Thursday, April 15, 2010

Bulls beat Bobcats, make the playoffs!

By Sean Mackey

It took all 82 games, but the Bulls still snuck into the 2010 NBA playoffs last night with a win over the Charlotte Bobcats. The Toronto Raptors ended up winning their last game of the season as well, so it was imperative that the Bulls beat the Bobcats. Chicago took the lead early and never really let up. Although it was kind of a sloppy game, the Bulls seemed focused the entire night and were able to reach their 5th playoff appearance in 6 years.

Derrick Rose and Joakim Noah were sensational once again. Coming off a career high 39 points the night before, Rose scored 27 points and also added 5 assists. Joakim Noah had another monster game with 21 points, 13 rebounds and 4 assists.

Taj Gibson had his 18th double double this season with 11 points and 13 rebounds. Gibson ended the season leading all rookies in double-doubles, rebounds, field goal percentage and blocks. While Gibson had more opportunities than most rookie big men this season due to injuries and the inconstant play of Tyrus Thomas, only a few past NBA all-stars have lead in all four categories. In the end, Taj turned out to be a pleasant surprise, especially after I predicted he would be D-League fodder. He's almost a lock for the 2009-10 All-Rookie Team and will probably end up 4th in the running for NBA Rookie of the Year.

Despite Ben Gordon leaving for Detroit, trading away John Salmons and Tyrus Thomas, injuries and recent controversies regarding management, the Bulls were once again able to post a 2nd consecutive 41-41 record. A huge achievment giving all of the circumstances proving that Chicago may just be 1 or 2 pieces away from being a solid contender in the East. The win last night pushed Toronto out of the playoffs, leading to even more speculation that Chris Bosh has played his last game in a Raptors uniform. VDN should probably buy Antwan Jamison a fruit basket or something for that sick elbow to the face he delivered to Bosh last week.

The Bulls begin their 1st round series playoff series against the league best Cleveland Cavaliers Saturday at 2 p.m. on ABC. Joakim Noah is predicting to "shock the world" once again and if this series is anything like last year's opening round, the Cavs are in for a fight.