WHY CHICAGO'S GREAT DEFENSE CAN'T STOP MIAMI
WHY CHICAGO'S GREAT DEFENSE CAN'T STOP MIAMI
The media focus on the second round NBA Playoff series matching the Miami Heat and Chicago Bulls has emphasized physicality, chippiness, pushing, shoving, and "bad blood." It's a shame, because what Miami's offense has accomplished so far has been pretty unbelievable!
Let's start with these facts:
Chicago plays great defense
Chicago's head coach is a defensive genius
Referees have allowed a lot of contact, which is why it's so chippy!
Against that backdrop:
Miami struggled in the first game of the series, scoring only 86 points. But, it was a classic slow playoff game that only had 90 possessions per side. The Heat were only a little big below par because it was a halfcourt slugfest.
Miami EXPLODED in Game Two with 115 points over only 92 possessions. That's 1.25 points per possession which should be impossible in a playoff game against a great defense.
Miami was in more of a battle in Game Three, yet still scored 104 points in the slowest game of the series. There were only 87 possessions per side. If you only casually watch pro basketball, 104 doesn't seem like a lot of points. If you've watched a lot of PLAYOFF baseball in the EASTERN CONFERENCE, then it should register that 104 is a very big number. Did you watch New York and Indiana crawl to an 82-71 final this past Saturday Night? That game had more possessions than this one!
Add it all up, and you have Miami scoring 305 points in 269 possessions, which is 1.13 per possession. Miami and Oklahoma City were the best offenses in the NBA this year with a mark around 1.10. The Heat have actually been better against Chicago than they were against EVERYONE during the regular season.
It's easier to see in some of the category stats:
- Miami is shooting 54% inside the arc
- Miami is averaging 8 treys per game
- Miami generally makes its free throws
- Miami is averaging 12 turnovers per game, which is a little high, but understandable when the refs are letting an aggressive defense swipe at the ball all game long
While the media is trying to treat the series like pro wrestling, YOU need to recognize that Miami is having a truly fantastic offensive performance...and that they're showing the rest of the league why it's going to be tough to derail them. ABC, ESPN, and TNT don't want to dwell on the point that Miami is way ahead of the field right now. It would hurt TV ratings to suggest that there's no drama ahead!
If there's going to be drama...it's because somebody figures out how to slow down this juggernaut of an offense. The best defensive coach in the league is having trouble, particularly once he woke the sleeping giant with a Game One upset. The Bulls in uniform are out of gas, and may run into foul trouble if referees start calling things tighter. Luol Deng will be weakened if he's ever able to come back, which might make defensive rotations worse instead of better. And, oh by the way, Dwyane Wade is starting to look more like his old self after dealing with injuries. Bleak outlook of you're a Bulls' fan.
GAME FOUR: MIAMI AT CHICAGO
Vegas Line: Miami by 8, total of 187.5
Miami Leads 2-1
Miami is back on serve in the series, which means they're extreme favorites to advance. But, can they keep covering these high numbers? Do they HAVE to play at the highest level possible to cover these tall Vegas lines? JIM HURLEY has been thinking about that question long and hard all weekend. You can purchase his final side or total decision in this game as well as Oklahoma City/Memphis right here at the website with your credit card. If you have any questions, call us in the office at 1-800-323-4453.
Back with you Tuesday to run some numbers in either Game Four of New York/Indiana or Game Five of Golden State/San Antonio. A holiday weekend is behind us...and it's time to devote 100% of your attention to making money through the rest of the NBA Playoffs, the rest of the Triple Crown horse race schedule (the Preakness is this Saturday), and a full summer of Major League baseball action.
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