Time for Some Chicago Bulls Playoff Basketball (and Other Bulls Bullets)

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Time for Some Chicago Bulls Playoff Basketball (and Other Bulls Bullets)

Chicago Bulls

For the first time since April 28th, 2017, the Chicago Bulls will appear in a playoff basketball game.

While the series outlook may not be the best – and the end of the season may have been borderline nauseating – today is a sign of real organizational progress. Yes, exactly how much progress that is can be further discussed after we watch the next handful of games unfold, but stepping into postseason play for the first time in five years is an important first step toward better days.

I’ll be at the Fiserv Forum later this evening to accept whatever kind of hoops the Bulls have to offer. My fingers are crossed this group used their extra time off to rejuvenate some of that early-season chemistry and effort that initially rose them to the top of the conference. Again, my hopes aren’t particularly high that they walk out of this series, but they don’t need to be. Play an inspired brand of basketball, and I’ll feel content.

But if they do somehow win the series, I’ll never let Bucks fans hear the end of it! 

•   I hope the Chicago Bulls sat their booties down and watched some playoff basketball last night. The fact of the matter is the intensity they will feel on the court and in the arena will be unlike anything this team has experienced before. The postseason is a completely different breed, and everything from the physicality to the trash talk will be brought up about three levels. DeMar DeRozan knows that. So do Nikola Vucevic, Alex Caruso, and Tristan Thompson. On the other hand, while guys like Ayo Dosunmu, Coby White, Patrick Williams, and even Zach LaVine have been told what to expect, they will not be able to fully comprehend what this all means until they step on the floor.

•   The Bulls don’t have to win Game 1. Would it be absolutely amazing? Yes. Do I also think it’s one of their best opportunities to steal a win? Mhm. But dropping the first battle doesn’t necessarily make or break a series. All I’m really looking for the Bulls to do in this meeting is establish that they aren’t going to hang their head and be an easy out. I’m hoping they can demonstrate that they have finally learned how to play a hard-fought 48 minutes of action. Mistakes will happen. Adjustments will have to be made. But there should be zero lack of effort, especially from the newbies who are hungry for their first taste of playoff action.

•   Speaking of which …

•   I will not at all be surprised if Zach LaVine goes off this series. Not only has this man waited longer than any active player to finally take part in a playoff series, but he couldn’t have sounded more motivated this week. I think he and the team likely took it extra easy on his banged-up knee in preparation for what we will see over the next couple of weeks. Not to mention, I also expect the Bucks’ defense to start with their best perimeter defender in Jrue Holiday on DeMar DeRozan, which could open the door for LaVine to find his rhythm early on.

•   We should expect to see some rotational tweaks over the first couple of games. Head coach Billy Donovan will have to evaluate which matchups are working and which are falling short, and I think that’s when the door could open for guys like Javonte Green and Derrick Jones Jr. to eat even more minutes. I’m also curious to see whether or not Donovan does go back to his two-big lineup with Vucevic and Thompson. To be sure, I don’t think this is at all the direction to go, especially with a healthy Patrick Williams back in the rotation, but Donovan has continued to suggest it’s a possibility against the Bucks’ superiorly-sized frontcourt.

•   I got to be honest, I don’t have much else to say. I’ve over-thought this series enough to the point where I’m just ready to see the ball tipped. So, if you need me, I’ll be throwing on my DeMar DeRozan jersey and chugging a few beers before I buckle in for a wild ride at the Fiserv Forum (what kind of name is that, by the way).

•   They got to learn early!

•   Oof. Talk about bad luck.

•   Hit it out of the park, Willy.

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Author: Elias Schuster

Elias Schuster is the Lead Bulls Writer at Bleacher Nation. You can follow him on Twitter @Schuster_Elias.