The Chicago Bulls have eliminated the Milwaukee Bucks from the first round of the playoffs in impressive fashion. Lead by Derrick Rose and Jimmy Butler, the Bulls performed like a well oiled machine both offensively and defensively, holding the Bucks to a record low 33 points at the half. The frustration of the Bucks began to show in the third quarter after the ejection of Giannis Antetokounmpo and a technical foul by Michael Carter-Williams.
The Bulls finally performed like the championship team many projected them to be, but can they continue to execute their balanced attack against the tough and talented Cleveland Cavaliers? Round two of the NBA playoffs is sure to be an epic battle between two of the best teams in the east, but which team will be victorious? Team S.U. predicts the outcome.
GM 1: CHI at CLE, May 4, 7:00 PM ET TNT
GM 2: CHI at CLE, May 6, 7:00 PM ET
GM 3: CLE at CHI, May 8 TBD ESPN
GM 4: CLE at CHI, May 10, 3:30 PM ET ABC
GM 5: CHI at CLE, May 12 TNT
GM 6: CLE at CHI, May 14 ESPN
GM 7: CHI at CLE, May 17 TNT | If Needed
Bulls versus Cavs: And the Winner is?
Keith Rivas (Editor): The Bulls have Derrick Rose back in the picture and the Cavaliers still lack deep or serious playoff experience besides LeBron James.
While Cleveland is sure to give Chicago all they can handle, the Bulls know that this season is one of those now or never moments.
Well the good news for them is that the answer is now.
Prediction: Bulls (4-2)
Steve Turner (NBA Writer): This is the series NBA fans have been waiting for! The Cleveland Cavaliers and the Chicago Bulls will meet up in the Eastern Conference semifinals. This matchup has been extremely anticipated since the beginning of the season and it’s about to go down. This Cleveland team has been on fire lately. The Cavs whipped the brooms out and swept the Celtics in that series, but the Bulls will not be an easy to get by though.
Derrick Rose has been showing flashes of his former MVP self and Cleveland should be worried about that. The biggest concern for Cleveland is the announcement of Kevin Love missing the rest of the postseason due to his elbow dislocation. For Chicago, this means that Pau Gasol is going to have an easy time scoring and he’s shown he can dominate on the offensive end. Also, Pau can rake in several boards and has plenty of playoff experience. Jimmy Butler is another key component for the Bulls in this series. He really came alive during the series against the Bucks, and I believe he is going to continue that.
In my opinion, Cleveland still has the upper hand in this matchup. LeBron James is a postseason legend–this isn’t his first rodeo and he knows what he needs to do against this Bulls team. Kyrie Irving is really going to be huge for the Cavs as well. Kyrie can overwhelm the Bulls at any point–this guy can explode at any time and that’s crucial for the Cavs. Mozgov has also been great for the Cavs so far in this postseason. He brings a great defensive presence to this team and that’s going to be extremely beneficial for the Cleveland.
Prediction: Despite the Cavs not having the third player in the Cleveland big three, I believe they will take care of business. Chicago is going to give them an amazing contest, but I’m taking Cleveland in 7.
Sauping R. Arguello (NBA Contributor): The Cleveland Cavaliers and Chicago Bulls were destined to meet each other in the playoffs all season long. Most believed this series was going to take place in the Eastern Conference Finals but delayed team chemistry and injuries has them facing off in the semis. This will be a series full of spectacular matchups but key incidents to two of the Cavs players may alter the outcome significantly.
Kevin Love separated his shoulder in a tie up with Boston’s Kelly Olynyk in the last game of that highly physical series. It is uncertain how serious the injury is and if he will be able to play through the pain. Love would face off against Pau Gasol who is playing terrific basketball and having one of his best season’s ever (if not his best). J.R. Smith released a backhanded fist connecting with the face of Boston’s Jae Crowder, nearly knocking him out cold. Smith will surely be fined and suspended a substantial amount of games as he is a repeat offender.
LeBron James will be going against an up and coming superstar in Jimmy Butler. Butler has good size and athleticism that can make it harder for James to out-muscle his opponents like he usually does. I’m not saying Butler will shut down James but it will be an interesting match up to see. Derrick Rose is on a mission to prove he can be the D-Rose of old. He’s had some monstrous games looking like his old self but also some mediocre games as he’s struggled with his shot. I
t’s a toss up who wins the match up between Rose and Kyrie Irving. Irving has proven he can score in bunches but will he be able to create easier shots for the rest of his cast and buckle down defensively? Who’s bench will play better as the starters are heavily used by both coaches? The series will go 6 or 7 games with or without Love and Smith.
Prediction: It will be highly close and competitive throughout. Expect chippiness and playoff type basketball. I’m taking Da Bulls in 7 (4-3).
Jr. Williams (NBA Editor): I picked the Bulls to win the 2015 NBA finals, and see no reason to choose otherwise. Derrick Rose has began to trust his teammates offensively and Pau Gasol has been paying dividends since he dawned a Chicago Bulls jersey. Defensively the Bulls have the edge, they have a deeper bench, but will have their hands full offensively versus LeBron James and Kyrie Irving. True, the Cavs could be without Kevin Love but Timofey Mozgov and Tristan Thompson should help the Cavs deliver a balanced offensive attack while clogging the middle.
This should be one hell of a series and I expect a ton of physicality between both teams, but in the end I think the Bulls are better prepared to make a run at the title. Maybe next season Cleveland fans.
Prediction: This series could stretch as far as seven games, but I’m taking the Bulls (4-3).