Saturday, April 20, 2013

2013 Playoff Preview: Chicago Bulls (5) v. Brooklyn Nets (4)


Photo by Nathaniel S. Butler-NBAE via Getty Images

Looming. It's a great word for this series considering that the shadow of Derrick Rose will be looming over this series at least until he decides to declare himself fit to play. It's like there  is a collective holding of breathe in the NBA waiting for Rose to return. The Bulls are used to it though. They know they need to move on and they know they can. People keep thinking that the Bulls are helpless with out Rose. Their record 45-37, says so. Brooklyn has the better record at 49-33 but they also have the turmoil and uncertainty that follows a team trying to find themselves. All the hoopla and drama that follows this series along with their playing styles should make this a classic 4-5 match-up in the playoffs.


Season Series: Bulls 3-1

OFFENSE/DEFENSE RANKINGS (points per 100 possession)

Brooklyn: offense 105.0 (9th best in NBA), defense 103.6 (18th in NBA)

Chicago: offense 100.4 (24th in NBA), defense 100.3 (5th in NBA)







Key Players:
Chicago-- The Bulls need huge play out of Joakim Noah and Luol Deng. Their Defense will be key along with their offensive output.  Deng will need to put up better offensive numbers than his usual 16.5 ppg. Noah will have to find a way to stay on the court and neutralize Brook Lopez in the process. Noah should be able to work and wear on Lopez a bit but if he gets in foul trouble it will effect the Bulls stifling defense. Noah needs to get Lopez in foul trouble early and often. Noah will also need to push through his injury woes.

Brooklyn --  Deron Williams is the key here. The whole thing rests on his shoulders for as he goes so goes the Nets.  Williams appears to be back in All-Star form having a great March and April. He will be more than a handful for bulls veteran point guard Kirk Hinrich and little Nate Robinson. What's that you say? I didn't need to remind you Nate Robinson was little. Of course I did. Don't be silly.


X- Factors.

Chicago - Nate Robinson and Derrick Rose. Robinson can be a huge lift. He is capable of torching a team and cause disruption all over the court while taking pressure off Noah and Deng to be scorers. Rose. Well he is the ultimate x-factor. If he enters any game in this series it immediately changes everything to the benefit of the Bulls. It will put  the team and the city of Chicago in a frenzy and Rose is the lead piranha  We all know what happens when someone gets trapped in a frenzy of piranha's  Just don't hold your breathe that this happens.


Brooklyn -- Reggie Evans, he is a physical presence that can help to lead the Nets  against the physical style Chicago plays. The Nets a more of a finesse team they are not used to getting pushed and shoved and to beat Chicago they will need to adopt that style. Evans can do that for them. Well at least I think he can but if he can't well it will be an early exit for Brooklyn.


The Skinny:
The Bulls have been playing the underdog all year and they have been thriving from that position. Their Neapolitan complex makes them world better as was evidence when they took down the Heat and then the Knicks during the teams emphatic win streaks. Match that with Tom Thibodeau's coaching prowess and his ability to squeeze the maximum juice out of every player and the Bulls should have just enough to dispatch the Nets.

The Nets play a below average defense but make good player rotations and have good balance in all positions. It's their lack to get into passing lanes and lack of pressure on ball handlers that lowers the defensive presence  If they can't put this weaknesses behind them the Nets could make a push to take down the charging Bulls.


Prediction: Bulls in 6


Game 1 in New York: Saturday, April 20, 8, ESPN
Game 2 in New York: Monday, April 22, 8, TNT
Game 3 in Chicago: Thursday, April 25, 8:30, NBATV
Game 4 in Chicago: Saturday, April 27, 2, TNT
Game 5 in New York: Monday, April 29
Game 6 in Chicago: Thursday, May 2
Game 7 in New York: Saturday, May 4































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Sheridan Hoops

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