Blog Entry

Heat-Bulls: The dream matchup is set

Posted on: May 13, 2011 1:30 am
Edited on: May 13, 2011 8:41 pm
America gets its dream Eastern Conference finals matchup: The Miami Heat vs. the Chicago Bulls. Posted by Ben Golliver.

The 2011 Eastern Conference finals are about to be sliced and diced into pieces, broken down to the most minute detail, but as the Chicago Bulls blew out the Atlanta Hawks on Thursday night to advance to face the Miami Heat, the instant take for any basketball fan should have been pure glee. This is the dream matchup. This is exactly who everyone -- especially those who have been watching over the past few months -- wanted to see.

Toss aside the "Good" vs. "Evil", "Humble" vs. "Egocentric" and "Balanced Team" vs. "Superstar Triad" dichotomies, if only for tonight. Take a second to realize that not only are arguably the three most exciting, dynamic, athletic players in the NBA sharing the court, but that two of the top five or so defenses will be out there too. 

In the regular season, Chicago sported the No. 1 defense and the No. 12 offense. In the playoffs, they've had the No. 2 defense and the No. 5 offense. In the regular season, Miami posted the No. 3 offense and the No. 5 defense. In the postseason, Miami has had the No. 3 offense and the No. 3 defense. In the regular season, Chicago led the league in rebounding while Miami was third; in the postseason, Chicago remains No. 1 and Miami has improved to No. 2. 

Chicago led the league in wins (62); Miami was third (58). This is a matchup of elite teams, groups that have played both sides of the ball well since the season started and are peaking at the right time. Consider: Chicago went 8-0 in April while Miami was 6-1. In the playoffs, Chicago is 8-3 while Miami is 8-2. In other words, over the past six weeks Chicago is 16-3 while Miami is 14-3. That's one loss per week -- combined -- for a month a half. 

One final plus: Both teams enter the series healthy, or as healthy as can be expected in mid-May. 

Each team has a guard the other has no answer for: Derrick Rose and Dwyane Wade. Each team has an inconsistent power forward who is a national lightning rod: Carlos Boozer and Chris Bosh. The Bulls' vaunted defense will surely be tested by LeBron James, but Miami's weak bench will be pushed to its limit by the Bench Mob. 

There's a fair argument to be made that these are the best two teams remaining in the playoffs and the difference between the two teams is razor thin. Hell, even their basketball operations departments tied in the Executive of the Year voting.

Upsets are nice, and it's great theater to watch crumbling dynasties and players melting down. But excellent basketball trumps all of that. It could get physical, it will likely be more defensive-minded and less highlight-driven than we might expect, but this series will deliver excellent basketball.

(And we need that after suffering through the Atlanta Hawks.)

Since: Apr 7, 2008
Posted on: May 13, 2011 3:21 pm

Heat-Bulls: The dream matchup is set

Dwyane Wade the best player in these playoffs and Lebron James the best player in the world will dominate this series Heat win.  

Since: Jan 4, 2011
Posted on: May 13, 2011 3:13 pm

Heat-Bulls: The dream matchup is set

Looking at NBA box scores, you can see two possible trends. One) The team with the most scorers in double figures wins. Two) Teams with a prolific scorer may not have as many players in double figures, but they win when they have many players scoring. The Chicago Bulls in the 1990s, had Michael Jordan, but they also had a literal hornet's nest of players scoring five to ten points every game. Those little numbers add up.

In Miami, LeBron James still has the same problem he had in Cleveland, lack of depth. A better front five will not solve that problem. It is possible for Miami to win, but remember two things. First, Chicago has the home court advantage. Second, in the last meeting between Chicago and Boston, Chicago ran over Boston pretty impressively. In a power ranking, you have to rate Chicago at least equal to Miami.

Since: Jan 13, 2008
Posted on: May 13, 2011 3:12 pm

Heat-Bulls: The dream matchup is set

Regular season means nothing now Celtics beat the Heat 3-4 times and who won the series. Bulls beat the Heat 3-0 all the Heat have to do is win one at Chi town and its over.

Since: Apr 29, 2011
Posted on: May 13, 2011 2:40 pm

Heat-Bulls: The dream matchup is set

The bulls have too much depth for the heat.  The key to the series is going to be keeping the heat off the free throw line.  The heat just dominated the celtics at the line, and that was the difference in the series.  Thibodeau is probably the greatest defensive mind in basketball today and the bulls defensive rotations are superior to boston's.  They should be able to limit the penetration of bron and wade better than the celtics.   Combine that with the youth, quickness, and depth of the bulls, and they should pull through in this series.  Ill say the bulls in 6 with all the games being close. 

Since: Jan 17, 2010
Posted on: May 13, 2011 2:36 pm

Heat-Bulls: The dream matchup is set

And there's a fair argument to be made that these aren't the two best teams. Dallas look like by far the best team to me. I think the Mavs would have an EASY time avenging the Heat in a finals rematch from a few years back.

Since: Mar 16, 2009
Posted on: May 13, 2011 1:42 pm
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Since: Feb 4, 2010
Posted on: May 13, 2011 1:16 pm

Heat-Bulls: The dream matchup is set

The heat have 2 out of the top 3 players in the League on their team. To even mention a possible third is absurd! You can make a case for Bosh in the top 20!

Since: Oct 1, 2006
Posted on: May 13, 2011 12:56 pm

Heat-Bulls: The dream matchup is set

What is this Dirk vs. Kevin crap.  First of all there is no such thing as a one on one basketball game that is just crap spewed by the media and illiterates that don't understand its a team game.  So if Memphis wins who is going to compete against Dirk in the one on one.  Should we call it Marc vs. Dirk?  Seriously Memphis is still in this series against Oklahoma City.  Memphis dispatched up western top seed San Antonio already and they are perfectly capable of winning two in a row against Oklahoma City. 

Since: Mar 30, 2009
Posted on: May 13, 2011 12:42 pm

Heat-Bulls: The dream matchup is set

Any of them are just five-game fodder for the On-a-Mission-Mavs.

Since: Aug 21, 2006
Posted on: May 13, 2011 12:32 pm

Heat-Bulls: The dream matchup is set

Here's hoping the Bulls take them out in 4 !!  I am sure you meant to dispatch whoever the WEST puts in there. After this series I am rooting for the team from the West. I really hope it is Dallas, I think Dirk is a class act and would like to see him win this championship.

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