Chicago Bulls 2015 Playoffs: Previewing First Round


The Chicago Bulls face the Milwaukee Bucks in the opening round of the 2015 NBA Playoffs. We will take preview the series between the Central Division rivals and neighbor cities.

Chicago Bulls
Chicago Bulls /

Chicago Bulls

Well, the regular season is over. There are just eight teams left in the Eastern Conference to battle for a chance at the NBA Finals. The Chicago Bulls are one of those teams.

To open up the playoffs, the Bulls will face their Central Division rivals, the Milwaukee Bucks. The Bucks had only 15 wins last season, but under new coach Jason Kidd they ended this season with 40 wins.

How did the regular season series go? 

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The two teams met four times during the regular season, with the Bulls winning three of the games. The Bulls had a plus-7.3 point differential in those games. Neither team scored 100 points in any of the games.

Pau Gasol was the key in the regular season against the Bucks. He averaged 34 points in the series, and had a 46 point effort in January. The Bucks showed they don’t have the bigs to stop Gasol. This time around, they will have to, or it will be a short series.

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Can the Bucks find any scoring? 

The Bucks averaged just 84 points against the Bulls, and they shot only 39 percent. In the playoffs, the defense is tougher, especially with a good Bulls defensive team.

The Bucks had the sixth-worst defense in the NBA, due in large part to rookie Jabari Parker‘s torn ACL early in the season.

The Bucks will need to find someone who can make big shots and score some points for them. For some reason, the Bucks traded their best outside shooter, Brandon Knight for Michael Carter-Williams, a non-shooting point guard.

The Bulls defense will wreak havoc on a non-scoring team like the Bucks. Tom Thibodeau’s defense dropped some this season, but it still ranked 11th in the NBA, so it’s still a good defense. They also rank third in the league in rebounds and will feast on the Bucks’ missed shots.

The one win the Bucks had against the Bulls was when they outrebounded the Bulls in the April 1 game. “Whooped our ass on the boards to tell you the truth,” Jimmy Butler said. “And it’s not the bigs’ fault. The guards didn’t get in there and help. That can’t happen. We have to correct it.”

How healthy are the Bulls? 

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Health has been the Achilles Heel for the Bulls this season. And last season. And the season before that. And the playoffs before that.

The Bulls only played FIVE games in which the entire roster was healthy. Yes, just five. They’ve only played 21 games with their regular season starting five. When they are in, however, the Bulls are tough to beat. They are 16-5 in those games.

Joakim Noah missed the season finale, and hes dealt with the results of offseason knee surgery throughout the season. Derrick Rose had his third knee surgery, causing him to miss 20 games after the All Star game, and missed a variety of other games with other maladies. Taj Gibson also missed games this season, and is currently dealing with a bad shoulder.

If Gasol can once again establish his dominance over the Bucks, and Nikola Mirotic and Butler can continue their regular season magic, then perhaps Noah and Rose can get some rest during the series and get healthier.

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Is Derrick Rose ready for playoff basketball?

As I mentioned before, Rose has dealt with injuries all season. Another thing he’s battled is inconsistency. Throughout the season, there were times he looked like the MVP Derrick Rose, like the game he had against the Cleveland Cavaliers where he had 30 points and 7 assists and regularly drove to the basket.

Then, in other games, he looks lost, and he falls in love too much with his jump shot, like the game against the Brooklyn Nets in which he shot 2-of-15 from the floor and 0-of-5 from three.

When the good Rose is on, the Bulls can be as good as any team in the league. The Bulls have had impressive wins against Golden State, San Antonio, Portland and Cleveland where Rose looked more like the confident Rose than the timid Rose.

If Rose is healthy and ready for the playoffs, then look out Eastern Conference.

How will this series go?

Bulls in five. The Bulls have too many weapons for the Bucks to keep up with. They will not have an answer Pau Gasol once again, and the Bulls’ rebounding edge will be the difference.

The Bucks won’t make it easy, though. Jason Kidd has his squad playing pretty good defense, so I don’t see a lot of blowouts. They will hang around for awhile, until the Bulls frontcourt just overwhelms them.

It will be an ugly series. I don’t think either team will average much over 40 percent shooting. It will be a grind-it-out series.

The Bulls have to watch out, however. The Bucks have nothing to lose, so they will be loose. If the Bulls continue their Jekyll and Hyde routine, it could be a tougher series than anyone expects.

Next: Jamie Dinan Tells Bulls Fans To Stay Home During Series With Milwaukee

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