After a Chicago Bulls win and Atlanta Hawks loss, the playoff picture is officially set. The Bulls will play the Brooklyn Nets in the first round in the No. 4 versus No. 5 matchup. The Nets finished the season with a record of 49-33, and Chicago finished with a record of 45-37.
The Bulls and Nets played each other four times during the regular season. Chicago won three of these matchups: 83-82, 96-85 and 92-90. Brooklyn won one of the matchups on its home court, 93-89. Chicago makes the playoffs for the fifth season in a row, while Brooklyn returns the playoffs for the first time since 2007.
Brooklyn is a team that the Chicago Bulls match up relatively well against and had a great deal of success against in the regular season. When the playoffs start, however, regular-season matchups and records mean nothing, and every team has a fresh start.
That being said, here are five ways that Chicago can maintain its advantage over the Brooklyn Nets.
For the purposes of forecasting, we are going to assume that Derrick Rose will not return at any point for Chicago.