The beginning of the NBA playoffs features many great matchups. In particular the Eastern Conference includes the clash between the #1 Boston Celtics and the #8 Chicago Bulls
Let’s dive into the positional comparison between the two teams:
Boston: Isaiah Thomas
The 5’9” machine averages a whopping 28.9 points and 5.9 assists per game. That speaks to his ability to pass when needed but also take crucial shots. He is known as “Mr. 4th Quarter” with his ability to crank up the intensity when the clock runs down. Thomas has been a major issue for opponents in the regular season and the Bulls will need to be cognizant of Isaiah at all times.
Chicago: Rajon Rondo
As a former Celtic, Rondo’s return to Boston for the playoffs is anticipated by many. He leads the Bulls with 6.7 assists per game and has a .408 field goal percentage. To match up with Thomas, Rondo will need to play exceptionally well; fans know he is more than capable of doing that.
Boston: Avery Bradley
The guard had a shortened season due to many injuries, but when on the court, Bradley is a key factor for the Celtics. He takes opponents away from Isaiah Thomas while additionally boasting statistics of his own. In the 55 games he had played, Avery Bradley averaged the second highest minutes per game and approximately 16 points per game.
Chicago: Dwayne Wade
To question Dwayne Wade’s ability is a mistake. The former NBA champion has the ability to transform a game in short time with a average of 18.3 points per game and .434 field goal percentage. The Bulls spent money to acquire the skilled veteran in the offseason and the price will be justified in the playoffs.
Boston: Jae Crowder
Crowder’s season has been very successful as he pushed aside the distractions of trading and played 72 games. As rumors constantly surrounded his place in Boston, he hit a number of clutch 3-point shots in the latter stages of games. The Celtics found that a trade would not be needed because Crowder is the right fit for Boston.
Chicago: Jimmy Butler
Butler has had an outstanding year, emerging as the star of the Bulls and leading the team in points and steals. The Butler vs Thomas showdown in the final minutes of a game will be fascinating and a foul could put Butler, phenomenal free throw shooter, at the line. There is not much to say other than sit back and enjoy the show.
Boston: Amir Johnson
Johnson may not have been the most flattering on the offensive end during the year, but as of late, the 6’9” forward made 6 out of 7 field goals in the last game of the year. He may not show up on the score sheet, but the intensity and mistakes that he forces opponents to make are crucial, especially in a playoff series.
Chicago: Nikola Mirotic
The Yugoslavian player has a .413 field goal percentage and a .342 3-point percentage this year. Mirotic had a career high 8 double doubles this season with no disqualifications. He looks to build on a strong resume and move the Bulls to the next round in the postseason.
Boston: Al Horford
The former Atlanta Hawk signed a lucrative deal with the Celtics in the offseason. Horford has lived up to expectations with 1.3 blocks and 14 points per game. His rare combination of strong offense and defense is widely respected and will become very beneficial in this series. Lastly, unlike a number of centers across the league, Horford shoots 80 percent from the free-throw line.
Chicago: Robin Lopez
Brother of Brooks Lopez, Robin Lopez has 1.4 blocks per game and is great on defense. Lopez is a warrior, playing in 81 games during the year and a significant 28 minutes per game. A matchup against Horford will be interesting to see and could be the difference in a “crash the boards” type game.
Thanks for reading and enjoy the series!