The Chicago Bulls might have owned the Miami Heat this regular season, but Chicago fans shouldn’t let that 3-0 mark versus the NBA signature villains fool them into complacency. And that’s especially difficult; given how the last time the teams met, the Bulls literally made them cry.
The cliche is true; NBA playoff basketball is a totally different animal (especially this year since the East has gained so much strength). Bulls fans don’t have to look back any further than the last time (prior to this season) that they won a playoff series.
In 2007, the Bulls swept the Heat in the first round then took on the Detroit Pistons in the semis. Bulls owned the regular season series with their greatest of rivals; but when playoff time came, the tables were turned a complete 180 degrees.
And forget the Boston Celtics. Ever since they dealt away Kendrick Perkins, they’re not even close to being the team that they once were. Yes, that starting five of Kevin Garnett, Ray Allen, Paul Pierce, Perkins and Rajon Rondo has never lost a playoff series. And it will stay that way, because Perkins is gone. Don’t be shocked if Boston is upset by the Knicks.
Miami emphatically took the #2 seed for themselves by slaughtering Doc Rivers’ Celts on Sunday 100-77.
LeBron James’ mother might be having some issues off the court, but don’t let those headlines distract you from what he’s doing on the court. James became the 7th player in NBA history, as well as the youngest, to score 2,000 points in 7 straight seasons.
He’s also the first NBA player to accumulate 2,000 points, 500 rebounds, 500 assists, 100 steals in four consecutive seasons. He’s also getting hot at the right time: averaging 30 ppg, and shooting 60 percent over his last 12 games. If consensus favorite Derrick Rose doesn’t get the NBA MVP award; it will likely go to James, not Dwight Howard.
The Heat themselves have had first in point differential, second in opp fg pct, seventh in points allowed.
You already know about Wade and Bosh, so we’ll move on the most dangerous of Heat role players: James Jones, who won the NBA three-point competition this past All-Star weekend. Coincidentally enough, he’s the fourth Heat player to win the contest to win the honor; and that’s a high number when you consider what a relatively short franchise history they have.
The Heat also finished with the second highest amount of road wins in the entire league this year, so the Bulls home court advantage may not be as strong versus Miami as it will be versus other teams.
Now here’s some numbers in the Bulls’ favor. Chicago finished 15-1 versus their own division, am NBA record since the league went to six divisions in 2004-05. They are second in the league in rebounding and defense heading into the season finale with New Jersey. They’ve also won 61 games; the six previous times they won 60+, they won the whole thing!
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