Tag:LeBron James
Posted on: February 2, 2012 7:15 pm
Edited on: February 2, 2012 7:55 pm
 

2012 NBA East, West All-Star starters announced

Posted by Ben Golliver 

Kobe Bryant and Dwyane Wade will square off in another NBA All-Star Game. (Getty Images)

The NBA officially announced the starting lineups for the 2012 NBA All-Star Game, as voted by the fans on Thursday night, and there were no surprises.

The Eastern Conference starting lineup: Chicago Bulls guard Derrick Rose, Miami Heat guard Dwyane Wade, Heat forward LeBron James, New York Knicks forward Carmelo Anthony and Orlando Magic center Dwight Howard.

The Western Conference starting lineup: Los Angeles Clippers guard Chris Paul, Los Angeles Lakers guard Kobe Bryant, Oklahoma City Thunder forward Kevin Durant, Clippers forward Blake Griffin and Lakers center Andrew Bynum.

The league's coaches will vote to the rest of the rosters and their decisions will be announced on Thursday, Feb. 9.

All 10 players were on pace as leading vote-getters during the first and second rounds of balloting that were released during the last two weeks.

2012 marks Rose's third selection, Wade's eighth selection, James' eighth selection, Anthony's fifth selection, Howard's sixth selection, Paul's fifth selection, Bryant's 14th selection and Kevin Durant's third selection. Bynum is the only first-time All-Star selection among the starters. Griffin, making his second appearance, joins Bynum as the only other first-time starter. 

Aside from Bynum and Griffin, the other eight players were all selected as starters for the 2011 NBA All-Star Game in Los Angeles. Anthony represented the Denver Nuggets and played for the Western Conference team last year. Paul represented the Western Conference as a member of the New Orleans Hornets.

Retired Houston Rockets center Yao Ming and Knicks forward Amar'e Stoudemire are the two 2011 All-Star Game starters that did not return this season.

Here are the final vote tallies for the 10 All-Star starters. Howard was the overall leading vote-getter and Bryant led the way out West.
East: Dwight Howard (Orl) 1,600,390; Derrick Rose (Chi) 1,514,723; LeBron James (Mia) 1,360,680; Dwyane Wade (Mia) 1,334,223; Carmelo Anthony (NYK) 1,041,290

West: Kobe Bryant (LAL) 1,555,479; Kevin Durant (OKC) 1,345,566; Chris Paul (LAC) 1,138,743; Andrew Bynum (LAL) 1,051,945; Blake Griffin (LAC) 876,451
The 2012 All-Star Game will be played at the Amway Center in Orlando on Feb. 26. Bryant will look to repeat his performance as the 2011 NBA All-Star Game MVP. Here's a look at the jerseys that will be worn during the game.

For more coverage of the 2012 NBA All-Star Game, check out CBSSports.com's NBA All-Star Game hub.
Posted on: February 2, 2012 11:45 am
Edited on: February 2, 2012 12:40 pm
 

LeBron James considering dunk contest. Again.

LeBron is talking dunk contest again. Don't hold your breath. (Getty Images)
By Matt Moore

Stop us if you've heard this one.  LeBron James is consdiering the dunk contest. Again. From the Palm Beach Post
“I have thought about it before and a few times in the past I kind of had an ankle injury that kind of kept me out of it and a couple of times I was just like, ‘You know what, I’m going to go in here and rest my legs for this weekend and then get back to the regular season,” James said. “But, I mean, they say a lot of the greats have done it and I’ve watched it over the years.”

“It’s always a fence year for me. I know they’re getting tired of me, though, so I’m not even going to start up nothing.”
Why, LeBron? Why must you tease us, so? James committed at the 2009 dunk contest for the 2010 edition. Then he simply slid out from the obligation. It was a killer disappointment and set up one of the least impressive dunk contests in history (oh, Gerald Wallace, such painful memories).

James won't be joining us this year, either. He seems hellbent on getting his name in the papers, and by papers I mean internet about being in the dunk contest. But that rest is too valuable. And James honestly has very little upside to participating. He'll have massive expectations being stacked up against all those players and should he lose, it's just one more thing to add to his resume of failure. How do you exceed expectations in the dunk contest? James already had the second best dunk of the decade over John Lucas III Sunday. And after watching Blake Griffin destroyed Kendrick Perkins Monday, would you want to go up against the reigning champ?

The reality is that James should have done the contest in his second year, or sometime in his first five. His wear and tear, position relative to the greats in the game, oh, yeah, and massive number of parties he hosts and attends during All-Star Weekend make it way too much to invest in. But he'll continue to tease, because he knows Michael Jordan did it. But barring a miracle, it will remain a missing piece of his legacy, even it's largely a silly exhibition. 

But, if he did do it...
Posted on: January 31, 2012 1:01 pm
Edited on: February 1, 2012 5:56 am
 

LeBron: Chemistry is at "all-time high" with Wade

LeBron says his chemistry with Wade is at an "all-time high right now." (Getty Images)
Posted by Royce Young

Rewind to last summer where Dwyane Wade blamed part of the Heat's NBA Finals loss to the Mavericks on chemistry. He said, "One thing that Dallas beat us at – they had more chemistry than us. They had a game plan and we were still figuring ours out in our first year together."

Fast forward to this season where the transition alley oops are happening by the bunches and the Heat look as powerful as ever. LeBron James says the chemistry between him and Wade isn't just good, it's at a level it's never been before. Via the Sun Sentinel:
"It is at an all-time high right now, honestly," James said of the chemistry between the two. "It is just a chemistry that we have.  Last year was a blueprint for us.  It is not like we look for each other more than others, it kind of just happens.

"We're two of the fastest guys in the league when it comes to a break and it is kind of pick-your-poison with the defender, either allow me to get a dunk or allow D-Wade to get a dunk. We are two unselfish players. If a guy is open, we pass it."
That sound you just heard was 29 other teams shuddering slightly. If that's actually true and LeBron and Wade are figuring out how to play together and off each other -- whoa.

But the thing is, transition baskets and running is one thing. Executing down the stretch in the halfcourt of a close game is another thing. And I don't think Wade and LeBron or the Heat as a whole have figured that out at all. Take the most recent example Sunday against the Bulls. Miami won, but not because of the halfcourt offense in the fourth quarter. Had Derrick Rose made two free throws, we might all be sitting here saying "What's wrong with the Heat?" and LeBron might not be saying things like that.

I have no doubt the on-court chemistry between Wade and LeBron is great and they are willing to pass to each other. But that's not the secret key to making the Heat unstoppable. It's about incorporating that chemistry with the other three guys on the court with them. It's about playing off each other while playing with each other. The Heat look very good and with Chris Bosh playing exceedingly well along with the terrifying fast break Miami has, nobody is going to argue if you say they're the best in the league right now.

But it's one thing to feel your chemistry at its highest level in late January. It's another to feel it in the NBA Finals when you desperately need a basket.

Posted on: January 30, 2012 11:45 pm
 

Report Card 1.30.12: The back to back blues

The Magic collapse continued against the Sixers Monday night. (Getty Images)

Your nightly report card wraps up the performances of the NBA night and provides grades on a curve. Monday night LeBron did his thing, the Magic continued their separation from decency, and the Deer continue to become frightening. 

LeBron James


Trevor Ariza is going to have nightmares. 22 points in 29 minutes, along with 11 rebounds and 8 assists for James. That's at least, even if none of the assists were threes, 44 points in 29 minutes produced or contributed. That's absurd. To havethat kind of influence on the game in just 30 minutes is ridiculous. And hey, he didn't have to play in the fourth so he couldn't miss free throws. Bonus. 




Brandon Jennings


All of a sudden, the Bucks gunner is playing efficiently. 21 points on 8-15 shooting, 4 rebounds, 5 assists. Four turnovers is not great but overall, Jennings is making the Bucks motor go as they win again without Andrew Bogut. The Deer have officially re-entered fear territory, even against the Pistons



Philadelphia 76ers


They were not worse than the Magic. That's pretty much all we've got on that. 


 

 

Memphis Perimeter Defense


Matt Bonner can only do one thing. Hit threes. The Grizzlies surrendered fifteen points from beyond the arc to Bonner alone, and 30 points overall from the perimeter. This against a team coming off overtime on a road back-to-back. Memphis is broken in all sorts of ways right now, but the perimeter defense was the culprit Monday night. 



Orlando Magic


The Orlando Magic have been an offensively efficient team for the duration of this run with Stan Van Gundy and Dwight Howard. And this week has been a massive cratering we haven't seen since the asteroid that killed off the dinosaurs. But Monday night may have been the point where they actually blast a hole to the other side of the Earth. The Magic scored 9 points in the third quarter vs. the Sixers. Philly scored just 74 points... and won. This isn't the end of the world for the Magic... but you can see it from here.




Posted on: January 30, 2012 5:58 pm
Edited on: January 30, 2012 6:02 pm
 

Baseline Awards: 1.30.12: Jumping over dudes

Lebron James is very good at basketball, it turns out. (Getty Images)

By Matt Moore


The Baseline Awards hand out congratulations and criticism for performances in the last week and provide standings for the major awards. This week the Heat are flying again, Rubio's dishing, Kyrie Irving is ridiculous, and the Magic are a train wreck. 

Eastern Conference Player of the Week: Best Overall performance by Eastern Player

LeBron James

He jumped over a dude. Yes, the dude is short. No, it was not Vince Carter over Weiss. He still jumped over a dude on an oop. Oh, and he averaged 26.5 points (only drug down by a poor game vs. Cleveland), 6 assists, 7.5 rebounds, and one steal. So, yeah, that guy's pretty good at basketball.

Western Conference Player of the Week: Best Overall performance by Western Player

Ricky Rubio

Wins over the Spurs and Mavericks, averaging 12 points, 11 assists, 5 rebounds. The wunderkind keeps impressing everyone from coast to coast. He's getting killed by Kyrie Irving in overall production and yet I'm betting a high number of people consider Rubio and Irving neck and neck in the rookie of the year race, that's how good Rubio has been.

Down on the Upside of the Week: Player with worst performance qualified for expectations

Raymond Felton

Felton's a better player than this. He really is. Felton is struggling from the field and finding teammates. He's not settled in, and seems unsure of his role. He hasn't established a chemistry with any of the Blazers' weapons. Andre Miller is flourishing in Denver, which only makes this worse.

DOMINATOR AWARD: Most dominant performance

Kyrie Irving

Irving's numbers are literally unheard of for a rookie. He's in rarefied air. Now, Tyreke Evans pulled this same trick and regressed, but after sinking the Celtics Sunday, Irving has put himself on the map. The kid is doing it all in every position. There's something special happening in Cleveland.

The "Titanic In 3-D: It's a disaster inside a disaster" award

Orlando Magic

This team was talked about as a sleep title contender (not by us, but "around") last week. This week they're a flaming pile of wreckage covered in sewage. Fifty-six points versus a struggling Celtics team, then a nice, comforting win over the Pacers... only to blow a 27-point lead at home to the Celtics on Thursday, followed by a shellacking by the Indiana Pacers. I would say this team is trying to force Dwight Howard to put them out of their misery, but that would be too easy on Howard who has also disappeared at key times. The Magic are taking on water right now in a season in which they have no margin of error.

The Puzzling Enigma Award: Strangest week from player or team

Memphis Grizzlies

Just when you think that team has it together, they get walloped by the Blazers on the third night of a back to back, and that was fine. But losing to Phoenix was an outright disaster. This team looked like it had found its footing, only to fall through the cracks. Three straight losses to end the week for the Grizzlies.

The Horde Award: Team you should fear

Milwaukee Bucks

We don't get it either. This team should, and probably will, fall apart without Andrew Bogut. But they miss Bogut with an injury and Stephen Jackson with a suspension, and go out and drop 100 points on the Lakers. Milwaukee's now won four of their last six and have scored 100 or more three times. Their offensive efficiency is up. No, we do not understand it, but we're starting to be concerned about the deer again.

Cub Scout Troop Award: Team you should not fear

Charlotte Bobcats. We thought they might not be so bad for a while there. Turns out, no, no, no, they are bad, bad, bad.

Searching For Bobby Fischer Award for Stratagem

Gregg Popovich for benching his starters and going solely to his bench unit vs. the Mavs. The young guns wound up scoring on 8 of 9 possessions in the fourth quarter and sparked a huge run that would have won them the game had it not been for Jason Terry's dramatics. There are only a handful of coaches that bold in this league, and Popovich is like, three of them.

Awkward Water Cooler Conversation Award for Coaching Struggle

Stan Van Gundy

We're not partial to the ridiculous superlatives or nicknames tossed out about SVG, who is truly one of the best coaches in the league. But it has not been a good week. His team has lacked discipline, composure, and effort. Things are unraveling in Orlando due to forces far beyond his control, but he's also unable to hold the reins this week.

Blog of the Week: 48 Minutes of Hell

This Spurs blog talks in nuanced terms about the silver and black, and features a video chat after each game. Interesting design as well.

MVP Rankings:

1. LeBron James: Again, he jumped over a dude.
2. Derrick Rose: Injuries are slowing him down and he's still doing this.
3. Dwight Howard: He's also LVP for sabotaging his team's season.
4. Kobe Bryant: By hook or by crook, Mamba will score 30.
5. Kevin Durant: Durant's a jumpshooter and he's shooting 51 percent. Think about that.
6. Chris Bosh: We know. We're stunned, too. But Bosh has honestly been the most consistent Heat player.
7. Russell Westbrook: On most any other team we're talking about how badly he deserves help.
8. Kyrie Irving: Oh, you think this is crazy You tell us how Cleveland's in the playoff picture.
9. Chris Paul: You get the feeling that if Paul wasn't saving himself for the playoffs he coul be right at the top with the Clippers.
10. LaMarcus Aldridge: Aldridge does everything for the Blazers and deserves a nod here.

Honorable Mention: Kevin Love

ROY Rankings:

1. Kyrie Irving: There has literally never been a rookie putting up the numbers Irving has, at least in the modern era of tracking stats. The fact that a horrid Cleveland team is competitive and Irving is taking over down the stretch should make traditional fans happy.
2. Ricky Rubio: You have never seen a player like this.
3. MarShon Brook: Brilliant scorer who scores.
4. Iman Shumpert: He is what he is.
5. Jon Leuer: Leuer has fallen off quite a bit and may not be listed next week.

6th Man of the Year Rankings:

1. James Harden: Just start him, Scott Brooks. You're ruining the curve.
2. Louis Williams: Louis' on fiyah.
3. Al Harrington: Still doing it all while Denver racks up wins, but a bad game against L.A. Sunday.
4. Jason Terry: Needs to go down as one of the best sixth men, ever.
5. Gary Neal: One of the most productive scorers off the bench in the league, who no one had heard of until last year.
Posted on: January 30, 2012 3:17 pm
Edited on: January 30, 2012 3:56 pm
 

Derrick Rose: Free throw misses were 'unreal'

Posted by Ben Golliver 

Derrick Rose came up short at the free throw line against the Miami Heat. (Getty Images)

There's no lonelier place in basketball than the free throw line after a big miss. Reigning NBA MVP Derrick Rose was reminded of that fact on Sunday night.

Rose, a career 81.9 percent foul shooter who is shooting 85.6 percent so far this season, stepped to the foul line for two shots with 22 seconds left, and his Bulls trailing the Miami Heat, 94-93. 

SheridanHoops.com noted that Rose had not missed a free throw in the fourth quarter during the 2011-2012 season until he missed both in the clutch, helping send the Heat to a 97-93 victory in a rematch of the 2011 Eastern Conference Finals.
Rose was 26-for-26 on fourth-quarter free throws heading into the game. He was also on a second-half tear, having scored 21 points, many by getting to the rim after carving up Miami’s defense in typical Rose fashion. Rose was on an even bigger free throw roll. He was a perfect 12-for-12 when he stepped to the line with the game in the balance and inexplicably bricked both shots.

“Give me one of those,” Rose lamented. “I missed both of those (expletive). Come on.”
ESPNChicago.com reports that Rose had trouble processing his late-game shortcomings afterwards, despite scoring a team-high 34 points and dishing 6 assists.
"This is so unreal right now," an emotional Rose said. "Knowing that I had the chance to change the game, and this time it didn't work out. I know my will to win is still very high, but I guarantee the next time those shots are going down."

"It was definitely tough," Rose said. "All I can say is I guess God [does] everything for a reason. I've been in those situations before, knocked them down, but to miss both [free throws] -- I let my team down. The only thing I can do is learn from it... If I would have hit them free throws, it never would have gotten that far. I know I can live with it. It's just going to make me a stronger player and it's onto the next game."
As Chicago's chief ball-handler and most lethal offensive weapon, Rose is constantly in the position to decide games for the Bulls. Since the start of the 2010-2011 season, Chicago is 79-25, so he's clearly coming up big in crunchtime far more often than he's falling short.

But we shouldn't act like this is Rose's first free throw adventure in his lifetime.

In the 2008 NCAA title game, Rose had the opportunity to put away the Kansas Jaywhawks with a pair of free throws with 10.8 seconds remaining in the second half. His Memphis Tigers were leading 62-60 when he stepped to the stripe with the chance to make it a two-possession game by making both. Instead, Rose missed the front end, allowing a late 3-pointer by Jayhawks guard Mario Chalmers to send the game into overtime, where Kansas completed the miracle comeback to take the title. 

The 19-year-old Rose's post-championship message to the Associated Press back in 2008 was a bit different than the one after Sunday's loss.
"It wasn't really the free throws," Rose said. "If we'd done things before the free throws, we would've been in good shape."
Rose was correct then, in part. His free throw miss -- and earlier misses by Chris Douglas-Roberts -- were not the sole determining factor of the game. Technically, it's impossible to argue that a single play ever decides a game. But his miss then was absolutely crucial and it changed history.

His path has been a long, busy one in the nearly four years since that loss at Memphis. He's been all the way to the East Finals, all the way to franchise player status, all the way to a super-lucractive, almost 9-figure contract extension. The fact that his free throw misses weren't the sole determining factor in Sunday's loss hasn't changed. But his message, given the last four years worth of developments, should have changed, and it did.

And it did. Rose took responsibility, repeated his well-known desire to win, expressed a desire to improve, and guaranteed to make amends for the shortcoming in the future. There's nothing more that anyone could reasonably ask of him. He might have lost at the free throw line but he won in the locker room.

All that's left now is to deliver on that guarantee.
Posted on: January 29, 2012 7:23 pm
Edited on: January 30, 2012 4:49 pm
 

LeBron James rode bike to Bulls game

Posted by Ben Golliver 

LeBron James rode a bicycle to Sunday's game agains the Bulls. (Credits below)

LeBron James can arguably finish in traffic better than anyone in the NBA. On Sunday we learned he's pretty good at beating traffic, too.

The 2012 Miami Marathon began at 6:15 a.m. at American Airlines Arena on Sunday, drawing 6,000 registered runners, according to the Miami Herald. While the paper reported that a six-hour time limit was instituted, traffic congestion issues were still a problem to be dealt with for members of the Miami Heat and the Chicago Bulls prior to the 3:30 p.m. tip of their nationally-televised game at the AAA.

Rather than deal with the headaches associated with road closures and extra pedestrian traffic, James opted to ride a custom bicycle to the arena. Suited up in a skintight all-black outfit and helmet, and donning a camoflauge napsack, James biked the few miles from his home to the stadium, escorted by what appears to be Randy Mims, his manager/business partner. James is no stranger to two wheels: bicycling was a regular part of his conditioning routine during the lockout and he hosts an annual bike giveaway in Ohio. 

The ABC broadcast later showed James' red, black and silver bike parked inside the American Airlines Arena. The words "King James" were custom printed in yellow old English styled letters on the bike's frame.

Asked about his biking adventure during a televised halftime interview, James said: "My legs feel really good. It felt good to get open field and get a bike ride in and be prepared for today's game."

James finished with a game-high 35 points, 11 rebounds, 5 assists and 1 block on 12-for-23 shooting in 41 minutes to help Miami defeat Chicago, 97-93. He also completely jumped over John Lucas to finish an alley-oop.

The Herald reports that Samuel Kipkosegei Malakwen of Kenya won the marathon in the Miami Marathon's closest finish ever, posting a time of 2 hours, 16 minutes, 54.58 seconds. 

Image credits: @peter1leeHotHotHoops.com, @cjzero and cjzero. Hat tip: @JackNruth
Posted on: January 29, 2012 6:48 pm
 

Five big takeaways from Bulls-Heat

Posted by Royce Young

Round one went to the Heat, but not much separates Miami and Chicago. (Getty Images)

For the first time since Game 5 of the Eastern Confernce Finals where the Heat put together a massive comeback -- or the Bulls choked away a big lead, depending on perspective -- the Bulls and Heat matched up Sunday in Miami. It went as expected, down to the wire, with a couple key possessions decided it as Miami slid by, 97-93.

It was a game that will be played three more times during the regular season and likely one we'll see four, five, six or maybe seven more times in the postseason. It's one of what will be many more, but here are five big things to take away from the first matchup.

1. The final minute was pretty much perfect. Why? Because it was a total mess. Or as Kevin Garnett might say, a bar fight. The Bulls clawed back to finally have a shot at their first lead of the game as Derrick Rose stepped to the line with Chicago down 94-93 with 22 seconds left. Of note: Rose was 12-12 from the line to that point and had made all 28 free throws he'd attempted in the fourth quarter this season. He missed the first short. He missed the second long. The Heat gained possession and Joakim Noah was forced to foul LeBron James.

So it was LeBron's turn to finish the game at the line. He missed the first short. He missed the second long.

And that's when things started to get weird.

Off the second miss, there was an inadvertant whistle as Dwyane Wade saved the ball and Miami appeared to regain possession. The officials decided to jump it up at mid-court, but Monty McCutchen's toss was incredibly lopsided as LeBron easily won it against Taj Gibson. The Bulls fouled, Mario Chalmers stepped to the line with 13 seconds left. He made the first, missed the second and the ball somehow squirted through Carlos Boozer's arms as he called timeout. Rose grabbed it, got the timeout called and the Bulls, after all of that, had the ball with nine seconds left and a chance to tie it or win.

Rose got free and had a decent look for 2 as Richard Hamilton stood wide open in the corner. Rose came up short, the Heat grabbed the ball and finished off the Bulls in a completely fitting finish to a wild, entertaining game between the East's top two teams.

2. LeBron v. Rose. Both were absolutely spectacular. Rose finished with 34, LeBron 35. It was a show of two of the most electric players with the ball in their hands. Everything you'd want from a Heat-Bulls game.

The Heat didn't use LeBron on Rose much in the game like they did in the Eastern Finals, but LeBron did switch to Rose one time -- the Bulls final possession. Rose was terrific despite missing the free throws and 17 of his 28 shots, but he did it abusing Mario Chalmers and Norris Cole. With the Bulls in a position to win or tie, LeBron switched to Rose.

Chicago ran a quick little set that got the ball to Rose isolated at the top of the key on LeBron. Rose got an on-ball screen, slipped past LeBron and jumpstopped at an elbow. Two Heat defenders stepped up, Udonis Haslem flopped to try and draw a charge and Rose was left with an open 15-footer. Which of course he missed.

But for the first 47:51 of the game, the Heat resisted having LeBron guard Rose, like he did so much of in the Eastern Finals. I couldn't help but wonder if it was an intentional switch to try and keep LeBron off of Rose and let the Heat defend the reiging MVP collectively, but it's almost like Erik Spoelstra was saving it as his secret weapon, just in case. As the two teams go forward against each other, it's definitely something to watch for.

3. Rose still has to do too much. There's a key difference between the Bulls and Heat: Rose defers to Richard Hamilton, Kyle Korver, Carlos Boozer and Ronnie Brewer. LeBron defers to Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh. A crucial distinction.

The Bulls are mostly in a position where either they have to kill the offensive glass and create multiple shot possessions or play incredible defense and win an ugly 80-78 game. Or hope that Rose plays an entirely flawless game.

The good news for Chicago is that all three of those things are entirely possible. The Bulls did a great job creating second opportunities, played solid defense and Rose was really good. But still, they didn't get enough of all three. I'm not so sure the Heat are all that much better than the Bulls, but I do think Chicago's margin for error is much smaller.

4. Luol Deng matters, a lot. Forgotten in all of this is Chicago's second best player didn't play. Luol Deng, a guy that gives the Bulls almost 16 points and 7.5 rebounds a game was out with a wrist and hand injury. Not only did the Bulls miss the extra offensive punch Deng gives, but they missed most his defensive ability.

Deng would've been the primary defender on LeBron, but instead Chicago was forced to rotate guys like Ronnie Brewer, Rip Hamilton and big guys like Taj Gibson and Joakim Noah on him. Not ideal for the Bulls and it's a big reason LeBron exploded for 35 points. You can't take something away from this game without remembering that the Bulls were minus Deng. He means way too much to them, especially for the reason he's their guy to stick on No. 6.

5. A seven-game series between these two would be terrific. I'm not entirely sure who the favorite would be, but if this game is any indication, it will likely come down to either Derrick Rose carrying his Bulls, or a combination of LeBron and Wade doing the same for Miami. It's a wonderful contrast between a top heavy squad with three amazing players against a deep roster headed by one incredible player.

Sunday, Wade wasn't great scoring 15 points on 4-16 shooting, but that's the design of the Heat. One guy didn't get it done, so another stepped up. In this case, it was LeBron and Chris Bosh (24 points, 12 rebounds). Bosh is a linchpin in that when Deng is healthy, the Bulls really can defend the Heat well. There likely will be games where Wade and LeBron are struggling and Bosh has to outclass Boozer inside to give Miami easy points.

There's a lot of stuff going on between these two teams. A lot of matchup issues, adjustments and big players making big plays. They're on a crash course to see each other again in the Eastern Finals and as Sunday showed, it'll likely be a beautiful mess.
 
 
 
 
The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com