NBA Playoffs: Realistic Expectations for the Chicago Bulls in the Second Round

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NBA Playoffs: Realistic Expectations for the Chicago Bulls in the Second Round
Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports

The Chicago Bulls barely escaped out of the first round with a Game 7 victory over the Brooklyn Nets Saturday night.

Although they were the clear underdogs in that first-round series, they were able to advance after nearly blowing away a 3-1 lead. What's even more amazing is that the Bulls were without two key contributors—Luol Deng and Kirk Hinrich—for Game 7 (three if you consider Derrick Rose being out for the entire year).

They're set to play the Miami Heat in the Eastern Conference semifinals, and they will enter the series as the underdogs once again.

 

Heart and Determination Are Not Enough

By no means are the Bulls a more talented team than the Nets. In fact, they don't even come close to matching the Nets' star power and All-Star caliber talent, but they were able to defeat them with an incredible heart and motivation in Game 7.

Although most people would love to see the Bulls win the second-round series against the Heat, it's really unlikely that they would be able to upset the defending champions.

I'm not saying that the Bulls have zero chance of winning the series, but I doubt that they can keep up with the Heat in a seven-game series. They did come out victorious against one of the more talented Eastern Conference squads in the first round, but the Heat are a whole different monster.

USA TODAY Sports

From top to bottom, the Heat have more talent at every position except at center, depending on which lineup the Heat decide to use. Any team that works as hard as the Bulls on defense has a chance to win, but the odds are stacked against them in this series.

 

Can The Bulls Pull Out a Few Victories?

The Bulls split the regular season series with the Heat, so obviously they could compete with them. In the playoffs, however, they will find it much more difficult.

I'd say that the Bulls could extend the series to six games at the most, and it would still be a tough, hard-fought six games if they do.

It's still unclear whether or not Deng and Hinrich will be available for Game 1, and the Bulls will definitely need them for this series.

The key to the Bulls' success will start and end with how well they could defend LeBron James, Dwyane Wade and the rest of the Heat role players. The Bulls offense will have a hard time scoring against the Heat defense, but the Heat offense is much more proficient and it will determine the outcome of this series.

We've learned that we should never count out the Bulls, but a series victory over the Heat would probably be the most shocking outcome in recent NBA playoff history.

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