Bulls versus Cavaliers: Who wins?

The Chicago Bulls' Derrick Rose (1) fights through the Cleveland Cavaliers' Kyrie Irving (2) and Shawn Marion (31) in the first half at the United Center in Chicago on Thursday, Feb. 12, 2015. The Bulls won, 113-98. (Chris Sweda/Chicago Tribune/TNS)

The Chicago Bulls' Derrick Rose (1) fights through the Cleveland Cavaliers' Kyrie Irving (2) and Shawn Marion (31) in the first half at the United Center in Chicago on Thursday, Feb. 12, 2015. The Bulls won, 113-98. (Chris Sweda/Chicago Tribune/TNS)

Adam Reckamp

The excuses have finally run out, this is the year the Chicago Bulls make that step they have been striving for since their exit in the 2011 Eastern Conference Finals. This is the year the Bulls finally take down their biggest obstacle, the insufferable diva LeBron James.

 

After suffering through four years of injury hell, the Bulls have emerged on the other side for the playoffs as healthy as they have ever been. The scripts are flipped this year, this year it is not the Bulls with an injury to one of their star players; it is the LeBron’s team, the Cleveland Cavaliers, who have are banged up. Kevin Love, the player who Cleveland traded Rookie of the Year Andrew Wiggins for, is out for the playoffs due to an injury suffered in the first round of the playoffs.

 

While Love has been much maligned this year for his performance, his rebounding and ability to stretch the floor with his three point shooting would have been a massive problem for the Bulls who play as big as any team in the league. Cleveland will now be forced to play LeBron at the four spot, a position he has said in the past that he hates playing.

 

With JR Smith committing his annual bonehead non basketball play and getting himself suspended for the first two games of the series, the Bulls should have a massive advantage in depth. The Bulls rotation runs 10 deep, when in reality for the playoffs, only eight men are necessary.

 

Cleveland is a team full of washed up veterans, unproven young players and two bona fide NBA stars. Kyrie Irving and Lebron James are the only players on the Cavs the Bulls have to worry about. Compare that with the Bulls balanced scoring attack, seven players averaging double digit points, the Bulls depth should be a massive factor in the series.

 

The Bulls’ big men should dominate the Cavs inside. The Cavs only have two true big men in Timofey Mozgov and Tristan Thompson. The Bulls have four true big men and a stretch four in Nikola Mirotic. This big man advantage should allow the Bulls to dominate inside as Mike Miller can’t guard any of the bigs on Chicago.

 

The Bulls also have the best LeBron stopper in the league besides for Kawhi Leonard, in the emerging Jimmy Butler. Butler led Chicago in points and has really emerged as a star this year making his first all-star team. He is one of the keys for the Bulls in this series. If he can shut down LeBron while also scoring his usual point total, the Bulls will win the series easily.

 

But the real key to the series is the Kyrie Irving Derrick Rose matchup. Both are shaky defenders but explosive on the offensive end. Derrick Rose is a former MVP but has been inconsistent in the playoffs so far. Kyrie has been impressive in his debut, but hasn’t had a tough matchup yet. The outcome of this matchup should decide the series as both are more than capable of taking over full games for their team, although the slight edge should go to Kyrie.
The Cavaliers have the two best players on the court but the Bulls depth and rebounding should prevail. My prediction is Bulls in six.