Why The Bulls Are A Tough Matchup For The Celtics
Unless you live under a rock you know by now that the Celtics are the top seed in the Eastern Conference Playoffs. This means the matchup they will draw is the 8 seed Chicago Bulls. Despite being not that good, the Bulls backed their way into the playoffs against another NBA royalty team. Now don't let the headline deceive you, the Celtics should and probably will beat the Bulls, but it's not going to be as easy as most people think. Here are a few reasons why:
Rondo Plays Great Against The Celtics
Since we are playing the Bulls it means we are matched up against our old fan favorite Rajon Rondo. This is a bad thing for a few reasons. The first is that Rondo has always played well in the playoffs, us Celtics fans know that better than anyone. When the spotlight is on and he has the ball he takes advantage of it. The second reason is that I think he is a bad matchup for Isaiah Thomas. When Rondo is really trying on defense he can be a lockdown defender due to his quickness and lengthy wingspan. Combine that with Isaiah's small size and it may not be a recipe for a ton of scoring. I'm not saying IT will score under 20, but I feel like there might be times where we need him to score and he can't because of Rondo. The last reason Rondo is bad news for us is that he loves to play the Celtics, especially in national tv games. He thought he was going to be the future of the franchise and then we traded him away like spoiled milk. He also didn't have the best relationship with Brad Stevens. Now he'll be going up against his replacement on national TV and he will relish that moment.
Playoff Dwyane Wade
Dwyane Wade is a real son of a bitch in the playoffs. We have seen it with our own eyes many times before. When the game is on the line and the ball is in his hands he just always seems to execute. Even as he has declined he still takes his game to another gear in the playoffs. We all know he is not the same Dwyane Wade as he used to be but that didn't stop him from stepping up last year either. Last year he was also the main guy on his team and he still stepped up. This year he is not the main guy and has Jimmy Butler to rely on as the main option. Which brings me to my next point....
It's pretty obvious why Jimmy Butler is a problem in this series, he's the best player in the series by far. If you disagree with that you are just a Celtics homer. Yes Isaiah Thomas has had a better year scoring, but in every other part of the game Jimmy Butler is better. People forget there is this thing called defense which is half of the game and Jimmy Butler is really good at it while Isaiah Thomas is not. So yes Jimmy Butler is the best player in the series. Now I think Jae Crowder is a good defender but even he won't be able to contain Jimmy Butler. On the other side of the coin I think Butler will be able to guard Jae pretty well and will take away one of the Celtics secondary scoring options. That is somewhat of a big deal because Jae is the Celtics second best 3 point shooter and they really struggle at hitting shots sometimes.
The most notable problem with this Celtics team is their rebounding woes. We have all at some point in time pulled our hair out because their rebounding ended up costing them the game or caused them to almost blow the game. Now we go up against a team who is 3rd in the NBA in rebounding compared to the Celtics at 27th. That is no bueno. It is such a big disparity which makes it a huge advantage for the Bulls. It will be even more of a problem if the Celtics struggle to shoot well. If they are not hitting shots then the Bulls will eat up those rebounds and eliminate second chance opportunities for the Celtics. So let's hope that either Horford, Amir, and the other bigs can step up their rebounding or let's hope that the Celtics can shoot well to negate that.
Again I'm not saying that the Celtics will lose this series. I just think that this is a matchup that will not be easy for the Celtics. Even with the reasons I listed above there is no excuse for the Celtics to lose this series. It would be a major disappointment after such a great year. I would put the Bulls chances for an upset at 20%. So I wouldn't be completely surprised if the Celtics lose, but I don't see it happening. I think the Celtics will take the series in 6 games and face the Wizards next round.