Playoffs: Scouting Bulls-Nets

Brooklyn's Brook Lopez and Chicago's Joakim Noah will clash during the first-round playoffs. Mike DiNovo/USA TODAY Sports

Insider offers a breakdown of every playoff series using an expert combination of scouting from Amin Elhassan and advanced metrics from Bradford Doolittle to answer three crucial questions. Also included are predictions from the writers and the classic Log5 formula for determining matchup probabilities.

The Chicago Bulls ascended to their No. 5 playoff seed late in the season after the Atlanta Hawks avoided the Miami Heat's half of the Eastern bracket. That's bad luck for the Brooklyn Nets, who are making the franchise's first postseason appearance in six years.

The Nets finished strong down the stretch and nearly caught Indiana for the East's No. 3 seed, as Deron Williams combined with Brook Lopez to form an improved offense that was one of the league's five-best attacks in the latter part of the season.

The wild card in this series is the Bulls' health, beginning with Derrick Rose's ongoing pledge to return this season if he feels ready. As Brooklyn coach P.J. Carlesimo prepares his Nets for each game, it will be with a bit of uncertainty about which version of the Bulls they will face, as Rose is but one of a roster full of injury question marks on Chicago.

Chicago Bulls (5) at Brooklyn Nets (4)

Eastern Conference playoffs

First-round preview