Season Series: Tied 2-2
*This is just one of the eight match-ups.. To see all eight.. click below *
The Cleveland Cavaliers had the best record in the NBA going 61-21 and because of it, they face the eight seed Chicago Bulls, who in the last month of the season, couldn’t put together a few wins if their playoff lives depended on it (literally). Toronto just played worse and practically handed them the eighth seed in the East (I will get to that in a bit).
The Cavaliers, we all know are led by man-child Lebron James, who averages 29+ points per game (right behind Oklahoma City’s Kevin Durant and just ahead of Carmelo and Kobe) but the Cleveland ownership has done a fabulous job of giving Lebron the teammates he needs to win it all.In doing so, they hope Lebron will stay in Cleveland long-term and not jump ship with friend and Nets Owner Jay-Z.
Winning a championship would definitely help the Cavs keep Lebron.
Cleveland puts Mo Williams, Anthony Parker, Antwan Jamieson, and Anderson Varejao out to start the game with James and have a strong bench with Daniel Gibson, Sebastian Telfair, Delonte West, Jamario Moon, Zydrunas Ilgauskas, and the injured Shaq-daddy (thumb) but he will be back for the playoffs.
Heck, even Lebron sat out games near the end of the season for precautionary measures due to soreness. Like an NFL team resting their starters, Cleveland is serious about winning it all this year.
Remember, Cleveland was the 2007 Eastern Conference Champion but lost to Boston in the 2nd round in 2008 (Boston went on to win the Championship). Then in 2009, they lost to Orlando in the conference finals (Orlando went on to the NBA Finals and lost to the Lakers).
After two years as one of the most dominant players in the league, if Lebron and Co. can’t make it to the NBA Finals this year, expect to see him in a different jersey come next October.
The Chicago Bulls didn’t make the playoffs. The Toronto Raptors blew their shot at making it by losing 19 of their final 28 games, moving them from 5th in the East, to 9th place.
If I seem a little pissed off… well, I am. Being a Canadian, I wanted to see the Raptors back in the playoffs but it’s not like it would have mattered because they would have ended up playing the Cavs’ to get stomped.
Now, in come the Chicago Bulls, who started the month of March losing nine straight to bring their season-long losing streak to ten games. But when the Raptors started to fall their hardest, the Bulls took full advantage by going 10-4 in the final 14 games of the season.
The season series was split 2-2 but technically the last game played that Chicago won, you can strike from the season series due to the fact the Cavaliers rested Lebron James giving Chicago the victory (another reason why Toronto didn’t make the playoffs but you can’t blame anyone but their own horrific play).
The Bulls got in by winning games when it mattered most and because of it earn a chance to take on the Cleveland Cavaliers…but as I said, they will get thumped (much like Toronto would have).
One Reason. They suck.
When the Bulls were horrible after the Jordan era, I thought all the draft-picks they were getting would turn into something big… but nope, it has seemed to do nothing.
Derrick Rose leads the team in points per game with 20+ per game but their other marquee draft picks Luol Dang, Kirk Hinrich, Joakim Noah, and even most recent 2009 1st rounder Taj Gibson aren’t winning the Bulls many games.
The Bulls play .500 basketball (41-41 last season, 41-41 this season) and could have had a better record this season (in my opinion) if they didn’t get rid of John Salmons and Tyrus Thomas (they got Hakim Warrick and Ronald Murray in return trades) but pinning them up against Cleveland only means one thing. Sweep.
TheCoach’s Pick: CAVALIERS in FOUR