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For the first time in the past three years, the Chicago Bulls have made it out of the first round of the NBA playoffs. They swept the defending NBA champions, the Miami Heat, 4-0 in round one of the postseason.
Chicago relied on a tenacious defense throughout the series. They were able to keep in check two of the biggest stars in the NBAShaquille ONeal and Dwayne Wade. Neither superstar was able to get on track during the series. Both players best offensive outputs came in their 104-96 loss in game three of the series. Wade scored 28 and ONeal added 23. Wade scored 21 in games one and two, and finished game four with 24. ONeal was held to fewer than 20 in the other three games. He scored 19 in the opener, and 17 in game two. He had his lowest point total, 16, in the final game of the series.
Throughout the series, the Bulls were led on offense by the dynamic duo of Luol Deng and Ben Gordon. Deng scored a season-high 33 in game one. Gordon scored 27 points in games two and three, and led the team in scoring again in the final game when he had 24 points.
The Bulls will meet up with their long-time rival, the Detroit Pistons, in the best-of-seven series in round two of the playoffs. The two rivals come in to the series with some things in commonthey both swept their opening-round opponents. The Bulls eliminated the team from southern Florida, while the Pistons took care of their neighbors to the north, the Orlando Magic.
The Bulls won three of the four regular-season games against the Pistons. Bulls fans everywhere are hoping their team can continue that type of domination over the Pistons when it really counts, during the postseason.
Doug Halberstadt can be reached via e-mail at Dougster61@aol.com.
from the May 2-8, 2007, issue