I'll preview the series in a more thorough manner over the weekend with some more studying, but I'll preface by saying that the Hawks are a better matchup for the Bulls than the Magic -- simply because everyone on Atlanta is guard-able. They'll be required to expend so much energy to muster up 80-to-85 points that, even when the Bulls' offense sputters, they won't fall far behind and that energy simply won't be there for Atlanta on the defensive end.
The (#2) Heat and (#3) Celtics will begin their seven-game series on Sunday to decide who will face the winner of the Bulls-Hawks series Bulls in the Eastern Conference Finals. The schedule is as follows:
Game 1 - Sunday, May 1 in Miami at 2:30 p.m. (ABC)
Game 2 - Tuesday, May 3 in Miami at (TBD on TNT)
Game 3 - Saturday, May 7 in Boston at 7:00 p.m. (ABC)
Game 4 - Monday, May 9 in Boston (TBD on TNT)
Game 5 - Wednesday, May 11 in Miami, (TBD on TNT)
Game 6 - Friday, May 13 in Boston (TBD on ESPN)
Game 7 - Monday, May 16 in Miami at 7:00 p.m. (TNT)
It's becoming a consensus that the Spurs will not pull out this series. I understand why, as the Grizzlies have continued to play the great basketball they closed out the season playing. But I'm not so quick to say the Spurs can't simply win two games in a row against them. There's no question San Antonio's relatively undersized and getting outplayed on the court. That should prevail, but the Spurs have the coach and talent to pull it out, says Master of the Obvious.
I think it's safe to say that there are six or seven teams fully capable of winning their conference and all without losing the high quality of play on the court. The NBA has achieved becoming the most competitive non-mediocre professional sports league featuring the best of the best in the world.
Easily the best first round of the NBA Playoffs I've experienced.