Chicago Bulls: What To Expect Moving Forward In The Playoffs
The Chicago Bulls may currently hold a 1-0 lead over the Boston Celtics in the first round of the 2017 NBA Playoffs, but what will come next for this team?
After a lackluster 2016-17 season, the Chicago Bulls have somehow made it into the playoffs.
Yes, as the eighth seed in the Eastern Conference, merely holding a tiebreaker over the Miami Heat. But an accomplishment, nevertheless.
What is more, they are matched up versus the Boston Celtics, a team that the Bulls went 2-2 against during the regular season, leading many to speculate that perhaps Chicago does stand a chance in the postseason.
So far, so good.
After all, the Bulls defeated the Celtics 106-102 on Sunday afternoon in Game 1. It may not have been pretty, with Nikola Mirotic shooting 1-for-9 and Dwyane Wade missing a wide-open dunk, but the boys in red got it done.
It was done very much under Jimmy Butler‘s leadership.
Butler, who has been hungry for a playoff appearance since Chicago missed the postseason last year, finished the game with 30 points, nine rebounds, three assists, a steal and a block in 40 minutes of play.
He was certainly most consistent on the floor and not only acted as a sharp-shooter, but a playmaker as well.
The rest of the Alphas did their part too.
With Rajon Rondo recording 12 points, seven rebounds, six assists, two steals and a block and Wade totaling 11, five, six, two and two respectively … it was a collaborative win, through and through.
However, as nice as it is to start things off on the right foot, there is still a ways to go for the Bulls.
“I don’t know about a statement game,” said Rondo. “The series isn’t over. All we did was win one game.”
Which begs the question: What is to come for this team moving forward?
That sort of depends.
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On the one hand, this series could absolutely turn into a battle.
With Boston headlining the East and being led by a player as talented as Isaiah Thomas, Chicagoans should brace themselves for the Celtics to come back with a vengeance.
Not only were they beat by a team that barely crept into the postseason at the last minute, but it happened in their own house; something that is not exactly taken lightly.
On top of this, many fans across the league have deemed them the worst No. 1seed ever, setting Boston up with even more to prove.
Now, all of the above would be dangerous enough for any team, but it becomes even more so for a squad known for its inconsistency.
Chicago has been most frustrating this season not because of Fred Hoiberg‘s unmanageable offense or the questionable roster.
Heck, as head-scratching as general manager Gar Forman and vice president John Paxson are, not even the front office has fans as annoyed as Chicago’s instability. One minute it seems the Bulls have found their groove and the next, they are playing like a junior varsity team.
So to depend on Chicago to keep up the good work against the Celtics is easier said than done.
Especially given it was not necessarily great basketball that even earned them their first win.
Sure, Butler had a nice game. As did Bobby Portis, who finished with 19 points and nine rebounds. But the Bulls shot a ghastly 8-of-25 from downtown and gave away 16 turnovers.
In fact, it could be argued that it was more so Boston’s uncharacteristic performance that resulted in Chicago’s victory.
With all that being said though, nothing would be more Bulls than knocking out a team slated to be significantly better than them.
It has been a well known fact for years now that Chicago plays down to their competition. So in a way, it would only make sense for them to outshine a team with a 53-29 record.
Take that, alongside the fact that guys like Rondo and Wade are finally healthy and well, it is certainly possible that the Bulls push through to the second round.
While odds are that this matchup will turn into a six- or seven-game series, as of now it is truly hard to say who will still be left standing when it is all said and done.
Not too shabby for a team that finished 41-41.