Sunday, May 15, 2011


Chicago Bulls vs. Miami Heat

ANALYSIS: How big is this step for the Chicago Bulls? Well, it is the first time the Bulls have made the Eastern Conference Finals since 1998—Michael Jordan’s last year in Chicago. Derrick Rose showed why he was the Most Valuable Player this season in Game 3 against the Atlanta Hawks with a 44-point, seven-assist performance. Although the Bulls looked timid under the spotlight this postseason, Chicago closed out the Indiana Pacers and Atlanta extremely well, winning by at least 20 points on both occasions.

The Miami Heat might have eliminated their biggest hurdle in the Boston Celtics, but they know that trophies are not given to teams that win the conference semifinals. LeBron James and Dwyane Wade have had their troubles during the season, but both have weathered the storm quite well. They are halfway there, but if they can keep up this determination, an NBA title is theirs.
Bulls won, 3-0 (all three games decided by four points or less)
Dwyane Wade vs. Derrick Rose (The two Chicagoans square off in a battle to who can make their home city proud.)


PG: Derrick Rose vs. Mike Bibby
ADVANTAGE: Derrick Rose
-Mike Bibby will have his work cut out for him in guarding the 2010-11 NBA Most Valuable Player, Derrick Rose. Rose is averaging 28.8 points per game during the playoffs and has led the Bulls to their first trip to the Eastern Conference Finals since 1998. Bibby will get the start, but expect Mario Chalmers to get most of the time running the point.

SG: Keith Bogans vs. Dwyane Wade
ADVANTAGE: Dwyane Wade
-This is another matchup where an NBA superstar will see a platoon of players guarding him. Wade has the advantage here based on the ability to take over a game on both sides of the ball. His 7.6 rebounds per game this postseason are the most he has had in any playoffs and he can get that steal or block to shift momentum. Bogans will share time with Kyle Korver and Ronnie Brewer to hopefully try to stop Wade from going off.

SF: Luol Deng vs. LeBron James
-If there is a great matchup based solely on positions, this is it. Deng has emerged as the Bulls’ secondary scoring option with 16.7 points per game, but James wins here based on his ability to tally double-doubles or even triple-doubles. His assists are down from the regular season, but LeBron is still averaging 26.1 points and 9.4 rebounds per game in the playoffs. Nevertheless, this will be a good battle.

PF: Carlos Boozer vs. Chris Bosh
ADVANTAGE: Carlos Boozer
-Can either of these 2008 goal medal Olympians shake off recent bad games? Boozer finally woke up with 23 points and 10 rebounds in Game 6 against the Atlanta Hawks, while Bosh posted back-to-back double-doubles in Games 4 and 5 against the Boston Celtics. If Boozer can shake his cold shooting, the matchup is his.

C: Joakim Noah vs. Joel Anthony
Joakim Noah
-Between him and Zydrunas Ilgauskas, Anthony has really stepped up to be Heat’s premier center. His breakout performance of 12 points and 11 rebounds in Game 3 against the Celtics earned him the start in the series’ final two games. With that said, Anthony will face a different test in Noah. Noah is making his presence felt on the glass and the paint, averaging 10.4 rebounds and 2.2 blocks this postseason.

BENCH: Chicago Bulls vs. Miami Heat
ADVANTAGE: Chicago Bulls
-Chicago’s “Bench Mob” played great in the playoffs thus far as Taj Gibson provided great defense and Kyle Korver knocked down critical 3-pointers to keep Chicago in games during the playoffs. One cannot count out the hot shooting of James Jones and the backup leadership of Mario Chalmers for the Heat’s second stringers. The Bulls have a slight advantage due to more players that can do damage, but Miami does have some experienced bench players in Zydrunas Ilgauskas and Juwan Howard.

PIVOTAL GAME: Game 5 (This series will likely be tied here.)
Heat in 6. (The Bulls are a very good squad that plays defense extremely well, but the duo of LeBron James and Dwyane Wade are determined to give Miami its second NBA title. Expect a good series that will go six or seven games.)

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