The Chicago Bulls blew out the Atlanta Hawks on Thursday night, advancing to the Conference Finals for the first time since the-man-whose-middle-name-is-Jeffrey was playing shooting guard.
They'll face the Miami Heat in the next series, and the Bulls will win that series as well. Here is why.
Let's start by giving the Heat a little credit. They did, "finally," beat the Boston Celtics.
But who did they really beat?
Kevin Garnett looked ancient, Paul Pierce looked lost, Kendrick Perkins was playing for the Thunder and the drummer from Def Leppard was playing point guard for the Celtics in the last two games.
With all due respect to the individual - and group - legacies in Boston, the team the Heat defeated is nowhere near the health or talent that the Chicago Bulls will bring to the table starting Sunday night.
The Bulls are more talented and deeper than the Celtics... and the Heat.
Miami is not deep enough to play with the Bulls, and they rely too heavily on their Big Three for the matchups in this series to work out in their favor.
A source indicated to me on Thursday night that Carlos Boozer is playing with two torn ligaments in his toe, and yet his offensive production has been respectable (and getting better) as the postseason continues.
Boozer's offense will force Chris Bosh to play some defense, because he's the best post player on Miami's roster.
However, the same argument cannot be made in the reverse.
Yes, Bosh is having a good postseason. But Boozer will not necessarily have to defend against Bosh. Joakim Noah could - and likely will - draw that assignment, which does not favor Bosh at all. Noah is active enough that Bosh will have to work for everything he gets, and Noah is the better rebounder of the two.
If the Bulls starting bigs get in any foul trouble, they can bring in Taj Gibson and Omer Asik. If the Bosh gets in trouble, the Heat will ask... Erick Dampier? Zydrunas Ilgauskas? Joel Anthony?
The frontcourt is where the Bulls have an overwhelming advantage. Only two big men on Miami's roster - Anthony and Bosh - average more than TWELVE (12) minutes per game. By comparison, Gibson averages 18 minutes per game off the bench and Asik, while averaging just a little over 8 mpg for the entire postseason, has averaged over 16 mpg in the last four games. Gibson also scored in double-figures in three of the last four Bulls games.
The Heat have two big men. The Bulls have four. Advantage: Chicago.
However, the biggest X-Factor in the series comes in the backcourt. Miami has been winning games because Wade and James have dominated. However, in the Boston series, Wade got off quickly while shadowing a jump-shooting Ray Allen; because nobody on the planet respects Rondo's shooting ability with two good arms, Miami was able to get away with Mike Bibby and Mario Chalmers paying little attention to him without the ball.
Bibby does not play defense. Chalmers is good, but not great. Wade is the Heat's best on-ball defender. If the Heat want to beat the Bulls, Wade will likely draw the assignment of defending Derrick Rose.
On the other side of the floor, Keith Bogans can - and likely will - guard Wade just as he started each game guarding Joe Johnson in the last series. I absolutely cannot overstate what an impact this will make.
Wade will have to work his tail off to keep Rose from dominating the game. Rose won't have to return the favor by guarding Wade.
This isn't going to be an easy series, and it certainly won't be for the faint of heart. But while Pat Riley and the Heat spent their summer putting together a "Big Three," GarPax spent the summer putting together a team. A deep team, that will win the Eastern Conference.