Most of you were probably suspecting the Boston Celtics to cruise to easy victory against the Chicago Bulls in game one of their opening round playoff series. Well, a funny thing happened, Chicago decided to take game one in the hallowed TD Garden for their first ever playoff victory against Boston. (Not even MJ could do that)
Derrick Rose has proven that he belongs in the conversation of the elite point guards in today’s NBA. The one thing that I not believe that Rose possesses is pure speed which we have not seen since the likes of a young Allen Iverson. Rose can get from the back-court to front-court with general ease. Over time, the improvement on his jump shot will take his game to the next level. Rose’s 36 points in game one tied a record for points scored by a rookie in his first playoff game which was held by Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and he played center.
The one thing that I have begun to notice is the improvement of Chicago’s big men and it showed against the Boston’s lack of quality big men. Tyrus Thomas has decided to finally play an all-around game instead of just attacking the basket with reckless abandon. Thomas hit some of the late jump-shots in overtime to give the Bulls the eventual advantage to hold onto a victory. Joakim Noah has played with hustle and determination which seemed to be lacking early on in his career. The Bulls have also received solid contribution from Kirk Hinrich, John Salmons, and Brad Miller which the team was severely lacking for most of the regular season.
We also have to give credit to Bulls head coach Vinny Del Negro. Most of Chicago suspected that he was on the “hot seat” and it was believed that he would be gone before the playoffs. The Bulls have now won 10 of their last 13 including the win in the playoffs. Del Negro deserves some credit for keeping the ship afloat and allowing Chicago to take full advantage of winning this series against the heavily favored Celtics.
If the Bulls continue to play with passion and poise, the Celtics might be the new-look Miami Heat of 2005 who ironically also lost to the Bulls in the first round following a title. Kevin Garnett must be rolling over in his grave as we speak.