Several NBA scouts and executives were asked their opinions of the Bulls-Cavs series, who they thought would win and what would be the difference. granted them anonymity to ensure the most genuine observations. Of course, it came out a dead heat among the six front office personnel, with different reasons for all.

Eastern Conference executive: Cavs in 6

If you’d asked me prior to suspensions and history, I might’ve picked Bulls. Watched Bulls and Milwaukee, I think everybody knows everything isn’t clicking for the Bulls. I don’t think they can do it consistently. I’m a Derrick Rose man, but I think it’ll be too hard for him to be consistent. Missed too much time. Game 3, then struggled in 4 and 5, that’s just the reality. You can’t miss the reality. The extra couple games in that series could help them. In the playoffs, you gotta be able to adjust. I’m not sold (Tom) Thibodeau brings you any advantage from that standpoint, although he’s a better option than David Blatt. LeBron (James), Kyrie (Irving) and Tristan Thompson will be huge. Kevin Love, they can win without him, they won with him out in the fourth quarters and through the season when he missed time.

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Eastern Conference scout: Bulls in 6

In short, the difference will be Bulls winning Game 1 with Cleveland's long layoff, J.R. Smith out, and Kevin Love injured. The Bulls at full strength have the best 8-9 man squad in the NBA. Bulls at their best is better than (Cavs) at their best. They have been waiting for this moment for four years. Cleveland not having that stretch big is vital. They will shore up Tristan Thompson's offensive rebounding. Bulls will be revved up for every game, unlike in Round 1.


Eastern Conference executive: Cavs in 6

Can Rose be consistent enough offensively especially when he is going to have to expend so much energy guarding Kyrie? Obviously stopping LeBron is an issue. Interesting development is how Cleveland manages to create space on floor without Love. I think you see a lot of small ball with LeBron at the 4 and Chicago will have to counter that by beating Cleveland up on the glass. Going to be interesting.

Eastern Conference scout: Bulls in 6

No Love for the whole series and no Smith for first two games going to be too much for even LeBron to overcome I think. Would have said seven but if it does go back to Cleveland for a Game 7 LeBron won't let his team lose that.

[SHOP: Gear up, Bulls fans!]

Western Conference executive: Cavs in 6

They have the two best players and I think J.R. Smith will play well once he gets back.

Western Conference executive: Bulls in 6

Bench depth. (Asked about Rose) I think he and Kyrie cancel each other out. Bulls Insider Vincent Goodwill: Cavs in 6

As tempting as it is to claim otherwise, it's hard to imagine the Bulls winning two games in Cleveland this series, which in all likelihood they'd have to do. They'll steal one of the first two (a must) then give one away back at home. LeBron James and Kyrie Irving are the two best players in this series and conventional reasoning says you take the team with those two. Derrick Rose will have his moments, but it's tough to expect the Bulls to play consistently for an extended stretch when they've been chasing that all season. Hard to predict the Bulls being great at what they're "good" at, which it will take to overtake not having James or Irving. No magic button.