Editor’s note: The Chicago Bulls were eliminated from the NBA Playoffs Tuesday, April 29, falling to the Washington Wizards 75-69 at home. The Wizards advance to the second round in the Eastern Conference, facing the winner of the Pacers vs. Hawks series. The Hawks defeated Indiana 107-97 Monday, April 28, to take a 3-2 series lead. Game 6 is Thursday, May 1, in Atlanta.
By Doug Halberstadt
It was a week ago tonight I wrote a column outlining the despair facing the Chicago Blackhawks and the Chicago Bulls in the first round of each of their respective playoff series.
At the time, neither team had won a single game in the three games played. The Blackhawks were down 0-2 in their best-of-seven series with the St. Louis Blues, and the Bulls had dropped their opening game against the Washington Wizards.
The Bulls went on and lost the second game of their series. Both Chicago teams were now down 0-2.
Four games and one week later, the Blackhawks have captured the opening-round series and have moved one step closer to repeating as Stanley Cup champions. They eliminated the Blues by winning four straight games. Now, they are awaiting the winner of the Colorado Avalanche/Minnesota Wild series. At press time, Colorado leads that series 3-2, with a chance to eliminate the Wild in game six Monday night (April 28) at the Xcel Energy Center in St. Paul, Minn. (results unavailable at press time).
I’m guessing the Blackhawks would prefer the Wild defend their home ice and force a game seven against Colorado. The extra games would give Chicago a little more time to rest up and prepare for round two of the playoffs.
During the regular season, Chicago faced Colorado five times and only managed one win against the Avalanche. That was a 7-2 victory in Chicago Dec. 27.
They managed two wins against the Wild during the five games they met one another during the regular season. Their most recent was in a 3-2 shootout in Chicago April 3. They also won in Minnesota 5-1 back at the end of October. The Wild’s wins came in Chicago in October, and at home in December and January.
Meanwhile, the Bulls have fallen down 3-1 to the Wizards, and by the time this column is in print, they could have cleaned out their lockers and be teeing it up on a golf course some place in one of the suburbs. They will either have staved off elimination in game five of their series last night (Tuesday, 29) at the United Center, or if Washington does indeed send them looking for their irons and putters, the Wizards will be busy making travel plans to Indiana or Atlanta for round two of the NBA playoffs.
From the April 30-May 6, 2014