Playoff time is nigh! The Bulls Chicago kick off their post-season campaign against the Pacers of Indiana at noon CST at the UC, and it could not come quick enough. Long has been the season, with many ups and a few downs. (what the hell am I, Yoda?)
If you are not hip on Pacer basketball – which means you probably live in Indiana, seeing as they had the worst attendance in the NBA this season (vs the Bulls best) – I shall enlighten you a tad. First off, Reggie Miller is retired, as well as Rik Smits. So we do not have to worry about those strokes. However, Miller does play-by-play for TNT, so he may be at one of the games. The current set of Pacers started the regular season on quite a clip, ending the month of November with a 10-7 record (on top of the Central Division) and looking like they had a beast in Roy Hibbert. Things went south from there (for Hibbert and the Pacers), culminating with the canning of coach Jim O’Brien on January 30th. However, since promoting Frank Vogel to interim head coach, the Pacers have had a revival, and finished the season with a 20-18 record under him. Roy Hibbert has regained his early season form and Danny Granger, well, he has had a volatile season, but is always a scoring threat. Tyler Hansbrough has found some playing time under Vogel and has made the most of it – which means he is a hyped-up version of Brian Cardinal without that beautiful hairline.
If that was a bit optimistic for the Pacers, then let me lay down the pessimism. The Indiana Pacers enter the playoffs as the eighth seed in the East with a 37-45 regular season record. To compare, the eighth seed in the West, the Memphis Grizzlebee’s, finished 46-36. Additionally, the Pacers were a mere 25 games behind the Bulls in the Central Divison. The Bulls carry with them a 3-1 season series mark against the Pacers, and Indiana needed overtime to eek out that win.
This should be a smoke show by your Chicago Bulls. If you compare the starting line-ups, the Bulls win every position, except possibly shooting guard. When you get to the benches, it becomes laughable. Granger recently said that if you shutdown Rose, you shut down the Bulls, and that is what they intend on doing. Most Bulls players responded to this statement with little more than rolling their eyes. I fully trust the Bulls to finish this one off in four. And with the fourth game landing next Saturday afternoon, there should be ample time to celebrate and still recover for Monday morning. Cheers!