For the last five years, the biggest obstacle standing in the way of the Chicago Bulls and a shot at a championship is Cleveland’s LeBron James. His teams have dominated the Eastern conference for half a decade now and the road to the finals inevitably goes through him.
This will be the 5th playoff appearance for the Bulls with Tom Thibodeau as head coach and the third time they will have faced a LeBron-led squad in the postseason. The previous two times they faced LeBron under Thibodeau in the playoffs they were defeated in the 2010-2011 Eastern Conference Finals and in the 2012-2013 Eastern Conference semifinals.
If you look back one year before Tom Thibodeau was hired, they also fell to the LeBron led Cavaliers in the first round of the 2009-2010 playoffs, with four of the players on that roster still on the team today (Derrick Rose, Taj Gibson, Kirk Hinrich, and Joakim Noah). There is a lot of history between LeBron and the Bulls, and although there is a mutual respect, you can bet there is nothing Chicago wants more than to send LeBron James home packing. Joakim Noah and LeBron have had there share of confrontations dating back to LeBron’s first stint in Cleveland so this series is sure to get emotional on both sides. The first round vs. the Bucks was chippy to say the least, this series against the Cavs will be a battle for the ages.
This is the most complete team Tom Thibodeau has had to go against James and should prove capable of finally defeating him in the postseason. From top to bottom, Chicago’s roster is very strong and with a healthy Derrick Rose; something they didn’t have the last time they met LeBron in the playoffs, the Bulls have a shot at finally dethroning the self proclaimed “king”. Scoring options are virtually unlimited this year with the edition of Pau Gasol and the breakthrough Jimmy Butler has made, and they are finally knocking down three point shots with consistency. As long as the defense plays to the elite level they are known for, the Bulls can win it all this year. This second round series has potential to be one of the most competitive of this year’s playoffs and I myself am so excited that I will not be going to school (sorry Professor Wagner) so I can watch the game!
If there ever was a perfect time for the Bulls to meet LeBron James and co. in the playoffs, this is it.
Not only is this one of the best if not the best Chicago Bulls team under Tom Thibodeau, the Cavs will be without two key players. Forward Kevin Love will miss the entire postseason with a shoulder injury and guard J.R Smith is suspended for the first two games. This is sure to make a big impact on the talented but inexperienced Cavaliers. Can LeBron get it done without the help of numerous stars on his team? My bet is no. He couldn’t do it without loads of talent on Miami and a miracle three by Ray Allen and I believe the loss of Kevin Love and J.R Smith is going to force LeBron to channel his inner Michael Jordan which I don’t think he can do despite holding the title of best basketball player in the world. Don’t get me wrong, LeBron is an amazing basketball player, but would he have won those two titles if he didn’t join two other superstars in Miami? Or if Derrick Rose had never torn his ACL? I believe things would have gone much different.
The Chicago Bulls have been at the mercy of terrible injuries and LeBron’s constant formation of super teams for awhile now but this is finally the year where the so called “King” is taken down by our very own Chicago Bulls.