The Dallas Mavericks in 2007 and the San Antonio Spurs in 2011 both ended the season with the best record in the league and also went home after a mere six playoff games. I’m sure this won’t make the Bulls and their fans feel that much better but hopefully it takes some of the sting away. When the best team in the league falls though, there has to be some explanation. Of course, this is not a difficult nut to crack. The Bulls lost their top players (and no I’m not talking Derrick Rose) but let’s sift through the wreckage for due diligence shall we?
The Bulls: the horror movie victims
Losing Noah really hurt…a lot Noah was the best player for the Bulls in the regular season. Having a top center is a pretty nice recipe for success in the NBA. Losing Noah in the middle of the series hurt a ton. It hurts even more when you consider he was on the bench at the end of a one point loss to end the series.
Losing Derrick Rose really hurt…a lot Derrick Rose may not show up as the strongest Bull. The problem the Bulls have is they have nothing behind him. In the game Rose went down with injury he played very well. John Lucas was the exact opposite of that and C.J. Watson was even worse! You replace a good point guard with a terrible one in the playoffs and it’s gonna hurt.
Carlos Boozer disappeared In the regular season Boozer was an alright player. In the postseason he was worse than Glen Davis! I won’t bemoan a player too much for having a stretch of bad games. That said, his timing could have been better.
Picking up Rip Hamilton was really stupid To start the season the Bulls picked up Rip Hamilton. This was a mistake. A point we made was that the Bulls had better shooting guard options. This was definitely true in the playoffs where both Brewer and Korver were much better choices.
76ers airdrop in Spencer Hawes…again
Jrue Holiday had a great series During the regular season Jrue Holiday was an average point guard. Against a team with nothing at the point Jrue played great. Will this keep up against a team with one of the top point guards in the league? We’ll find out.
Andre Iguodala and Thaddeus Young are good These two players have been staples of the 76ers for years. In the playoffs they kept up their stellar play. Iguodala is one of my favorite underappreciated players, so I’m happy to see him advance.
Spencer Hawes, where did that come from? Way back to start the season the 76ers were playing like one of the greatest teams ever. A key part was that Spencer Hawes, who had normally been terrible, decided to play like a superstar. Then he got injured and we were left to wonder if it was all a dream. At least in the first round of the playoffs we’re seeing that same Hawes show up again. Will he be around for round 2?
In the end this upset has a lot to do with bad luck and bad timing. Of course, such things are the norm in the NBA. My advice to the Bulls is very similar from last season. They played great and should focus on what worked well. I’m hoping they don’t overreact and do something foolish like sign another player like Rip Hamilton. The 76ers capitalized in the playoffs and I’m happy for that. We’ll have to see how they look against a team that is not banged up and I’m looking forward to that.