The Chicago Bulls now have a 2-0 lead in their first round playoff series with the Boston Celtics. After two rather stunning wins in Boston, the Bulls are now in control of the series and will look to finish it out in Chicago. Despite the run at the end of the season, the Bulls were unable to put together a string of victories all season, but now have all of a sudden captured lightening in a bottle. The reason for this stellar play of late has to be contributed to three main factors.
The Bulls are playing by far the best defense of the season right now. They have continuously forced the Celtics into taking long range jump shots, which they have not been able to knock down. Also, they have been able to contain Isaiah Thomas. He has played an average of six minutes more per game in the post-season than during the regular season, but his points and assists are both down. Jimmy Butler (in the fourth quarter) and Rajon Rondo (early in games) have been the main factors for this and will certainly be asked to continue to do so going forward.
- Ball Movement
The Bulls have been moving the ball incredibly well in the first two games. The conductor of the offense has been Rondo (10 assists per game) who looks to be playing like he did when he was on the Celtics earlier in his career. Currently, the team is averaging 25 assists per game compared to only 13 turnovers. If this trend continues, the Bulls will be hard to stop.
The Bulls seem to have been one of those teams that floated through the regular season. With older players like Wade and Rondo basically tired of the NBA grind, they have turned it on now that the playoffs have started. With the importance of the games now, the Bulls have looked like a team rejuvenated. Meanwhile, Boston looks like a team that is tired and worn out from the emotional and physical aspect of the 82 game regular season.
It looks as if Rondo, Wade, and Butler have been basically waiting for the playoffs to turn it up a notch. This is especially the case for Wade who looks to be his cold-blooded self after hitting multiple tough jump shots in the Bulls latest win.
Going forward, if these three factors continue to be in the Bulls favor, it will be very difficult for Boston to get back into this series. A let down by the Bulls or a Celtics increase in energy will be needed immediately or we will be seeing a rare eight seed beating a one seed in this year’s playoffs.
If you would like to receive an email each time a new Chicago Bulls article is published, fill out our email notification form.