Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images
The Bulls went 62-20 during the regular season. Not all of those wins came easy. Chicago had to buckle down in the fourth and take care of business. They realize that the only thing that matters is winning. The Bulls were expected to finish either fourth or fifth in the East this season. They put that to rest at the All-Star break. They were expected to finish third in the East going into the second half of the season. That quickly was proven wrong.
The Celtics were supposed to finish out strong as the Bulls collapsed. Well, the Bulls just happened to pull away in the later weeks. Finally, the Spurs had the No. 1 seed all but locked up. What do you know? Chicago pulls a shocker and takes it.
These Bulls know how to win when they're not expected to, and even when they are.
Yeah, that sounds dumb, but think just about a week back to the Indiana series. The Bulls were losing in the fourth quarter of the first four games in that series. They still managed to have a 3-1 lead going into Game 5. Even in their one loss, they were down by double-digits with three minutes left and got the lead down to one before the Pacers delivered the finishing blow. The Bulls definitely know how to close out games.
Atlanta seemed to have no inspiration heading into the playoffs. They seemed to have reached a point where they couldn't fall or rise in the standings. So who cares? So what if they go down 2-0 before heading back to Atlanta in this series? Do they have the will to keep playing with 100 percent effort? These aren't good questions to have heading into the second round of the playoffs.