Round 3, Game 2 (Chicago v Miami)

So I have a confession to make.  I didn’t watch all of the most of the Chicago game.  Thus I do not have too much to say about it.  However, from what I have seen, as well as the highlights and stats (which, no matter how much Bill Simmons maligns still give a good idea of how the game developed) I got a good idea of how this game played out.

As I said in my initial preview blog, Chicago is seriously out-manned in this series.  Wade and Lebron are easily Rose’s equals (no matter what anyone says) and Bosh is similarly equal, if not better, than any Chicago big man and now with Haslem back, it is more obvious than ever that Chicago is going to have to fight tooth and nail to stay in this series.  I don’t think it’s over, yet, but Miami is in a very good position to send this reigning MVP packing.

The turning point in this game (which occurred far after I gave up watching) was when Lebron James decided to take over the game midway through the 4th quarter with the score tied 73-73.  James may still be the hardest single player to defend (Novitzki and Rose are right up there), but what made his domination possible was that Chicago couldn’t afford to double him… ever.  So LeBron drains a 3, a fadeaway jumper, finishes off a drive and Miami takes a 7 point lead – ball game.

Lebron James was the player of the game – 12 for 21; 29-10-5-3; took over the fourth quarter and won Miami the game.  There – now that we’ve gotten that out of the way, let’s talk about other key players.  Miami’s 3 leading rebounders were… the SuperFriends, who were up to the task.  Bosh didn’t score a lot, but with Wade and Lebron picking up the slack there (and the fact that the game was incredibly low-scoring), it worked out alright.  Another key player for the Heat is Haslem.  In just 23 minutes, Haslem scored 13 points, pulled down 5 boards and block.  If he can keep continue to score and rebound (he’s already going to give you good defense on Chicago’s inside men), Haslem will be the key 4th scorer on the floor for the Heat in crunch-time, preventing Chicago from helping as much on the SuperFriends.  Not having to play Joel Anthony down the stretch will severely cramp the Bulls’ defense.

Going forward for Chicago D-Rose, Deng and Boozer absolutely must shoot better than their 15 for 48 (31%).  The Bulls dominated on the offensive glass again, but their abysmal shooting percentage was what did them in.  On an average night, the paltry 85 they gave up would be sufficient to get the win, but as much as Miami struggles against Chicago’s defense, the Bulls have had nightmares against the Heat.  For the series, Chicago is shooting 39% (less than Russell Westbrook!!!).  Somehow Rose needs to get everyone else involved – Boozer averaged 20-10 last season for Utah, Noah was at 10-15 earlier this season and Deng needs to get 15 on 15 or less shots.

For Miami, the goal needs to be to continue playing good defense.  Miami scored 14 fourth quarter points… and extended its lead.  More of that and Chicago will be looking at an insurmountable 3-1 deficit next time Chicago gets to host a game.

Yours Truly,

Basketblogger

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