With Chicago’s win over the tenacious Atlanta Hawks, the Bulls wrapped up their second round matchup and are advancing to the Eastern Conference Finals to facing the surging Miami Heat. It wasn’t conventional and it wasn’t pretty at times, but the top seeded Bulls got the job done and are 4 wins away from playing in the NBA Finals.
"It's huge for us to get this far," Rose said. "We're happy to get the conference finals, but we're not planning to stop right there."
In the way of Chicago’s first Finals appearance since the Michael Jordan era is the new kids on the block, the Miami Heat. Led by LeBron James, Dwayne Wade and Chris Bosh, the Heat have surged through the playoffs, cruising through their first two opponents with a dominance that was expected from the start of the season but only sparingly seen. With the Heat clicking on all cylinders, the top seeded Bulls are faced with the reality that they will more than likely be underdogs when they take the court Sunday.
"We're fine with that," Rose said when asked about the lack of respect given them. "To us, we're not here by surprise. Our confidence is very high. We know we have something special in front of us. We just have to still put the work into it."
Chicago comes into this series having bested the Heat all three times they played in the regular season but as the Celtics, who won 3 out of four against the Heat in the regular season only to go down in 5 in round 2, found out, it’s what happens in the playoffs that matters.
"No, we can't take anything away from the three wins," Noah said Thursday. "All I remember is that we won. But none of that stuff matters now. Right now is what matters. And we realize how important of an opportunity this is."
The Bulls have all the tools they need to get past the Heat. They have a solid interior presence in Noah and Boozer, a stifling defense, and the league MVP in Derrick Rose. Throw in home court advantage and the deck is stacked in Chicago’s favor, though it isn’t going to be easy.
"It's going to be hard," Rose said. "But I think Thibs is going to have a great game plan for us. It's going to be fun. Very fun. It's going to be a battle."
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