CHICAGO -- It was Nene, the Brazilian warrior philosopher of the low post, who said Sunday, "Who can control our present is ourselves. Who can control our future is only God."
That's startlingly similar to the Chicago Bulls' prevailing ideology, except replace God with Tom Thibodeau.
And Thibs knows how Thibs will respond in the film room Monday. Probably not with a lot of prayerful words.
To a man, the Bulls knew they let the present slip through their fingers in a playoff-opener dud Sunday, losing a second-half lead and falling 102-93 to the Washington Wizards.
Chicago led by 13 early in the third quarter and seemed poised to grow the lead before riding out an inevitable Washington comeback, but the Wizards' big men and their old man, Andre Miller, finished off the Bulls in a sluggish finish for the 4-seed.
Bulls fans came into this series with dreams of watching a once-dead team making an Eastern Conference finals run. But they were met with the reality: This is an offensively challenged team facing a team that can answer it in the post. This is a team that can't slack on defense.