Question of the Day: Will the Lakers and Bulls make the conference finals? [Updated]
Writers from around the Tribune Co. discuss the two-time defending NBA champion Lakers and the top-seeded Chicago Bulls, both of whom lost their conference semifinal openers Monday night. Check for more responses throughout the day, vote in the poll and feel free to weigh in with a comment of your own.
Ira Winderman, South Florida Sun-Sentinel
Lakers? Yes. Bulls? No.
For the Lakers, this is nothing new, just typical of the drama on the way to the NBA Finals. It's not as if the Hornets had their number after the opener in the first round.
For the Bulls, though, there are other issues, from Derrick Rose's tender ankle to the reality that Atlanta simply has more options who can create their own offense.
The Lakers essentially did everything in their power to give away Game 1. Now is when Kobe gets angry and Pau steps forward.
Besides, we all know that Mark Cuban will start opening up his trap just enough for the officials to clamp down on the Mavericks. Isn't that how it always plays out?
Chicago, in many ways, is like San Antonio, a team driven to persevere through the regular season, push through the back-to-backs, the four-games-in-five-nights. But this is a talent level of the postseason, as the Grizzlies showed the Spurs. Eventually, the constant pushing of a Tom Thibodeau can become as grating as the Stan Van Gundy voice that eventually couldn't get it done in Orlando.
[Updated at 10:49 a.m.:
Brian Schmitz, Orlando Sentinel
After Game 1 missteps, L.A. and Chicago will both reach the conference finals, although the Lakers might need smelling salts.
The Lakers gave away the opening game to the Mavs and are now in for a long series. Eventually more volunteers will emerge to help Kobe Bryant.
Kobe will keep the Lakers' three-peat on track, denying Mavs owner Mark Cuban from realizing his dream of David Stern holding his nose as he presents him the NBA title trophy.
The Bulls and MVP Derrick Rose shockingly dropped Game 1 at home against the Hawks.
Chicago's postseason inexperience is showing.
But you figure that their stout defense under coach of the year Tom Thibodeau will regroup against an Atlanta team that always has to survive its mental meanderings.]
Photo: Kobe Bryant and Pau Gasol. Credit: Lucy Nicholson / Reuters