The 66 game shortened NBA season is now in the books, and we have the playoffs to look forward to now! They start tomorrow, and just like the NHL, we are going to post previews for all 8 series. We will start out east, with the first matchup of the playoffs: The Chicago Bulls vs. Philadelphia 76ers.
For the entire season, it has been a forgone conclusion that the Bulls and the Heat would be meeting in the Eastern Conference finals in a rematch of last year’s playoffs. It still appears to be so, but the 76ers might have something to say about that. The Bulls took two of three from Philly during the season, and they will look to continue that success in the playoffs. Derrick Rose is back, and is looking to lead his team to the Finals. Let’s take a closer look at the matchup.
How the Bulls can Win: It’s pretty simple for the Bulls: just take care of business. The Bulls are a relatively young team, and young teams can often get cocky, but I don’t see that from these Bulls. The Bulls have gotten used to playing without their MVP Rose, who missed 25 games this year. Joakim Noah and Carlos Boozer have been the go to guys for the Bulls this year, and that will need to continue in the playoffs. The 76ers are more of a guard team then a big man team, so look for the Bulls to have a big edge on the glass. If they play to 80% of their potential, there’s no reason why this series should go past 6 games.
How the 76ers can Win: The 76ers are one of the rare teams in the NBA that can match the depth of the Bulls. Lou Williams is the team’s leading scorer at 15 ppg, and he comes off the bench. Evan Turner has taken a big step forward this year, becoming more of a scoring threat as well as solid defender. The main guy here is Andre Iguodala. Iggy is one of the most underrated players in the game, and he will be looking to have a breakout series on the biggest stage. He is also the team’s best defender, but I don’t think they put him on D-Rose. If they go with that, they have to put a guard on Luol Deng, who will kill them with his height. The 76ers have to steal a game at home, and use their youth and energy to power through the series if they want to stand a chance.
Our Prediction: I actually like the 76ers to steal a game in Chicago here. Last year, the Pacers nearly stole Game 1 in Chicago, and I think Philly might do that this year. I think they split the games in Philly, and the Bulls win 5 and 6 with more ease then the first four games. Bulls take this one in 6.