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Blog Entry

Playoff Fix: Running of the Bulls

Posted on: May 24, 2011 9:09 am
The Bulls need to run, rebound and stop LeBron James to tie the Eastern Conference Finals in Game 4. Piece of cake!

Posted by Matt Moore

One Big Thing: Both coaches are 100 percent dead set on making this series about speed, despite how good the transition defense is. The Bulls talked a lot about getting out and running in Game 3. They made good on that promise to a degree, scoring 16 points on 8-10 shooting in transition. But the Heat also wound up with 10 points on the fast break, meaning the Bulls' halfcourt offense would have to put in work. It of course couldn't, and we've got a 2-1 Miami advantage. With Omer Asik dealing with an injury issue, the Bulls have the luxury of smaller lineups to try and get up and down the floor. The idea was to get Carlos Boozer involoved in transition. But Boozer is very much a halfcourt offense guy. He's no longer a spring chicken, doesn't have great athleticism, and loves a jumpshot. So him being involved on the break is a little odd. Better to get Taj Gibson and Joakim Noah going as finishers off the attention Derrick Rose draws than aim for transition jumpers from Boozer. What's worse is this feels like a desperation adjustment from the Bulls. "We can't create offense in the halfcourt, grind-it-out way our play style suggests, so we'll just try and make up for it with 'easy' baskets." Maybe the Bulls do get out and run in Game 4, opening up opportunities for their shooters from ther perimeter using transition spacing. But it's hard to see how the Bulls are going to even the series without getting some more halfcourt offense help.

The X-Factor: C.J. Watson has been on a tight leash in this series, but he matches up rather well with the Heat defense. Watson has good outside shooting, can play on or off-ball, plays decent defense, and on the perimeter, can pump-fake and drive with a decent floater. Watson doesn't get much time because, well, Derrick Rose lives and breathes. But Watson could make a difference if played in tandem with Rose more, giving Rose a speedy backcourt partner who can space the floor. It means issues with rotations should Rose get tired, but at this point, we all know Thibodeau will be driving him into the ground regardless. Watson could make a difference if he can put in a double-figure socring performance with any efficiency.

The  Adjustment: Miami continues to struggle keeping the Bulls off the offensive glass, but they're chipping away at it. Udonis Haslem has made a huge impact, but also the Heat have run the Bulls off the three-point line, which has decreased the number of long rebounds. Still, the Bulls' best way to get back in this series is to get points off follows. Boozer was the big getter in Game 3, nabbing seven offensive boards. That's containable. If Chris Bosh can keep Boozer off the offensive glass and the Heat can keep up what they've been doing as the series goes along, they might take away the rebounding advantage. Do that and without an outlier shooting performance, the Bulls are sunk.

The Sticking Point: All the talk coming into the series was "Who's going to check Derrick Rose?" Well, the Heat have shown they have a pretty good plan for doing that with multiple guys, though the Heat expect Rose to break out at some point.  But here's a bigger one. "How do the Bulls defend LeBron at the end of games?" The Bulls threw multiple defenders at James all night in Game 3, hoping to put him in a slump. He wound up with ten assists, throwing pinpoint laser passes to open teammates. Then, when they Bulls peeled off to try and stop the other Heat players killing them, James stepped up and took advantage of the ISO situation. It has to be extremely frustrating for Luol Deng who has played phenomenal defense in this series for 3. 75 quarters each game, only to have James simply overcome it in that last bit of the game. The Bulls have to at some point make a statement, "LeBron James will not beat us in the fourth quarter." That has risky consequences, but nothing riskier than putting the possibility of a 3-1 hole for the Bulls in James' hand down the stretch, not with the way he's been closing out games.

Since: Mar 2, 2010
Posted on: May 26, 2011 4:21 pm

Playoff Fix: Running of the Bulls

Calling them the Yankee's of BB, which I hear all the time, infers that they pay their players more than any other team can (which is what the Yankee's do), which is obviously not true seeing as how all teams have the same salary cap. It's an ignorant analogy. If on the other hand you're referencing the Yankee's while talking about the Heat because they dominate the competition, then you're spot on. That's the analogy that should be pulled, because it's true, not a hater's fantasy.

Since: May 4, 2011
Posted on: May 24, 2011 11:57 pm

Playoff Fix: Running of the Bulls

Lebron is the best athelete I've ever seen! To be that big and strong and still have the speed and quickness to stay in front of Rose and still challenge every shot. All I can say is amazing. That was a great game, the Bulls have no quit in them. It's going to be tough to close them out in Chicago, but the Heat have found a way to win these last 3 games so I wouldn't bet against them in Chicago either. I love the lineup with Miller and Haslem. Great job by Miller this game, it just seems like someone always steps up for the Heat. Wade showed his value too, even with the rough shooting night he still managed to put his stamp on the game down the stretch. Go Heat!!

Since: Jan 22, 2007
Posted on: May 24, 2011 8:32 pm

Playoff Fix: Running of the Bulls

Gotta agree that this Heat team is VERY good ... but let me explain why so many have issues with them. As much as I like Pat Reilly, you are naive (that's how it's spelled, nieve means fist!) to think he put this team together. LeBron, Dwyane, and Chris colluded during their days with the Olympic squad to put this team together. The way they planned and enacted such a covert manuever, regardless of so many regulations against it, is what most don't like. They are the Yankees of BB, formed behind the backs of the league for personal reasons. I'm not agreeing or disagreeing, but that is why most don't like them. In a sense, most fans feel they "cheated" in putting this squad together and the NBA let them get away with it!

Since: Sep 19, 2007
Posted on: May 24, 2011 8:12 pm

Playoff Fix: Running of the Bulls

The biggest joke of all is making Derrick Rose MVP...unless it stands for "Most Vacant Performer"  The Bulls were lucky to win 1 game in this series...Boozer is a joke and how they got this far is a miracle. Heat Mavricks in Final and then, mercifully, the end of the NBA season.

Since: Feb 15, 2008
Posted on: May 24, 2011 7:42 pm

Playoff Fix: Running of the Bulls

Gotta agree with a lotta you about the unexplained "hate" against the Heat. Kinda reminds me of what happened when the Pats got caught up in "Spygate". Even though I'm a fan of neither team, I don't understand why people constantly rubbish the accomplishments of both. So the Heat have 3 superstars - big deal. Anyone remember when the Lakers had Shaq, Kobe & Malone? That alone proves that sticking 3 top players together doesn't automatically guarantee success. What the Heat are doing, while "expected", is still pretty darn amazing.

Since: Mar 19, 2007
Posted on: May 24, 2011 6:26 pm

Playoff Fix: Running of the Bulls

Hope the Heat don't try to cruise tonight... don't need to let the Bulls steal one on the road.

Since: May 4, 2011
Posted on: May 24, 2011 5:54 pm

Playoff Fix: Running of the Bulls

SyracuseNick very well said. It is amazing to see the level of hatred for this Heat team on a daily bases. When they lose a game fans celebrate like it's christmas, when they win it's fixed the refs handed them the game Spoelstra can't coach he just has three superstars. I guess the fans don't realize no matter how much they hate the Heat, the fact of the matter is they're a damn good team on both sides of the ball. Pat Riley constructed this team to do exactly what they're doing right now WIN!! Haters can say anything they want, but they can't play the games with what they write or what they feel, so it really doesn't matter. All that matters is what the Heat do for those 48 minutes of action on the court, and until someone can be better than them there go on and keep venting. Go Heat!! 

Since: Mar 2, 2010
Posted on: May 24, 2011 5:06 pm

Playoff Fix: Running of the Bulls

I'm embarassed for quite literally the entire fan base that discredits and discounts the Heat at every turn. I'm no Heat fan, but an NBA fan for sure. They're good. They have a damn good defense that is fast and furious. They have stars that can close out games when need be. Everyone needs to stop being so nieve and living in their utopian dream-world where the Heat can't and won't win for some obscure reason they can't quite substantiate. They will win this series. They will beat Dallas in the National Championship. Everyone get through your thick skulls and let it sink in, because it's a very real and distinct probability.

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