The Chicago Bulls are in pole position to take the first scalp of a favorite in the playoffs. They have outplayed the Celtics in the previous two games and it looks like nothing can stop them to the same thing again.
In this preview we will look at three main factors which will help the Bulls to win the next game and probably the seven game series. Our preview will be in similar mould to the previews giving essential virtual sports betting info for the virtual betting enthusiast.
Rajon Rondo has had a mixed season in terms of performances, but when it mattered most he delivered. When the Bulls needed a playoff push, Rondo was there.
Now, when the Bulls are up against the number one seed in the East, he is once again their best player. With Rondo playing like this, the Bulls might end the series after only 4 games.
The Height Issue
It was to be expected that the size and height of the Bulls would represent a problem for the Celtics, but not to this extent. Robin Lopez makes anyone standing next to him look inferior, but this applied double to this Boston line-up which, in truth, is one of the most vertically challenged line-ups we have seen for quite some time in the NBA.
And even though the Celtics reduced the difference from being -17 rebounds in the first game to -5 in the second, it was obvious that they felt intimidated when in possession. In fact, they attempted as many as 38 3-point shots, which is evidence that Celtics just didn’t want to get involved in more physical duels with the taller Bulls.
Isaiah Thomas scored a hard-fought 20 points and had torrid time throughout the game evidenced with his 6 for 15 shooting ratio. It seemed that whenever he decided to attack the basket, instead of getting the foul he was hoping for, he was either blocked or bullied by the Bulls’ defense.
This brilliant defense forced 16 turnovers from the Celtics, and those turnovers gave rise to 23 points for the Bulls. In addition, the Bulls managed to notch 12 steals, 5 of which were from Rondo, to round off a perfect defensive display.
Lack of Confidence
The Celtics were considered as favorites before the match-up simply because they ranked much higher than the Bulls, who got into the playoffs in the last possible moment.
However, now this has dramatically changed. The Celtics are no longer perceived as favorites and the odds for the Bulls making the next round are getting slashed.
Expectedly, this has had a tremendous negative effect on Celtics players’ confidence and it is evident from their facial expressions that they are completely bereft of confidence right now.
In fact, there have been only 23 instances in the NBA where a team was 0-2 after losing the first two games at home. And frustratingly for Celtics’ fans and players, only 3 teams managed to win the seven game series after being in that situation.