Eastern Conference Finals: Bulls or Heat?

Posted by By at 15 May, at 19 : 30 PM Print

At 5:30 in the morning on the day of the next biggest game of his career, LeBron James tweeted out the following.

@KingJames Can’t sleep! To excited right now. Breaking down film til I fall back to sleep

Heat supporters will read that and say “he is amped up and ready to take on Chicago”

Heat haters read that and say “he can’t sleep, he is nervous, the moment is finally too big for him”

I am surprised @WhitlockJason didn’t tweet out this morning that Derrick Rose emailed him at 5:25 to say he was getting ready for the game tonight.

The Eastern Conference Finals is an ESPN/Twitterverse dream matchup. Chicago is the perfect media darling to take down the Evil Empire.  If you were to believe the media, Pat Riley is capable of shooting lightning bolts from his fingers and LeBron has been banned from using his force choke (unless it’s on himself)

The media would also have you believe that Derrick Rose is the perfect Luke Skywalker to take down the Death Star. Rose is quick, explosive and too young to really know what he is up against. The truth is, Luke Skywalker had help. The only similarity between their supporting casts might be Joakim Noah and Chewbacca (but even then, that is more on appearance and guttural screaming)

What the media fails to mention is that if Rose was indeed Skywalker, it would have taken him at least 7 shots before he connected with the two proton torpedoes down the shaft and into the reactor core. Of course ESPN highlights will just show the one that hits and he will be praised as clutch winner guy. They will also hammer you with the graphic that the Heat (and LeBron especially) were 1 and 673 in last shots to win or tie the game this season.

Skip Bayless will use that to say that LeBron was born without the clutch gene.

But  82games.com tells a different story. They measure clutch as how a player performs “4th quarter or overtime, less than 5 minutes left, neither team ahead by more than 5 points” and you realize that Kobe is #1, Rose is number #2, Mo Williams is #3 (although his sample size is considerably smaller) and the man lacking the clutch gene is #4.

Your eyes tell you that Rose is amazing and James chokes. If you watched enough Heat games this season, you saw that one of the problems with Miami’s late game execution was LeBron James calling for isolation on the game’s final play only to be turned away when the whole defense converges on him at the rim. But according to the clutch stats, Rose was only assisted on 11% of his points while James was assisted on 23%. (Kobe was 27%)

The more telling stat is that Rose turned the ball over more than anybody else in the league in those situations. Nearly 7 turnovers over 48 minutes of “clutch time” played.

There are several more story lines that have the sports media swirling for something to write about the heat.

The Heat celebrated like they won the championship against the Celtics and will suffer an emotional letdown.

This one baffles me. When baseball teams clinch a playoff spot with 3 weeks left in the season, they celebrate like they just won the World Series. The Heat beat the team they set out to beat when few people gave them a chance and they celebrated in front of their home fans. Sure, everybody would love them to just shake hands with the Celtics and walk off the court, but letting off a little steam isn’t a bad thing. (Plus, the only Celtics there to shake hands were Ray Allen and Delonte West)

Too much is made of emotional exhaustion. The Boston Red Sox became the only team to come back from 3-0 in an ALCS to win a series. They did it against their lifelong rivals, with 86 years of history against them and with two emotionally draining extra inning games. If any team was primed for an emotional letdown, it was the Sox.

The swept St. Louis in the World Series 4-0.

The Heat struggled to beat the Boston Celtics.

This is the Whitlock special. In a recent column he said:

“The Heat are going to war on a lie. OK, the word lie might be too strong. But it’s a myth the Heat demonstrated anything during the Boston series that revealed Miami as a legitimate title team.”

He goes on to say the Celtics would have won with a healthy Rondo, the same Rondo who didn’t help them in games 1 or 2.

Whitlock also thinks that Dwayne Wade will struggle because he will have to chase Derrick Rose around and that will limit his offensive effectiveness. Of course, no mention that Wade spent 5 games chasing around Ray Allen and it didn’t really hurt him too much.

The only way the Heat struggled is if you consider every game was hard fought. Of course, there is no mention of how the Bulls struggled against the Pacers or the Hawks.

The Bulls won all three regular season meetings against the Heat.

You know who else won the first three regular season meetings against the Heat?

The Boston Celtics. How did that work out for them?

The Bulls won the 3 games by a combined 8 points and one of the losses included the worst shooting night in the NBA this season, Chris Bosh’s 1-18. He has been inconsistent at times, but even that is an absolute aberration.

Speaking of Chris Bosh, he is soft.

One of the key matchups in this series is Bosh vs Boozer. Ask any fan who is tougher, and Boozer should be the answer 99 out of 100 times. Plus, he looks the part. Bald head, beard and arms all tatted up. You surely wouldn’t want to encounter him in a dark alley. Then you realize he went to Duke.

Not saying Boozer isn’t a good player, but for all the talk that Bosh has disappeared this post season, he has been statistically better across the board than Boozer.

The Bulls are playing with a chip on their shoulder; they are the #1 seed after all.

The Bulls feel they haven’t gotten the respect a 62 win team deserves. A team can’t say they are under-appreciated when they have the league MVP, Coach of the Year and Co-Executive of the year. (An award Gar Forman shared with Pat Riley, the biggest joke in NBA Award voting history.)

Now if you tell me the Mavs have a chip on their shoulder, I’ll grant you that.

The NBA could not have scripted a better story for the Eastern Conference Finals. We have to hope that nobody gets injured and that the refs call it down the middle so that neither fan base can claim some kind of bias.

The spotlight in this series will be on the superstars, but will be decided by the supporting casts. That is why I think the X-Factor in this series is Joel Anthony. If he can keep Noah in check, the series will be Miami’s to win.

With that said, I am predicting Miami in 6.

The Bowse's Word

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  1. Tony M, 9 years ago Reply

    NO way do the Heat get through this round….you and Joel Anthony are not going through Noah and Booze down low.

    I admit I was wrong about the Heat not making it past the first 2 rounds…but they dont have the bench to go any further!!!

  2. Neal M, 9 years ago Reply

    As we have seen so far, its going to be a long one! Rebounding will be the key to whoever will win this seruies!

  3. Jayson Ryan, 9 years ago Reply

    HEAT. After Udonis’s return last night. It looks like they are whole again. he was the missing piece to this puzzle. GO HEAT

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