The Eastern Conference Finals are now set as the Chicago Bulls eliminated the Atlanta Hawks last night, because of Oprah they will play Game 1 against the Heat on Sunday night.
There is no clear front runner in this series. Both teams slugged it out in the regular season, Chicago won all three games but their greatest margin of victory was only four points and I don’t expect it to be any different in this series.
Miami’s superstar duo are playing much better basketball at the moment than they did in regular season but Derrick Rose has proven that no one can defend him. It might be two against one in the superstar department however I believe that the game will not be won and lost there.
What will be the ‘X’ factor in this series?
Those “other guys” are going to play a huge roll for both teams and the Bulls have more depth. Deng, Boozer, Noah are Chicago’s main “other guys” as opposed to Miami’s Chris Bosh and on the occasion James Jones and Mario Chalmers. The main focus will be on both front courts because Chicago has the right personnel to punish Miami’s lack of interior presence. In their three regular season meetings Chicago out-rebounded the Heat by 10 and had 9 more second chance points. Bosh, Anthony, Howard or Ilgauskas will have to step up and limit the second chance opportunities the Bulls will get with Boozer, Noah and Asik hitting the glass hard.
Picking a winner is extremely difficult between these two teams. On one side you have two unstoppable players that will always have you in the game but on the other there is an MVP and a very good team backing him.
For me the series will ultimately come down to controlling the paint, as Chicago have a better front court I have to side with them.
Chicago Bulls in 6 games.
Until next time..
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Jameer Nelson was reported telling Derrick Rose that he will be catching him in the second round. With the Atlanta Hawks eliminating the Orlando Magic, Nelson can eat his words, or should he? Atlanta Hawks PR man, Arthur Triche, decided to make good on Jameer’s statement and reserve two tickets to Game 1 in Chicago for him. Triche said the following on twitter:
“Things that make me happy about this job. Taking a page out of Jerry Glanville’s book, I think I’ll follow through on Jameer’s request to catch Derrick Rose in the 2nd round.”
The Hawks didn’t let the joke get in the way of their basketball, winning Game 1 103-95. Like the Oklahoma City Thunder the Bulls will have to just come back in Game 2 and play better. To trouble the Bulls even more the reported MVP turned his ankle in the final seconds of the game.
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The first round is all over and on this Saturday we wait for a very much anticipated second round. With all the match-ups on hand it is hard to pick an out right front runner, every series could potentially go either way.
Upsets have been a common trend in these playoffs, the Hawks and Grizzlies weren’t the obvious picks to move into the next round and it wasn’t just these two teams that exploited the flaws within the top seeds. New Orleans showed everyone that the Lakers lack a bit of toughness with their bigs and the Bulls had a lot of trouble shaking off the Pacers.
So here are some loose predictions I have for the second round:
Bulls defeat Hawks in 5
Heat defeated by Celtics in 6
Lakers defeated by Mavericks in 7
Thunder defeat Grizzlies in 6
The way things are looking the second round should be even bigger than the first, I’m excited to see some more upsets!
Until next time..