Bulls’ ‘Nightmare’ Playoff Matchup Revealed: Analyst

Billy Donovan

Matthew Stockman/Getty Images Billy Donovan

The Chicago Bulls currently have themselves in a good position, the team is 41-27 and is currently in fourth place in the Eastern Conference. The Bulls are currently just a half-game behind the Philadelphia 76ers for third place in the conference.

It’s no secret that the Bulls have had their struggles with the top teams in the league, the team is just 3-15 against the top-five teams from each conference. A number of things have contributed to those struggles for the Bulls.

The team has dealt with a slew of injuries, with Alex Caruso, Derrick Jones Jr., Lonzo Ball, and Patrick Williams all missing extended periods of time. The Bulls have also struggled to defend elite big men due to their lack of depth and rim protection. The team also has a lot of new pieces that haven’t been together during a playoff push.

Nightmare Matchup

With the way, the Bulls have struggled with the top teams in the Eastern Conference there’s probably more than one team that they wouldn’t want to play. However, Bleacher Report’s Greg Swartz says the team the Bulls least want to play should be the Miami Heat because of their playoff experience.

Outside of DeMar DeRozan, there’s little combined playoff experience on this Bulls roster. This could play a big role if Chicago runs into a veteran-heavy Miami team.

Jimmy Butler, Kyle Lowry and P.J. Tucker have a combined 250 playoff games under their belt, with Tucker and Lowry winning championships in 2021 and 2019, respectively. Butler and Bam Adebayo carried this Miami team to a Finals appearance in 2020 as well.

Heat head coach Erik Spoelstra has coached in five NBA Finals, winning two, and has led Miami to a sparkling 85-58 record overall in the postseason. His winning percentage is somehow even higher in the playoffs (59.4 percent) than the regular season (59.3 percent).

This would be a tough draw for a Bulls group making its first playoff appearance together.

Butler should feast while attacking DeRozan in isolation play after play, and Chicago simply can’t match Tyler Herro’s offensive fireworks off the bench.

The Bulls should hope to face a fellow playoff newbie in the Cleveland Cavaliers, at least to open the postseason.

Swartz certainly makes some great points about playing the Heat. The good thing for the Bulls is the Heat are currently in first place in the conference by two games, so as long as they don’t drop to the play-in scenario they should be able to avoid them until at least the second round.

Bulls Also a Nightmare Matchup

To the Bulls’ credit, Swartz also thinks they are a nightmare matchup for the Boston Celtics. While Boston has an elite defense, Swartz says the Bulls’ ability to score from mid-range exploits a weakness.

The Bulls and Celtics have split their two meetings so far this season with Boston winning the most recent meeting 114-112 on January 15. The teams will play one more time on April 6.

The intriguing thing about this matchup is if the season ended today the Bulls and Celtics would play in the first round of the playoffs. The Bulls currently have a half-game lead on the Celtics in the conference standings.



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