Eastern Conference Finals
1. Chicago Bulls vs 2. Miami Heat
After trailing their second round series against the Atlanta Hawks 2-1, the Chicago Bulls ran off three straight wins en route to a series victory in 6 games. It was even more evident in this series that how Derrick Rose goes, so does Chicago. In order to beat Miami, Chicago is going to have to have another huge series from the league MVP. Once again Miami faces a mismatch at the point guard position. Unfortunately they will have to deal with the MVP, who unlike Rajon Rondo is a scoring machine. Rose will have to routinely attack the basket and get to the line. He tends to get some favorable calls so that should help Chicago somewhat, but Miami gets every call known to man. That being said, the Bulls are going to need stellar support from the rest of the guys, Carlos Boozer in particular. Boozer has had a inconsistent postseason thus far, but showed signs of life in game 6 against Atlanta. Boozer must dominate his matchup with Chris Bosh. He must force help to come so that he can kick it out to Kyle Korver, Luol Deng, or Keith Bogans. If Boozer struggles, the defenders will stay at home and smother Chicago’s outside shooters. Joakim Noah must also dominate the glass. He needs to give his team second chance opportunities as Miami transitions well.
Transition will be key to the Miami Heat. They must first transition from the lunch time excitement, to dinner. After eliminating the Boston Celtics the Heat celebrated as if they had won the NBA Title. Although beating a team like the Celtics can cause some jubilation, the Heat took it to a whole different level. They did everything short of planning a victory parade. I have they saved enough space in their bellies for dinner because the Bulls are a full course meal. I would not be surprised if Chicago wins game 1.
The first key is to set the tempo. Miami must get out in transition and get some fast break points. As I’ve stated before, Chicago’s defense has two major weaknesses. The first weakness is that they do not get back on defense well during transitions. Indiana and Atlanta were able to exploit that to some degree but the Heat are a far superior team. I imagine that Dwayne Wade and LeBron James will be able to get out in transition and make them pay. In order to get out in transition Miami must get stops and rebound. Much like Chicago, it is imperative that Miami crashes the glass as much as possible. In the half court set, Miami must attack the basket. Chicago’s second defensive weakness is getting stops at the rim. Although Chicago is big and they rotate well, you can score or get to the line when you take it right at their bigs. What two better players are there to attack that weakness than Wade and LeBron? Each will have no problem getting past their defenders on the dribble drive and either scoring or getting to the line. As I stated earlier, both LeBron and Wade get every call known to man so they will be living at the line once again.
In the end I feel that 2 is better than 1 and Miami’s big guns will be too much for Chicago’s 1 big gun and Miami will take the series. The Heat must win in 6 games, because they will not win a game 7 in Chicago.
Check back tonight, Western Conference preview will be added to this post.