NBA Playoffs: Bulls Bullying Boston

Bulls Stun Boston in 1st Round Series

For anyone watching the NBA Playoffs, one of the biggest surprises so far has been the first-round matchup between the top seeded Boston Celtics and the 8th seeded Chicago Bulls. At first glance one would think that this series should be a cake walk for the Celtics with the Bulls maybe stealing a game or two. However, this series has been anything but for Boston. Not only has Chicago beaten them twice in the Garden, but the Bulls were able to blowout Boston in game 2. So the big question right now is how did this team edge out Cleveland for the number one seed? Let’s take a look at why things are falling apart for the Celtics.

For starters, Boston has no chance on the glass. Chicago has outrebounded the Celtics by 22 in just the first two games. It has been most notable on the offensive end as Chicago has made the Celtics pay. The Celtics are simply giving the Bulls too many second chance points, and it does not look like that trend will change anytime soon. Whether it is a lack of height or putting in the effort, rebounding has been a huge advantage for Chicago.

Next, coming in to this series the Celtics really only thought that they would have to game plan for Jimmy Butler and Dwyane Wade. Instead, Chicago is getting contributions from some of the most unlikely sources. For instance, who would have thought that Rajon Rondo would be back to his 2009 playoff form? Rondo has been lights out so far, finishing just one board shy of a triple-double in game 2. In addition to Rondo, Robin Lopez is having his way in the paint. The big man has been feasting on the offensive glass with put-backs. Along with Rondo and RoLo, Chicago’s bench has provided quite the spark. In game 1, it was Bobby Portis dropping 19 points…then in game 2, Paul Zipser put up 16. On the scouting report these two players were no more than a small blip.

Finally, the Bulls hold the X-factor in this series as their best player is better than the Celtics best player. Yes, Isaiah Thomas averaged more points than Butler during the regular season…but it really comes down to a player’s impact on the game. Butler is one of the top two-way players in the game and can have a significant impact at either end. At five foot nine, Thomas has nowhere near the same presence on defense. His small stature makes him vulnerable to be posted up. Not to mention, Thomas only averages 2.7 rebounds a game.

With game 3 schedule for Friday at the United Center, I would not be surprised if Bulls fans start breaking out their brooms. This first-round match-up has sweep written all over it. Already, Boston is in rare territory as no other number one seed has dropped their first two at home since 1993. I’m thinking this series should be wrapped up in 4 or 5 games as an underachieving Bulls squad is finally playing up to their potential.

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Kip Michalak is a former 3-sport collegiate athlete who has been covering the NBA as an Orlando Magic Insider for the past 3 seasons. Kip has also covered high school sports in Tampa Bay for 5 years. In addition to his basketball reporting Kip has covered a handful of major sporting events, which include: 2015 NCAA Women’s Final Four 2015 NHL Stanley Cup Final 2016 NCAA Frozen Four 2016 Outback Bowl