Exciting match-ups have filled the playoffs this year, but this series could be like nothing we’ve ever seen before. We have the MVP from this season in Derrick Rose playing against the MVP of last season in Lebron James. We have two all-star caliber power forwards matching up, in Carlos Boozer and Chris Bosh. We have the two best finishers in the game in Dwyane Wade and Derrick Rose. We have the coach of the year, in Tom Thibodeau against the co-executive of the year in Pat Riley. We have the best defensive team in the NBA in the Bulls against the 3rd best defensive team in the NBA in the Heat. We have the number 1 seed in the Eastern Conference, in the Bulls against the number 2 seed in the Eastern Conference, in the Heat. Most of all, we have two very hungry, talented teams hoping to reach the finals, and hopefully win an NBA championship.
It’s not going to be an easy series to win for either team. The Heat have played like the team to beat in this postseason, they’ve beat the 76ers in 5 games as well as the defending Eastern Conference Champs in 5 games. The Bulls have played lockdown defense this postseason, but haven’t played like the number 1 seed in the NBA at all.They struggled in the 1st round against Indiana, they beat them 4-1 but in their first 3 wins they won by a total of 15 points. In the second round they struggled at times against the Hawks, but seemed to re-gather their swag, in game 6. This matchup is very interesting because these teams have two completely different specialties. The Bulls pride themselves in their defense, they have the best defensive mastermind in the NBA as their head coach, which is why they are the number 1 defensive team in the NBA. Their offense has been weak at some times in this postseason but it’s their rock solid defense that keeps them winning.The Heat on the other hand, although are a very strong defensive team, they’re speciality lies on the offensive end. The athleticism of Lebron, Wade and Bosh are perfect for fast breaking, and fast tempo offense, of which the Heat are the best at.
For the Heat to win this series they’re going to need Wade to take over his mismatch at shooting guard. He’ll either be guarded by, Keith Bogans or Ronnie Brewer. Neither of which are quick or athletic enough to keep on Wade. If D-Wade can take advantage of the mismatches then the Heat will be in very good shape going forward. Also, Bosh is going to need to be very aggressive inside if the Heat want to win. The Bulls have a top 5 interior defense, with Omer Asik, Carlos Boozer, Joakim Noah and Taj Gibson. Bosh has been criticized for being too soft during the season, if he plays soft against the Bulls tough interior D then the Heat can kiss goodbye to the finals. Another thing that the Heat will need to do is get some bench production. They’re going up against the most productive bench in the league, the Bulls bench plays tough defense, and smart, efficient offense. This series could easily go to the Bulls if the Heat’s bench can’t provide numbers when the Big 3 are on the bench. The last thing the Heat have to do to win this series is to keep D-Rose under control. The MVP has been averaging about 29 points and 8 assists this post-season. He needs to be stopped, if the Heat can keep him out of the paint then that’s the best way to limit Roses production. He has improved his midrange jumper and 3 point jumper but most of his points come from the line and from lay-ups.
It’s a different story for the Bulls.They’re going up against the best offensive duo in the league. They’re going to need Luol Deng to step up on defense. He is a top class defender but to take on Lebron James for a 7 game playoff series, it’s going to take a lot of energy out of him. He has to come out every night and think less about his offense and much more about his defensive game to hold of LBJ. Which will put a lot more pressure on D-Rose to play offense. I think they’ll be up for the challenge though. Derrick Rose has to take advantage of the mismatch at point-guard. He didn’t really take advantage against Jeff Teague enough, but here he has another chance. He will be guarded by a veteran in Mike Bibby or a turnover prone Mario Chalmers. Neither of them can keep up with his electrifying penetration or fancy dribbling. I am looking for D-Rose to average 30 points a game in this series, he will be guarded by lesser players and he’s going to show everyone that he deserved the MVP against the former MVP. For the Bulls to win then they also need their young core of big men to take advantage of the slow, and veteran Miami big men. The Bulls have 4 core big men in Omer Asik, Carlos Boozer, Joakim Noah, and Taj Gibson all of which are under 30. The Heat big men are Zydranus Ilgauskas, Udonis Haslem, Chris Bosh, Erick Dampier and Joel Anthony. The Bulls big men are quicker and more athletic and should try to beat the Heat in the low post. They’re bench is going to have to play like they’ve never played before. They’re younger, more athletic, and just better players all around. They have to play as a unit. That’s the Bulls biggest advantage in this series, it’s their depth. They’re depth is their bench and their bench will win them this game along with their defense and hustle plays. The most important things for the Bulls is to continue to do the things they’re known for, like tapping back offensive rebounds, playing lockdown defense, and passing with lots of ball movement. They can shut down any team, they need to do the same with the heat.
I’m very excited for this matchup, there is so much talent between these two teams. I just think that the Bulls’ defense and bench production will be too much for the Heat squad and their big 3. If I had to make a prediction right now, I’d have to say the Heat’s star power will be just too much for the Bulls. Heat in 7.