If the playoffs started today, as predicted, the Bulls would face their opponents from I-94 North, the Milwaukee Bucks.
This positioning is thanks to the fact that the Raptors evidently lost in OT last night to none other than the Boston Celtics.
So is this better positioning for them than the number four spot, which would mean they would face the Wizards in the first round again? I’m not so sure. But no matter who they face, what a different “second season” it is going to be. This, of course, assumes no more injuries!
I just looked back to last year’s award-winning editions of Bulls Banter, and the first game of the Bulls’ playoff series versus the Wizards was on Easter – April 20, 2014. The Bulls lost that game. And it’s no wonder, with Derrick out for the year, Jo hobbling on one leg. They had nothing left to give.
Flash forward to this year, when stars seem to be aligning at the right time. There’s hope of DRose returning. Joakim is catching his stride. JB and Taj had some time off to recover from unfortunate and unforeseen injuries, but looks like that was a blessing.
Maybe the one guy I worry most about is Pau. Seems like he could use a little rest, and I feel a veterans week off approaching. Although whether Thibs would ever do that remains to be seen.
Well, I’m getting ahead of myself. Today, it’s Easter 2015, and the Bulls face the new-look Cavs. Yes, the Bulls handily defeated them on the single Thursday night NBA game preceding the All-Star break. This was at the UC, and I watched the game in Maui. It was one of the last times Derrick put on a true DRose show.
And since then, sigh, the Cavs have won 30 games and only lost 7. The Bulls. Well, do we want to go there? OK, it’s 20 and 16.
But take away Derrick, and Captain Kirk’s recent knee injury (he should be back soon), and I can’t remember the last time the Bulls seemed so ready for the playoffs.
And with a coach like Thibs, your readiness level certainly increases.
Mike McGraw of the Daily Herald reported the following on March 31:
Taj Gibson: “Thibs is telling us, around this time, we have to shut everybody out. We have to even probably, possibly change our (phone) numbers because right now it’s all about team and nobody else.”
“That’s basically what he’s preaching, to put yourself in a box. Just you and your teammates. If you’ve got distractions, tell them to call him and he’ll tell them no for you. Because it’s that time of the year. He doesn’t want any distractions.”
And as Gibson stated later in the article, “”We have one of the best scouts in the game in Tom Thibodeau,” Gibson said. “He knows the team from top to bottom. He understands everything.”
Let’s just hope Thibs’ can handle his new-found responsibilities answering the calls of all of the Bulls’ players wives, girlfriends, cousins, distant cousins, friends, enemies and impostors looking for tickets.
But in the immediate future, today on Easter, as the Bulls face the Cavs, here’s hoping no one ate too much ham, LeBron has an off day, and please, oh please, no pajama top jerseys!
Beat the Cavs.