First-round preview: No. 1 Bulls vs. No. 8 Sixers
The 76ers will be hoping for a low-scoring series, as they are limited offensively while ranking among the best in the league defensively. The Bulls were the most resilient team in the league, earning the top seed overall despite persistent injuries to their three starters on the wing -- reigning MVP Derrick Rose, All-Star Luol Deng and former All-Star and champion, Richard Hamilton. The anemic Sixers backed into the playoffs after leading the Atlantic Division for much of the season. They'll hope to come up with easy scores in transition, but the defensively focused Bulls are likely to prevent that from happening.
The Bulls have been too focused all season to lose in the opening round to an underdog that hasn't seemed worthy of the playoffs in recent weeks. If the Sixers turn this meeting into a dramatic series, it will expose a vulnerability within the Bulls that will create confidence among their rival title contenders in the East. But don't expect that to happen.