After a less-than-stellar win by the Chicago Bulls on Thursday night, fans and players alike questioned if this Chicago Bulls team will be the real deal. They wondered whether this Bulls team can go far in the playoffs, after three close wins against the eighth-seeded Indiana Pacers. The big question by NBA fans is this: Should the Bulls be worried with their disappointing play as of late?
In short, no, the Bulls shouldn't be worried at all, even with their current state of play.
Coming into the playoffs the Bulls had the best record in the NBA, finished 15-1 in their own division and were the only team in the NBA to beat every team at least once. The Bulls have done it all this season, and yet, there are still doubters after a few sloppy playoff performances.
Yes, the Bulls are hurt by the fact that they have less playoff experience out of all the teams in the playoffs. For them though, the Bulls should not be overlooked simply by that fact. The Bulls still have players who's maturity is so high, that they can play at a playoff caliber level, day in and day out.
For instance, Derrick Rose hasn't made it past the first round in his career, yet he still goes out there and plays better than most experienced guards so far by scoring over 30 points per game. The leadership Rose brings to this young team is unmatched by any other player to this date. Rose at times will single-handedly bring his team the win and won't stop at anything until the Bulls can win it all.
The Pacers are not a bad group of players. With a solid bench and great play by their bigs, the Pacers bring a great deal of pressure on the Bulls. Not only are the big men bringing trouble to the Bulls, it's also Danny Granger. Granger has been hitting big shots for the Pacers throughout the playoffs, but the Pacers, as a whole, haven't been able to stop the Bulls down the stretch.
The Bulls still have the talent to take their team to the NBA Finals. When you have a lineup featuring players like Derrick Rose, Carlos Boozer, Joakim Noah and Luol Deng on it, along with a talented bench, there should be no need to worry.
But what about the experience the Bulls have?
Experience is something that this Bulls team might be lucky to have. With championship-winning coach Tom Thibodeau running the Bulls, there shouldn't really be a lack of experience. Thibodeau went through it all in Boston, he has been through tough seven-games series, he has been through playoff series losses and he has won a championship.
So saying this team has no playoff experience is untrue. The Bulls have players that have gone seven games with the Boston Celtics in the playoffs, players like Kurt Thomas and Carlos Boozer, who have both played against and with some of the best players in NBA history, and they have a team that is already 3-0 against an athletic Pacers team.
It is true though that the Bulls haven't been playing great as of late, but the difference between the Bulls performance now and before, is that the Bulls are now in the playoffs. In the playoffs, seeding doesn't matter. Each team plays 48 minutes of the game with all they have and that includes the Pacers, who never seem to give up.
While the Bulls have come back and won all three games, it doesn't mean that they are playing too poorly. That means the Pacers are playing well against the Bulls. The Pacers are one of the few teams in the playoffs that can match up well against the Bulls, position by position.
On another note, the Bulls do need to worry about their big men. They can't have Joakim Noah and Carlos Boozer playing off on the strong shooting big men of the Pacers, and they must get some solid interior scoring. The Bulls need solid production from Carlos Boozer offensively and if he can provide the Bulls with similar numbers to Game 2 from the series, than there is no doubt the Bulls will be one of the stronger playoff teams.
The fact is the Bulls are a team that seems to be struggling, but there is no doubt that this team will still be the biggest fear to Eastern Conference teams. This Bulls team has the talent and potential to make it far in the playoffs. If the Bulls just fix up a few things with their team then there is no stopping them. To say that this team should be worried is not something that I would call at this moment of the playoffs, especially since it's only first round.
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