When a team has a roller coaster season like the one the Chicago Bulls had this season, consistency is usually what is lacking. For this team, however, there has always been one constant: effort.
You can chalk it up to their youth or to Joakim Noah's win-at-all-cost attitude, but whatever it is, it's giving a national audience (and certain big names that'll be looking for a new home come next season) a reason to like this team.
The Bulls could've easily called off this season after a 1-5 circus trip.
They could've mailed it in when teammates were being traded for players that were valued more for expiring contracts than talent.
They could've called it quits when they were six games under .500 with less than a month to play.
And they could've gotten an early start at the off season after going down 0-2 to the No. 1 seed Cavaliers.
But through it all, they've never given up.
"We stayed strong," said Noah following their Game Three win over the Cavs. "D-Rose played huge for us. It just feels really good to come out with a win right now."
That's the best asset of this Bulls team, their longing for the W.
When "MVP" chants began to fill the United Center as second-year point guard Derrick Rose filled up the box score with 31 points and seven assists, even he couldn't hide his resiliency to win.
"Hopefully one day (talking of the MVP chants), but I'm just worried about winning games right now."
And even if they showed their rough patches along the way, a team built with winners seems to overcome their losses when it's needed the most. But although most people don't think of this Chicago Bulls roster as being comprised of winners, their pre-NBA resumes would beg to differ.
In college, the 15 current roster players for the Bulls have combined for 29 NCAA Tournament appearances, 16 conference championships, nine Final Four appearances, seven National Championship appearances, and five National Championships.
If there's one thing that John Paxson has done in rebuilding this team, it's taking a Mike Singletary approach to his acquisitions: he wants winners.
And now, with a chance to tie the Cavs series at two games apiece on Sunday, the value of winning is unmatched in the professional basketball world.
So could this eight-seeded Bulls team comprise enough wins to knock of the top-seeded Cavs? Probably not. But then again, as I've learned, you never want to count a proven winner out.