Thirteen years in the making, the Chicago Bulls has finally returned into the NBA Eastern Conference finals. This is the Bulls’ first appearance in the Conference Finals since 1998, after winning its 6th NBA Championship title, carving its second three-peat record. The young and determined Chicago Bulls face the hungry Miami Heat led by Dwaine Wade and the two-time MVP Lebron James. It is the Bulls chance to even the record for being eliminated by the Heat in the 2006 Playoff First Round.
The year 2011 marks another good record for the Bulls with their members bagging five (5) of this year’s NBA awards and citations which include Co-Executive of the Year (Gar Forman), Coach of the Year (Tom Thibodeau), NBA All-Defensive Team (Joakim Noah) and, All-NBA First Team and NBA Most Valuable Player (Derrick Rose). The Bulls bested all other teams in 2010-2011 Regular Seasons with an impressive 62-20 standing, a four (4) games ahead of its Eastern Conference Finals opponent Miami Heat (58-24) and a five (5) games better than last year’s NBA Champions Los Angeles Lakers (57-25).
Derrick Rose, the 2009 NBA Rookie of the Year, leads the Chicago Bulls in its quest for the 2011 NBA Championship title, averaging (this season) 25 points and assists of not less than 7 every game. If there is someone in the team receiving too much pressure, it is him. Also, its new head coach Tom Thibodeau, formerly assistant coach of Boston Celtics, has to prove his worth as he replaces the ousted Vinny Del Negro.
In the NBA history, records show that Chicago Bulls never lost once they reach the finals. The Bulls rank third in the NBA teams with most number of won championship titles (6), behind Los Angeles Lakers (16) and Boston Celtics (17). With Michael Jordan’s leadership, the team had been triumphant for six (6) times in the NBA Championships and this achievement includes the two three-peat, in 1991-1993 and 1996-1998. However, after winning his 6th NBA Finals MVP, Jordan retired in January 1999, ending the glorious years of the Bulls. Since then, for six years, the team did not even reach the NBA Playoffs. After several trades of players and management and staff reorganizations which include firing and replacement of coaches, the Bulls once again qualified for the playoffs. From 2005 to 2011, they were able to reach the Playoffs six times (excluding 2008 Playoffs).
Now that that the Chicago Bulls are two steps behind in realizing its dream for the 7th NBA Championship title, do they really have enough strength to overpower Miami in the 2011 NBA Semi-finals? If given the chance to win the Eastern Conference, are they prepared to face the 2007 MVP Dirk Nowitzki of Dallas Mavericks or slow down the tandem of Russell Westbrook and Kevin Durant Oklahoma City Thunder?
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