Posts Tagged ‘Miami Heat’

The Miami Heat are the best team in basketball right now. They’ve managed to augment their talent with a modicum of depth. Shane Battier, a healthy Udonis Haslem, ditto with Mike Miller, Norris Cole came out of nowhere to provide meaningful minutes, the Heat have a bench now and that makes them deadly. It’s a forgone conclusion that the Heat will meet the Bulls in the Eastern Conference Finals once again.

That’s part of the reason the Heat are so criticized. When you add to a core that boasts 3 of the 10 best players in the NBA, you’re supposed to be unstoppable. The roadblocks that remain for the Heat are the same ones as last year. They have difficulty figuring out who will be the man in the closing minutes, you can frustrate them with a zone defense, and they have some difficulty with rebounding.

And there’s that really weird LeBron issue too.

Which of course brings me to Derrick Rose. I have no idea where the excuse of “That’s the proper basketball play,” came from, but it’s complete utter bullshit. The Heat were in trouble last Friday against a tough Utah Jazz team. Yeah, LeBron spearheaded an inspired comeback that came up just short, he was hitting ridiculous three pointers and taking odd shots from odd angles because, damnit, he’s the best damn player on the planet and he should be forcing up shots like that because he can hit them.

On the final play however? “I gotta pass to Udonis. Crunch time.”

Don’t even give me Kerr or Paxson. Those assholes were jump shooters, deadly threats from the outside. It made sense to pass it out to the top of the key when the defense was collapsing on you. LeBron is an absolute force of nature. No one is going to bother him much when he drives the paint. You can’t slow that down.

Look at Rose. In the waning moments of a close game against a tough Philly team, when the Bulls needed a bucket, who was throwing his small frame into the teeth of a pitbull defense that was looking to make sure that it wouldn’t be Rose who scores? Onesanity, that’s who. A stupid, ill-advised shot that makes you go, “NONONNONONONONNO!!!! WAIT WHAT!!!!!! YES! SHIT YES, YOU LITTLE SHIT YOU KEEP DOING THAT AND IT MAKES NO SENSE WHATSOEVER GODDAMNIT!”

Well, maybe that’s just me, but Rose is the same guy that dominated a state playoff game and only scored 2 points. He can distribute and he loves getting his teammates involved. Remember early in his career when we were all begging him to quit deferring?

And then he did the damndest thing and quit deferring and became the MVP because of clownshoes ridiculous shot after shot that won the Bulls games? Yeah, it’s crazy but I think someone (Thibs) sat Derrick down and said, “Now, I know that you don’t want to step on any toes, but seriously, asshole, you’re passing to Bogans and Jo for jumpshots. Cut that shit out and just take it to the rack.”

LeBron needs that speech. Yeah, passing to Haslem is the proper basketball play, but everyone needs to shit on that stupid theory. Legends don’t follow the rules. They reinvent the book in their own image by throttling the game by it’s throat and making it bend to their will. “Oh what’s that? I’m too selfish? I’m only a scorer? Here, have some of this 35-8-8 up your asshole. And then I’ll win 6 titles.” “Oh, I can’t win without Shaq? Taste my asshole, I’ll win two more and solidify my legend. And I’ll do it by being a maniacal asshole who makes funny faces and takes a lot of ‘bad’ shots.”

The rules that dictate what is and isn’t a good basketball play are completely open for LeBron to reinterpret and rewrite. Bad basketball plays are good ones for him because he is such a physical freak. The man can do whatever he wants on the court, and if he’s going to shake off the demons, get the monkey off his back, he’s going to have to forget about that “good basketball play” bullshit.

Impose your will asshole, if you don’t, good luck getting by the Bulls.

Goddamn that’s an awful shot…awesome.

You crazy son of a bitch…I see what you did there.

You fooled all of us, Mr. Thibs, but I”m savvy to what you’re up to, and boy was it glorious. Not only did you manage to rest Deng and Rose, but you also planted the seeds of doubt into the heads of LeWade, drawing up a last minute play to ensure that they fail.

Oh and you better believe that vision will be softly creeping in the Heatles heads as they are sleeping. Failure in the postseason is the final mountain that LeBron has to get over. It’s haunted him for years now, and while the Heat are far and away the best team in the league right now, the questions are still surrounding the Heat’s ability to close in important games. There’s really only one place to kill those doubts, and that’s in the finals.

Speaking of doubts…

You had to know that Kobe was going to trash talk LeBron. He tries to emulate Mike after all. Kobe dared LeBron to take and make that final shot, and LeBron passed it up and turned it over. Now, I get that this is an exhibition and it’s all in good fun, but in the interview afterwards LeBron looked like a man who knew that every single talking head, blog, and sports media outlet was going to be asking the same stupid question that’s been plaguing him for years.

To that, let me say this. You were supposed to be better than this, LeBron. It’s a mantle that was given to you, sure. But it’s not exactly a mantle that you shy away from. You view yourself as the Chosen One.

I mean, you can’t be complaining when people are calling you out for not winning. It comes with the territory man. This is the NBA, the best players in the league win rings. Lots of them. Rare exceptions come at the cost of Dynasties. Malone, shit, almost a whole generation of 90’s basketball players lost to Mike and Hakeem.

That’s the thing LeBron, you aren’t Malone, or Barkley, or Stockton, or Ewing. You’re LeBron damn James, arguably the most intimidating and freakish athlete in the history of basketball. You’re the freakiest player in a league full of freaks. Durant is 6’10 and you could play him as a shooting guard, and you’re still more athletic than he is.

Comes with the territory.

As for what the All-Star weekend meant for the Bulls, we’ll see. Derrick didn’t dance, because he’s not like that. He also played like 4 minutes. Ditto with Deng. I think we found out that Thibs isn’t a maniac. He understands what games matter and which ones don’t. I think that there may be a master plan to it all. He might really be the evil genius the Bulls need to beat the Heat, but it’s gonna be a rough ride.

Rose and company are definitely the underdogs in all of this. Noah’s triple-double was fun and all, but that supporting cast is inferior to the Heat’s. Winning a playoff series against them is highly unlikely, but there are a few ways that they can possibly pull it off I think. Getting Rip Hamilton will help, but it’s going to take perfect basketball and another Heat chokejob for the Bulls to get it done.

It’s not impossible, but it doesn’t look good. The Bulls do need to trade for some better pieces, because even if the Bulls sneak by the Heat, there’s another pain in the ass that’ll be waiting for them.

Oh Lawd, pass the whiskey.

They’re being overlooked. Again. I guess there’s good reason for that. The Knicks have a sensational story, the Heat are tearing the basketball universe a new asshole, and the OKC Thunder are playing fun, aggressive, and winning basketball. Don’t sleep on the Spurs either, Pops has that team humming at the right speed.

That kind of leaves the Bulls out of the championship picture, oddly enough. At the start of the season it seemed a foregone conclusion that we would see a Bulls/Heat rematch in the ECF, pending the injury story late in the year. I happen to still believe this is the case, but for some reason, people are starting to forget about Derrick Rose and the Chicago Bulls. They’ve become an afterthought this season, which is strange given the storyline that was developing all last year.

I mean, Bulls/Heat should still be the premiere match up of the East, but as Linsanity has taken over rational minds, people are overlooking the Bulls. That’s cool, write in the Knicks as ECF contenders, let me know how that works out when they run into a team that specializes in stopping the pick and roll, the Knicks only offense. I wonder who drills pick and roll defense over and over and over again until it’s second nature?

[youtube] [youtube]

Oh right, those assholes.

Look, Lin is a good story, he’s doing some incredible things, but what gets overlooked is that the Knicks play absolutely zero defense, and Lin turns the ball over a lot. He’s scored the most points to start a career, yeah yeah, whatever. He’s also turned the ball over the most to start a career as well. That shouldn’t be overlooked when you’re matching the Knicks up with the Bulls and the Heat, two teams that defend pick and roll like a motherfucker. Especially the Heat. Because bad things happen when you turn it over against them.

have fun, you fucking turnover machine.

Which kinda leads me to my real question, can Derrick beat the Heat? Is 1>3? I already know that Rose is better than Linsanity, no matter what people want to start believing. The Bulls will beat the Knicks in the playoffs. The Knicks are still the Knicks, they still suck ass and need to bow at the alter of Michael every time they take the court.

Who's your daddy, and what does he do?

All Knick hate aside, they still suck ass and the only team that Bulls fans should be aware of are the Heat. We’ll probably get scared in the playoffs, the Hawks can be a pain in the ass, the Pacers are still annoying, the Sixers are getting that Doug Collins bump, but it’s still Bulls/Heat.

I don’t think it can happen. I’ve been saying this for awhile, but as much as I love Deng/Rose/Noah the Bulls don’t match up well with the Heat. Deng can’t cover LeBron, nobody can. Wade is a bitch of a match up, Bosh will eat up whoever is on him, it’s not looking too good for the Bulls. Chicago will have to execute a perfect defensive game plan to compete with the Heat, and even that might not be enough. The fan in me rebels against the notion that the Bulls can’t beat the Heat, but my head refuses to go along with my heart.

I’ll be rooting hard for the Bulls, I always do, but I’m not very optimistic that 1>3.

Don’t panic, Bulls are slowly righting the ship.

This play is ridiculous. Derrick Rose is used to playing against men taller and bigger than he is, this is a playground layup, crafted on concrete courts, perfected against men whose defense was to hit hard and often, and finally being showcased on the big stage in the NBA.

Rose has playground game infused with collegiate fundamentals. He isn’t out of control, even if it looks like that often. He’s fucking fast, and that’s probably the best way to describe the 6’4 demon in sneakers. I can’t fathom what it must feel like to have total command of the court like Rose does. He seemingly gets to the rack at will, imposing NBA trees be damned.

His back spasms flared up again, and that will be an issue for the next couple of days, but the Bulls will be fine. This is about a deep playoff run, not a few regular season victories to pad the victory total. It’s not even really about home court advantage either, the Bulls had that last year and it didn’t help them much againss the Heat. No, it’s about avoiding the Heat as long as possible.

The Heat are kind of a bitch. They’re playing an oddly poetic brand of violent, aggressive, rim rattling basketball, the likes of which have never been seen. This isn’t Showtime, this is Showtime’s evil, ‘roided up cousin who drives the black camaro and listens to Sabbath.

Deng is pretty awesome, and you should start to appreciate him more.

I'm putting you on noitce, asshole.

The team looks completely different when Deng is out there, the rotations are different, the defense is different, the offense is different, Deng makes everything better.

I mean, it is a small sample size, but the Bulls looked lost on offense without him. Derrick went into “I’m going to do everything now.” mode as the rest of the team looked on in awe and forgot they had to contribute on the offensive end. They’ve blown out two opponents since Deng has returned, and it’s passed the eye test as well.

Fuck the Knicks

Overrated pieces of shit


They were supposed to be Miami Heat pt. 2. fuck em, the Mecca of basketball hasn’t won shit since 1973, and they aren’t going to win it this year. Coach Pringles is fired, and I’m glad the Bulls didn’t hire him when they were looking for a coach. I mean, it lead to a few years of Vinny, but I’ll take the hair over the ‘stache any day.

Besides, the important part here is that the Knicks suck after trying to copy another business model. ‘Melo is an enigma, and I’m glad D’Antoni hasn’t solved it.

Stop pissing Derrick off. He doesn’t like it.

Man, the United Center was loud that night.

When he was a rookie, Brandon Jennings scored 50 pts. in a game once. Did you know that? I remember it because people started asking if Jennings was better than Rose. It was stupid then, and it’s stupid now, and Rose will always take the opportunity to show you exactly why. He doesn’t forget. If you disrespect him, he’s coming after you. Rose is a silent assassin. I would stop pissing him off. Immediately.

Gimme dat Jo!

Yeah, you jelly.

As Terry wrote, Jo is back! He’s been more active lately and his defense has been outstanding over this recent run of success. Jo is important, he can’t be tired and lazy if he’s going to have any worth to this team. His passing from the top of the key is a big part of the Bulls offense.

Moving forward, if the Bulls are going to beat the Heat, they need all their parts running at as close to full capacity as the season will allow. Their best player is 6’4, the Heat’s best player is 6’8. That’s a problem, because LeBron can guard Derrick and shut his ass down. Teams are starting to trap Derrick when he brings the ball up the court, it’s a pain in the ass mainly, but for the Heat, it’ll be a useful weapon.


In lieu of a Bulls Week in Review, here is a recap of the very entertaining Bulls-Heat matchup.

It was an expected outcome. The Heat are better than the Bulls right now, and with Deng sitting on the sidelines the 97-93 final score was pretty indicative of how the game felt. It was extremely close, but always out of reach for the Bulls, until the 4th quarter. A myth is building in Chicago, centered around #1. Rose is certainly more than willing to carry a team to victory, and he’s put together an impressive body of work showcasing the ability to will a team to victory. On Sunday, however, his two costly misses at the free throw stripe erased all of his hard work. The Bulls were kept at an arm’s length, but Rose’s ability to split double teams, penetrate the lane, hit layups and get to the free throw line were the grand equalizer.

Rose scored 34 points for the Bulls. Chicago’s next highest scorer was Rip Hamilton with 11. That is an issue. While Miami was showcasing it’s high flying offensive style the Bulls were once again grinding possessions and exerting maximum effort on offense to get a shot off. Those possessions usually ended in Rose driving the lane and forcing contact before getting a shot off. Rose was 12-14 from the charity stripe, Noah shot the second most free throws on the team with 6.

This style of offensive play will suck the energy out of the defensive side of the ball. Miami didn’t shoot a great percentage but they got to the FT line 40 times (compared to 28 for the Bulls) as tired legs tend to commit tired fouls. The Bulls did a great job on the isolation offense the Heat run out there in crunch time, but the Bulls supposed advantage in rebounding wasn’t there, they were actually out-rebounded by Miami 48-47. This is an issue. The Bulls did a good job on the first shot, but failed to limit the offensive rebounds, the Heat pulled in 12 of those. Miami will make you pay for giving them the second shot.

As for the free throws, those two misses were reminiscent of Derrick Rose in a Memphis Uniform. Rose has worked on his free throws since coming into the league. He was a 75-76% foul shooter his first two years in the league, he’s increased that number to 86%.

College basketball is only good when it's future pro vs. future pro.

Those two misses were killer. The Bulls had the chance to tie or take the lead with under a minute left in the game and Rose bricked both free throws. Now, LeBron then missed two of his own in the following possession, doing nothing to assuage the belief that he is not a clutch player, but Mario Chalmers put the Bulls away with two made foul shots. It was reminiscent of 2007 when Chalmers hit a clutch shot and Rose bricked some free throws. This is something that will eat at Rose for awhile, he enjoys taking the challenge up. He also has a long memory and will not be forgetting this loss for awhile.

The Dengless Bulls did prove something in defeat, and that’s the ability to beat the Heat. With Deng the Bulls would have a good jump shooter out there to stretch the floor, taking pressure off Rose/Hamilton to score, and one of the best perimeter defenders in the game. The open looks in the lane for LeBron would be tougher to get, and the job Rip’s length did on Wade defensively was something to be optimistic about. Bosh is still a problem, but ideally with Deng out there you can rotate Noah on Bosh and let Boozer handle Anthony/Haslem. Perhaps the Bulls have the blueprint, when they were down 11 the Bulls switched to a zone defense for the first time that I can remember and reeled the Heat back in. Miami’s isolation game was ineffective late in the 4th quarter as well.

Moving forward the Bulls and the Heat will have 3 more regular season showdown before they meet in the Playoffs. And they will be in the ECF pending a major miracle/tragedy for either team. The Bulls lost the game, but it’s not hopeless anymore. They can hang with the Heat without their second best player. With Deng, they can possibly even beat them.

And, fin.

I thought I would do something different for this post.


Moe Rubio is going through the gauntlet and will post a Bulls related post every day for 12 days.

Nobody pictured this. I don’t care how ardent a Bulls fan you are, deep in your heart you never imagined that the Bulls would be on the cusp of a championship, that they would be cast as the heroes of the 2010-2011 NBA season. The sting of being passed over by the big 3 free agents cut pretty deep, and a few pundits passed this version of the Bulls off as a 4-5 seed and a tough second round match up.


Moe Rubio is running through the gauntlet and posting every day for 12 straight days, here is day three of Bullsmas.

The NBA villains arrived with pomp, a WWF (I’ll always call it WWF, WWE just looks stupid) style intro to announce that the heels of the basketball world were here to destroy your dreams and crush your hearts. They were winning multiple championships, so just start handing them over. The death knight trio of Bosh, Wade and James were coming.

And so they faltered out of the gates early last season, failed to set an NBA record for wins, were swept by the Bulls in the regular season, had trouble finding chemistry, looked downright lost at times and while they did advance to the NBA Finals, they were beaten by a veteran team that no one predicted would come this far.

Basketball narratives are a fickle beast. Destiny has been calling for a Kobe-LeBron showdown of epic proportions, the battle to determine whose legacy will be everlasting. It’s the type of match up that dreams and nightmares are made of, the classic battle of two sublime basketball would be legends looking to forever cement themselves in the minds of bucket heads as the superior player.

It hasn’t happened yet, and with the dwindling star of Kobe Bryant fading into the background, a new epic is looking to unfold. There are many challengers to the throne, but the two teams whose fates are seemingly intertwined are the Chicago Bulls and the Miami Heat.

Miami has been building towards this moment. There have been numerous rumors circulation around when Dwyane Wade began to whisper sweet nothings into the ears of James and Bosh. You can look back on the false ceremony celebrating a basketball God, when the Heat retired the number of Michael Jordan a full year before the summer of LeBron. LeBron would later fill out the paperwork to change his number from 23 to 6. At the time Bulls fans took it as a sign that the King would make his court in the shadow of a legend.

Perhaps the challenge of living up to Jordan proved too intimidating, but the more likely story is that James and Wade had this planned all along, hoping to drum up interest for themselves and have a lavish coming out party. Like debutantes strolling out to meet their dates, the trio made its way down a catwalk, hoping that destiny would take notice and hand them something that every NBA legend has worked for.

And so the series of events that were set in motion from years previous marched on. Two franchises that have developed somewhat of a minor rivalry pushed both fan bases into full on hate mode.

Being labeled the bad guy is one thing, it’s entirely a different thing to embrace the cold and unloving embrace that is the villain moniker. LeBron James is struggling to find his bearing as the bad guy. Ultimately I think James is a good man. He loves his kids, looks out for his friends, and the brand of basketball he plays isn’t cutthroat. It’s smooth, majestic, it’s beautiful ball.

Being labeled the good guy is one thing, it’s entirely a different thing to rise up and slay the dragon when it comes your way. Derrick Rose has the soul of an assassin within him, and as last year proved he is willing to push it to the limit when it comes to improving his game. This Bulls team has to rise to the challenge with him, because I feel that a rematch with the Miami Heat is inevitable.

It has the makings of an epic story, a true rivalry that the NBA has lacked since the days of Bird and Magic. The dogs of hell will be unleashed again as the two teams will likely do battle again for Eastern Conference supremacy. The pleasantries should be gone by then, and the question will be renewed again with Rose and James.

The Heat improved their fortunes by adding a battle tested veteran in Shane Battier. His contributions are both visible and intangible. He can hit the open 3, plays great defense and is one of the smarter players in the league. He adds depth in the frontcourt, something Miami has been sorely lacking since their deal with the devil.

This is the nicest, least creepy picture I could find of Lucifer.

The arms race is being won by the Miami Heat at this point, but as we all know, champions are not predestined, they are not determined by the offseason. The Heat will have to find out what LeBron James is made of in the playoffs in order for them to succeed. For all the brilliance we witnessed in the Bulls series, the giant became a dwarf on the games biggest stage.

LeBron missed his call to join and perhaps even surpass Michael Jordan. The most sublimely talented athlete I’ve ever seen is a mental midget. He’s 6’8 and 260 lbs of fast, but when the time comes for him to impose his will, he disappears. The cold blooded killer is missing in him. The constellation of NBA superstars is littered with great athletes and tremendous talents, but the inner circle is reserved for those who didn’t shy away from the challenge.

The basketball fan in me knows that LeBron James will eventually be a champion. His talent can only be denied for so long before it shows itself in full force on the games biggest stage. But for most fans something will always be missing, he will be more Dr. J and less MJ.

The NBA anti-heroes have a clear inside lane to a championship. The team in their way is perhaps the perfect underdog to root for, but make no mistake, the Heat are a team to be reckoned with.

The Heat and the Bulls play each other 4 times in a shortened season, that should tell you all you need to know about what the league thinks of this match up. The song that best describes the rivalry is below.


Episode 004 introduces our #1 fan, Rickey Bornheim, and Brian Holifield. We are NBA heavy, review our first beer, talk some baseball and do some rankings. We also field some questions from Spenser Camp and Patrick Paleczny.

Moe Rubio is running through the gauntlet and posting every day for 12 straight days, here is day two of Bullsmas

I think we all understand that there will never be another Michael Jordan. The confluence of events that came together to create the legend are just not there anymore. Jordan is more than a player at this point, he has become a reference point. Perhaps the most apt description of him is that he is the omnipresent shadow that players either shy from (LeBron), imitate (Kobe), or embrace (Rose).

The void left at the shooting guard position after Jordan’s retirement has been filled by a host of characters that merely borrow certain aspects from the G.O.A.T. We’ve seen the scorer (twice), the defender (once) and the clutch shot maker (once, and that dude was way shorter). Indeed, the desire for a decent 2 guard is something Bulls fans live with. It’s become a part of the fabric for this team’s fandom, much like the want for a low post scorer.

I’d still rather have Boozer, but more on that later.

The focus became razor sharp last year as the Bulls decided to go the unconventional route and start their worst option all year. Keith Bogans, often ridiculed, trudged his Deebo looking behind out there for 80+ games and contributed close to nothing. There was even a Bog6 statistic, citing that the Bulls were 26-2 in the regular season every time Bogans scored at least 6 points.

You know the Deebo music just started playing in your head, don’t lie.

When you get right down to it, the teams fortunes actually do hinge on the quality of play the SG position gives you. It became painfully clear in the Heat series that if the Bulls need buckets, they need Rose to be open. Rose can’t be open if the defense continually decides to ignore a position on the court and focus their attention on #1. Clearly Kyle Korver and Ronnie Brewer were not the answer either. If there was a way to combine them, the option would be clear and the Bulls would be a real force to be reckoned with, but as it stands they will struggle to score against bigger defenses.

Boozer needs to chip in, but again that’s for a different day.

What the Bulls need is a player that can create his own shot and hit the open jumper. When defenses collapse on Rose as he launches his body into a forest of NBA trees, he needs to have a good kickout option.

Rip Hamilton will likely be a Bull by the time you read this, and he is an interesting option. Rip runs endlessly through screens to get open. He is perhaps one of the best to ever move without the ball on a basketball court. I’ve seen him execute figure eights around Ben and Rasheed Wallace multiple times just to lose a defender and hit the open jumper.

The added wrinkle with Rip is that when he gets the ball on the elbow, he is a triple threat. He can shoot from that position, dribble and finish at the bucket or he can pass out and begin the endless race around the maze, tiring out his defensive assignment. Rip is old and has accumulated hard NBA minutes. He was never a great player, but he is a fine piece and would be an upgrade over Keith Bogans.

Rip is not a perfect player, he is not the ideal fit either. But what he does offensively and defensively still presents a marked improvement over last year’s roster. The rotations all get better as the Bulls eliminate a useless player and give more minutes to players with value. If Korver gets back on track and Hamilton gives you some effort the Bulls improve their team in ways seen and unseen, and do so without giving up their frontcourt strength.

The schedule is going to be a grueling one, and the Bulls have three players with injury issues, Luol Deng, Carlos Boozer and Joakim Noah. I’ve heard a lot of Bulls fans clamoring for a trade, some even suggesting that the Bulls trade Omer Asik or Taj Gibson for OJ Mayo.

It is this line of thinking that deludes people into believing in other, lesser talent. OJ Mayo is on his way to being a bust. He hasn’t improved many aspects of his game, and he comes in with one tool, decent defense. He isn’t a player that can create his own shot, try as he might.

There are even some that still want Ben Gordon to come back, and it is at this point that we all need to realize that the guard we are looking for, the guy who can hit the three, play defense, and create his own shot, doesn’t exist on the free agent market. We all want a skill set that is unavailable and are clamoring the front office to make a move that doesn’t exist.

Rip Hamilton grades out better than any free agent SG. He grades out better than most SG’s that would be available via trade, and the Bulls are going to sign him without giving up any depth.

The upcoming season will be a grueling test, a true war of attrition that will claim many teams. The Bulls may in fact take a step back during the regular season as injuries may disrupt the chemistry that is building with this team. What we all need to remember is that it isn’t because the Bulls only signed Rip Hamilton this offseason. It’s a unique situation, and the regular season matters marginally less than what happens in the playoffs.

The true goal isn’t to dominate the regular season, it’s to win a championship. Whoever the Bulls get in place of Bogans will get them closer to the goal.