Tell me if you’ve heard this story before. Surprise team gets a high seed in the NBA Playoffs, thanks mostly to young guards and aging, yet effective, big men. That team rides their shocking play of the regular season into the post-season and take the first two games against a team that seems on paper to be superior, and has a rising star that is taking his team to heights they didn’t know they could reach. Many of you might have read this extremely vague and somewhat confusing scenario and thought about the Chicago Bulls and Washington Wizards series, and you’d be right. But, which one?
This series is shaping up just like the last match-up between these two teams in the 2005 NBA Playoffs. In 2005, the Chicago Bulls were a huge surprise, a team that nobody expected to make the playoffs, yet rode the great play of players like Ben Gordon, Chris Duhon and Kirk Hinrich, yet also had very good play from taller, older players, such as Antonio Davis and Eric Piatkowski. The Bulls gained the no.4 seed, and won the first two games at the United Center. The Wizards had a young gun named Gilbert Arenas, who was making his mark as one of the best scorers in the game at that time. Arenas scored 39 points in the Wizards’ Game 2 loss.
Now let’s replace a few names. How about, instead of Gordon and Hinrich, we talk about Bradley Beal and John Wall? Let’s replace Davis and Piatkowski, with Nene and Marcin Gortat. That young stud leading his team, Joakim Noah.
If you like history, then look back to the 2005 NBA Playoffs. The teams are so very similar, yet just flip-flopped. Plus, if you remember that 2005 confrontation, the team with the young star that should dominate the other ended up winning four straight games, and moving on to the second round.