Heat Bulls Game Two Preview

GAME 2 PREVIEW OF TONIGHT'S HEAT-BULLS CLASH IN CHITOWN ...

THE NBA REPORT - THE CAVALIERS ARE THE BIG WINNERS IN THIS YEAR'S DRAFT LOTTERY BUT MIGHT THE CELTICS AND LAKERS BE INTERESTED IN "TRADING UP"

MORE NFL SCHEDULING BITS AS WE TRACK DOWN THE NY JETS, DETROIT LIONS AND INDY COLTS

By Jim Hurley:

Who were the really big winners last night in NBA-land?

Well, it's gotta be Dallas Mavericks uber-star Dirk Nowitzki (48 points including a gazillion made free throws) and than there were the Cleveland Cavaliers.

The team that couldn't catch a break last summer when LeBron James bolted the Buckeye State for a taste of South Beach last night snagged the NBA Draft Lottery's #1 pick plus the Cavs also will be grabbing for more goodies at pick #4 ... might Cleveland's pro hoops future now include a couple of guys named Kyrie Irving (Duke point guard) and Kawhi Leonard (San Diego State swingman)?

Meanwhile, let's be the first ones on your block to tell you that both the Minnesota Timberwolves at pick #2 and the Utah Jazz with pick #3 will definitely be in the market to swing trades and don't be shocked if the likes of the Los Angeles Lakers and/or the Boston Celtics will be climbing into either/both of those spots providing they are willing to trade some key bodies along with future draft choices.

Go ahead and tell us that Arizona forward Derrick Williams wouldn't look grand in Kelly green-and-white or that UConn guard Kemba Walker - the numero uno star of this year's NCAA Tournament - wouldn't be an immediate hit in Hollywood with Kobe and Company?

Just saying!

Lots more to say about the NBA Draft in the days and weeks ahead plus a reminder that we'll bring you an NBA Western Conference Finals Game #2 Preview in tomorrow's Jim Sez - did you realize that Dallas' 121-112 win/cover over 5 ½-point underdog Oklahoma City in Game #1 propelled NBA Playoff Betting Favorites to a better-than-.500 mark this year (see 33-32-2 against the odds while heading into the Eastern Conference Finals Game #2).

And, ladies and gentlemen, now hear this ...Jim Hurley and his Network of Handicappers and Bloggers will get you all the NBA Conference Finals Playoff Winners and all the Major-League Baseball Winners too each and every day when you either call us at the toll-free telephone # of 1-800-323-4453 or else when you go online right here. Check-in times are after 11 a.m. ET for the weekday afternoon Baseball games; after 1 p.m. ET for all the NBA and MLB weeknight games; and after 10 a.m. ET on Saturdays, Sundays and Holidays. Note that all of the remaining NBA Playoff Games - right through the NBA Finals - are scheduled for prime-time viewing (please check your listings for all starting times). So go ahead and pile up your huge profits in both the NBA and MLB with America's #1 Handicapper.

 

THE NBA PLAYOFFS

EASTERN CONFERENCE FINALS - 8:30 p.m. ET, TNT
MIAMI at CHICAGO - Bulls lead series 1-0

So, maybe there is something to this Chicago Bulls hex over the 2010-11 edition of the Miami Heat!

If three regular-season wins in as many tries this year didn't convince folks that the East's top seed was "for real" than Chicago's commanding 103-82 win in Sunday's Game #1 tilt at the rollicking United Center surely put a bug in Miami's ear:

The Heat weren't shedding any post-game tears here as was the case following a regular-season home loss to Chicago but be sure that LeBron James, Dwyane Wade and Company knew full well that they had been out-worked, out-hustled and out-played in the opener of this best-of-seven series and we kept wondering in the final quarter of that clash when Miami would show some sense of urgency ... it never happened!

Okay, so you know the relevant stats from Game #1 that included hauling down 19 offensive rebounds (Miami had just six offensive boards) that led to the one-sided tally of 31 second-chance points for coach Tom Thibodeau's team as compared to 8 second-chance points for the Heat and so that had better change for the road folks here ... or else. No doubt that F Chris Bosh "came to play" in Game #1 with his game-high 30 points on 12-of-18 field-goal shooting but the Heat's always better when Bosh is a complementary scorer to the James/Wade tandem that managed just 12-of-32 FG shooting the other night.

Toss into the fact that Bulls point guard Derrick Rose - remember he started slowly in Game #1 with a series of first-quarter turnovers/miscues but really came on strong - really had a lot of success probing that Heat interior defense and no question that Miami boss-man Erik Spoelstra would love to see his big guys send Rose to the floor a time or two like the old-time Heat players did in those epic series against the New York Knicks - or is Miami afraid to lay the lumber on the league MVP?

Gotta believe Rose (team-high 28 points in Game #1) will enter this game with mucho confidence - and ditto for teammate Luol Deng who banged home 21 points to go along with 7 rebounds and 4 steals in Sunday's game. Deng also played some fierce defense on "King James" and that, naturally, will be a key here in Game #2. Let's just say that if Rose/Deng go for close to 50 points between ‘em here and that electric Chicago bench (see 28 points in Game #1 with those two Taj Gibson dunks really getting the crowd energized) plays with an attitude, than the Heat could wind up 0-for-5 altogether in games against the Bulls this year.

Then there really might be reason to cry in that Miami locker room!
       

MORE NFL 2011 SCHEDULE NOTES:
TAKING A PEEK AT WHAT'S IN STORE FOR THE JETS, LIONS & COLTS

In today's Jim Sez we continue our look at National Football League teams and their respective 2011 schedules ... here's what is straight ahead for the New York Jets, Detroit Lions and Indianapolis Colts:

NEW YORK JETS - No question that the J-E-T-S have become the darlings of prime-time television and that's evident this season when you check out the fact NYJ's playing under-the-lights in five of its first 10 games including a season-opening Sept. 11th Sunday Night home tilt against the Dallas Cowboys. Note also that the Jets are one of a believe-it-or-not group of nine NFL teams that are being forced to play three consecutive road games at some point of their season as this AFC East crew will be at Oakland, Baltimore and New England on consecutive Sundays beginning in Week 3 play. The Jets also don't catch a break in mind-November when a Week 10 home tilt against New England is followed by a Thursday Night Game in Denver - not much time to practice for that one in the Mile High City, right? Note that the NFL lists the Jets as having to play the league's 8th-toughest schedule this year.

DETROIT - The on-the-rise Lions have not sported a winning record since 2000 (see 9-7) and the Motown faithful are hungry for a big year after last year's club registered a 12-3-1 ATS (against the spread) mark while winning six overall games. One major problem with Detroit getting out to a fast start this time is three road games in the first four weeks of play including back-to-back Week 3 and Week 4 tilts at Minnesota and Dallas. Note that the Lions will host old rival Green Bay in this year's annual early-afternoon Thanksgiving Day game and then wrap up regular-season play on New Year's Day against said Packers. Overall, Detroit's plays the league's fourth-most difficult schedule although there are only three games outside the NFC North versus teams that made it to the post-season a year ago.

INDIANAPOLIS - In case you had lost count, the Colts have produced nine consecutive double-digit win seasons and if Indy's gonna make it 10 in a row of 10-or-more wins than navigating through a dicey schedule will be key (and remember that Super Bowl XLVI will be played in Indianapolis come February). The Colts are one of the aforementioned nine teams in the NFL that's playing three consecutive road games at some stage of the campaign - at Cincinnati, New Orleans and Tennessee in mid-to-late October - plus those back-to-back road games at New England and at Baltimore in early December won't be a walk in the park either. Note that Indianapolis plays the NFC South this year and so that means road games (as we said) to New Orleans plus a trip to dogged Tampa Bay while Atlanta comes to Lucas Oil Field for a Week 9 showdown.

NOTE: Get our Game #2 Preview of Thunder vs. Mavericks in tomorrow's edition of Jim Sez.

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