Thanks to the Bulls!

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Before the players are all scattered by the four winds (and that fifth wind of free agency), we want to take the time to celebrate the Chicago Bulls and their improbable National Basketball Association playoff series against the defending champion Boston

Before the players are all scattered by the four winds (and that fifth wind of free agency), we want to take the time to celebrate the Chicago Bulls and their improbable National Basketball Association playoff series against the defending champion the Boston Celtics.

No, the young Bulls did not win the series, dropping the seventh game in Boston by 10 points, but they won a huge dose of respect from the Celtics, from the NBA and perhaps most importantly from Chicago basketball fans.

The Bulls extended the Celtics to four overtime games, winning three of them, topped by that magnificent and dramatic triple overtime, backs to the wall win Thursday at the United Center. Years from now, millions of fans will claim they were there when it happened (though the facility only seats 21,700 for basketball). There were enough highs and lows, heroes and goats, amazing shots and clunkers, and blood and skin left on the parquet for a season of games.

The two teams played almost the equivalent of eight games before the Celtics could limp away.

What the Bulls displayed was the kind of grit and determination that defines a team, defines a franchise. That is especially important for a team that has struggled to find an identity since Michael Jordan shuffled off to Charlotte.

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