Picking Up Your Teammates

Basketball is a team game. Great players can help their teams win games, but teams can't win unless every player is chipping in. One important part of teamwork is making sure that when a player makes a mistake, the other players are able to make up for it.

The Chicago Bulls' 128-127 triple-overtime victory over the Boston Celtics on Thursday night was a great example of what happens when teammates pick each other up.

With the Bulls leading 128-127 with 23 seconds left in the third overtime period, Chicago guard, Kirk Hinrich, missed an open layup. If Hinrich had made the shot, the Bulls would have had a three-point lead and would have been in a great position to win the game. Since he missed it, the Celtics had a great opportunity to take the last shot and win the game.

The Celtics' Rajon Rondo took this clutch shot with seven seconds left. But Chicago's Derrick Rose, the NBA's Rookie of the Year, jumped and blocked Rondo's attempt. Chicago held on to win the game, thanks in part to Rose's effort on the defensive end.

In this situation, Rose's play was able to make up for the shot that Hinrich missed. If Rondo had made that last shot and won the game for the Celtics, Hinrich would always be remembered as the player who missed an easy shot when the game was on the line. Now, the fact that he missed that shot is all but forgotten. Rose was able to make a play that ensured his teammate's mistake would not cost the Bulls the game.

There's more to teamwork than just getting along with each other on and off the court. It would have been easy for Hinrich to focus on his mistake and stop playing hard. He also could have tried too hard to make up for it himself and made more mistakes. Instead, he knew that he had four other players on the court with him who would help make up for his missed shot. Teamwork is about picking up your teammates when they are down, and making sure that mistakes don't hurt the team. The Bulls did a great job of that on Thursday night and ended up winning a very exciting NBA playoff game.

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