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Chicago Bulls Playoff Preview

Tuesday, April 21, 2015 Michael Shayler

Entering the 2015 NBA playoffs, the Chicago Bulls are healthy and ready to go.

The Bulls come in as the number three seed which may come as a surprise considering they faced a plethora of injuries over the course of the regular season. The original starting five of Derrick Rose, Jimmy Butler, Mike Dunleavy, Pau Gasol and Joakim Noah only played a total of 22 games as a unit, compiling a 17-5 record in those games. With the starting five in tact and the team healthy at just the right time, will it be enough?



The Bulls are healthy and ready for the playoffs. Image courtesy of Washington Post 

This season saw the emergence of Jimmy Butler, after refusing a new deal in the off-season, Butler wanted to earn his new contract. Stats would say he did as he averaged 20.0 points per game after only averaging a measly 8.1 points per game in his first three seasons, and being known as primarily a defensive stopper.

The difference maker for this season had to be Pau Gasol. As a free agent signee in the off-season, Gasol enjoyed a career year at the age of 34. He brought his championship experience to a team that has previous playoff success under Head Coach Tom Thibodeau, but yet to capture a title.

Depth kept the team going while dealing with the injury bug all season. Taj Gibson, Aaron Brooks, Tony Snell and rookie Nikola Mirotic provided the sparks. Mirotic's role increased as the season went on and should only become more important as we get deeper into the playoffs.



Rookie Nikola Mirotic has seen his role increase heading into the playoffs. image courtesy of friendly bounce 

The one noticeable thing throughout the season and that is worrisome going into the playoffs was questionable shot selection. The Bulls are one of the better passing teams in the league, therefore playing team oriented basketball and finding the open man will be the biggest key to playoff success.

Thankfully the Bulls will be matched up with the Milwaukee Bucks in the first round which should be a nice tune up as the Bulls won the season series three games to one over Milwaukee. With the team's health concerns and a match up against the Cleveland Cavaliers seemingly waiting in the wings, it's difficult to see the Bulls making their way out of the Eastern Conference and into the NBA Finals for the first time since the "Jordan Era". One thing is for sure though, the Bulls will not go down without a fight.

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