night.
“The team – they just played together, and the chemistry was great. The defense was outstanding,” one young man said.
“D-Rose, to me, is like the answer to the NBA’s problems. He plays with such wisdom on what to do at all times,” another man said. “I think that’s going to pull us through the series.”
But it just so happened there was also a Miami fan in the group.
“I think it’s going to go to go to a Game 7, and I think Miami is going to pull it off,” he said. “Let’s go Miami!”
If you are itching for tickets for the Eastern Conference Finals, you can get them via Bulls.com, by calling (800) 4NBA-TIX, or going to any Ticketmaster location. You may not buy tickets at the United Center box office.
Each person is limited to four tickets.