While Chicago is finally getting some warm weather, things are about to heat up, as the Miami Heat travels to the Windy City for the Eastern Conference Finals on Sunday.
And it’s going to be a tale of one city.
Both Dwyane Wade and Derrick Rose are Chicago natives, which certainly will make the games crowd pleasers in their hometown. Wade led the Heat to the 2006 NBA title, and Rose is helping to respark the Bulls' championship magic of the 1990s.
Better yet, the Bulls have secured home-court advantage throughout the playoffs after closing the regular season with the best record in the NBA, 62-20.
Both teams got to the finals by quickly dispatching of their opponents in the best of seven games. The Bulls beat the Indiana Pacers 4-1 in their series and regained their stride to take the Atlanta Hawks 4-2. The Heat needed only 4-1 series to take down the Philadelphia Sixers and the Boston Celtics.
The conference finale is also probably the most attractive among the possibilities, as some fans are still bitter about LeBron James’ decision to leave the Cleveland Cavaliers after seven seasons and sign with Miami last year with the goal of winning a championship. What better team to humble and cool off James and company than the young, charging Bulls?
‘King’ James, a man without an NBA title crown, went live on television to tell the world that he was going to put on a Miami Heat uniform. Many fans and experts were, and remain, critical of The Decision and how it was done.
Miami is paying James and former Toronto Raptor Chris Bosh hefty contracts, leaving little money in its salary cap to secure a complementary supporting cast off the bench. Nevertheless, with three young superstars in Wade, James and Bosh, some experts are already saying the team will win the championship.
But they have to go through the Bulls, who sport the NBA's Coach of the Year in Tom Thibodeau and the league's Most Valuable Player in Rose. Also, let's not forget that the Bulls swept the Heat in their regular season matches this season, with all three games being won by 4 points or less.
The last time the Bulls reached the Eastern Conference Finals was in 1998, when Michael Jordan eventually led the team to the NBA championship by hitting the game-winning shot against the Utah Jazz in Game 6. Just saying …
Sketching out a game plan
Unfortunately, only those with access to cable television will be able to watch the game, as tipoff is set for 7 p.m. Sunday on TNT.
For the spectators who can't watch the game in the comfort of their home, Skokie Patch has picked the five best spots to watch the blocks, dunks and hoopla locally.
This place was built to eat wings and watch big-time games. With plenty of TVs in the bar and dining area, Buffalo Wild Wings in Skokie is the perfect place to watch the game with family or friends Sunday.
The following specials will be available:
- Watching the game with a big party? Then order up 50 buffalo wings for $34.99 and choose from about a dozen different sauces.
- This family friendly restaurant also has several kid's meals available. Try the Cheeseburger Slammer or the Chicken Tender meal, both for only $3.99.
- Feeling healthy? Get the Garden Green Salad for only $6.69.
If the popular 1980s show Cheers was filmed in Skokie, directors would be shooting at Village Inn Pizza in Skokie. The popular bar has a very local feel. With access to free parking nearby, it's an easy choice to watch the Bulls-Heat tug of war.
With locations both in Skokie and Evanston, Bar Louie is a sure thing for a good time in viewing the basketball action on Sunday.
If you're worried about showing up late or being packed in a crowd, then maybe you should head over to Tommy Nevin's Pub in Evanston.
The pub features 14 big-screen, high-definition TVs and has loads of space to walk around, mingle and root against the Heat.
Skokie's has needed a place like Curragh Irish Pub for some time. This cozy bar is small in size, but features some excellent food and beer choices.