After three exhausting and physical games with the bulls, the Miami heat have come back and regained home court advantage throughout the series. Even though Chicago is hurting by injuries they still seem to at least make games difficult for the defending champs. Hard fouls, flagrants, technicals, and even ejections have been flying around the court like flags at a football game. This series has become more about who has more heart and desire rather than talent. In this case, I believe the Miami heat edge the Bulls. Before the series began, I saw this series going the distant due to the long rest away from the court that sweeping the Bucks got Miami. The reason I believed the long rest would hurt the heat is not because they could come out sluggish, but that their cohesion would wither away. We all know that Lebron, Wade, and Bosh are all automatic and The King plus Wade equals a highlight reel. What worried me about the heat were not the superstars, but their supporting cast.
During the time when Wade gets his normal bench time break, what I like to refer to as the “B” team comes out on the court and are led by Lebron playing point forward. This has been surprisingly enough one of the Heats biggest weapon when the supporting cast is even half on point. The style is a simple, Lebron dribbles up the court. He checks out the defensive scheme or position. Attacks the rim or draws the double team and dishes out to our snipers like Allen, Battier, or even Cole for the open jump shot. This works well for the heat due to the fact that Lebron always draws attention which in turn always sets up a teammate for a high percentage shot. The problem is that when players who are not superstars like the top three have numerous days off, they could lose their momentum or even timing. A clear sample of this was game one. The Heat came out flat in the first quarter and even poor Battier couldn’t even hit water if he fell out of a boat. Perimeter players not hitting their open shots could lead to less attention put on them and more pressure on the paint. Good thing about the Heat is that they have had that problem before so they were able to correct it. Let’s be serious, game 1 was one of the flattest the Miami Heat have ever played and yet they barely lost the game. It speaks a lot when your worst game is still enough to keep you around. If you don’t believe me then you must have missed game 2. Even if this series is beginning to look like the heat will win the next two and close it out, I still thing playing the Bulls was better than if they would have played Brooklyn.
If we look at the rest of the playoffs what do we see… well, you got Indiana who is extremely physical and is the number one rebounding team in the league and is second in points allowed. They are some big boys that bang the boards like frat boys do to freshmen girls. On the other side, Memphis is a mirror of Indiana with another physical inside presence and also has the defensive player of the year in Marc Gasol. Don’t forget they also have Zach Randolph who has had a monstrous year on both sides of the court. Then there are the Spurs who have Tim Duncan and we all know that their team who is led by the great Gregg Popovich will always show up. Last but not least we have the team led by scorers which would be the warriors with Steph Curry who is a pleasure to watch, OKC with Kevin Durant, and the Knicks led by Melo. These are more offensive skilled but do possess big men who at any point could challenge our small interior. This is why I believe playing Chicago right now is a blessing for Miami. If the Heat close out a physical team like the Bulls, then the same game style could be used and perfected if Indiana advances. Miami is one of the smallest teams in the playoffs by height average. I still believe that being able to play inside to outside basketball by Lebron infiltrating the paint and the snipers picking off shots is good enough to keep the score close until the Heat start to pick up the pace and make their opponents play their fast game style. When the kick out passes lead to high percentage threes, the opposition will change their half-court game over to something like a full court press and that’s when they fall right into Wade and Lebron’s trap; and then, it is all over. Party Time.