Let’s start with the good news.
The Chicago Bulls are in the playoffs for the first time since the 2016-2017 season. Their 46 wins are the most they’ve accumulated in the regular season since the 2014-2015 season when they ironically beat the Milwaukee Bucks 4-2 in the first round of the playoffs.
Speaking of that season, you now have one of the Bulls current players talking crap about that 2014-2015 team that fell to the Cleveland Cavaliers in the second round.
Thompson also dropped intriguing nugget about the 2014-15 Bulls, which the Cavaliers beat in conference semifinals.— K.C. Johnson (@KCJHoop) April 15, 2022
"We had more heart and fight than those guys. I think some of their players quit by Game 2 or 3. I won't say their names." https://t.co/Hi1NMolCFp
And the bad news doesn’t stop there.
Nobody believes the Bulls have much of a shot in this series. ESPN experts released picks for each first round matchup and remarkably all 22 of the people polled had the Bucks beating the Bulls. Only four of those experts had the Bulls winning more than one game in the series and eight had the Bucks sweeping the series.
The Bucks swept the Bulls in the regular season this year and two of those games weren’t competitive. The Bulls have only beaten the Bucks one time in the last four seasons.
In the last two months, the Bulls have had the fifth worst defensive rating in the entire NBA. This is particularly disappointing because we had all convinced ourselves that the Bulls defense would improve once Alex Caruso and Patrick Williams returned and it didn’t. Meanwhile, the Bucks have the third best offense in the NBA by offensive rating and this is with their three best players all missing time because of injury throughout the season.
They also have two assistant coaches testing positive for COVID-19 ahead of the series.
And to top it all off, the game starts at the very random time of 5:30 p.m. CDT which is a bit too early.
But who knows? Weirder stuff has happened. If only the NBA playoffs was like the NCAA tournament and it was single elimination. Maybe then the Bulls would have a chance.
But, because I’ll probably lose my Bulls fan card if I pick the Bucks, we’re going Bulls in six. ;)
Only Lonzo Ball and Matt Thomas are listed for the Bulls, meaning both Zach LaVine and Alex Caruso are totally off. Hopefully the week off helped them get over their lingering injuries, but it sounds like Caruso is still somewhat limited:
Alex Caruso will not be under a hard minutes restriction with thise back spasms, but Billy Donovan doesn’t want to let his minutes get into the high 30’s.— Julia Poe (@byjuliapoe) April 17, 2022
“He throws his body out there and plays incredibly hard and physical, so we’ll have to see how he responds.
For the Bucks, George Hill is out. Jordan Nwora is probable
Bulls are a whopping 10.5 point underdogs in this one, +450 to win the game outright.
Check out DraftKings Sportsbook, the official sportsbook partner of SB Nation.
Game Time: 5:30 p.m. CDT, NBC Sports Chicago and TNT