The Chicago Bulls pulled away in the fourth quarter Tuesday night to beat the Atlanta Hawks and secure a 3-2 advantage in the series. However, many analysts thought that this series would be over by now. In addition, the TeamRankings.com series simulations had given Chicago about a 55 percent chance of sweeping the Hawks or winning in five games.
With the Hawks making Chicago work for it, and the Miami Heat and Dallas Mavericks both putting up strong showings so far, it's easy to question the Bulls as a legitimate title contender. Specifically, Chicago inspires oft-mentioned concerns about relying too heavily on Derrick Rose, playing poorly since the start of the playoffs -- and the fact that they'll likely run into a superior Miami team in the next round.
However, don't be too quick to count out the Bulls. Based on our analysis, none of those three concerns should overly worry Bulls fans. If past trends hold true, the Bulls are still in a good position to bring home their first NBA title since the Michael Jordan era. Here's why: