The Chicago Bulls come off a 28-point loss to the Boston Celtics on friday. The Bulls struggled defensively, letting Boston score 97 points in the final three quarters, while connecting on 58.1 percent from on the floor for the game.
Once again, Joakim Noah was the bright spot for the Bulls. The third-year center connected on seven of 10 shots, and completed his second double-double in as many games. Noah leads the team in scoring, rebounding, blocked shots and is third in assists. John Salmons has struggled early in the season,
connecting on just 17.2 percent of his shots, and has been a
significant step slower than his opponents. He has been able to
separate himself from others, to get open jumpshots. But against Miami,
the 29-year old cannot afford to those shots over the 6'4 Dwyane Wade.
comes into tonights game with a 2-0 record. The big surprise in Florida
has been the play of often-injured forward/center Jermaine O'Neal. The
former MVP candidate has averaged 22 points and twelve rebounds in just
31 minutes an outing.
Michael Beasley, the second player drafted
in 2008, is starting for the Heat and responding with 16.5 points a six
rebounds. Given O'Neal's resurgence, Beasley has been flying under the
radar, which has resulted in high efficiency from the young forward.
Bulls have their job cut out for them tonight. The Heat have a
high-octane offense and a lot of versatile players in their rotation.
The Bulls, who are also known for their versatility, will have to see a
better performance for point guard Derrick Rose who has had initial
struggles in the early part of the season. Against the Celtics, Rose
faced a defense that constantly reacted to his movement, which limited
his overall scoring impact significally.
The Bulls have a strong
card on their hand, which must not be ignored. Point guard Kirk Hinrich
has over the course of his career played Dwyane Wade better than
anyone. Hinrich has quick hands, and bodies up well on Wade by playing
him close to the hip. This will be the case again tonight if the Bulls
have any intentions on winning.
Keys for tonight:
- Clog the lane/react to Wade. The Bulls have to close off Wade's penetration lanes, and make him a jumpshooter.
Hit the glass hard. In order to neutralize Jermaine O'Neal, the Bulls
need a strong effort on the boards, much like they brought against San
Antonio, where they pulled down 52.
- Get Derrick Rose going.
Give him the ball early in the game, and make him a contributor. Either
via his passing game, or scoring the ball. The attention needs to be on
Rose, so Luol Deng and John Salmons can get easier shots from outside.