I'm pretty sure the overwhelming majority of Bulls fans have already written off their series against the Wizards, and if you've watched the first two games, it's pretty hard to argue with them. The Bulls defense has been atrocious, and late in games, their offense has been downright offensive.
But I'm an optimist at heart, how else do you explain the fact that I got married a third time? So I dug deep down and came up with five reasons why the Bulls can come back and win this series.
1- Washington's lack of a home court advantage
The Wizards tied the Heat and Raptors with a 22-19 road record, which was the best in the Eastern Conference. But they also went 22-19 at home, which was the worst home record of any playoff team in either conference. It's obvious the Wiz aren't any better at home than on the road, and I'm not sure they can play much better than they did in the first two games of this series.
The Bulls were 21-20 on the road this season, so they are obviously no strangers to winning games away from the United Center.
2- Road teams are 9-7 in NBA playoffs
The Heat were the only home team to win the first two games of their series at home- and if Al Jefferson wasn't hurt, they probably would have lost Game 2 of their series. Five of the other seven series are 1-1 right now, and both 4 vs 5 series are 2-0 in favor of the road team after Portland's 112-105 win in Houston tonight.
Are you writing off the Rockets? If not, don't write off the Bulls.
The Wizards' top two players, John Wall and Bradley Beal, are each in their first playoff series. Including the first two games of this series, Nene, Marcin Gortat and Trevor Ariza have played in a combined 137 playoff games, including 82 starts. Of the three bench players who actually play, only Andre Miller has much playoff experience, having played in 54 games (39 starts).
But Miller has never been out of the first round in his career, and in his only Game 7, he scored 3 points on 1/10 shooting with 5 turnovers. Martell Webster's only previous playoff experience was six games with Portland four years ago, and Trevor Booker just played his first two post-season games.
The Bulls' starters have played in a combined 205 playoff games, and 184 of them have been starts. Noah famously won Game 7 at Brooklyn with a 24 point, 14 rebound, 6 block effort, following up on his 14/15/5/5 ast effort in Game 6. And he did all that on a bad foot.
Augustin and Gibson have played in a combined 66 playoff games, and of the seven Bulls who play, Dunleavy is the only one who has never won a playoff series. If the Bulls can win at least one of the two games in Washington, the Wizards might start to feel the pressure- ask Tracy McGrady, the 4th win of a playoff series is the hardest one to get.
Finally, Thibs went to the EC Finals his first year as a coach, and somehow got a decimated Bulls' roster to the 2nd round last season. Randy Wittman is coaching his first playoff series, and so far he hasn't had to make a single adjustment. Coaching under the playoff spotlight only gets tougher the later in a series your team gets.
4- The Blackhawks' example
They also led late in each of the first two games of their current series with the Blues, only to blow the lead near the end and lose each game. They have come back to tie the series at 2-2, maybe it's karma that the Bulls do the same?
Just like the President, Gibson, Noah, Hinrich, Butler and Thibs all started their professional careers in Chicago- and if an unknown like Obama can go to DC and win two in a row, why can't the Bulls?
(OK, that one's a stretch, but "4 reasons the Bulls still have a chance" just didn't look right)