Bosh's outburst bugged Thibodeau so much that Gibson said, "It was the first thing he said in the locker room after the game.'' That's typical, but the Heat won't win this series relying on Bosh to score 30. Every time Bosh leads the Heat in anything, the Bulls have a better chance of winning.via Chicago Bulls: Taj Gibson leads rout of Miami Heat - chicagotribune.com.
It means either Wade or James — or both — are deferring or being smothered. It says the plan worked. It says change nothing.
While the premise is sound, I don't think allowing Bosh to get going is a sound strategy. The odds are not good that Chicago will be able to hold down both James and Wade for four games in this series. One or the other, sure, their defense is well capable of doing so. But curtailing both is at this point still unbelievable. We've simply seen too much from them in playoffs past. And when that happens, giving up 30 to Chris Bosh is going to get to be a problem. As much as Bosh's outburst last night seems like an outlier, it came off of shots he is very much capable of getting. Until Carlos Boozer becomes a good enough defender to keep Bosh off the glass so that Noah isn't having to constantly worry about Bosh and the weakside rotation, this is going to be something the Bulls need to keep an eye on. Thibodeau certainly thinks so, which means he'll probably have a solution in Game 2.
There are some decisions for Spoelstra. Due to a pregame decision to have Zydrunas Ilgauskas join Erick Dampier on the inactive list, that meant the Heat's starting centers for 79 of 92 games this year were inactive.via Chicago Bulls 103, Miami Heat 82 - South Florida Sun-Sentinel.com.
It also meant center Jamaal Magloire played for more than 10 minutes. And those were big moments for the Bulls. They outscored the Heat by eight points when Magloire was in the game.
Conclusion? The Heat have no good options beyond Joel Anthony at center. None. And even then Anthony is such a limited offensive presence that it allows Noah or Carlos Boozer to roam the lane to keep Wade or James from driving.
Spoelstra's lineup decision was downright mind-boggling. Against a team whose biggest advantage is going to be on the glass, why on Earth would you deactivate, not just bench, but deactivate your two biggest centers? I get that you want to focus on speed. But there has to be moderation. The Golden State Warriors aren't winning any NBA titles as constructed over the past six years. You have to control the paint, particularly the defensive glass. The only way to give a mid-level offense life is to give them 19 extra possessions, which is exactly what the Heat did.
Magliore had not played all season, and then was expected to come in and curtail Joakim Noah, Taj Gibson, and Omer Asik, along with Carlos Boozer? Who's bright idea was this?
Spoelstra could not have done a worse job in Game 1.
All of which is to say, Miami may still beat Chicago, but it won't be easy, and now we get to see how LeBron and Wade respond after crashing back to earth in these playoffs. There was never anything "new" about this Heat team. All year long, when the Heat have had success, it's compounded itself. A few made jumpers from either Wade or James turns into a cascade of fast breaks and lay-ups that leaves opponents drowning in athleticism, media frothing at the mouth, and LeBron and Wade looking like basketball geniuses. It's when the Heat start to struggle that things get interesting.via For LeBron James And Dwyane Wade, A Heat Check In Chicago - SBNation.com.
When it stops coming easy for them, it stops coming altogether. Just look at the second half Sunday night. The same way that a little bit of success can turn the Heat into a juggernaut that conjures images of the Showtime Lakers, the Jordan/Pippen Bulls, and every other great team in NBA history, a little failure can paralyze Miami's stars and leave them looking like every other overrated roster that's come to close to winning it all but hasn't quite finished the job.
Last night saw the return of the infamous "Meh" Heat. All year long, when the Heat would be confronted by a defense and system more intent on guarding them than standing in awe of them, the Heat buckled. They started not caring. Settling for jumper after jumper. No one was more guilty of this last night than LeBron James, who simply gave up on driving to the rim.
What's even more stunning is that the Heat should have looked at the first half and said "We're doing what we need to do." Late in the first, Dwyane Wade faked Bogans to the outside, then slipped inside where James floated a pass over his defender perfectly. Wade missed the layup. There was no contest, it was just a missed layup, one of several in the first half. The Bulls were lucky to be tied at halftime, in all honesty. The difference was they responded by coming out in the second half and fixing all their issues, while the Heat stopped doing everything that was working (or nearly working) in the first half. They just gave up. The same Heat team from all those regular season disasters showed its ugly head.
This is now the second straight tremendous performance from the Bulls, and maybe the signal that they're healthy and peaking at a very opportune time. This is, of course, a series, and each game can tell a different story about how these teams match up. But with how the Bulls played tonight and the way they used advantages they should always have going into these games, it's up to Miami to figure it out. The Bulls will continue to be big, their bigs will be deep.via 2011 Eastern Conference Finals Game One - Bulls 103, Heat 82: With bigs and bench, Bulls wear down and rout Miami - Blog a Bull.
Again, with the "What in the name of Alonzo Mourning were the Heat thinking?" with benching Ilgauskas and Dampier. Are those guys huge difference makers? No. But they don't have to be. They just have to not let the Bulls get 19 offensive rebounds. Oh, but wait, Joel Anthony, the ultimate no-stats guy for the Heat, he's supposed to be the difference!
The Heat are in trouble because there are no easy fixes. They've been at their best this postseason when they employ the 6-foot-9 Joel Anthony at center, or when they slide Chris Bosh to the 5 and go without a traditional center. The Heat are essentially going small with Anthony on the floor. The small-ball formation allows the Heat to create mismatches and dismantle their opponents with athleticism and speed.via Heat's small-ball finally meets its match - Heat Index Blog - ESPN.
There's a tradeoff here. Going small has its virtues, but it has its drawbacks too. Namely, it compromises the Heat’s rebounding capabilities, but you couldn’t tell against the 76ers or Celtics. Why? They could hide Anthony’s abysmal rebounding -- he owned the third-worst defensive rebound rate among qualified centers this season -- because Philly also liked to go small and the Celtics didn’t like to clean their own glass. Anthony could swat at any shot he pleased in the paint because he knew the opposition wasn’t going to make him pay.
The Bulls, owners of the best rebound rate in the NBA, weren't as forgiving. Noah was behind eight of those offensive boards because he has the athleticism to jump quickly and the Heat can’t match his length underneath. Anthony would aggressively contest shots inside, but Noah beat him to the live ball consistently.
Anthony is a fine match for Boozer and Bosh actually countered Noah well, despite Noah's eight offensive rebounds. But it was the bench that started to ruin the Heat, and Miami played into that by going with Magliore. The reality is that Spoelstra at some point became so worried about the offense and giving the Heat weapons to try and free up James and Wade that he sacrificed defensive size and girth. This is flawed both ways. Obviously, the Heat need that size to keep the Bulls off the glass, and two, the Bulls aren't going to stop focusing on Wade and James, no matter who's on the outside. Reggie Miller ain't walking through that door.
In many ways, this game seemed like a war of attrition, with the Bulls wearing the Heat down with their depth in the second half. And it’s worth reminding everybody that after a regular season in which both James and Wade averaged close to 40 minutes per game, they are averaging 43.4 MPG and 39.6 MPG during the postseason.via By The Horns -.
With their usuage rates hovering in the 30-ish range, and with almost every single Miami play running through them, maybe the Bulls can keep throwing fresh bodies at them until they tire out.
Or maybe not. It’s worth remembering that, as impressive as the win was, it’s still a one-game sample. Will LeBron go 5-for-15 again? Probably not. Will he and Wade finish with only four FTA each again? Unlikely. What seems more reasonable is that Miami coach Erik Spoelstra will look at the tape, make adjustments, and we’ll see the Heat come out with a new game plan for Game 2.
But this was a pretty nice start.
That's one way of putting it. An outright demolition is another.