Bulls down 2-0 after sneaking into playoffs

The Chicago Bulls were able to win their last two games of the season to edge into the playoffs. They sneaked past two playoff teams – the Bobcats and Celtics – to ensure the eighth and final playoff spot. The Toronto Raptors were left out of the playoffs by one game. The spot both teams were fighting for seems to be who would lose in the first round of the playoffs.

The Bulls face the Cleveland Cavaliers in the first round, led by probable MVP Lebron James. James was the MVP a year ago and will likely make it two years in a row unless Kevin Durant somehow edges him out. The Cavaliers cruised through the regular season and finished with the beast overall record in the NBA at 61-21. They could even afford to rest Lebron James the last four games of the regular season.

Unfortunately for the Bulls in Game 1, Lebron was not rusty at all. He finished with 24 points, 6 rebounds, 5 assists, and 4 blocks. The Cavaliers cruised to a 15 point lead at the half. The Bulls came out in the second and outscored the Cavaliers by two points in the third quarter and managed to cut the Cavaliers lead to 7 point with about four minutes to go in the fourth quarter. Derrick Rose led the comeback as he finished with 28 points and 10 assists. But in the end, it was too much James and point guard Mo Williams. James converted a three point play and Mo Williams (19 points) hit a three pointer which sealed the Bulls fate in Game 1. The Cavs ended up winning 96-83.

The Bulls had to play again in Cleveland on Monday night. This time the Bulls seemed more prepared in the first half than they did in game one. Instead of trailing by double digits, the Bulls found themselves down by just two points at the half, and were tied with the top-seeded Cavaliers after three quarters. The reason for this was the improved play of Bulls center Joakim Noah. After Shaquille O’Neal pushed him around in game 1, Noah was able to find his offense and defense and finished with 25 points and 13 rebounds.

The fourth quarter was a different than the first three quarters for the Bulls. They trailed 96-93 with about four minutes left before the best player in the NBA took over. Lebron James went on to score the next 11 points for the Cavaliers which included a long three pointer. James finished with 40 points, 8 rebounds, and 8 assists while shooting an efficient 70% from the field. The Cavaliers outscored the Bulls by 10 points in the fourth quarter to take Game 2 by a score of 112-102.

The series heads to Chicago for games three and four. Though the Bulls have home-court advantage, the Cavaliers had the second best road record in the regular season. The Bulls need to play perfect basketball in order to defeat the Cavaliers because game 2 was close and the Bulls played about as good as they are capable. If the Bulls can manage to win one or two games in this series, it should be considered a success.