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Celtics vs. Bulls, 2017 NBA playoffs: Schedule, scores, predictions, and news

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Boston took the No. 1 seed, and now they can prove they’re worth it.

NBA: Chicago Bulls at Boston Celtics Winslow Townson-USA TODAY Sports

The Boston Celtics are somehow the No. 1 seed, and the Chicago Bulls are somehow in the playoffs. Neither seemed likely a couple weeks ago, but here we are, with both teams earning a chance to face off against each other.

Boston’s slow build of a contending playoff team has finally sent them to the very top of the Eastern Conference, topping Cleveland after the Cavaliers stunningly collapsed in the final games. They aren’t without playoff concerns: many of us understandably wonder how the 5’9 Isaiah Thomas may fair in the playoffs, and he is the central hub to their offense. But he has proven himself all season, so let’s give him the benefit of the doubt, at the very least.

All around on the Celtics are quality players of many different varieties — floor spacers, defenders, get-hot-out-of-nowhere scorers. Boston has a varied team, and Al Horford gives them another star, which makes them more formidable than the Celtics team that lost to Atlanta in last year’s postseason.

The Bulls died a thousand deaths this year, and they certainly didn’t think they would need until the final day of the season to earn their playoff berth. Yet there they were, squeaking by on Wednesday to find themselves here. As it turned out, the combination of Rajon Rondo, Dwyane Wade, and Jimmy Butler all together doesn’t bring out the best qualities in each one. But with a few key role players emerging late in the season, Chicago won seven of its final nine games and are at least playing solid basketball right about now.

The Celtics aren’t seen as an untouchable No. 1 seed or anything even close to it, but they will probably be just fine against Chicago. Probably!

KEY MATCHUP: Dwyane Wade vs. his aging body

Wade has been a net negative for Chicago this season, it feels like. He may be the third best shooting guard in NBA history, but Wade’s 18 points on 43 percent shooting showed clear signs of decline this year. In fact, when the Bulls burst back into the postseason after they had fallen to 34-39, Wade was out with an elbow injury. He only returned in the second-to-last game, and moved Paul Zipser back to the bench — even though Zipser’s shooting might actually make him fit better in the starting-five.


Game 1: Bulls 106, Celtics 102 (recap)

Game 2: Bulls 111, Celtics 97 (recap)

Game 3: Celtics 104, Bulls 87 (recap)

Game 4: Celtics 104, Bulls 95 (recap)

Game 5: Celtics 108, Bulls 97 (recap)

Game 6: Celtics 105, Bulls 83


SB Nation’s Celtics vs. Bulls predictions

Paul Flannery Celtics 6 Jae Crowder
Mike Prada Celtics 5 Isaiah Thomas
Tom Ziller Celtics 7 Isaiah Thomas
Whitney Medworth Celtics 6 Isaiah Thomas
Kristian Winfield Celtics 6 Isaiah Thomas
Tim Cato Celtics 6 Al Horford
Zito Madu Celtics 5 Isaiah Thomas
Celtics Blog Celtics 5 Isaiah Thomas
Blog a Bull Celtics 6 Al Horford