Sunday, May 22, 2011

"Chicago, As I See It" & BlvdAve Presents: "Your Sports First On BlvdAve"

Hello BlvdAve family and followers. I would like to take this time out to thank the BlvdAve staff and associates for allowing me to give you the straight drop on the current events in Chicago Sports and worldwide.

So without further adieu, here is your NBA Eastern Conference Finals Wrap.

Chicago Bulls vs Miami Heat: NBA Eastern Conference Finals  

In case you missed Game 3 of the Western Conference Finals...

 The Miami Heat bested the Chicago Bulls in a very defensive 85-75 victory at the United Center, sending the series back to Miami tied up at 1-1. Any other time a 10 point victory away would inspire a team and undoubtedly create a momentum shift. But still haunted by a combined 1-4 record against the Bulls and the scars of a 20 point Game 1 beatdown, the Miami Heat know this series is still early and nothing can be taken for granted. As do the Bulls..

 ‘‘This is going to be a crazy game,’’ Rose said about playing the Heat in Game 3. ‘‘They’re going to have a lot a confidence. But someway, somehow, we just have to come away with this win. No matter how we get it, we just have to have more intensity than them, and we have to play way more aggressive.’’

Play Bulls basketball, not Game 2 basketball.

Can Haslem repeat this?
In Game 1, Udonis Haslem came out of the suit on the sidelines and was ready to H.A.M. Playing off the bench he logged 23 minutes, dropping 13 points with 5 rebounds (3 offensive rebounds,) two assists, a steal and a block. More than his number was his timing, getting big down the stretch in clutch transitional situations. Ultimately, allowing the unleashing of the LeBron James in the final 4:28, James scored 9 points and grabbed 3 rebounds.

Beyond the surprising play from the Miami bench, the Bulls starters were outplayed by the Heat's -45-81. But nonetheless, LeBron James and the Miami Heat know this series is far from over.

Here are some things to look tonight  

The Worst Defense Is No Offense

The Chicago Bulls once again held an opponent to underneath their defensive average points allowed at 85 (92pts allowed season avg.) This is something that not only doesn't bother Tom Thibideau and the rest of the Bulls staff, but doesn't seem to be much of a worry for Derrick Rose and the Bulls roster either. Carlos Boozer's continuous struggles ( 3-10 shooting,  7pts, 8rebs, 2stl, 2blk,) the Bulls still have to figure out ways to get easier opportunities to convert after making key defensive stops.

The Chicago Bulls took almost twenty more shots than that of the Miami Heat going 28-82 to Miami's 32-68, making it an even more historically low night by scoring 10 points total in the 4th quarter. Although, Miami only had 14 points in the 4th quarter. So optimism exists in the Bulls hopes to take one in South Beach. At least the 4th quarter this time around.

Deng's Defense

Luol Deng has been the most consistent Bulls this season. Maybe even as consistent, if not a little more than that of Derrick Rose M.V.P. This may have been one his worst games of the season when it comes to per minute. Deng once again was the leading Bull in minutes played, staying in the game for 46 minutes, tied for a game high with LeBron James.
Deng's D has got to be more consistent against the Heat.
Deng, in 46 minutes only had 13 points on 5-15 shooting, 1-7 from 3-point, and did not get a steal or a block. Deng has averaged at least one steal or block a game throughout the entire playoffs. Deng's defense has been the strongest part of his game. He now needs to learn the ability to still play defensive when he scores, and to still focus on being the secondary scoring threat while executing the Bulls team defense. Although Luol had a season low, do not expect Rose, Thibideau, and the rest of the Bulls roster and staff to let it get to his head. And don't expect Luol to let it get to his head, either.

The Bulls haven't lost consecutive games since Feb. 5-7

"Don't jinx us like that," Rose said.

 Tip The Scale: Team vs Talent
The Chicago Bulls have one of, if not the deepest team in the NBA, depending on how you slice up the strengths and weakness. But strength's and weakness are exactly what makes the Bulls a legitimate threat to get a win in South Beach. The extreme difference in depth of the Chicago Bulls to the Miami Heat's struggling identity with their second unit, creates a bigger mismatch than any of the "Big 3" vs a single Bulls defender. 

The "Bench Mob" must step up and have a bigger performance in Game 3. 

LeBron James and Dwayne Wade will get theirs regardless. I don't expect the duo to combine for anything less than 50 points a game for the remainder of the series. So the Bulls key is to make sure the other 10 don't convert. 

The Miami Heat bench were 12-31, LeBron James and Dwayne Wade were a combined 20-37, over 50% from the field. The Bulls must stop the rest of the Miami Heat's subpar roster. Chris Bosh and Udonis Haslem were +11 for the game scoring a combined 23 points, and 13 rebounds. If they can be neutralized more in Game 3 the score could be even lower for the star studded Miami Heat something coach Tom Thibideau looks at a positive moving forward.

"I thought [Game 2] was a hard-fought game," Thibodeau said. "[If the score is] 73-73 I'm not sure anyone is saying anything because you don't know what the outcome is. It's the same thing with your shooting. It's a make-or-miss league and sometimes you go up and the ball goes in and out. But our defense has to be good. It's gotta be great. The rebounding has to be consistent. We gotta make great effort. It's about will right now."

I believe the Bulls are ready, but are the Heat? The Bulls have usually responded after losses with double digit wins since the last back-to-back loss in Feb. But this is a Miami Heat team that seems to realizing it's full potential, just at the right time.

Looks like the Eastern Conference Finals just got started, and it's poppin' off in South Beach!

F.A. Bosh, Wade, and James co-signing and jumping the gun last summer.


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