Staff Writer: Ryan Ward
It has been a long hard season for the Chicago Bulls as they have struggled with many things throughout the year from losing their leading scorer Ben Gordon in the off-season and dealing with the possible firing of head coach Vinny Del Negro. All of these things have contributed to a so-so season for the Bulls as they were trying to get back into the playoffs.
Despite all the turmoil that has gone on throughout the franchise, like Bulls GM John Paxson going at it with head coach Vinny Del Negro, and problems putting a competitive team on the floor, Chicago has been able to clinch the eighth seed in the Eastern conference regardless.
Even though it was impressive to see a late-season push by the Chicago Bulls, the postseason looked to be another challenge altogether as they would have to face the number one overall seed in the playoffs in LeBron James’ Cleveland Cavaliers.
Coming into the playoffs the Cleveland Cavaliers were thought to be the favorite to win it all as they had all the pieces to the puzzle with the addition of Shaquille O’Neal and Antawn Jamison in the mix.
Last season the Cavs were a similar situation heading into the playoffs as they were arguably the best team in the league and riding high with arguably the best all-around player in the NBA in LeBron James. The first couple of rounds of the playoffs weren’t much of the challenge for the Cleveland Cavaliers as they made quick work of their opponents, but once they got to the Eastern conference finals everything changed as they could not figure out a way to compete against the Orlando Magic who have arguably one of the best defensive players in the league in Dwight Howard.
Fortunately, this season the Cleveland Cavaliers addressed the problem of guarding Dwight Howard by trading for four-time NBA champion center Shaquille O’Neal. It is still yet to be seen whether or not an aging Shaq can contain much younger Dwight Howard, but Cavs are looking much better than they were last season and should have a good chance of competing with the Magic this time around.
Even though the Cleveland Cavaliers have their sights set on the NBA finals, they still a ways to go before they can start thinking about an NBA title. Despite no one giving the Chicago Bulls any kind of a chance against the Cavs in the first round of the playoffs, Derrick Rose and company have exceeded expectations so far by giving the Cavs a run for their money.
The one matchup in this series that the Cleveland Cavaliers did not anticipate being so lopsided was the point guard position where Chicago Bulls have Derrick Rose running all over the Cavs.
Even when the Cleveland Cavaliers decided to put LeBron James on Derrick Rose, the up and coming point guard out of Memphis was still able to drive to the hoop at will and get to the free-throw line.
Basically, the Cavs have LeBron James who is virtually unguardable in this series and the Bulls have Derrick Rose. Both of these players will determine the outcome of this series. It is hard to give Chicago any time chance of winning this series, but they proved they can beat the Cavs and it will be interesting to see how things pan out if the Bulls can win at least one more game.