This is the moment we have all been waiting for; is it not? Not only do we have a chance to pick up the city’s first title in more than 45 years but we have a chance to do it by going through the loud-mouth Bulls first, possibly followed by the loud(er)-mouth Celtics. Shaq is back. LeBron is rested. Mo’s got his swag back. And I have Daniel Gibson’s autograph (not sure what that has to do with anything but, hey, I’m excited about it so I thought I’d throw it in).
Anyways, I couldn’t have asked for a better matchup coming out of the Eastern Conference this year. Lord knows we didn’t want to play the Bobcats in round one. And even though the season series against Chicago stands at 2-2, I really don’t see this series being very close at all. Especially considering that LeBron has already threatened to unleash a whole new monster!
And with that being said, let’s take a look at how the two team’s matchup:
Mo Williams v. Derrick Rose
Like I’ve said over and over, it seems that Mo has regained a little bit of that Mo-Swag. However, it remains to be unseen whether or not Mo can carry that swag into the postseason. Derrick Rose proved last year that he can handle the pressures of April and, for that, has to get the advantage in this matchup. I do expect Williams to play a huge factor in this series and get himself going in time for round two.
Advantage: Derrick Rose
Anthony Parker v. Kirk Hinrich
This is anything but a marquee matchup for this series and I really do not expect either one of these guys to put up big points. Therefore, the one factor I am looking for in this matchup is who means the most to his team. And, in my opinion, Anthony Parker is that guy. In the game a few weeks ago against the Celtics, AP proved his worth to the Cavaliers franchise and stepped up to provide some veteran leadership. It’s only a plus that Parker can play some stellar defense and gives LeBron another go to guy on the perimeter.
Advantage: Anthony Parker
LeBron James v. Luol Deng
With this “new monster” that LeMan has threatened to release, there is not a soul in the league that can matchup with LeBron James. We’ll see whether this new monster is Distributor LeBron, or Get Out of My Way and I’ll Put You Away Myself, LeBron. I don’t know about you but I’d like to see Killer-LeBron in game one – just to set the tone (and possibly shut up Joakim Noah).
Advantage: LeBron James
Antawn Jamison v. Taj Gibson
Let’s see: rookie power forward or former all-star? I’m going to take Antawn Jamison in this matchup all day. And, quite frankly, I see Stretch-Four completely working the young forward. I don’t have much else to say about this matchup simply because I can’t wait to get to the Shaqtus preview!
Advantage: Antawn Jamison
Shaquille O’Neal v. Joakim Noah
This may be a biased opinion because I really really really dislike Joakim Noah. I couldn’t stand him when he was with Florida and beat up on Ohio State in the Championship. And now that he’s gettin’ fresh with Sir LeBron James, I dislike him even more. And I strongly hope that Shaq goes buck wild on his arse and shows him what’s up. Shaq is well rested but he may be a little rusty to start off with. But you can’t teach size and, on the same note, you can’t practice size. And guess what Shaquille O’Neal has a lot of? Size. Take him to work Shaqalier!
Advantage: Shaquille O’Neal
Cleveland Bench v. Chicago Bench
Cleveland has at least three guys in Delonte West, Anderson Varejao and possibly Zydrunas Ilgauskas that could possibly start on a majority of team’s in the NBA. And I’m not sure that there is one of those type of players coming off the Chicago bench. I’m looking forward to watching these guys go to work and having a healthy D-West and Andy back in the game.
Advantage: Cleveland Bench
After electing to rest their starters for the last week or more of the regular season, the Cavaliers are going to need a tune-up series before they get down to the nitty gritty. And the Bulls should provide Cleveland with an opportunity to get back into an offensive rhythm and hit full stride by round two. The season series sits at an even 2-2 and the Bulls (more specifically Joakim Noah) seem to have a little beef with LeBron James and the Cavaliers stemming back to a game early in the season in which Noah took offense to Cleveland’s dancing on the sidelines. The bad news for Chicago is that LeBron has threatened to release a whole new monster this year. That’s particularly scary when you consider that the King is well on his way to quite possibly the first unanimous MVP selection in NBA history.
Prediction: Cleveland in 5