Will the Lakers and Bulls make conference finals?

May 04, 2011

L.A., yes, Chicago, no

Ira Winderman

Sun Sentinel

Lakers? Yes. Bulls? No.

For the Lakers, this is nothing new, just typical of the drama on the way to the NBA Finals.

For the Bulls, though, there are other issues, from Derrick Rose's tender ankle to the reality that Atlanta simply has more options who can create their own offense.

The Lakers essentially did everything in their power to give away Game 1. Now is when Kobe gets angry and Pau steps forward.

Chicago is like San Antonio, a team driven to persevere through the regular season, push through the back-to-backs, the four-game-in-five-nights. But this is a talent level of the postseason, as the Grizzlies showed the Spurs. Eventually, the constant pushing of a Tom Thibodeau can become as grating as the Stan Van Gundy voice that eventually couldn't get it done in Orlando.


Both will survive

Brian Schmitz

Orlando Sentinel

After Game 1 missteps, L.A. and Chicago will both reach the conference finals, although the Lakers might need smelling salts.

The Lakers gave away the opening game to the Mavs and are now in for a long series. But Kobe will keep the Lakers' three-peat on track, denying Mavs owner Mark Cuban from realizing his dream of David Stern holding his nose as he presents him the NBA title trophy.

The Bulls and MVP Derrick Rose shockingly dropped Game 1 at home against the Hawks. Chicago's postseason inexperience is showing.

But you figure that their stout defense under coach of the year Tom Thibodeau will regroup against an Atlanta team that always has to survive its mental meanderings.


Don't be fooled

K.C. Johnson

Chicago Tribune

The Lakers will play the Grizzlies and the Bulls will play the Celtics in the conference finals.

Don't be fooled by the Bulls' Game 1 loss. Atlanta is too undisciplined and too erratic defensively to win a series against the East's top seed. The Bulls' defense wasn't awful in Game 1; Atlanta hit plenty of contested shots. And Derrick Rose won't go nearly 41 minutes without a free-throw attempt again.

As for the Lakers, they seemingly make an annual habit of overcoming speed bumps. They have too much size and depth to succumb to the Mavericks, and there's no way they'd lose a Game 7 at home.

This season's NBA playoffs have been entertaining because several teams have a legitimate shot at the title. But in the end, look for two old standbys — the Lakers and Celtics — to be standing.


Too tough for Bulls

Baxter Holmes

Los Angeles Times

It's doomsday in L.A. and in the Midway. But in L.A.. the panic is premature.

The Lakers, old as they are, won't go gentle into that good night; Kobe won't let them.

The Bulls, well, tender is Derrick Rose's left ankle — and that could tuck in a team who may already be up past its bedtime anyway.

The young Bulls lack playoff experience and have a tougher road to the conference finals — through underappreciated Atlanta, then either Boston or Miami.

The old Lakers boast experience but lack healthy knees on players who matter —and have, by comparison, a far easier road.

Don't worry Lakers fans. For Chicago, enjoy baseball season.


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