Submitted by Jim Hurley on Sunday, May 5, 2013 at 7:00 PM
As inspiring as it was to watch the shorthanded Chicago Bulls play their hearts out to upset the Brooklyn Nets in the first round of the NBA Playoffs, you got the sense through the whole series that the eventual winner was going to get CRUSHED by the Miami Heat in the second round.
Chicago’s running out of bodies. Chicago’s running out of gas. Chicago has limited offense when facing good defenses (which wasn’t clear vs. Brooklyn because the Nets were incredibly passive inside the arc). Chicago could definitely “hurt” Miami. Chicago might even “scare” Miami. But, Could Chicago actually beat Miami?
Let’s run the game through our gauntlet of indicator stats and see what we find…
WON-LOST RECORDS VS. .500 OR BETTER
Miami had a great record vs. quality this year…and some of those losses came on the road when they were just pacing themselves for the long haul. Chicago had a losing record vs. teams at .500 or better. And, going 4-3 against Brooklyn doesn’t change that fact. Miami’s in a different league.
OFFENSIVE EFFICIENCY RANKINGS
Miami has the best offense in the NBA, triggered by the greatest offensive force in our generation. This season they’ve added role players who know how to hit open looks…which means the team is BETTER this year than they were when they won the championship last year. Chicago had problems even when Derrick Rose was in uniform scoring against the Heat. How are they going to score now?
DEFENSIVE EFFICIENCY RANKINGS
Two very good defenses here. Miami doesn’t get enough credit for how well they defend. And, they compiled that #7 rating despite periodically coasting so they could peak for the playoffs. Chicago goes all out all the time. Maybe Miami will make the mistake of coasting in this series, which will allow the Bulls to be competitive. If this series were for all the marbles, it’s possible that healthy Miami might actually be better defensively than shorthanded Chicago.
REBOUND RATE RANKINGS
If there’s a clear strike against Miami, it’s on the boards. They’re so good that they don’t really have to apply themselves in this area. They’ve mimicked Boston to a degree too…meaning that…when a shot goes up…everybody runs back to play defense rather than crashing the boards. Chicago will have a legitimate chance to stay close or steal a victory whenever Miami’s shots aren’t falling. Miami doesn’t give themselves many second chance opportunities.
Both teams played a similar tempos this year. Miami has a reputation for running because they get a few highlight real dunks every game. They only run when it’s going to result in a dunk! They generally prefer the halfcourt game because they’re offense is basically unstoppable because of their varied weaponry. That’s bad news for Chicago, who has no chance to take Miami out of its comfort zone.
Chicago’s only hopes to compete are:
*A key injury to Miami that helps level the playing field
*Cold shooting by Miami
*A lackadaisical attitude from overconfident Miami
It’s hard to see a train wreck in Miami that would cause the Heat to have to sweat the series. But, when you’re talking pointspreads, it’s a whole different matter. Miami definitely could be too overconfident in a way that makes it hard to cover high numbers. They could definitely have a couple of cold shooting games that could result in Chicago covers. If somebody gets banged up and the bench has to play…that by itself would keep the Bulls within striking distance.
JIM HURLEY has been working with his on-site sources to get a read on Miami’s mindset. His New York sources have already chimed in on what the Bulls were doing after they finished off the first round in Brooklyn. The final word in this game plus Golden State/San Antonio can be purchased right here at the website with your credit card. Monday baseball is also available to help you magnify your profits. If you have any questions, call us in the office at 1-800-323-4453.
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