Eenie, Meenie, Minie, Mo. Indiana, Detroit, Or Chicago?
CAVALIER FANS! ARE. YOU. REEEEEEAAAAADDDDDDYYYYY?
The most exciting time of the year is coming up fast, and our Cleveland Cavaliers are looking like they’ll finish with the top seed in the Eastern Conference. This will be the third time in the team’s history and the first time since the return of LeBron James that you’ll see the Cavs as the East’s top dogs.
Cleveland won’t exactly be picking their first round opponent, but the Cavs still have to face the Chicago Bulls, Detroit Pistons, and Indiana Pacers in their final five games. With matches against the three teams gunning for the last two playoff spots, the Cavaliers could very well hold the fate of each team in the palm of their hands.
So who would Cleveland rather face in the first round? The young and exciting Detroit Pistons, the experienced Chicago Bulls, or the intriguing Indiana Pacers? Regardless of who Cleveland gets matched up, it will be against a Central Division rival.
The Chicago Bulls have be a thorn on the side of the Cavaliers and their fans for decades now. The Cleveland Cavaliers have made 19 appearances in the NBA Playoffs, and have faced the Chicago Bulls on seven of those occasions, losing five of them. You know when a moment in basketball is immortalized with “THE” and one more word it must have stung, and Cavalier fans will forever remember ‘The Shot’.
PROS OF FACING THE BULLS
It’s been a tough season for the Bulls, and they’re facing the possibility of not playing playoff basketball for the first time since the 2007-2008 season. They’re in losing form right now, losing five of their past eight games as of this writing, including two to the New York Knicks on back-to-back nights and a crucial home loss to the Detroit Pistons on April 2nd.
If the Bulls were to land the 8th seed, they would be dreading the idea of guarding a red hot LeBron James in a seven-game series. Who is going to guard him? Mike Dunleavy? Doug McDermott? Or will the Bulls add defensive pressure to Jimmy Butler’s already full plate in Chicago? The defensive matchup issues for the Bulls will be a nightmare for them all over the floor.
Cleveland and Chicago fans will also remember last season’s playoff series like it was yesterday. With the Bulls stealing a game and the home court advantage from the Cavs in Game 1 of the Eastern Conference Semifinals, it wasn’t looking great for Cleveland. Trailing late in Game 4 in Chicago, LeBron James delivered a devastating dagger to the heart of Bulls fans, and the Cavs would go on to not lose another Eastern Conference game for the remainder of the playoff series. That memory will be fresh in the Cleveland locker room and should load our guys full of confidence.
CONS OF FACING THE BULLS
Chicago seem to enjoy playing the Cavs, regular season and playoffs. They currently hold the season series over Cleveland with one game still to play, and hold the all-time playoff series record over Cleveland at 20-14. There is a storied history between the two ball clubs and with a heavy heart I say this, but Chicago takes the cake.
Derrick Rose is a key to Chicago’s puzzle that also really relishes playing the Cavaliers more than any other team in the post-season. In those 11 playoff games, Rose has scored 25+ points on six occasions, including the buzzer beater victory in 2015, and in 10 of those 11 games, he also posted at least five assists. Rose finds another gear when he faces the Cavs and more often than not, it can be the difference.
Click “Next” to see the breakdown of a potential Detroit Pistons matchup!