Avoid the Bandwagon – How to Follow the Bulls Playoffs Like a True Fan

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After all the hustle and muscle, the 2012 NBA playoffs are finally here and our very own Chicago Bulls are in an excellent position to win it all.  With their defeat of the Cleveland Cavaliers Thursday in their last game of the season, the Bulls have claimed the best record in the entire NBA and secured home court advantage throughout the post season. While there’s nothing wrong with jumping on the Bulls bandwagon that’s about to officially take off – why not make this the season that you really understand the Playoffs and the difficult path the Bulls will take in order to win an NBA Title.  We’ll break through the clutter during the Playoffs, by re-capping each Bulls playoff game and giving you previews of what to watch for, players to know, where to go and more.  The Bulls Bandwagon can be easy and fun, but being an educated and aware Bulls fan is better.  The Bulls Playoff party is about to begin so prepare yourself and get ready for one of the most exciting 6 weeks in sports.

What You Need to Know About the NBA Playoffs:

  • To understand the playoffs, you need to know the structure of the NBA. The league is broken down geographically into two conferences, the East and West. Within each conference there are 3 divisions: Atlantic, Central, and Southeast. The Bull are in the Central Division of the Eastern Conference.
  • 16 teams make the playoffs based on their regular season records (8 from the East and 8 from the West). The teams are then “seeded”, which is sports jargon for the ranking of teams based on their regular season performance, which determines playoff match-ups.
  • There are 4 rounds in the playoffs: First Round, Conference Semi-Finals, Conference Finals, and the battle between the East and West in the NBA finals. Each round is the best of seven games, whoever wins four games first advances to the next round.
  • The three divisional winners from their designated conference are guaranteed one of the first 4 seeds (strictly based on their season records), the remaining teams are then seeded 5 through 8. This ensures the two teams with the best records in the conference will be the top two seeds. In the first round of the Playoffs, the #1 seed plays the #8 seed, #2 plays #7 and so on. The Bulls are the number #1 seed in the East, so they play the worst seeded team in the conference (who just happen to be the Philadelphia 76ers). Unlike the NHL, once the bracket is set it’s fixed, and the teams are never re-seeded.
  • There is a pattern to the first three rounds, 2-2-1-1-1, this determines where the games are played. The team with the home court advantage hosts the first two games, the opponent hosts the next two, and then back and forth. The NBA finals follow a 2-3-2 format, where the team with home court advantage gets the first two games, and the final two games (if it goes to a game 7).
Eastern Conference Breakdown: 
What’s Next:
Get ready for the wild ride! We finally have the chance to forget last year’s playoff run where the Bulls lost to the Heat in the Eastern Conference Championship (it still stings a little). Because the Bulls are in the Eastern Conference, you’ll want to focus on that half of the bracket (we don’t have to worry about the West until the NBA finals). Our first challenge is Philadelphia, who is jet-setting to Chicago as we speak. They may be the lowest ranked seed, but absolutely cannot be overlooked. The Bulls kickoff the playoffs Saturday, April 28th at noon. Anything can happen in the playoffs – they keep you on your toes – so we’re going to want to plan our next few weeks accordingly. The first round Bulls/Sixers (slang for 76ers) schedule is below – so plug it in your iPhone, commit it to memory, because you’re now on your way to baller babe status – no bandwagons for this girl.

About the author: B is for Bulls, Bears, Blackhawks and Brittany. Brittany Marques is a yoga-practicing Communications Data Analyst by day and a wine-drinking sports junkie by night. Born and raised in the Northwest Suburbs and a DePaul Journalism Alumnae, this Chicago girl loves nothing more than her Chi-town teams and deep dish pizza. Living amongst the “12th Man” as a transplant in Seattle can be tough, but Brittany’s Chicago roots hold true. She may now spend her weekends hiking the PNW, but she is always repping her hometown swag with pride. You can follow her on her social media properties.

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