Bulls need to avoid the Cavs as long as possible in playoffs

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With or without a healthy Derrick Rose, the Cleveland Cavaliers are still probably the front-runner in the Eastern Conference. They’re just so hot right now…like Hansel in Zoolander. 

A CSN Chicago poll (so you know it’s extremely biased in favor of the Bulls) asked “Now that Derrick Rose is returning, how far can the Chicago Bulls go?”

Results yielded 40% believing they’ll lose in the first two rounds, 33% believe they’re going to win it all still, while 21% believe the Bulls will fall in the conference final.

Of course, if it was an ESPN poll, the results would be skewed the other way, favoring the Cavs, since ESPN is pretty much Lebron’s publicist.  How far this Bulls team can go depends on which round they’ll have to face Cleveland.

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Personally, I think the new ceiling is something on par with the 2007 Bulls team, as I articulated in more detail here. TNT Analyst Shaquille O’Neal predicted a Cavs versus Hawks Eastern Conference Finals. Fellow analyst Chris Webber described the Cavs the other night as a “team getting their mojo back.”

“This is what’s scary for the rest of the NBA; while we have all of those other MVP candidates out there, they still better remember who the man is,” said Webber

“When he (Lebron) is coming out this aggressively in games, like he will the rest of the season, he is tough to guard.”

Webber had a lot of love for Kyrie Irving too: “Stephen Curry is the best ball handler of any shooter in the NBA, but Kyrie Irving is the best ball handler in the game…period.”

Charles Barkley on the Cavs: “I think the Cavaliers are the team to beat now…because of the Derrick Rose injury, the Cavs are the front-runner in the Eastern Conference.”  

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The Bulls will get Derrick Rose back, at the earliest, for the last nine games of the season. That’s the best case scenario. The worst case scenario, is he returns for the final three games of the regular season. In the meantime, this is what life will be like for the Bulls without Derrick Rose.

 “We still need to get the job done because the games are going to keep coming,” said Bulls Coach Tom Thibodeau.

“We are going to have to figure it out and improve.”

The Bulls weren’t missing just Rose last night; they also lost Pau Gasol with an illness, and Taj Gibson left the game early with a sprained ankle.

“It is hard but we have enough bodies and weapons  on our bench to where guys can mix and match and play different positions and guard different positions,” said Bulls leading scorer Jimmy Butler.

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“Thibs does a great job of preparing us for that.” So we can still get that Bulls versus Cavs ECF that so many NBA pundits predicted this preseason.

Paul M. Banks owns, operates and writes The Sports Bank.net, which is partnered with Fox Sports Digital, eBay, Google News and CBS Interactive. You can read Banks’ feature stories in the Chicago Tribune RedEye newspaper and listen to him on KOZN 1620 The Zone.

Follow him on Twitter (@paulmbanks)

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Comments

  1. The Cavs are going through a good hot streak, but while winning they really haven’t faced top tier competition, so I wouldn’t be leary about facing the Cavs in the playoffs if I were the Chicago Bulls.
    Yes, LeBron is balling. Kyrie is balling. But they still have to defend and rebound in order to win playoff series, and I’d give that advantage to the Bulls.

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