Bulls-Cavs (Belated) Series Preview
By Benjy Lipsman in News on Apr 19, 2010 3:40PM
While their stadium mates at the United Center, the Blackhawks, are expected to make a deep run in the NHL playoffs the Bulls just squeaked into the NBA playoffs this year as the eighth seed. As such, the Bulls presence in the postseason is expected to be short lived. In the opening round, they're facing off against LeBron James and the Cleveland Cavaliers. The series began on Saturday and went pretty much as expected. The Cavs jumped out to a big lead before cruising to a 96-83 win over the Bulls. Game two is tonight at 7:00 p.m.
Game 1: Saturday, April 17 at Cleveland, Cleveland won 96-83
Game 2: Monday, April 19 at Cleveland, 7 p.m. TNT
Game 3: Thursday, April 22 at Chicago, 6 p.m. TNT
Game 4: Sunday, April 25 at Chicago, 2:30 p.m. ABC
Game 5: Tuesday, April 27 at Cleveland, TBD*
Game 6: Thursday, April 29 at Chicago, TBD*
Game 7: Saturday, May 1 at Cleveland, TBD*
* if necessary
Cleveland finished the regular season with a 61-21 record -- best in the Eastern Conference. The Bulls clawed their way to a .500 record, finishing the year 41-41. And while Cleveland acquired players like Shaquille O'Neal and Antawn Jamison to help them compete for a championship since exiting the playoffs short of a title last season, the Bulls' transactions have focused on clearing salary cap rather than building a playoff roster. Additionally, most of the Bulls' key players are nursing some sort of injury. Joakim Noah and Taj Gibson remain hobbled by bouts of planter faciitis, while Luol Deng -- the man tasked with stopping LeBron -- is less than 100% recovered from knee and calf injuries. As such, we don't expect the Bulls-Cavs series to be anywhere as competitive as the regular series meetings might suggest -- the two teams split their four meetings. Now that it's the post-season, we'd be surprised if the Bulls steal more than one game before they're sent home for the summer and Vinny Del Negro's sent packing for good. Of course, who thought they'd push the Boston Celtics to seven games last year?