Bulls at Heat 2:30 on ABC, Deng/Hamilton are game time decisions

Bulls at Heat 2:30 on ABC, Deng/Hamilton are game time decisions

A week before the real superbowl, the Bulls will have their regular season superbowl against the Heat. Miami is the team the vast majority of experts are picking to win the NBA title while the Bulls will perhaps be their strongest competition. How important is this game to these two teams?

The #1 seed at stake

The Bulls and Heat play each other four times in the regular season. If either team can win three of four, they'll have a huge leg up in their quest for the #1 seed by gaining two games in the standings and the tiebreaker. The bulls presently have a one game lead in the loss column which would will be eliminated or extended by today's results.

Feeling each other out

Both teams come back with similar core pieces but slightly different looks. Whether or not the teams can really feel each other out will depend on who can actually go for the Bulls.

Will the Heat have to defend a Rose, Hamilton, Deng, Boozer, Noah lineup or will they get off relatively easy? Can Derrick Rose be the most dominant player on the court after spending much of the season trying to get teammates involved?

Will the Bulls till be able to corral Dwayne Wade using Richard Hamilton rather than Bogans/Brewer? How will the Bulls slow LeBron James who ate them alive in the ECF?

Keys to the game

Elite help defense required

One of the Bulls greatest strengths of the Bulls is interior help defense, and the Bulls will need to have tremendous trust, quick rotations, and excellent help in order to get past Miami.

Wade and LeBron are too good to contain one on one, so whether or not the Bulls can slow them will be based largely on how well Joakim and Omer help.

Be decisive on offense

The Heat have tremendous perimeter athleticism. They can provide quick double teams on Derrick Rose and still recover. The Bulls can counteract their speed with quick passing and decision making, but they'll need everyone to move quickly without hesitation and take the first quality look that comes their way.

Ball control is key

The Heat bring one of the best transition games in the NBA into town. Wade and LeBron are both nearly unstoppable on the break, so the Bulls will need to limit turnovers and get back on defense in order to limit the Heat's fast break and early offense opportunities.


The Heat are at home, and they'll be the favorites in a game that they'll clearly take seriously. That said, I don't think these teams are separated by much if the Bulls can trot out their full lineup.


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  • Does LeBron know in his heart/brain and if he has watched the tape of ECF, that he and Wade got lucky in their shots in the 4th quarter for most part or does he really think like most casual observers that he beat up on Rose/Bulls? Wade probably doesn't over-analyse but LeBron does.

    Does Rose think the same way too after watching the tapes? Or he does he have a mental hurdle?

    Does Boozer/Noah have any sense of intensity/focus and killer instincts when they face the Heat?

  • In reply to schaumburgfan:

    I think LeBron feels like he owns Chicago.

  • I think the Bulls are going to get destroyed, and while I would love to be proven wrong, I think it might be a good thing.

    I've been anxiously awaiting this game for weeks to see how these two teams match up, but I don't care who wins.

    The Bulls swept the regular season last year (and made them cry) yet were out in five games!

    Forget the psychological crap about destroying their confidence in the regular season and not letting them believe they can beat you; I think in the case of these two teams, whoever *loses* the regular season matchup will have the upper hand. The winners will be overconfident and may not give enough credit to a very good, very dangerous team. The losers will be out for revenge. And I believe it holds true regardless of which team wins.

    Does anyone really think the Bulls will lose their next matchup with Indiana?

    So while I'll be screaming at my TV in the living room or the bar down the street, and as always I hope that the Bulls either destroy the Heat by 30 or that Rose has a game-winning buzzer-beating floater in a nail-biter, it may actually be good in the long run if they get blown out by the South Beach Talent a couple times this season. (By "talent" I was referring to the Heat, not the working girls on 8th street.)

  • In reply to Gringo Rican:

    Hard for me to think that either team will take the other lightly when they play each other in the playoffs.

  • In reply to DougThonus:

    Where's the prediction Doug? That was no prediction!

  • In reply to RichG:

    I didn't think it was that vague, I would bet the Heat would win, but the Bulls will have a shot an upset.

  • In reply to DougThonus:

    Easy Stance Alert

  • Hey Doug.
    Do you know if the Bulls have a zone defence they might throw at the HEAT with Luol not playing?

  • In reply to Jersey66:

    Looks like the answer to that question is yes. Surprising, given that they haven't really practiced a zone much otherwise.

  • I expect Jimmy Butler to get some run on DWade and Lebron and show up BIG Give the Rook Some Run! He's our future 2guard- Go Bulls!

  • Both Deng and now CJ Watson are out for this Heat game. And Bulls just yesterday released PG Mike James who had been playing well.

    I'm skeptical how well Bulls can compete being so short-handed.

    But maybe John Lucas XXVIII will save the day!

  • Man...Thibs looks like he is almost going to cry on National TV

  • I am almost convinced that if Rip Hamilton is healthy and Deng is "ok" with his left hand, the Bulls can beat the Heat. If Rip is focused and healthy and gives a good 30/32 minutes in a playoff game, it is amazingly helpful for Rose

  • Well Thibs answered my question and its working!

  • Kind of a slop fest so far. Neither team doing much in the half court, both went on big runs highlighted by transition/early offense plays.

    The Bulls sure looked hopeless the second Rose went out, missing watson is huge for them against a good athletic team. Lucas is just athletically beasted.

  • Well, Chicago sure fell apart fast since that last comment which I started typing at 24-24.

  • Barring injuries, Chicago is not getting past Miami as presently constructed come April/May.

  • Kyle Korver, now 0-2 on wide open threes, and the Bulls getting abused by the Miami scrubs.

  • In reply to DougThonus:

    ...and Korver subsequently drills two bombs in under a minute... keep talking smack Doug! Its working!

  • Korver back in his ECF form or did he ever get out of it?

  • Has Boozer ever fouled out? Can't he foul guys like Joel Anthony and that way throw their offense out of rhythm

  • No Luol or CJ and still hanging in against a full strength HEAT; not pretty but can't complain

  • JVG brought up a good point about the offensive rebounding of the Bulls. If the Bulls don't get the offensive rebounds...the team speed of the Heat plus their leak-outs kills the Bulls which is kind of what happened after Game1 in the ECF

  • I gotta say, I’m very proud of our Bulls and the way they competed in this 1st half. They are short-handed, Rose got 2 quick fouls and when he sat with Lucas entering Bulls almost got blown-out. But Rose returned and Bulls fought their way back. Boozer and Korver started cold, but then hit a couple shots each.

    Noah playing with great energy – he’s really competing. But he needs some help inside and Boozer isn’t giving it (Man, did Bulls ever get the short end of 2010 FA when they signed Boozer instead of Bosh). Taj finished like a man, twice.

    I’ve got to question releasing Mike James instead of John Lucas XXVIII. I assume both are non-guaranteed contracts. James would be far more effective against Heat than Lucas. This decision was purely Thibs’ favoritism. And because of this poor decision, Rose is going to have to play 45 minutes today with another game tomorrow.

    Bulls really miss Deng. Rip playing well.

  • In reply to Edward:

    I think GarPax thought JL3 would be the Bulls version of JJ Barea;-)

  • In reply to Edward:

    I agree with your Mike James sentiment. I think JL3 is just a Thibs guy, just like how Scal is a Thibs guy. I would have preferred keeping Kurt Thomas over Scal, but I'm just a fan, not a coach/GM.

  • Dear JVG,

    @&$* you.



  • In reply to Gringo Rican:

    (for his Rose is a flopper not really getting any contact BS analysis...jackass.) How'd the Heat breaking the 72-10 record work out for you last year, dillhole?

  • In reply to Gringo Rican:

    JVG should have made those flopper comments about Dwayne Wade! Not Rose.

  • Apparently its MVP time.

  • In reply to untitledreality:

    ...and soon as I say that the Heat go on a 7-0 run

  • In reply to untitledreality:

    and then rose chokes late in the 4th like lebron :(

  • Pity the officials managed to make a farce out of what should have been a good ending.

  • In reply to Shakes:

    The whole inadvertent whistle / jumpball / non call on James stealing the jumpball was infuriating.

  • I really hope Derrick doesn't let this game get to him in a negative fashion. He took so much of the blame for last years ECF and to now come back and miss two free throws in the waning seconds of the game to take the lead could potentially be debilitating.

  • In reply to untitledreality:

    Debilitating to whom?
    If you are suggesting Rose, I don't think you've been following his career.
    It will motivate Rose.

  • In reply to Edward:

    You never know. To fail in crucial moments against the same competition over and over takes its toll. I hope that he stays resilient, and Im sure he will, but once the seed of doubt gets planted its hard to go forward.

  • In reply to untitledreality:

    I don't think this will any way impact Rose. He will probably learn more from this game. I think he was just exhausted from carrying the team for the a lot of the second half. And his free throws(call me apologist) misses were more because he was tired. LeBron got a whole ton of rest compared to Rose and he still choked at the line.
    Injuries and basically JL3 being unable to manage the game for 10 mins killed us.

  • In reply to schaumburgfan:

    "And his free throws(call me apologist) misses were more because he was tired"

    Leaving the first one short definitely appeared to be a timid attempt to me... but I agree that he had to have been exhausted

  • This did it for me. Boozer should be benched/traded. Period.

  • In reply to bandonito:

    They showed Pax and Boozer's kids on TV. I guess Pax was thinking that he is such a great Dad(Boozer) that he should stay back in Miami with his kids.
    I just think Boozer has this match-up issues with Bosh, Gasol and a couple of other guys. At this point, the best we can hope is Taj has his offense working against Miami. Otherwise, we are toast again because Bosh will burn us and not Wade/LeBron in an ECF match-up

  • All that needs to be said is WOW!!!... two missed free throws by the reigning MBPS in a big game in the last few seconds, Rose just relived the NCAA Championship a few years ago against Kansas and Mario Chalmers, talk about Dejavu...WOW!!! Rose need to work on his being clutch a little bit more cause don't get me wrong, he's there but he needs more work at being clutch.

  • In reply to Reese1:

    My fault, I meant reigning MVP, Mobile phone errors.

  • In reply to Reese1:

    Rose hit an insane out bounds floater with less than 20 seconds to go.

  • In reply to Reese1:

    How do you work at being clutch? Either you are or you aren't. Nonetheless, Rose still hit a lot of big shots.

  • In reply to RichG:

    How can he work at it? Stay in the gym just like Jordan used to do and get better, every ball player knows this. He's still young so yes he still needs work at being clutch... BOTTOM LINE!

  • In reply to Reese1:

    Working in the gym makes you a better player. It doesn't necessarily make you clutch. Clutch is something you're born with. And I'm not saying Rose isn't clutch. He's made a ton of clutch shots in his career.

  • I am very proud of our Bulls team and the way they competed against the Heat despite being short-handed, missing 2 of their top 7 players. If Bulls are healthy, I feel they can beat this Heat team.

    However, I am not blind to Bulls; weaknesses. And, imo, they are:

    Rip Hamilton is not enough at SG. I like him as a player. He is an upgrade, but he has lost some athleticism and cannot excel against the elite teams (Indiana, Miami).

    I’ve said this in the past, and I repeat it here. No team will win an NBA Championship with Carlos Boozer as starting PF. I am not hating on Carlos, but he has limitations that are severely exposed against elite competition. Sam Smith’s column of last week said it best, Boozer is who he is. He is not playing much different than he did at Utah. The problem is Bulls need a PF with different abilities. Bulls drew the short stick in 2010 free agency.

    Both Rip and Booz can post good stats against the ordinary teams, but they are lacking in the physical talent to do so against the best teams.

    Until Bulls address these two weaknesses they will fail to win an NBA Championship, imo.


    WTF were Bulls thinking releasing Mike James and keeping Lucas?!?
    MORONIC PATRONAGE. They cut the better player over favoritism.

    As a result, Rose has to play 45 minutes, because he has no backup PG.

    Just like several of the ECF games, Rose played all 24 minutes of the 2nd half and was fatigued at the end – too fatigued to be Superman. The smallest guy on the court, carrying the biggest burden of anyone on the court, competing like a true warrior, but with little help from management because they released his backup PG (Mike James) the day before.

  • In reply to Edward:

    I agree with you about Boozer. He may do some scoring and rebounding, but he is a flat out stiff. He is paid like a top power forward, but gets eaten alive by the likes of Bosh, Gasol, Love, Aldridge or Griffin. In a salary cap league, Boozer is a debilitating drain on the Bull's cap. This alone could cost the Bulls a championship.

  • In reply to Edward:

    "WTF were Bulls thinking releasing Mike James and keeping Lucas?!?"

    My guess is that they felt more comfortable having Lucas as a third string PG since he has been in the Bulls system for a full year now opposed to James who would need to learn the system on the fly with this years compressed schedule.

    Honestly, I think it was the right choice for THIS season.

  • Is there anyone we can trade Boozer for? Throw in some pics if necessary but his indifference with the teams defensive mindset is hurting the Bulls chances of winning a championship. I dont care if he plays well against scrub teams, because that means nothing in the playoffs. Games like Miami and Indiana are the ones that count and he's more or less in the way. How about starting Taj from now on and have boozer come off the bench.

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