It's time for the NBA playoffs to begin, and the word I'm getting nationally on my Fox Sports radio show is that the Chicago Bulls will have trouble with the Washington Wizards.
There is always concern in a seven-game series, and with injuries anything could happen. That said, I watch a lot of NBA ball, and I don't really see any way the Wizards can win.
For awhile I thought the Bulls would host the Brooklyn Nets, and I was fine with that. But I feel better about them playing an offensive-minded Wizards team.
Led by point guard John Wall and sharpshooter Trevor Ariza, Washington's front line players are good, but their bench doesn't impress me.
I doubt the Wizards can duplicate their average of a 100 points a game against a Bulls defense that gives up an average of 91 points per game.
Good defense beats good offense most of the time, but a great defense beats a very good offense all of the time.
I don't dislike Washington -- the Wizards are in the playoffs and that's great for their fans and the franchise, but they are still a year away and a couple of pieces from being relevant.
I have the Bulls winning in six games. The common denominator will be Taj Gibson. If he puts up numbers, the Bulls should be fine.
Woes of an empty bullpen:
Jerry Reinsdorf's other team is treading water at the moment.
The Chicago White Sox are playing around .500 baseball and that's with a below-average bullpen and a manager who was left with no relief pitcher in a 14-inning loss against the Boston Red Sox.
An experienced John Farrell of Boston still had pitchers available while the still inexperienced Robin Ventura used four pitchers in the eighth inning and nine pitchers in the game, leaving no one in the bullpen.
Utility infielder Leury Garcia made his major-league pitching debut in the 14th inning, and after a couple of walks he gave up a two-run double to Jackie Bradley Jr. and the White Sox eventually lost, 6-4.
A manager must look ahead. Being short-handed with pitching in a game is a major misstep.
In the meantime, White Sox fans haven't warmed up to the club yet, and the weather hasn't helped. Hopefully the Sox can get on a roll, and more people will come out with warmer temperatures, but for now Sox fans are sitting on their wallets with about 25 percent of the park being filled.
It's interesting to note that Mark Buehrle is 3-0 and A.J. Pierzynski is still hitting and catching for the Red Sox. Did the rebuilding process start too soon? Only time will tell.
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• Mike North's column appears each Tuesday and Friday in the Daily Herald, and his video commentary can be found Monday, Wednesday and Thursday at dailyherald.com. For more, visit northtonorth.com.